6 vacation hot spots to visit in March

3d ago

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Feeling like you’re coming down with a bout of spring (travel) fever? Us too.

It’s time to get excited about new hotel openings, game-changing flight routes and incredible destinations you might not have considered before. Even better, you’ll still find off-peak award availability for most airlines in March. Whether you’re dreaming of sipping cocktails at a rum fest in Puerto Rico, perusing book fairs in Morocco, hiking Mount Everest in Nepal or jamming to live music in Texas, here are six of the best places to visit this March.

Want to plan ahead? Check out our guide to where to travel in 2020.

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Texas

(Photo courtesy of Miraval Austin Hotel)
(Photo courtesy of Miraval Austin Hotel)

March is a month full of activities and festivals in Texas. The most obvious, of course, is South by Southwest (SXSW), in which more than 2,000 artists perform during a series of film, media and music events in Austin (from March 13 to 22). Wannabe cowboys and cowgirls should head to Houston for the rodeo (from March 3 to 22), which has everything from barbecues to horse shows, concerts to carnivals, and even wine tasting in addition to the standard steer riding and roping.

For the ultimate spring relaxation escape, visit the recently opened Miraval Austin, a Hyatt property (you may have to call to book using Hyatt points). Spend your days horseback riding, practicing yoga and hiking before unwinding with the resort’s signature spa services featuring Laurel products. Try the vasudhara, a type of Thai massage done while you float in a pool with underwater sound therapy; it will leave you feeling completely renewed.

Those wanting a stay with a scene should consider the newly opened Virgin Hotel in Dallas. The hotel has a buzzy pool club and a cool coworking space with a cafe called the Funny Library. If you visit in early March, you can attend the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas (from March 6 to 8), reportedly the largest Celtic event in the Southwest.

Morocco

(Photo by Lori Zaino for TPG)
(Photo by Lori Zaino for TPG)

With pleasant daytime temperatures and ample sunshine, spring is the ideal time to visit this North African country before the suffocating heat of summer sets in. The Moroccan Department of Tourism has announced a formidable goal: To be one of the top 20 tourist destinations by 2020. It seems like this initiative has inspired a spate of new luxury properties such as The Ritz-Carlton, Tamuda Bay and a St. Regis Tamuda Bay, both of which are in the works.

In the meantime, travelers can enjoy glamping in the Sahara Desert or a stay at the brand new Oberoi Marrakech, which opened in December 2019. Located on a 28-acre olive and citrus grove, the landscaped grounds feature Arabic fountains and overlook the Atlas mountains. It’s simply magical. Many of the guest villas feature private terraces and pools. Also don’t forget about the host of amazing boutique riads you’ll find around the country, from budget to total luxury.

Marrakech has a few key events happening in March. The Marrakech International Festival of Dance offers master classes, workshops and shows (from March 20 to 28) and the 5th annual Marrakech Book Festival features all sorts of literary events like author chats, book sales and workshops in beautiful locations around the city (from March 27 to 29).

If you extend your stay in Morocco through April, you can even snag a return flight on Royal Air Maroc and earn AAdvantage miles, as April is when the airline will officially join the Oneworld alliance.

Nepal

(Photo by Himanshu Khagta/Getty Images)
(Photo by Himanshu Khagta/Getty Images)

Nepal is actively promoting tourism with a Visit Nepal 2020 campaign. March is an excellent time to visit, as Nepal is warming up and many of the hiking trails reopen. You’ll see snow up high in the mountains, but the lower trails will show all the signs of spring. In March, the days grow increasingly longer, but tourism hasn’t quite picked up yet, so you can expect fewer visiting trekkers clogging up the trails.

Hiking to the Everest base camp continues to be one of the nation’s most popular treks. Aim for Everest during the second half of the month when temperatures are higher but you won’t yet have to worry about monsoons. Remember, Everest may be the most famous, but Nepal has many incredible natural wonders to be discovered during other, lesser-known treks. The Gokyo and the Renjo La route isn’t as popular, but it should be as it offers alternative views of the Everest range. The Manaslu Circuit is another underrated trek that allows visitors to witness breathtaking scenery and interact with locals.

Before heading off to hike the wilderness, plan to stay at new properties like the Aloft Kathmandu and the Kathmandu Marriott Hotel, both which opened in 2019 (the brand’s debut in Nepal).

Related: Is Nepal a family-friendly destination?

