As the northern hemisphere welcomes the first signs of spring, festivities are in full swing across the world from the holy celebrations of Easter in Catholic countries to the colourful street events of Holi in India. Temperatures are starting to rise across southern Europe and flowers are beginning to bloom, making it a particularly pretty time to be out exploring Japan where pink cherry blossoms grace parks. It's still dry in Central America with clear skies and plenty of opportunities to explore ancient ruins and search for wildlife and in the Middle East temperatures are still bearable so it's a good time to imitate Indiana Jones and visit the region's many archaeological sites.
With World Wildlife Day taking place on 3rd March, this month represents a time when we recognise the serious threat facing many of our beloved species around the globe. With numerous animals on the brink of extinction, time is running out to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. While you may not realise it, in many destinations tourism is key to ensuring the survival of these species and you can play your part in conservation by simply being there so consider a wildlife holiday. Here are some of our top picks of holiday destinations for March 2019.
Many festivals in March centre around the arrival of spring, celebrating the light and colour the season brings. It's a time to clear out the old and welcome the new with spirited festivities and unique natural phenomenons. Here's our pick of the best festivals happening in March.
Where? Valencia, Spain
When? 15th-19th March 2019
This exuberant festival is rooted in traditions welcoming the arrival of spring, when carpenters would burn their wooden wick holders. Today it's an incredible display of elaborate sculptures, pyrotechnics and live music. The festival concludes with a huge bonfire on which the sculptures are burned before the city parties the night away.
Where? Chichen Itza, Mexico
When? 20th March
On the spring equinox the impressive Temple of Kukulcan (more commonly known as El Castillo) in Chichen Itza plays host to a mysterious event as the sun's rays create the illusion of the serpent deity slithering across the step pyramid. The spectacle may only last a few minutes but in nearby Cancun festivities last days.
Where? Countrywide, India
When? 20th-21st March 2019
Celebrated on the day of a full moon on the vernal equinox, the Holi Festival is India's most popular and celebrated by Hindus across the globe to welcome in spring and signify the victory of good over evil. Cities and towns all over India come alive with riotous water fights and bonfires held in the evenings leading up to the main day of festivities.
Where? Mendoza, Argentina
One of the largest wine festivals in the world, the Grape Harvest Festival draws everyone from local winemakers to national celebrities to the city of Mendoza. Festivities are spread over six days, with the highlight being the election of the annual Harvest Queen in the Greek Theatre. With 20,000 attendees, the show is a spectacle of dance, music and lights culminating in a magnificent firework display.
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, March may not offer the warmth and length of daylight hours that we crave after months of winter so this can be a good time to head elsewhere for a beach break. Outside of popular holidays, such as Easter when services are at a premium and costs are at their highest, a beach break can be good value for money in March. Here's our selection of the best beach destinations around the world for this time of year.
The islands in southern Thailand are also a good bet with sunny days still the norm though temperatures and humidity are beginning to rise and the same goes for the island of Phu Quoc in southern Vietnam.
In general the best time for game viewing in Africa is during the dry season when the animals can be more easily spotted through the thin vegetation. During these dry months herds of animals tend to congregate around watering holes as other sources dry up. In March it's the wet season across most of southern Africa so for this reason we recommend East Africa as a more reliable safari destination for this time of year but there are plenty of other wildlife spotting destinations great at this time of year too.
Tanzania is also enjoying a mini dry season with the calving season drawing to a close so March is still a good time to see thousands of calves being born. It can rain at any time in East Africa but these rains keep the wildebeest herds on the grass plains in the southern parts of the Serengeti.
At this time of year Botswana is experiencing its wet season with heavy rainfall, which is not ideal for game viewing as the verdant vegetation hides the animals. However, this is the perfect time for keen bird-watchers to visit as dozens of migratory species are in Botswana at this time and the scenery is beautiful.
It's also still the dry season in India at this time of year and the national parks across the country are open for business. This is a good time to head to India for a tiger spotting safari. The rising temperatures dry out the scrub making it easier to spot the majestic prowling creatures as they hunt for food and water.
Here's a selection of our tours perfectly suited for travel in March from the peaks of the Himalayas to the coastline of Central America.
On The Go's Signature group tours place local interaction and authenticity at the heart of your cultural travel experience. Upping the comfort stakes, this range is a clear cut above our Budget range.
Appealing to a wide age demographic from the 20s to 60+, we maximize your days with excitement and awe and then bring you home to a comfortable 4* hotel with western amenities, air-conditioning, WiFi and, where appropriate, a swimming pool. Hotels can sometimes be of 3 or 5 star standard too, ensuring you get the best value for your holiday.
Visiting all the main attractions you’ll be accompanied throughout by our highly qualified English-speaking local guides too. Group size is typically 18 with a maximum for 28, apart from festival tours, where group sizes can be larger due to the one-off nature of these events.
Our Active range brings you thrilling trekking and cycling holidays to some of the world's most popular destinations. Whether it’s trekking to the Lost City of Petra in Jordan or cycling around the Angkor temples in Cambodia, you’ll get to explore more of your chosen destination than just the standard highlights, either by bike or on foot. There will still be lots of cultural experiences and even the occasional wildlife encounter along the way. You'll need a good level of fitness and an intrepid spirit.
Group sizes are small and average around eight travellers. The accommodation you’ll be staying in reflects the off-the-beaten track nature of these trips with simple hotels, wild & fixed camping, homestays and local guest houses for value and convenience.
On our Handpicked range we bring you the most iconic experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 28 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.
On our Independent range you won’t be joining other travellers, but will be on your own private itinerary. Accommodation, pace of travel and the style of trip is tailored to your individual needs. From pre-priced packages available off the shelf to fully curated tailor-made holidays, this range also includes our selection of one-night stopovers, day-tours and short breaks.
Our Independent range gives you all the great service aspects of our Signature range with the flexibility to create a truly unique and bespoke holiday or adventure to a variety of destinations around the world.
Our Budget range is the perfect choice for independent spirits travelling on a shoestring. As well as guided sightseeing of the key highlights, there’s also ample free time to explore independently or partake in optional excursions that maximise your time in each destination. Few meals are included, allowing you the freedom to choose exactly where you eat and spend your evenings out, with the added bonus of enabling you to stay in control of your spending.
Many tours in this range include a local payment and this pricing system helps keep costs down so you can be sure we’re delivering the best possible value. You’ll be travelling by both private and public transport – think buses, trains, feluccas and even camels. Accommodation ranges from dome tents to a surprise 4-star hotel at a 3-star price. And with a maximum group size of 32, these tours are designed to create a social and fun travel experience.