IN the grey midwinter, the bright colours of the tropics seem even more tempting for Brits stuck at home.
But plan ahead now and you can break up the cold months with a trip to sunnier climes at a snip of the usual price for a long-haul holiday.
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Swap bulky coats and scarves for flipflops and a bikini on the island of Antigua, with bigger better and more varied beaches than any other island in the Caribbean.
Blow out the winter cobwebs on a week-long trip to lively Barbados, or dance and drink with the locals in sensational Cuba.
Also welcoming visitors back this winter, the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, the Maldives and the Seychelles are a sight for sore eyes.
If you’ve been dreaming of paradise, now’s the time to book, with deals from £899pp for 7 nights.
With tour operators competing for your custom post-Covid, you can visit dream desert island destinations without a huge budget this winter.
Here’s some of the best deals we’ve found to the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean:
Rum and fun-filled Barbados is ideal for families and travelling friends in particular.
The island offers lazy days and lively nights, lots of easy-to-arrange activities and a party atmosphere.
Beyond the countless white sand beaches, spend your nights liming, dancing and drinking with locals – at the renowned Friday night fish fry at Oistins village or at upbeat Harbour Lights in Bridgetown.
- TUI has 7 nights at Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Barbados in November from £687pp
- Virgin Holidays has 7 nights at Barbados Beach Club all-inclusive in November from £1065pp
- BA Holidays has 7 nights at the Turtle Beach Club, Barbados all-inclusive from £1429pp
Jamaica’s relaxed attitude and local rhythms are contagious, making it an ideal island to de-stress.
But the land of ‘All Right’ is also the ‘land of wood and water’ with lush mountains, fresh waterfalls and tropical waterways to raft along.
- TUI has 7 nights all-inclusive at Riu Montego Bay Hotel in November from £768pp
- BA Holidays has 7 nights all-inclusive at Holiday Inn Montego Bay from £945pp
Brits longing for paradise after a long year of lockdowns are sure to find it in Antigua.
Pink sand, platinum sand, even black sand if you’re willing to look hard enough: the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has shores indented by one paradise beach after another.
Favourites include Half Moon Bay, Darkwood beach and Rendezvous Bay where you can enjoy the fine creamy sand and opalescent water just as nature intended.
- BA Holidays has 7 nights all inclusive at Hawksbill by Rex Hotels from £971pp
Though it has beaches to match the best in the region, Cuba’s happening capital Havana is a travel destination in itself. Its stuck-in-time streets and UNESCO-listed old quarter, classic cars and salsa, Cuban cocktails and cigars make for a unique travel experience.
Brits can combine a beach holiday in nearby Varadero with a visit to the city and get the best of both worlds.
- TUI has 7 nights all-inclusive at Playa Vista Azul Hotel in December from £699pp
- Virgin Holidays has 7 nights all-inclusive at Paradisus Varadero in January from £969pp
Jet direct into the lush island of St Lucia for a warming winter holiday you won’t regret.
By the time January rolls around you’ll be patting yourself on the back for making such a savvy decision.
St Lucia is famed for its natural attractions that include its world heritage-listed twin volcanic peaks – the Pitons – and a ‘drive-through’ volcano complete with bubbling sulphur cauldrons.
Its geological marvels and rainforested interior make it one of the Caribbean’s most picturesque islands where you can follow nature trails into the forest or soar across the canopy on high wires.
- Virgin Holidays has 7 nights at Bay Gardens Inn in January from £559pp
- BA Holidays has 7 nights all-inclusive at Starfish St Lucia in December from £846pp
A favourite Caribbean island of those in-the-know, lush green Grenada has managed to slip below the radar.
It’s perfect for travellers who crave nature with rainforests, waterfalls, long wide sandy beaches and thriving offshore reefs offering world-class diving and an underwater sculpture park.
- TUI has 7 nights all-inclusive at Royalton Grenada Hotel in December from £1199pp
- Virgin Holidays has 7 nights at Blue Horizons Garden Resort in November from £945pp
Escape the UK winter for an exotic beach in the Indian Ocean.
The Maldives are most people’s vision of paradise, and Brits longing for blue skies and dazzling ocean this winter can find decent deals to its spectacular self-contained beach hotels, many of them all-inclusive.
- TUI has 7 nights all-inclusive at Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives Hotel in December from £1599pp
- BA Holidays has 7 nights at Reethi Faru Beach Resort from £1286pp
Sensational beaches and turquoise water come as standard in the Seychelles.
The 115-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean is famed for its tropical beaches, offshore reefs and ritzy resorts, though it’s much more affordable than most people think.
- BA Holidays has 7 nights at Indian Ocean Lodge Hotel from £1166pp
Sitting in the southern Indian Ocean, beautiful Mauritius is encircled by more than 100 miles of white sandy beaches and blue lagoons, and bathed in tropic sun.
Inland the hilly landscape is clothed in rainforests, with tall tumbling waterfalls and mountain peaks that make a stunning backdrop to a beach holiday at one of its excellent resorts.
- BA Holidays has 7 nights at Friday Attitude Hotel in November from £899pp
- TUI has 7 nights all-inclusive at Ambre Resort and Spa Hotel from £1336pp
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