Whether it’s a winter getaway or an idyllic romantic holiday, these sunny destinations beckon all year
Cold weather has its undisputable charm, but it’s hard to resist the temptation of warm sun, sandy beaches and blue seas from crossing the mind. If you’re in need of sunlight and beaches at this time of the year, we highly recommend these spectacular destinations that stay tropically warm year-round, Trust us when we say you’ll want to shed your coat immediately.
It’s the oldest ocean islands, with the world’s largest raised coral atoll, and the sole granite islands in the mid-ocean – no wonder Seychelles is ostensibly the ultimate tropical heaven. Seychelles is made out of 115 islands and more than half of the nation is officially protected to safeguard its biodiversity. Its main islands of Mahé, and Praslin offer unique appeals; the largest island Mahé is home to the capital, Victoria, where you can find the majestic Morne Seychellois mountains, Praslin for its ‘Garden of Eden’ 45-acre valley, and La Digue for its fine white powdery beaches.
Turks and Caicos, Caribbean
Travel 575 miles southeast from Miami and you’ll find yourself in the tropical crook of the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. Spanning 193 sq. miles of the Atlantic ocean, the islands are home to one of earth’s longest coral reefs, attracting avid divers and snorkelers worldwide. The 40-island chain worshipped for its white, sandy beaches and azure waters, and the islands possess varying landscapes: the flatter islands of Grand Turk, South Caicos and Providenciales for example are shrouded with low-lying bush, while the Middle Caicos, Parrot Cay and North Caicos are blessed with lush greenery. It’s the Caribbean at its finest.
If you’re looking for something more than just beaches and islands, consider the mystical Cyprus. Cyprus shares a culture of Greek and Turkish; its Greek façade evident in its historic heritage, archaeological spots worshipping goddess Aphrodite, Roman ruins and Byzantine castles and churches, while its Turkish roots can be savoured in culinary classics of kebabs and Halloumi cheese. Spice up your itinerary exploring vivid heritage sites one day and escaping into the sun the next, dipping into every water sport under the sun, followed by a hike on mountains or vineyards for wine tasting tours.
Along India’s southwest coast is the slender state of Kerala, wedged between tranquil mountains of dense forest and the lush coastal plain of the Western Ghats. Its 550km-stretch is a sight to behold: an endless tropical landscape of palm-fringed beaches Kovalam and Varkala, the magnetic Kuttanad best viewed from old-fashioned wooden barges, and the wildlife reserve of Periyar. Kerala is also famous for tea, coffee and spice plantations. Should you want to escape the tropical heat, the 2695m rolling hills beckon. Although temples are closed to non-Hindus, you can still admire their notable Hindu architecture of the Puttan Malika and Padmanabhapuram Palaces.
Caribbean and eco jungle vibes meet the Mayan heartlands in Belize. The island is regarded as a diving hotspot: enthusiasts flock to the world-famous Great Blue Hole, a UNESCO World Heritage site of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. For sun, sand and sea, opt for island hopping in the laidback Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Glovers Reef islands. Walk back in time in Belize City, home to numerous historical settlements, and Lamanai, the ceremonial site of Nohmul, or Rio Bravo for its outdoor appeal in broadleaf forests.
El Nido, Philippines
If you want a tropical ‘last frontier’ experience, set your sights on El Nido, the coastal Filipino gateway to powder white beaches, sparkling blue seas and veiled lagoons framed by karst limestone formations and cliffs. Author Alex Garland wrote his bestselling The Beach novel whilst living in El Nido, which no doubt lent inspiration. All the island’s attractions are easily accessible, but an absolute must diving and snorkelling, the best sport to discover 50 species of coral, whales, whale sharks, dolphins, endangered turtles, and much more besides.