The winter months don’t have to send you indoors for hibernation. Great sailing can be found in these top winter boating destinations.

1. Cape Verde
Situated off the west coast of Africa in the belt of the Saharan trade winds, Cape Verde is a 10-island archipelago boasting a warm, dry climate that’s perfect for sailing in January and February. Each island offers something special to explore: Santo Antão’s craggy peaks cover valleys rich with tropical flowers and sugarcane, while São Vicente’s town of Mindelo serves as the nightlife heartbeat of the Islands.

2. Martinique
Part of the French Antilles, Martinique’s sophisticated culture reflects a vibrant blend of French and West Indian influences. In the south, deep blue bays serve as beautiful backdrops to the Island’s breathtaking beaches, while up north you’ll find a lush mountainous rainforest. Although the island sees year-round temperatures above 75 degrees, peak sailing season is December through April.

3. Belize
Offering an abundance of dynamic marine life, Belize is among the world’s top sailing and diving destinations. Go for the warm breezes on electric blue waters, stay for the turquoise patch reefs and white sandy beaches. While on land don’t miss the Caracol Mayan ruins, renowned for its towering 3-tiered pyramid.

4. The British Virgin Islands
Fifty-plus islands plus steady trade winds and calm currents make the BVIs ideal for sailing in the winter (December to June is peak season). This archipelago offers luxe beaches and amazing snorkeling and diving — and close proximity between each island means island hopping’s a breeze.

5. Mauritius
Set in a year-round tropical paradise, the sailing conditions around this East African country are almost always perfection. You’ll find something for everyone here: Experienced sailors searching for a demanding sail-away won’t be disappointed in the warm turquoise water complete with coral reefs, while novices looking to build skills will find respite in the peaceful lagoons. Black River Gorges National Park, with its lush rainforests, rushing waterfalls, and intricate hiking trails means there’s plenty to explore on foot as well.