Spring for the northern half of the planet means wildflowers and newborns, fresh air and sun after the cold spell. Elsewhere it means something entirely different: the end of the rains, the cool-down after the summer, or just another great time of year to go snorkeling. From unique spring break destinations to safaris and jungle treks, take a look at what spring looks like at some of our lodges.
Springtime guests of Fogo Island Inn won’t see soft, colorful blooms when they look out their bedroom windows—instead they’re treated to the sight of massive icebergs drifting across the North Atlantic. Each year, these sculpted beauties break off from the glaciers that lace Greenland’s coast, moving south along the powerful Labrador Current and putting on a spectacular show for Fogo Island. Take in the scene from shore as you amble along thawing footpaths, or get out on the water for a closer look during a cruise through Iceberg Alley.
Orchid fanatics, take note: Many of the roughly 3,000 orchid species found in Peru grow wild in the cloud forests that surround Machu Picchu. One of the best ways to examine them up close is to take a stroll in the orchid garden at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in March or April, when the rains are easing but the forest is still lush. There are 372 species here—including several that have been discovered on the property—and it’s easy to spend a full morning on the trails, discovering the fascinating biology of these delicate blooms up close with a naturalist.
With its burnt orange palette, the Australian outback gives the impression of eternally baking in the sun. Indeed the summer months are scalding here, but travelers are often surprised that during the cooler high season—June, July, and August—temperatures can drop below freezing at night. Uluru and Kata Tjuta often teem with tourists during the Australian winter, and while you can retreat from the crowds to the tranquility of Longitude 131˚, visiting in April or May allows for a more intimate experience in this sacred place.
The rains that feed Brazil’s Atlantic Forest fall heaviest during the austral summer, but as they let up around March, they leave the wilderness of Reserva do Ibitipoca glistening and green. April, May, and June are milder and dry, allowing for more time outside to explore and soak up the fresh atmosphere. Hike to a waterfall that’s swollen with the rains, and cool off in natural pools. Ride horseback past bromeliads and orchids on the lookout for toucans and other birds, and head up to the mountaintop to discover a beach made of naturally crushed quartz.
Nestled on the largest yet lesser known Bahamian island of Andros, Tiamo Resort is where you come for a spring break beach vacation that’s, quite literally, wild. The lodge’s waterfront thatched bungalows are surrounded by a nature reserve and only accessible by sea. Mangroves fringe the marshy inland, and a vast coral reef system lies right off shore. One of the Caribbean’s most interesting geological features can be found here: a 93-mile fissure in the ocean floor called “the Crack” which links the world’s largest chain of blue holes. For those who seek more than piña coladas and a beach chair on their Caribbean vacation, Tiamo offers sailing, snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, as well as miles of private beach to stroll. And you can still have that piña colada.
When springtime comes to Bhutan, wildflowers take over the slopes of the Himalaya. Rhododendron blooms burst forth in March, their pink and white hues setting off the looming snowcaps on the horizon. Jacaranda trees drip with purple blossoms in May, and rare blue poppies—Bhutan’s national flower—might be spotted along mountain trails. In early April, the town of Paro transforms as masked dancers and costumed monks fill the street with motion and color for the annual Paro Tsechu festival. Zhiwa Ling is a perfect base from which to witness the pageantry—and it’s a haven from the festival crowds, just far enough from town that your Himalayan experience stays serene.
The rains in the Okavango Delta taper off in March, and the months that follow straddle the wet and dry seasons, offering travelers a taste of both—and mild temperatures to enjoy them. The migratory birds that arrive with the rains linger on into May, and the bush is colorful with greenery and wildflowers. This is a great time to witness the relationship of impalas and their unexpected protectors: baboons. As impalas spar and mate in March and April, baboons keep watch for predators while munching on ripe sausage fruit. The landscape begins to dry out in May, and elephants and buffalo make their way to watering holes and rivers, and the excellent guides at Zarafa Camp know just where to go to find them.