Looking to get away this winter? Imagine sky-high palm trees on white sandy beaches surrounded by crystal clear waters… Welcome to Mombasa!

The second largest city in Kenya, Mombasa sits on an island with beach front hotels lining up the North Coast.

Kenya is one of the countries located along the equator with a favorable climate all year round making it a dream destination for tourists. With its fine sandy beaches, amazing scenery, and wonderful fishing one could spend his/her entire holiday just stationed along the water. But we recommend hiring a car and heading into town to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage and have yourself a bit of an adventure.

Mombasa’s Indian Ocean setting has brought together a diverse array of people. The architecture and markets reflect its Arab heritage and its Indian influences are evident in mosques and temples that date back as far as the early 1800s. European colonials too left their mark at sites such as Fort Jesus, a Portuguese fort built in 1593 by order of King Philip II of Spain.

As if the beaches weren’t enough, the island is far more richly inhabited by birds, plants mammals and reptiles than mainland Europe or even some parts of South America. Not to mention the massive coral and rich sea life. Check out Mamba Village to catch a glimpse of the world’s biggest crocodiles and then maybe head to the nightclub Pirates, to sample some of the city’s local brews (*though lightweights are warned to steer clear of red or blue sambucas).

Rent out a private bungalow on the beach for about 90 dollars a night and take a stroll into old Town to get a taste of Swahili culture and street food. The most exotic array of meats you can imagine, particularly delicious washed down with locally brewed Tusker beers.

Try the nyama choma (grilled beef, veal, sheep, lamb, or goat) accompanied by kachumbari, a fresh condiment in Kenyan cuisine similar to pico de gallo, consisting of chopped tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers.

After the wonderful cuisine, revive yourself with a walk through le souk (the marketplace) picking up cheap clothes and souvenirs. With friendly people, year-round sunshine, and miles and miles of white sandy beaches, discover the magic that is Mombasa!