10 Best Places to Travel in November Outside of Canada


Michael Trigg

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Travel

1. Cuba

  • Temperature: 28°C high; 19°C low  (higher elevations)
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Travel time Vancouver: 10 hours 30 minutes (depending on stops)
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST. Vancouver: PST + 3 hours.
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet, Sunwing, Air Transat. 

Cuba is a very friendly country. It is also very safe and a reminder of the slower days of the 1950s. Old Havana, or Habana Vieja, boasts UNESCO World Heritage status because the city is home to some of the best-preserved history in Cuba.

For veteran car aficionados, there is a great deal of eye candy on the streets. Many of the old Chevys and Fords are very well maintained and can be rented. Some of the older models though are not original with more up-to-date engines and drive trains having been installed when supplies of original parts dried up. 

The overall feel of Cuba is one of relaxation. There are no traffic jams, transport is readily available and walking the streets of Cuba is adventurous and interesting. The beautiful architecture and historical buildings such as the old hotels in Parque Central in Havana date back hundreds of years. There is history leaking out of the walls of these lovely colonial buildings.

The town of Trinidad on Cuba’s south coast has wonderful examples of colonial architecture and it’s relaxed pace is very different to that of Havana. A must visit on your Cuban trip.

Cuba has two currencies: you’ll hear these referred to as the local currency, or Cuban Peso, and the Cuban Convertible Currency, or Cuban currency for tourists. At a bare minimum, you should aim to budget for at least 50 convertible pesos each day which is equivalent to $66. You can also use Visa or Mastercard to draw cash over the counters in banks (best rate, but lineups) and cadecas money exchange services (generally slightly worse rate, but fast) or at ATMs throughout the country (often the worst rates).

It goes without saying, Cuba’s beaches are great. If you love nature and a break from the beach, El Nicho is a series of beautiful natural pools and waterfalls on the Hanabanilla river. It can be reached with a two-hour car ride from Cienfuegos. The series of natural pools is accessible along an easy hiking trail.

The pools on the south side of the road are less crowded, but the main ones are easier to access. The water is cold but that makes it a great escape from the heat of the city.

2. Turks and Caicos Islands

  • Temperature: 29°C high; 25°C low
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Travel time Vancouver: 7 hours 15 minutes
  • Time difference: Toronto:  Same time zone. Vancouver: EST  
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet, United, Delta, American and US Air

The Turks and Caicos Islands is located in the Atlantic Ocean and is a British Overseas Territory. It is considered to be a part of the Caribbean region. The islands are home to more than  31,000 full time residents and it attracts more than one million tourists every year. Even though the T and C is a British Territory, the US dollar is the official currency. Major credit cards are accepted and banks offer ATMs as well as cash advances on credit cards.

Water temperature in T&C in the summer is around 28 degrees and come November, a comfortable 23 to 26 degrees. Being located in the tropical Atlantic region, there are constant trade winds whose cooling breezes keep the everyday climate at a very comfortable level. Bring lots of sunblock and hats.

The Islands have some of the best conditions on the planet for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Because of the unique island formations, the waters along and around the shore are for the most part, calm. Because the shoreline is so shallow, you can actually keep your feet on the sandy bottom as you wade or sailboard dozens of meters from the beach. The best season begins in  November when the steady breeze picks up. It’s consistent and more predictable and great for learners.

For wildlife fans, there is a variety of lizards, snakes, insects, plants, and marine species not found anywhere else on the planet. The Turks and Caicos are also a crucial breeding area for countless seabirds, and the surrounding seas are a travelling water highway for humpback whales.

3. California

  • Temperature: 19°C high; 5°C low  (higher elevations)
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Travel time Vancouver: 2 hours 55 minutes
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST – 3 hours. Vancouver: PST  
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet, Air Transat. All major US airlines

Who does not like California? This US state has something for everyone from desert excursions to surfing to Disney to wine tours. In 2018, 1.7 million Canadians visited California.There is a good reason why so many Canadians consider California the best state. The climate is simply great with a choice of desert, mountain or coastal. It has great surf beaches, large national parks like Yosemite and scenic cities like San Francisco and San Diego. 

California has a lot more diversity than many places in the US probably running neck and neck with New York. It is a state of immigrants and thanks to this diverse immigrant population, the quality and variety of food across the state is amazing. Southern California is quite mild in November and somewhat cooler in northern regions such as San Francisco.

If you are a fan of granite domes, glaciated peaks, and twisty scenic roads with barely any people around, driving the 100-mile stretch of road between Yosemite and Sequoia National Park is a must. You’ll immediately get a feel for what California looked like more than 100 years ago. You can do time-machine stops at the Jesse Ross Cabin from the 1860s and Jones’ Store, which still doesn’t have electricity but does have great home-made pies. 

4. Hawaii

  • Temperature: 29°C high; 21°C low  
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 9 hours 55 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Travel time Vancouver: 6 hours 20 minutes 
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST – 5 hours. Vancouver: PST – 2 hours.
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet. Most US airlines.

