The mornings where you see your own breath are increasing, and when I woke this morning there was a thick layer of frost on the garden. Hence, I thought this month I would look at how you can banish the winter doldrums and escape to warmer climes.
When looking for some Winter sun, I am going to focus in three directions. West towards the Caribbean, South towards the Canaries, Cape Verde & Africa, and East towards the Middle East and Asia. However, there are many, many more places to explore during the Winter as South America, Australia and Southern Africa are all great during this time.
The Caribbean and the surrounding area is a wonderful place for a Winter break, with white sands and azure waters. You can holiday in destinations like Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, Cuba and the Bahamas, as well resorts in Mexico and the Florida Keys. With a very pleasantly warm climate through the winter months, temperatures are generally in the high 20s. The sea temperature is also very pleasant and in the high 20s. But it’s not just wonderful climate and beautiful beaches, there is also plenty of culture and friendly, local people to meet. Islands like Barbados can be explored in a hire car, or you can climb on a bus with the locals, or jump on a sailboat trip to go snorkelling with turtles! So much to see and do.
Flight times are between 8 and 11 hours from the UK, and prices start from £800 for a package holiday for a week. Some islands are more exclusive and hence more expensive than others, and the sky’s the limit once you start looking at luxury resorts. Also, the Caribbean is a very popular area for cruising, with the island’s proximity to each other allowing you to wake up to a new beach every day.
Flying South from the UK, the first Winter destination you reach is the Canary Islands. Whilst not quite as tropical as other destinations, they are the closest, being only 4 hours from the UK. This also classes them as a short-haul destination, and this is reflected in the weather, during the winter the temperatures are generally in the high teens. A week in Tenerife, Lanzarote or Fuerteventura can be found for as low as £300.
A little further from the Canaries lies Cape Verde, 6 hours from the UK. With a climate similar to the Caribbean, the average temperature in January is 25C. There are 10 islands, but tourism is mainly focussed on three. While it is a developing area, there are some very good hotels and some great beaches.
Flying East from the UK for 6 hours brings you to the Middle East and destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is a luxurious and expensive destination, but holidays start from £600. An area of superlatives, with the World’s tallest building, biggest mall and more, there is plenty to occupy any traveller.
During the Winter the temperatures drop to around 20C during the day, which makes it a very pleasant destination for a short break.
Further on are the wonders of Asia, and the beach resorts found in places such as Thailand and Vietnam. Flight times are longer and while the flight costs are higher, the cost of living is lower. Hence it can be a great Winter destination, especially for an extended stay. Although a week can start from around £800, it’s a great area to take a bit longer and travel around, to explore and experience. The temperatures are nice and high, and the humidity low, making it a lovely time to enjoy the stunningly beautiful beaches. Thailand’s islands have some of the most gorgeous beaches in the World, remember The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio? That would be Phi Phi Leh Island, near Phuket. Stunning.
So, it need not be a full Winter of freezing weather. Use the dark months of January & February as an excuse to explore the World.