10 quick winter getaways

/ Source: Sherman's Travel

It doesn't matter if the pages of your passport are filled with stamps or if you've got a shiny new one just waiting to take a trip, because a quick winter getaway is the perfect excuse to break it out. Sure you could head to the local ski resort or down to Florida with everyone else in your neighborhood, but why not spend the weekend abroad? Whether soaking up the sun or schussing down the slopes makes for your ideal vacation, we've rounded up 10 international destinations that are just a quick flight from many U.S. cities — and even included information on how to get there to make these winter weekends abroad as easy for you as possible.

Slideshow: Top 10 Quick Winter Getaways 

1. Collingwood, Canada
If tearing down the slopes isn't exactly your idea of skiing fun, maybe a less-intense winter getaway is in order. Nestled in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment and surrounded by Georgian Bay (about 90 miles away from Toronto), Collingwood is Ontario, Canada's, quintessential family destination, where ski-bunnies-in-training can take advantage of the wide variety of lessons and activities available to kids while their parents get a much-deserved break. And even if you don't have any kids in tow, Collingwood is the perfect place to learn to ski or brush up on long-forgotten skills without the pressure of a major mountain looming.

How to Get to Collingwood: Fly direct to Toronto's Pearson International Airport (YYZ) from Boston (Air Canada, Alaska, American, United; about 2 hours), Chicago (Air Canada, American, United; about 1.5 hours), Columbus (Air Canada, United; about 2 hours), New York City (Air Canada, American, Continental, Delta, US Airways; about 2 hours), or Philadelphia (Air Canada, United, US Airways; about 1.5 hours); then drive 90 minutes to Collingwood.

2. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Just a quick ferry ride from Cancun but seemingly a world away, Isla Mujeres is a glimpse into Mexico's quieter, less-touristed past, especially when the tour boats have left for the day and those bunking on the "Island of Women" have it all to themselves. Laid-back is the way at this top winter getaway, whether lazing on the white-sand beaches by day or idling away an evening in one of the many open-air cafes in town. Though there are accommodations here to suit any budget, those looking for luxe opulence will be better off in Cancún, because pretension is about as welcome here as the crowds.

How to Get to Isla Mujeres: Take a direct flight to Cancún (CUN) from Atlanta (AirTran, Delta; about 3 hours), Charlotte (US Airways; about 3 hours), Chicago (American, Continental, United; about 4 hours), Detroit (Delta, Spirit; about 4 hours), Miami (Aeromexico, American; about 1.5 hours), Minneapolis (Delta, Sun Country; about 4 hours), Washington, DC (AirTran, JetBlue, United; about 3.5 hours), and more; then take a 15-minute ferry ride Cancún to Isla Mujeres.

3. Isla Taboga, Panama
Just an hour by ferry from Panama City, Panama, (12 miles to be exact) exists the quiet cousin of the bustling capital city. Isla Taboga is an escape from the urban madness of Panama City for locals and tourists alike — a wander along the network of well-maintained paths lined with colorful orchids and enveloped by the lush landscape of the rain forest is enough to get you in winter getaway vacation mode in no time. The remote beach with its crystal-blue waters — great for snorkeling, kayaking, and whale-watching — is the ideal place to soak up the sun on this so-called "sleepy isle."

How to Get to Isla Taboga: Fly direct to Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY) via Atlanta (Delta; about 4 hours), Houston (Continental; about 4 hours), or Miami (American, Copa; about 3 hours); then catch a ferry at the Port of Balboa (1 hour), or from Isla Naos (45 minutes) to Isla Taboga.

4. Jasper National Park, Canada
Situated in the Alberta Rockies, Jasper National Park is one of Canada's most spectacular treasures with 4,200 square miles of wilderness to explore. For an ideal winter getaway, head straight to Marmot Basin for 3,000 vertical feet of downhill trails, or enjoy mile after undisturbed mile available for Nordic skiing. Even if you don't ski, there's plenty of winter fun to be had, whether it be on skis, snowshoes, dog sled, or snowmobile. Add to that the fact that winter is Jasper's low season and you've got a wilderness adventure at a veritable bargain.

How to Get to Jasper National Park: Take a flight to Edmonton (YEG), the closest international airport and about a 2.5-hour drive from Jasper. Chicago (United; about 4 hours), Denver (United, Air Canada; about 2.5 hours); Las Vegas (West Jet; about 3 hours); Minneapolis (Delta; 3 hours), and San Francisco (United; 3 hours) each have direct flights to Edmonton.

