We’re big fans of a ‘shoulder season’ break. So many destinations are cheaper with much better availability of accommodation and can be much more relaxing with fewer crowds. Often travelling just outside of the peak season means the weather is a little less sweltering but deliciously comfortable and if you time things carefully, you can plan an incredible trip and skip the highest prices.
If you’re searching for the best places to visit in May or simply wondering where to go in May for sun, let us help! We’ve chosen some impressively diverse destinations all over the world from Central America to Africa and Asia.
Namibia's big draws: Incredibly diverse scenery including some of the largest sand dunes in the world and Africa’s largest canyon. Captivating drives along the Skeleton Coast, dotted with shipwrecks contrast with the chance for a self-drive safari where you can spot giraffes and other big game.
Best time to visit Namibia: There’s a short rainy season from November – March so the best time to visit is between April – October during the dry season when the game will be congregating round waterholes. Namibia is currently even cheaper to visit than South Africa so this year is a good time to visit generally. As a guide, return flights from the UK to Namibia in May 2017 start at around £600pp.
I did a self-drive around Namibia in May a few years ago and to this day, Namibia honestly remains one of the best destinations I’ve ever visited. There are so few tourists that you’ll hardly see anyone. The contrasts of scenery from canyons and dunes in the south to mountains and desert safaris in the north is unimaginable. Windhoek is a beautiful and safe city with great food and a low cost of living – see my blog 7 Places you have to see in Namibia if you’re not yet persuaded.
I recommend seeing Namibia as part of one of these itineraries (which exclude flights):
Costa Rica's big draws: it’s a big eco-tourism destination with opportunities for hiking, rafting or snorkelling adventures. Spot exotic creatures like sloths, monkeys and baby turtles in their natural habitats. It's easy to self-drive and easy to visit as part of a multi-centre trip, perhaps with Colombia?
Best time to visit Costa Rica: Peak season (also peak crowds and peak season is from January to April and there are some very rainy months in September and October. In May and June, the country is in seasonal transition and will be lush and green. At the moment, Costa Rica’s cost of living is about 20% cheaper than the UK, making it a great-value destination. As a guide, return flights to San Jose from the UK in May 2017 start at around £550pp.
Costa Rica is so ideal if you're looking for adventure; I recently traced the Volcano Trail on a small group tour through Costa Rica and Nicaragua. There's so much opportunity for kayaking, jungle trekking, and volcano hikes. They also have Latin America's longest zip-line! You could even combine Costa Rica with Colombia via this secret surface sector as Sara did for an extended trip.
I’d recommend one of the following itineraries to visit Costa Rica (they all exclude flights):
Big draws of Japan: Tokyo – as one of the biggest cities in the world it demands to be explored; from the temples to Electronics Town, Harajuku’s cos-play and fashion to a breakfast of fresh sushi at Tsukiji market – the world’s largest fish auction. Make way for speedy bullet trains, playful snow monkeys, traditional ryokans, and the finest sashimi and sushi imaginable.
Best time to visit: high season is during the cherry tree blossom from February – April where prices are high. Aim for late spring/early summer (May – June) for best prices and if you’re looking for comfortable temperatures for exploring. July and August bring sweltering temperatures, if you enjoy the heat! As a guide, return flights to Tokyo in May 2017 start from around £500pp.
Japan has always held a very special place in my heart ever since a school exchange. May is a month I warmly recommend for a visit: the scenery is green, lush, and neither has the crowds of the cherry blossom time nor the hot humidity of mid-June and the starting rain season. It boasts loads of festivals and it’s an ideal time to glimpse Mount Fuji; head to Kawaguchi-ko or into the Fuji-Hakone National Park.
If you’re visiting in late spring, I would suggest the following trip ideas (which exclude flights):
Whether you like the sound of Namibia, Costa Rica or Japan or fancy a different destination completely, we can help you choose the ideal destination and put together the perfect itinerary. Simply call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.