Rain usually isn't an element vacationers seek; in fact, it is often purposely avoided, whether that means picking a rain-free destination or visiting a spot during its dry season. Yet some of the rainiest destinations around the globe are also the most beautiful, and they are all the more enticing during their wet seasons when the crowds are few and the natural surroundings are lush. Here are eight spots where we've found the silver lining; these rainy destinations are gorgeous, and definitely deserve a visit this spring.
Costa Rica is one of the wettest destinations in Central America, but it's thanks to the constant rain that it is also one of the most beautiful. The country is home to lush rainforests, dozens of national parks with a rich diversity of flora and fauna, and long white-sand beaches. If you visit towards the end of the spring, you'll be traveling during Costa Rica's rainiest season which means crowds are fewer (in fact, Costa Rica is still relatively undeveloped and uncrowded year-round compared to its Caribbean counterparts), the surroundings are uber-lush, and, also like spots in the Caribbean, rain often lets up for sunny mornings.
Where to Stay: Lapa Rios Ecolodge & Wildlife Reserve
Lapa Rios, located in the remote coastal rainforests of the Osa Peninsula, is Costa Rica’s original luxury eco lodge. This is the opposite of a Cancun-style beach resort -- guests come to the upscale Lapa Rios to enjoy the spectacular surroundings, learn about sustainable tourism, and re-connect with nature.
It's no secret that the Emerald City is one of the rainiest metropolitan areas in the U.S. But with the rain comes green hills, a beautiful waterfront, brimming farmers markets, a culturally vibrant downtown, and an active nightlife. Plus, residents certainly don't let the rain get them down; locals have a reputation for being extremely friendly, and that includes environmentally so, with biking and walking being popular pastimes. Winter is Seattle's wettest season, while the spring brings (slightly) drier days.
Where to Stay: Inn at the Market
Inn at the Market is one of Seattle's best-known, and most popular, hotels, in large part due to its unbeatable location: It's the only hotel in the Pike Place Market, right in the heart of downtown Seattle. But the location isn't the only reason to stay; the hotel has a long list of great features, including four solid restaurants, a pleasant rooftop deck with stunning panoramic views, free Wi-Fi, and in-room massage services.
Seattle may have the rainy rep, but New Orleans actually gets an average of 22 inches more rain annually. Fortunately, the wetness certainly doesn't put a damper on a visit to NoLa. New Orleans is many things (besides rainy); it is the birthplace of jazz, the site of gorgeous historical architecture and well-known cemeteries, one of the top places in the U.S. to party, and home to a thriving culinary scene.
Where to Stay: W New Orleans
The W New Orleans is a hip upper-middle-range hotel located in the Central Business District, within walking distance of both the French Quarter and the Museum District. It offers 423 stylish rooms, and the outdoor pool, two lively bars, free car service, and well-equipped fitness center are all great features.
Like most islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica is a wet locale -- but rain often comes in short bursts, and dissipates by the afternoon. Eco-travelers love the island, and use the rainy Port Antonio area as a base to explore the natural wonders of the lushest parts of the island, including the Blue Mountains, Rio Grande Valley, the Blue Lagoon, and Frenchman's Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Jamaica's wettest months are May and June.
Where to Stay: Geejam
The Geejam is made up of only five private, high-tech cottages. The setting is gorgeous, the service is extraordinary, and Frenchman's Cove is only 10 minutes away.
London, considered one of the world's most vibrant and multicultural cities, also happens to carry a reputation for being rainy, and a public-transit rider's nightmare. But like most of the greats, this city's best qualities lie in its history, culture, and activities. Spring is a wonderful time to visit because the temperatures are on the rise and, though it's still wet, the peak of rainy season has left with the winter.
Where to Stay: The Levin
The Levin is a tiny, 12-room boutique hotel with an emphasis on personalized service. Comfortable and quiet rooms are reached by a charming 1940s cage elevator. All rooms have big flat-screen TVs, champagne-stocked minibars, and bathrooms with heated floors.
Spring is Napa's rainy season, but it is nonetheless gorgeous; during the springtime, Napa Valley's natural landscape is blossoming, and the peak tourism season (mid-May till the end of October) has yet to kick off. Of course, there are beautiful vineyards and wineries to visit, but Napa also boasts great hiking trails, one-of-a-kind hot air balloon tours, and delicious fine-dining options.
Where to Stay: Harvest Inn
The Harvest Inn is a great choice if you're daydreaming of a luxury stay in the heart of wine country -- complete with impressive views, Old World rustic charm, and luxe amenities.
Vancouver is not only one of the rainiest cities in Canada, but in the world. Nonetheless, this urban spot features one of the most appealing environmental juxtapositions a city can offer: that of the mountains and the sea. Continually ranked on the list of the world's most "livable cities," this coastal metropolis has urban perks, like cultural diversity and international cuisine, without the litter and smog of many other big cities. Vancouver is worth a visit right now, but those looking for a little less rainfall may consider waiting until May.
Where to Stay: Blue Horizon Hotel
The location is the highlight of this mid-range hotel, situated alongside the restaurants and bars on Robson Street and within walking distance of numerous Downtown Vancouver attractions. Plus, the contemporary rooms are spacious and bright, making this hotel a solid affordable pick.
Of the most popular Hawaiian islands among tourists, Kauai is the smallest and least developed, and, some would argue, the most beautiful. Though it doesn't offer the urban comforts of Oahu, the sheer ecological diversity of Maui and the Big Island, or the more remote feel of the less-visited islands of Molokai and Lanai, Kauai draws visitors with the wild grandeur of its lush, mountainous terrain. It is also home to the wettest spot in an already very wet state -- though reports in recent years have shown Maui's Big Bog as being wetter, the summit of Kauai's Mount Waialeale has long been considered one of the rainiest spots on earth.
Where to Stay: Kauai Coast Resort
This 108-unit time-share resort in Kapaa offers full kitchens (in most condos), free Wi-Fi, a popular seafood restaurant, and proximity to good beaches and dining. You can't swim off its shore, but all told, it's one of the best deals in Kauai.