February may not be the peak month for travel, but if you find yourself with that itch to get out of town, there is an adventure waiting in many corners of the world. From a birthday celebration in California to colorful journeys in South America, we’ve come up with five destinations that will make you want to pack your bags and escape to somewhere new this winter.
Thirty years is unquestionably a cause for celebration, and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is marking this anniversary with a partnership with one of the world’s finest pearl jewelers, Mikimoto. During the Orange County hotel’s “Pearls of Inspiration” promotion, one guest per month will be chosen to receive a set of his-and-hers pearls, which will be left on the winner’s pillow as a surprise. The birthday package also includes a visit to the Mikimoto showroom at South Coast Plaza and a sumptuous breakfast at Raya, the Ritz’s signature restaurant. Between meals, make sure to set aside time for a 60-minute Iridescent Pearl Facial at the resort’s Four-Star spa, which will reveal your skin’s natural glow. Top things off with the Pearl Martini, a libation created specifically for the anniversary, and Valentine’s Day tasting menus that will be offered throughout the hotel’s restaurants for February 14 and 15. Through April 30
There will be 156 professionals and 156 amateurs competing at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Tournament this year, making it a great opportunity for any golf enthusiast to get up close and personal with some of the best players in the world. The 2013 Pro-Am champ Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell are just some of the PGA names confirmed for play. As for the non-golf celebrities participating, the tournament has a star-studded leaderboard that includes actors Don Cheadle and Ray Romano, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and surfing legend Kelly Slater. During the tournament, Pebble Beach’s famous 17-mile drive will be closed to car traffic. Luckily, the lovely Tradewinds Carmel and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotels The Inn at Spanish Bay and The Lodge at Pebble Beach will not only offer beautiful vistas and exemplary set-ups, but easy access to the golf course as well. Tradewinds Carmel’s AT&T Pebble Beach Golf Getaway package gives you two shuttle passes, three nights’ accommodations and a daily continental breakfast. Spanish Bay’s offer provides you with two complimentary tournament tickets during your stay. February 3-9
It may be the dead of winter in Sochi, but the snow-filled city is the hottest destination this month. Sochi has been transformed into a polar palace to accommodate elite athletes from all around the world who are competing in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Alpine skiing, figure skating and ice hockey may be the premier attractions, but tickets to luge, bobsled and curling events were available at press time, meaning you could still get in on all of the frigid fun. For a February that you will remember for a lifetime, pack up the down coat and make your way to Russia. Just be sure to send us a selfie of you in front of the majestic Bolshoy Ice Dome when you get there. February 7-23
In the United States, singers hoping to break into the big leagues can compete in shows like American Idol or The Voice. In Latin America, budding songsters head about 75 miles from Santiago, Chile, to the coastal town of Viña del Mar every February to battle it out in the Viña del Mar International Song Festival. Held in the 15,000-seat Quintana amphitheater, it is the largest contest of its kind in Latin America, attracting visitors from all across the Southern Hemisphere. But you won’t just find a roster of undiscovered talents covering everything from rock to reggae; international headliners such as Ricky Martin, Rod Stewart, Laura Pausini, Los Tres and Ana Gabriel will take the stage as well. February 23-28
When we talk about samba, we talk about Rio. When we talk about Rio, we must talk about Carnival. While other countries may participate in the annual celebration, this breathtaking beach city sets the international standard. Nowhere else will you see as many beautiful gyrating bodies, outrageous costumes, or feel the revelry as when you’re in the midst of what is arguably the world’s biggest multi-day party. (A reported 2 million partygoers participated in last year’s Carnival.) Though the official festivities kick off with an opening ceremony and culminate with the spectacular Samba Parade, the city is overtaken with concerts in the streets, late-night parties and elaborate, extravagant balls for the duration of Carnival. Samba schools open their doors to the public while they rehearse for performances, so if you can’t get a ticket to the main event, rest assured there are other ways to participate in all the fun. February 28-March 4
Photos Courtesy of iStock and The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company LLC