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Travel: 8 rainy spots worth a visit in the spring

Friday - 3/28/2014, 2:34pm  ET

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

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.

Seattle

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.

New Orleans

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.

Jamaica

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

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.

Napa Valley

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.

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