Every island in the Hawaiian chain is unique and diverse and each one offers visitors a different type of experience. One of the difficulties of planning a trip to Hawaii is determining which of the six major Hawaiian Islands to visit. Each of Hawaii’s six islands offers  unique adventures and activities. To get a good overview of Hawaii culture many visitors suggest experiencing at least two islands so you can get a better grasp of Hawaiian culture and experience a better scenic overview. 

The island of Oahu is the landing place for most first time visitors. Waikiki is a must with a good variety of shops and restaurants. A visit up the famed Diamond Head is recommended as is a trip to the sometimes wild north shore surf beaches.

Maui is probably the second most popular island and has some of the state’s best beaches including Kaanapali Beach and Makena Beach Park. If you love volcanoes, the big island of Hawaii is for you. The island has two active shield volcanoes that produce lava flows forming gently sloping, shield-like mountains. 

The island of Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. You’ll come across flowers and plants you’ve never seen before andplus lots of rain. The islands of Lanai and Molokai are smaller and less populated but each offering their own special environments but with less accommodation offerings than the more popular islands.

Regardless of which island or islands you choose, taking a Hawaiian vacation break from cold Canadian November will be great!

5. Cancun, Mexico

  • Temperature: 29°C high; 21°C low  
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 4 hours 15 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Travel time Vancouver: 5 hours 55 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST. Vancouver: PST +3 hours.
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet. Air Transat. Most US airlines.

Cancun, a favorite vacation area for Canadians, is located on the Yucatan Peninsula. Yucatan is the only area in Mexico that has one of the seven wonders of the world. Chichen Itza. it is amazing. The term Chichen Itza means ‘the mouth at the well of Itza. This world wonder is just a two hours drive from Cancun and is well worth the trip.

The word “Cancun” in Maya means a snake’s nest. Can or Kan means snake while Cun refers to a nest. The name Cancun does not mean the area is snake infested.

Cancun is actually located on a large sand dune surrounded by the ocean. According to research, about 5,000 years ago, the sea level was about 5 meters below what it is today and a sand dune around 14 kilometers long formed.. Over thousands of years, the wind and seas created the sand arms that shaped Cancun as we see it today.

The cheapest time of year to go to Cancun is from September to November, which is the high point of the rainy season, however, it is warm rain. Hotels are cheaper and beaches are uncrowded during this time. ATMs are a dime a dozen and you can use the peso or US dollars. Make sure that you check the weather forecast for any approaching storm warnings before you book your trip.

Cancun is known for its white, sandy beaches and crystal clear water. If you like Mexican food, you will love the Cancun area. Stock up on sunscreen before you leave as the cost  in the hotel shops and drug stores is high. And bring some spares bottles as the sun is hot and quite intense even though it is technically fall.

6. Belize

  • Temperature: 29°C high; 24°C low  
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 5 hours 56 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Travel time Vancouver: 12 hours 5 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST  – 1 hours. Vancouver: PST +2 hours.
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet. Most US airlines.

Belize is an amazing little tourist destination that many Canadians have discovered much to their joy. If there is one word to describe it must be “diversity”. The attraction is the diversity of geography, culture, adventures and wildlife. What more could a Canadian looking to extend the joy of summer ask for?

Belize has much to offer for such a small nation.  With a population just over 350,000 tucked into an area of  8,867 square miles, overcrowding is not an issue. This little country has much to offer tourists looking for adventure, simple relaxation, warm water swimming and snorkeling and beach combing on incredibly white sandy beaches.

It is unique in many ways laying claim to a mixture of savannas, mountains, jungle and tropical rainforests, beautiful coasts, plains, swamps, rivers and lagoons. As a result of a hydro dam there is a lake that is of a size you would expect in a much bigger country. There are also over one hundred islands. One of these unique islands is Tobacco Caye over four square acres in size with some of the best reef snorkeling right from the shore.

It also boasts one of the largest wildlife corridors in Central America. It connects two nature reserves that are home to jungle cats such as  jaguars and pumas. If you love wildlife, rent a car and drive from Belize City toward San Ignacio . It will take you through the corridor so have your camera ready.

7. Costa Rica

  • Temperature: 29°C high; 24°C low  
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 5 hours 56 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Travel time Vancouver: 12 hours 5 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST  – 1 hours. Vancouver: PST +2 hours.
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet. Most US airlines.

Costa Rica’s literal meaning is “Rich Coast”. This country is one of the most culturally appealing countries in the America’s. Known as the Switzerland of South America due to its political stability and flourishing economy, Costa Rica is a rain forested jewel.

This small country measuring 55,000 square kilometers in size claims five percent of the world’s biodiversity. More than twenty percent of Costa Rica is protected as national parks and nature reserves. Due in most part to the laid back pura vida (simple life) lifestyle, the country rates as one of the happiest countries in which to live. The fact that it’s mostly sunny and a fairly consistent 27 degrees contributes to this happiness factor.

Costa Rica is close to the equator, giving the country 12 hours of daylight all year round. The upside is the sun always rises around 5:45am, but the downside is that the sun sets by 6pm and possibly has some of the most consistently brilliant sunsets.