And you can’t visit Nepal in March without participating in the Holi festival (March 9 and 10). Join locals in the celebration by dancing, singing and throwing colorful powder and water at each other. Essentially, it’s a giant, rainbow-colored water fight to celebrate the coming spring season and the triumph of good over evil.

Northern Italy

Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy
(Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy)

Is there ever a bad time to visit Italy? Probably not. But March may be one of the best (albeit underrated) times to visit. After all, spring is on the way, but you won’t encounter the rush of summer tourists.

Start your visit in Venice, which could use your tourism dollars after a rough winter of floods. Since the famous Carnevale celebrations occur in February this year, March will be a quiet and relatively affordable month to visit. Plan to stay at the new St. Regis Venice, which opened in 2019. The view of the Santa Maria della Salute Basilica and canals from many of the hotel rooms and suites is breathtaking.

Next, consider a road trip through La Strada del Prosecco (known as “Prosecco Road”), a scenic stretch famous for Prosecco production. Cruise through rolling hills and past vineyards between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, stopping to sip bubbly and explore along the way.

Another key stop is Verona, known as the spot where Romeo and Juliet began their sordid love story. Although the city goes all-out for Valentine’s Day with love-themed celebrations, things will be quieter in March, which actually makes the city seem more intimate and romantic.

End up in Milan, which is an easy nonstop flight home to a number of U.S. hubs. Make sure to stay in the Hotel Indigo (opened in 2019), a short walk to the glamorous Quadrilatero d’Oro, Milan’s famous fashion center.

Related: Second cities: The best destinations to visit from Milan

Puerto Rico

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Besides gorgeous, warm weather ideal for a beach getaway, visiting Puerto Rico now is better than ever. It’s true that Puerto Rico has seen its fair share of natural disasters in recent months and years. But the island destination has recovered spectacularly from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and while some areas recently sustained earthquake damage, much of the island was unaffected by the seismic activity and continues to welcome visitors with open arms.

Luxury hotels abound in this sunny U.S. territory. The St. Regis Bahia Beach reopened after a $60-million renovation in early 2019, boasting 139 refreshed rooms. The Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s new villas are absolutely massive, the smallest starting at nearly 950 square feet. If it’s a design hotel you’re after, check out the O:LV Fifty Five Hotel, a recently opened adults-only boutique property with decor created by local designers and artisans, plus a rooftop infinity pool.

Arrival to Puerto Rico is easier than ever. Besides frequent flights on JetBlue to San Juan (SJU), both Frontier and Spirit will be increasing flights to the Puerto Rican capital from various U.S. hubs throughout 2020.

March means festival after festival in the island’s capital, San Juan, starting with the Tropikal Half Marathon in San Juan on March 1. The Puerto Rican Rum Festival features live music and 12 different brands of rum (March 7). For a more family-friendly, booze-free adventure, visit the Coffee and Chocolate Expo (March 28 and 29) or the Circo Fest, which features outdoor street acts, music, dancing, acrobatics, art and more (March 12 to 22).

Fernando de Noronha Island, Brazil

(Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. Photo by Andras Jancsik/ Getty Images)
(Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. Photo by Andras Jancsik/Getty Images)

This small archipelago known for its stunning natural landscapes is starting to gain international recognition. Thanks to strict environmental regulations that limit visitors, it’s one of few places on earth with such beauty that has remained undeveloped. The lack of tourists and infrastructure makes Fernando De Noronha even more intriguing to outsiders, in addition to the call of incredible scuba diving and the general exotic vibe the destination gives off. March is one of the best times to visit, as the waters are calm and clear for diving and the rain doesn’t roll in until May.

Related: 5 reasons Brazil should be your next mileage run

It’s become just a little bit easier for U.S. visitors to get to this special archipelago (and the rest of Brazil) as the country relaxed its visa requirements last year for U.S. citizens entering the country. You can fly to Recife (RCE), one of the closet gateways to Fernando De Noronha, nonstop from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on Brazilian carrier Azul. Our fingers are crossed for a 2020 partnership between United, Avianca, Copa Airlines and, possibly, Azul.

If you’d prefer to combine your trip with a popular Brazilian hub like São Paulo or Rio, you can. American is increasing frequency on its Miami (MIA) to São Paulo route (GRU) and here at TPG, we’ve found deals as low as $1,200 for round-trip, business-class flights to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) from New York-JFK for under $1,200. You may even be able to utilize airpass to fly a certain number of flights within Brazil over a set time frame for a fixed price.

Featured image by WaldirPC/Getty Images.

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