The Bahamas is a great destination most years in January. Thanks to the warm Gulf Stream waters, temperatures stay warm much of the time. Even when cold air masses sweep off the mainland United States, the warm water modifies the air quickly. Nassau, which averages a low of 65°F and a high of 77°F in December, has never been colder than 41°F in January. In Grand Turk, further from the mainland, it averages 81°F as a high in January and lows average a balmy 71°F. It has never been lower than 60°F in January there.
The hurricane season is over but coastal storms can develop. Most times their development and greatest impact is further north. January's average precipitation is still near its lowest level of the year with just 1.4 inches in Nassau, falling on just 6 days.
Hispaniola (Haiti, Dominican Republic), Jamaica
With the end of the hurricane season, vacationers return to these tropical islands. Places on the sheltered south coasts (like Kingston, Jamaica or Port au Prince Haiti, Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic are the driest, sunniest destinations. The temperatures are still quite warm with highs reaching the mid to upper 80s and overnight lows in the upper 60s. Precipitation has fallen off from the 7 to 8 inches per month at the peak of the tropical season to 2 inches or less in coastal parts of Jamaica and Hispaniola with rather long stretches of sunny, rainless days.
With the end of the hurricane season, vacationers return to this tropical island. Showers still occur in Puerto Rico because of its location on the north coast facing the trade winds but the rainfall is diminishing towards its annual minimum in the late winter.
With the tropical storm activity ending in both the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, this region becomes a much more reliable vacation spot. Acapulco, which has nearly 14 inches of tropical rains on average in September, averages just 1 day of measurable rain in January with an average total of only 0.2 inches. Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula has 1.0 inches falling on 8 days.
Temperatures are still tropical like in Acapulco with an average high of 88°F and lows of 72°F. In Merida, the average high is 83°F and the average low is 62°F.
Mexico City because of its elevation (7,575 feet) is much cooler. The average high there is 66°F and the average low 42°F. Precipitation is near the lowest annual level with just 0.5 inches on just 4 days of the month. Occasionally poor air quality can occur here in winter due to low-level inversions trapped in the high plateau.
January may be the most ideal time to visit this exotic destination. The Pacific typhoon season is over. Monthly rainfall, which exceeded 15 inches in the summer months drops to just 1.3 inches with rain showers on average on just 4 days. Temperatures cool off to highs in the mid 60s and overnight lows in the mid 50s. The fall and early winter here average 6 to 8 hours of sunshine, the most of the entire year.
Your Favorite Regional Resort
Given the current world situation, many travelers may elect to stay close to home and plan vacations within a reasonable drive this winter. No matter where you live in this great country, there are resorts and vacations spots within a days drive. In the south, there are beaches with water that is still warm enough for a midday swim. There are great golf locations in California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and the coastal Carolinas that offer some great winter golf. Inland and up north, mountain areas are spotted with ski resorts offering some great downhill or cross-country skiing.
It may be the perfect time to enjoy your favorite sport or take up a new one. If you live in the north and bemoan the winter months, learning to enjoy winter sports may make those months easier to take. If you live in the south and don't golf, this may be great time to start.