Traveling while Black calls for an endless checklist of things to consider before booking the flight. It can be frustrating, it can be disappointing, and sometimes it can even be dangerous. Trailing through the internet for YouTube videos titled ‘Black in X country’ or scouring Pinterest for the best destinations that are as awe-inspiring as they are safe for Black travelers is a reality we’d like to help you end.

Each month, we’ll provide you with the ultimate round-up of the best destinations for Black travelers, so you don’t have to do the work. Here is Travel Noire’s hand-picked list of the best destinations for Black travelers in January.

Soufrière District and Choiseul District, St. Lucia

St. Lucia is always on the top of our travel list, but January on the island? That is a prospect that has a specific hold on us. Being the second month of the island’s dry season, January is bearably warm, which means that travelers can enjoy the abundant lush green of the many hills on the island. The culturally rich and diverse St. Lucia offers a welcoming atmosphere for visitors of all backgrounds.

Travelers looking to start the year off immersed in nature will surely appreciate the Soufrière and Choiseul districts. The Soufrière District, located on the southwestern coast of the island, is famous for its stunning natural beauty, including the iconic Pitons, lush rainforests, and beautiful beaches. Visitors can explore attractions such as the Sulphur Springs, Diamond Botanical Gardens, and various waterfalls. Similarly, Choiseul District, adjacent to Soufrière, offers picturesque landscapes and cultural experiences. It’s known for its artisanal crafts, including pottery and weaving, for travelers to engage in with local artists and learn about traditional craftsmanship.

Visit the only drive-in volcano in the world, enjoy the uncrowded Sulphur Springs or the clear water secluded bay – Anse Cochon – where you snorkel and dive in this treasured location in St. Lucia. Black travelers who dream of being surrounded by the ever-present glory of one of the Caribbean’s most iconic mountains – Gros Piton – will truly enjoy this destination.

Panama City, Panama

Visitors around the world relish in the energy of Panama City in January, and Black travelers searching for big city vibes in a colorful and connected Latin American destination will not be disappointed. Panama City brings together many worlds in its urban metropolis and tropical getaways. January, a long-time popular travel season in the Central American hotspot, is a perfect time to visit Panama City, especially for music-heads who’ll find the annual Panama Jazz Festival to be a melting pot of musical goodness.

Being a hub of immigration and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Central America, Panama is a top location for Black travelers who value international cities. The Afro-Panamanian population is significant in the country and gives Black travelers the chance to learn more about those throughout the diaspora. Panama City has several historical sites that allow you to do just that. The Casco Viejo (Old Town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its colonial architecture, vibrant street life and historical significance. Additionally, sites like the Afro-Antillean Museum provide insights into the history and contributions of Afro-Panamanians.

Enjoy a sun soaked evening on one of the many rooftop bars in the city or take in the infectious vibes of Casco Viejo while getting lost in the musicality of the city.

Lisbon, Portugal

Looking for a European escape this January? Lisbon, in all of its lively and cinematic sceneries, attracts travelers all year round, but January has its own appeal. With panoramic views and unmissable historical sites, Lisbon is hard not to be impressed by, even with the lack of summer sun. In contrast to its Spanish neighbor, Portugal is known for being the better option for Black travelers looking for a comfortable stay in Europe. Lisbon, home to many Brazilian, Angolan and Cape Verdean migrants, might be one of the least European-feeling European cities. 

Visiting during the off-season in January has its perks too. By avoiding the large crowds that frequent the cobbled uphill streets of Lisbon during the summer, you’re not only getting a chance to enjoy the city at a cheaper cost, but you’ll also be traveling more sustainably. Traveling in January means you’ll be contributing to the local tourism economy, which usually needs more support during the low seasons.

Limón, Costa Rica

Let one of Costa Rica’s most densely rich natural landscapes impress you this January. As one of the world’s most biodiverse locations in the world, it is the perfect escape into nature and into underrepresented Afro-Costan Rican culture. Limón has a significant Afro-Costa Rican population, with many residents tracing their ancestry back to African slaves who were brought to the region to work on banana plantations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This African heritage is reflected in the region’s culture, music, dance and cuisine. The Limón province, home to various reggae infused towns such as Cocles and Puerto Viejo, the ‘Jamaican’ town of Limón, is highly favored by many a Black traveler.

January is a great month to visit mainly for its cool temperatures, well seasoned jerk and opportunities to explore freely in the thick of some of the world’s best jungle excursions. Consider adding Tortuguero National Park and Talamanca Mountains to make the most of the wildlife in the region. For Black travelers searching for impeccable Caribbean-Costa Rican infused dishes and a chance to connect with the Afro-Caribbean community, Limón should be high on the list of places to visit in January 2022.

Praslin and Mahé island, Seychelles

Scattered across the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a favourite location for Black travelers seeking peaceful East-African island vibes. Yearning for a breathtaking blue-watered, palm-tree lined January? Seychelles might be your best option this month. Both Praslin and Mahé are renowned for their picturesque beaches with crystal-clear waters and white sand. A must-see beach to add to your Seychelles travel list is ‘Anse Lazio’, a picture-perfect beach on Praslin island. Beau Vallon in Mahé is also popular among tourists and offers opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and relaxation.

Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands, some uninhabited and others adored by travelers for having world-best beaches. It is a melting pot of cultures, influenced by African, European, Indian, and Asian traditions. Black travelers can immerse themselves in the local Creole culture through music, dance and cuisine. Nonetheless, there is much to do in Seychelles beyond the pristine beaches, including visiting Victoria, the Creole capital of Seychelles. Being amongst people from Seychelles and experiencing the diversity of the people and their pride in the Creole culture makes for a contagious experience in the small but exciting capital. Being the smallest city in the world, Black travelers will be able to fill their time exploring Victoria, connecting with the impressive nature as well as the locals.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Whether you’d like to dine in the sky and take advantage of the blissfully warm weather or enjoy a day wandering around the city famed for its luxury shopping experience, Dubai is an excellent option for Black travelers. Dubai is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse population, including people of African descent from various countries around the world. And with an already growing Black expat community, Black explorers often feel safe and comfortable while wandering in the glamorous city. It’s no secret that Dubai offers much for the adventurous and the chic traveler alike, but January is an especially idyllic time to explore what the futuristic, ambitious city in the Middle East has to offer. The weather is typically mild and pleasant during this time of year, with temperatures ranging from around 59°F to 77°F.

Visiting Dubai in January comes with the added perks of witnessing Expo Dubai for yourself – be sure to check out the world’s very first African food hall, Alkebulan. For a perfect night in the quiet of the city, don’t skip the famed Desert Safari ride by moonlight for a night worth savoring in the glittering city on the Persian Gulf.