Best winter tropical getaways and travel trends

What’s Trending for our Favorite South-of-the-Border Destinations

Published January 2023

Deep blue colored pool at a resort with oceanfront view in Mexico
Beach in Belize

With much of the U.S. well into its peak chilly season—bundling up for longer nights and freezing temperatures—it’s easy to see why American travelers are most likely to flock to tropical vacation destinations this upcoming season (39%), according to Vacasa’s 2022 Holiday & Winter Travel Trends.

Overall, Vacasa searches* for vacation homes south of the border—in Belize and Mexico specifically—saw an uptick in 2022 compared to 2021. With closer proximity to the equator, the unbeatable weather, plus easy flights from most major U.S. cities, makes now a great time to consider booking a vacation (and a Vacasa home) to Belize, Costa Rica, or Mexico.

So, if you’re looking to ditch the ski suit for a swimsuit and explore the tropical beaches, crystal-clear water, and vibrant cultural scenes just south of the border, here are a few search and booking trends to help plan your next trip to Belize, Costa Rica, or Mexico.

Oceanfront vacation home with an outdoor deck in Malibu, CA
Trend 1

Water perks are the top amenities

It seems travelers are ready for poolside lounging and adventures along the beautiful beaches—the “oceanfront”, “ocean view”, and “pool” amenities were some of the most used filters for vacation rentals in Belize, Costa Rica, and Mexico this year. Understandably so, with sunny temperatures in the 70s–80s and access to excellent scuba diving and snorkeling among the coral reefs of the eastern shorelines.

Trend 2

But one spot in particular appeals to snowbirds—Costa Rica

With remote work being an option for many, migrating south for the winter is no longer just for retirees. Regarding searches for Costa Rican destinations this year, the “snowbird-friendly” filter was one of the top three used. Allowing you to rent for 28 days or more (some offering discounts for extended stays), these homes offer a true Pura Vida lifestyle for those looking to chase an endless summer—with or without a laptop in tow. 

tropical vacation rentals
Trend 3

Winter is prime time to travel south

It's no surprise the most popular times to visit our neighbors to the south historically line up with chillier months in the states: January through March. According to Vacasa data, Costa Rica reservations typically peak in January, with Mexico reservations reaching a high in February, and Belize reservations peaking in March.

Our most popular tropical beach getaways

So, where are the hotspots to visit? We’re glad you asked. Here are the most searched destinations within each of the three countries in 2022, ranging from the laid-back resort community of Mara Laguna in Belize to the ultimate surfer’s playground of Jaco in Costa Rica, where we guarantee you won’t spot a flake of snow. 

Mexico

Bordered by different bodies of water—the Pacific Ocean (Puerto Vallarta) and the Caribbean Sea (Tulum and Playa del Carmen)—these three popular vacation destinations in Mexico are all havens for beautiful beaches and water sports.

Tulum
Playa del Carmen
Puerto Vallarta

Costa Rica

Home to 28 national parks, volcanos, and even a cloud forest, Costa Rica’s spectacular biodiversity makes any of these top destinations a go-to for nature lovers. Fun fact: it’s also one of the happiest countries, according to the Happy Planet Index.

Jaco
Puntarenas
Guanacaste

Belize

Whether it’s the turquoise waters or archeological history that draws you to one of Belize’s top vacation spots, you’re sure to find ample adventure within the country’s stunning landscape—80% of which is covered in jungle.

San Pedro
Stann Creek — Placencia Village
Mara Laguna



*Data is based on searches for stays south of the border between January 2022 - November 2022.

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