snowbirds
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Tired of the usual southern reprieve? Here, some exotic destinations for you to consider flying away to this winter.

1. "February and March in the Algarve for us," says Linda Anderson of Charlottetown. Touristy in summer, the Algarve, Portugal, gives way to a more relaxed winter ambiance, a time when prices drop but the weather stays spring-like all season, and there are lots of Canadian ex-pats to chum with.

2. Southern Spain dodges winter and is to northern European jubilados (retirees) what Florida is to Canadians. According to the National Association of Baby Boomer Women's website (nabbw.com), a two-bedroom apartment in Torre Del Mar can be had for about 450 euros a month (C$666).

3. Speaking of the Mediterranean, how about Italy's Sicily? It can get cooler in winter but typically along the coast it's more spring-like and, according to Longtermlettings.com, one-bedroom condos can be had in towns like the ancient harbour city of Messina for less than 400 euros (C$600).

4. B.C.-based travel writers Irene and Rick Butler recommend Loja, a picturesque town in southern Ecuador known for its colonial architecture as well as its vibrant cultural and musical scenes. Real estate prices range from about US$50,000 for basic accommodation to US$100,000 for spacious apartments with views of the city. Apartment rentals run from as low as US$300 a month.

5. Following the recent peace accord, Colombia is likely to become increasingly popular as a snowbird destination. The country is already well known among retirees for its high-quality low-cost health-care system and all-round affordability. But research carefully; crime is a problem in many urban centres.

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