With 800 miles of coastline in a tropical location bordering two oceans, its stand to reason Costa Rica would have many great beaches. Many of the beaches have strong undertows due to the ideal conditions for surfers (big waves) but there are still plenty of sandy beaches for an enjoyable day or week at the beach with children. 

The national currency is known as the colón or colones for plural. US dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas and other places around the country. Using credit or debit cards at an ATM is the recommended way to access funds.

8. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

  • Temperature: 30°C high; 21°C low  
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 7 hours 10 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Travel time Vancouver: 4 hours 50 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST  – 1 hour. Vancouver: PST +2 hours.
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet, Air Transat. Most US airlines.

Puerto Vallarta is a stunning resort town located on Mexico’s Pacific coast in Jalisco state. Known for its spectacular beaches, marine life, water sports, and local resorts, it is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world and very popular with Canadians. 

People often ask: what is the best area to stay?  If you are not a big fan of all inclusives and you enjoy the real Mexico, book a hotel in Old Vallarta. It is known by some other names such as the South Side, Old Town or Viejo Vallarta, which translates to Old Vallarta. Regardless of the moniker, the colorful charm of this quarter makes it one of the best places to stay. I say that from experience.

Tourism officials want Canadian travel agents to know that there’s more to this seaside town than sun and sand. “We don’t want them to think of Puerto Vallarta as just a beach destination.” says the town government. The city is attracting more adventure travellers and foodies, working very hard to cultivate its reputation as a culinary capital of Mexico. It draws big star power and plenty of Michelin-starred chefs to its culinary festivals including Vallarta Nayarit Gastronomica, taking place Oct. 28 – Nov. 1, and Festival Gourmet International, now in its 25th year and a favourite festival for locals and visitors alike each November.

US dollars are widely accepted and there are plenty of ATMs at banks, the airport, in supermarkets and in strategic locations around town.

9. San Juan Islands, Washington State

  • Temperature: 9°C high; 4°C low (the second chilliest on the list)
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 5 hours 10 minutes  (flying to Vancouver) 2.5 hours driving.
  • Travel time Vancouver: 2 hours 30 minutes  (by car)
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST  – 3 hours. Vancouver: PST 
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet, Air Transat. 

The San Juan Islands are located just south of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands. Washington State’s gulf islands are very different from their Canadian cousins. They are easily reachable from the US mainland and each island has its own personality. November is a great time to visit as the summer crowds have dissipated  and the prices are lower.

The weather may be a little on the damp side, but it’s always warm enough to be outside enjoying the fresh air and the beauty of the West Coast. The islands are accessible by ferry, plane, private boat and charters. You can either take your car on the ferry or park it at the ferry terminal and walk on. And, it is a great island for bike touring.

Though there are 172 islands in the group, only four islands are served by ferry. San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Shaw island and Lopez Island are the most populous and offer the  vast majority of lodgings, dining options and tourism activities. Shaw Island has limited camping and visitor amenities though.

You’ll discover something new around every bend of the road on each of the islands including an alpaca ranch, a lavender farm and  a winery with an historic tasting room as well as stunning shorelines, beautiful farms, and very friendly and welcoming residents.

Pebbled beaches and arbutus tree clad shorelines welcome you on the San Juans. You can spend your days exploring the hills and dales of this 100-million-year-old archipelago.The 478-miles of coast invite you to plop into the seat of a kayak and paddle back in time, connecting with the sea as the Native Americans did hundreds of years ago in their cedar canoes.

10. Washington, DC

  • Temperature: 15°C high; 3°C low (the chilliest on the list)
  • Season: Fall
  • Travel time from Toronto: 1 hours 30 minutes  
  • Travel time Vancouver: 6 hours 25 minutes  (depending on stops)
  • Time difference: Toronto: EST  – 0 hour. Vancouver: PST +3 hours.
  • Airlines: Air Canada, Westjet. Most US airlines.

Washington, DC is the capital of the United States as most Canadians know. It is a fairly compact city on the Potomac River that borders the states of Maryland and Virginia. It is defined by imposing neoclassical monuments and buildings including the iconic Capitol Building, the White House and the Supreme Court. It’s also home to the amazing Smithsonian museums and must visit performing-arts venues such as the Kennedy Centre.

Despite being DC’s oldest neighborhood, Georgetown remains one of the best areas of the city to spend time in. Also, take an interesting tour of the National Cathedral and explore the 200 plus gargoyles that adorn the building. Take a few moments to gaze up at the stained glass windows and venturing to the top of the tower for a view of the city. Fabulous.

Washington is an easy city to get around whether by walking, rental scooter, Uber or public transport. By November the heat and humidity of summer is gone and the days are refreshingly cool. The city has a wonderful restaurant scene that will satisfy the most discerning palettes. 

Did I mention the museums? Admission is free for all Smithsonian museums and the zoo. Tickets are not used for general admission with the exception of the African American History and Culture Museum. Of all the American cities I have visited, Washington DC provides the best value for money. Visit the Smithsonian website for details.

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Over to you

We’re interested to know:  What are your thoughts on traveling outside Canada in November? Do you have questions we did not cover? Or suggestions for destinations? Are there places you are thinking of visiting in November you would like to know more about. 

Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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