5. Los Cabos, Mexico
From Hollywood stars to rowdy teens, Los Cabos, Mexico, attracts 'em all for a quick winter getaway — and it's no wonder. Beaches, mountain, and deserts — you name it, this place has got it — with a plethora of activities to enjoy the best of each. Scuba diving, fishing, golfing, whale-watching, hiking, and biking are just a few of the outings on offer. Whether you choose to stay in crazy Cabo San Lucas with its bars and nightclubs or in the quieter, picture-perfect village of San Jose del Cabo, you are guaranteed a good time.

How to Get to Los Cabos: Take a direct flight to San Jose del Cabo (SJD) from Chicago (American; about 4.5 hours), Denver (Frontier; 3 hours), Houston (Continental; about 3 hours), or Los Angeles (Alaska, American, United; less than 3 hours).

6. Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica may do duty as a spring-break central every year, but the reggae-centric spot has a fascinating history, vibrant culture, and passionate political past that make it an enchanting (and warm!) place to visit for a quick winter getaway. Known as MoBay, Jamaica’s second-largest city is the premier tourist destination on the northwest coast, offering travelers everything from picture-perfect white-sand beaches to river rafting; from spicy jerk chicken to some of the best golf in the West Indies. Catering to everyone — honeymooners, party-goers, and families alike — the island offers an array of accommodations from luxurious villas to all-inclusive resorts and out-of-the-way enclaves.

How to Get to Montego Bay: Board a direct flight to Montego Bay (MBJ) from Charlotte (US Airways; about 3 hours), Memphis (Delta; about 3.5 hours), New York City (Air Jamaica, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue; about 4 hours), Philadelphia (Air Jamaica, US Airways; about 3.5 hours), or Washington, DC (AirTran, United; about 3.5 hours).

7. Mont-Tremblant, Canada
One of the most popular skiing destinations in eastern Canada and boasting some of the highest peaks of the Laurentian Mountain chain, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, is a winter wonderland of adventure. Besides downhill skiing, there are 93 miles of cross-country trails (used annually for the Canadian Ski Marathon). Combine this with the string of cozy chalets and relaxing spas within close proximity to the mountain, and you can transform your quick winter getaway into pure pampering bliss.

How to Get to Mont-Tremblant: Fly to Montreal's Trudeau Airport (YUL) and drive 2.5 hours to Mont-Tremblant. Direct flights are available from Boston (Air Canada, Continental, United; about 1.5 hours) or New York City (Air Canada, American, Continental, United; about 1.5 hours). You can also opt to fly directly into the Mont-Tremblant International Airport (YTM), just 30 minutes north of the Mont-Tremblant resort, via Continental from Newark (about 1.5 hours).

8. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Revered as one of the last unspoiled frontiers of the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos are tailor-made for winter getaways to the beach thanks to their proximity to the U.S. The main island, Providenciales (known as Provo), is home to Grace Bay — one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and protected by a natural 499-mile-long barrier reef that affords it clear turquoise waters for miles. Provo is an oasis for those seeking to do little more than lounge on the white-sand beaches or explore the waters, as there are few diversions other than surf, sun, and sand.

How to Get to Providenciales: Fly nonstop to Providenciales (PLS) from Atlanta (Delta; about 3 hours), Miami (American; 1.5 hours), New York City (American; about 3.5 hours), and Philadelphia (US Airways; 3.5 hours). Look for new routes to debut from New York City and Boston on Continental and JetBlue in February.

9. Punta de Mita, Mexico
A far cry from the muddled streets of Puerto Vallarta, but just a short distance away, Punta de Mita is fast becoming Mexico's most exclusive destination. With a slew of luxury resorts having opened their doors over the last decade or so, today's visitors can pamper themselves by booking a room at the posh Four Seasons or St. Regis, or by renting a villa along the dazzling coast. But it's Punta de Mita's natural beauty — a 1,500-acre spear-shaped peninsula surrounded on three sides by immaculate beaches and three bodies of water — that really makes this a standout winter getaway.

How to Get to Punta de Mita: Fly direct to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) from Chicago (American, United, USA3000; about 4.5 hours), Dallas (American; less than 3 hours), Los Angeles (Alaska; about 3 hours), or Minneapolis (Delta, Sun Country; about 4 hours); then drive 26 miles north along the coast to Punta de Mita.

10. Roatan, Honduras
A tropical winter weekend getaway can be had in up-and-coming Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. Wild parrots, iguanas, and monkeys roam freely among the lush countryside and mountainous spine, while the clear turquoise waters and the surrounding reef make for an unmatched underwater experience; expect to see shipwrecks, sea turtles, dolphins, and whales when diving offshore. There are no fancy high-rise hotels, malls, or golf courses here — just miles of unspoiled beaches and tropical landscapes.

How to Get to Roatan: Fly direct to Roatan (RTB) from Atlanta (Delta; about 3 hours) or Houston (Continental; less than 3 hours).