Planning your dream vacation for 2023? From beach breaks to mountain escapes to city getaways, here’s a roundup of the top spots to visit in North and Central America this year.
A Culture Hit in New York
Whether it’s your first trip or your 99th, a Big Apple visit is always thrilling. Among the raft of blockbuster exhibitions coming in 2023 is Van Gogh’s Cypresses, from May 22 through August 27, at The Met. Visitors will have the chance to gaze at 40+ works focused on the lofty evergreen trees. These include such iconic paintings as “The Starry Night” and “Wheat Field with Cypresses,” created during the two years the Dutch artist spent in the South of France.
Theater fans can take their pick from a slew of exciting Broadway openings, many featuring stage and screen stars. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Bad Cinderella debuts February 17, 2023 and promises to entertain audiences with an unconventional retelling of the classic fairy tale. One of the hottest tickets is Prima Facie, a one-woman drama starring Emmy-award winner Jodie Comer. Slated to open in April after a sold-out London run, the production will be in NYC for 10 weeks.
For your stay in New York, choose The Plaza, a 1907 grande dame just steps from the city’s finest shops, museums and shows. Be sure to make time for an exquisite afternoon tea amid the timeless glamour of the Palm Court, famed for its intricate stained-glass ceiling.
Awe-inspiring Big Island
All eyes were on Hawaiʻi Island in late 2022, when the Mauna Loa volcano erupted for the first time since 1984. The fiery spectacle ceased after a couple of weeks, but Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park continues to wow visitors with its extraordinary moonscape. One of the best ways to see volcanic terrain up-close is on a scenic drive along the Chain of Craters Road. The route winds for nearly 19 miles, from 4,000 ft above sea level and down to sea level, as it passes dramatic pit craters, lava flows and petroglyphs.
The rugged ‘āina (land) inspired Fairmont Orchid’s Director of Hawaiian Culture, Ka’iulani Blankenfeld, to chant an ancient mele (song) called ʻAuʻa ʻia. “This chant has become an anthem to the Hawaiian people to remind us to hold on tight to our cultural values,” she explains. “It’s important for us to remember that no matter how much the world may change around us, our internal foundational value system never does—the way we must malama ‘āina (care for the land), remain rooted in our culture and cherish our ‘ohana (family). This raw, barren landscape is a great reminder that, like an artist with a blank canvas, we have the power to build something from nothing, continue to evolve and stay the course.”
The beauty of the Big Island is its diversity. In addition to volcanic landscapes, it’s home to lush rainforest and Akaka Falls, a 442-ft waterfall accessible via a short hike. Head to the island’s southern tip, and you’ll see an unusual colored sand at Papakōlea Beach. Said to be one of only four green-sand beaches in the world, Papakōlea gets its striking color from olivine crystals found in the sand.
The aquatic scenery is mesmerizing, too. Whether you fancy snorkeling with manta rays, paddling above sea turtles or diving past electric-blue parrotfish, the variety of marine life is astounding. With a private bay on the sun-splashed Kohala Coast, Fairmont Orchid is the perfect choice for your ocean adventures.
An exceptional transformation of Fairmont Mayakoba means visitors traveling to the Riviera Maya in 2023 can check into a beautifully updated rainforest retreat. Along with fully renovated rooms and casitas, the hotel has launched stylish new dining experiences that include Mexican restaurant La Laguna, with its romantic outdoor decks overlooking water canals. Younger visitors will enjoy the completely updated kids’ club and the creation of a second club.
A highlight of the hotel’s multi-million-dollar revamp is the new beach club, Maykana. Designed with the four elements in mind, this luxe hangout features five food and drink areas, a boho-chic boutique, private cabanas and seaside pools. And don’t forget the Caribbean views and a tropical setting amid thick mangroves.
Aside from relaxing by the beach, you might tee off on the 18-hole El Camaleón golf course, designed by Greg Norman. You can snorkel the world’s second-largest coral reef or visit ancient Mayan pyramids. The options for adventure are endless.
An Appetite for Adventure in Whistler
If you’ve always dreamed of skiing the 7-mile Peak to Creek run at Whistler, this should be your year thanks to upgrades to Whistler Blackcomb’s lift system. The new 10-person Creekside Gondola started turning in late December 2022 and links directly to the new 6-person Big Red Express. Together, they’ve increased capacity from the Creekside base by 35 percent, meaning there’s less time waiting to go again.
The self-guided itineraries on the Go Whistler Tours app are a great way to explore the village. For a sugar rush, try the Sweet Treats walking tour. Its nine stops tempt you with buttery French crêpes, “Cownadian Maple” ice cream and decadent s’mores brownies. Work it all off on the Natural Wonders tour, a bike ride with audio commentary introducing you to Whistler’s incredible geology and biodiversity.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler lies in the heart of the action, whether you’re headed to the slopes or the trails. For the ultimate indulgence, choose Fairmont Gold, a boutique hotel-within-a-hotel. With its private reception, exclusive lounge and carefully curated foodie delights, it’s a sophisticated home away from home.
A Caribbean Getaway in Puerto Rico
Far from the snow of Whistler, San Juan packs a punch with its pastel-hued architecture, sensational snorkeling and glam nightlife.
Puerto Rico’s vibrant capital is renowned for its gastronomic scene, too. Tasting traditional eats like mofongo (a plantain-based dish served with chicken or steak) and quesitos (cheese-stuffed pastries) is a must. The island is also the birthplace of the classic piña colada rum cocktail. If you’re unsure where to begin, join Spoon’s Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour to sample seasonal specialties while learning about the city’s fascinating 500-year-old history.
The 13 renovated Banyan Villa rooms at Fairmont El San Juan Hotel offer a tranquil tropical escape. Named for the hotel’s 300-year-old Banyan Tree, these luxurious one-story villas were reimagined in 2022 by Jeffrey Beers International. Private terraces connect you to lush gardens and provide direct access to the pool. After dark, hit the dance floor at chic late-night venue Club Brava or the gaming tables at Foxwoods El San Juan Casino, without leaving the resort grounds.
Inspired for your 2023 travels? Book your next Fairmont getaway today.