The best places to visit in February

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5 places in 4 countries

When February comes off the calendar, you can’t blame everyone for wanting to go all-in on some of the most exotic travel experiences on offer anywhere in the world.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, steams with samba and less so with Carnival; the city’s inborn gift for fun throws millions into the street and into the samba schools for a show that the world can’t match. And when does New Orleans? A truly unusual blend of French, African, and American cultures makes a cuisine, music, and a set of traditions all their own during the world’s most famous Mardi Gras.

Bardonecchia in Europe is always popular with ski resorts.

Meanwhile, in The Maldives, Malé is a universe of island life in the Indian Ocean. There is a turquoise sea and brilliant coral reefs. February is when it all comes together, and everything stays in—including the miserably cold tourists.

But forget the islands for now. Instead, head into — Yellowstone National Park, for bleak winter gives way to awe-striking geysers, hot springs, and still the best wilderness wildlife experience to be found anywhere.

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Rio de Janeiro

City in🇧🇷 Brazilrated

We all know about the lively culture and stunning landscapes of Rio de Janeiro, but there’s nothing quite like it in February. Rio is the home to the biggest and best party under the sun—Carnival.

Rio’s Carnival is the biggest Carnival in the world. It is a 5-day celebration of samba music, dance, and over-the-top costumes that have taken over Rio and its streets.

The Carnival takes place at different date each year. It starts on Friday and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before the start of lent which kicks off on Ash Wednesday. This dates back to 1723 as a food festival, where people would eat as much rich, fatty food as possible in preparation for the following period of fasting, Lent, it is now a massive celebration that draws millions from around the world.

The streets become an open theater throughout the city as samba schools compete in parading beautifully decorated floats with thousands of dancers past the throngs of people through the Sambadrome.

The parades tell different stories, show off spectacularly themed costumes and strive for the best choreography. Each neighborhood also holds its own street party or ‘bloco’ where locals and tourists alike join in for food, music, dancing and fun.

A little-known fact is that samba music is a song and dance form with roots in Africa. And the samba song itself is also judged during Carnival and each samba school has a samba song especially created for that year's parade.

February is hot hot hot in Rio so popular Brazilian foods to fill up on during Carnival include feijoada, a black bean stew with pork, and pastéis, the deep-fried pastry pockets filled with meat, cheese, or tuna (among other fillings).

Be warned though—you’ll be dealing with massive crowds and jacked up prices during this time.

Explore Rio de Janeiro

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