A few months spark a craving for a brighter and warmer place than Europe gets the January sun. And in the UK amid the depressing mix of train strikes, flu and seasonal drizzle, it’s time to start dreaming of swaying palm trees and howling waves.
Enter the Caribbean donning the best high season gear and offering great hotels, sugary beaches and cloudless skies. Elsewhere, the Maldives offer a classic flight and flight option, while Los Angeles and Buenos Aires are up for sunny city breaks.
Dust off passports and prepare for warmer climates. Here’s our rundown of where to go for the January sun.
You want: 19C–24C
America’s largest city (New York) battles winter at its harshest, while its second largest city absorbs temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius. In reality, it should come as no surprise that Los Angeles kisses so much sun in January – it’s a metropolis with a golden climate year-round, after all. But that lack of mystery doesn’t diminish the possibilities of relaxation on the Los Angeles coast – further afield in Venice Beach, Santa Monica or Malibu.
Check out our list of the best hotels in Los Angeles. Fly directly from Heathrow with Virgin or BA.
“Lanza-grotty” was the pejorative nickname coined in the ’80s for the fourth largest of the Canary Islands. It’s always been an implausible slur – because even if this sunny ledge takes modest breaks in resort areas like Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise, it can also claim an increasing number of luxury properties, the enticing Spanish culture in the capital Arrecife, and the volcanic mountains. His majesty in Timanfaya National Park.
Check out our selection of the best hotels in Lanzarote. Budget flights to the island are offered by Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2 and Wizz Air.
It would be easy to sneer at Dubai, to claim that its skyscrapers are ridiculously large, to suggest that massive shopping malls replace any cultural element, or to say that artificial island construction projects are overly extensive and silly. But the brightest in the United Arab Emirates doesn’t care one bit – and neither do the thousands of British tourists who flock to its beaches knowing the sun will put their hat on.
Check out our overall list of the best hotels in Dubai. Fly BA directly from Heathrow or Emirates from Gatwick.
A country that boasts warm weather and soft beaches will always be attractive. One of the puzzle pieces that make up Central America, Costa Rica is surrounded by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. From the top of the Irazú volcano, you can look out over both bodies of water at the same time, enjoying a cosmopolitan afternoon in the national capital, San José.
Check out our list of the best hotels in Costa Rica. Fly direct from Gatwick with BA.
You want: 25C–29C
With its mountainous and lush interior, Grenada is for those who want a dose of adventure to balance their seaside lounging. It is also located at the southern limits of the Atlantic hurricane belt, making it less likely to experience more turbulent weather than some other Caribbean islands.
Check out our overall list of the best hotels in Grenada. Flights arrive via Antigua or Barbados.
So tied to the UK in terms of history and flight connections, a vacation here can sometimes feel like a trip to the British seashore – although temperatures can exceed 20 degrees Celsius throughout the year – Barbados is one of the stalwarts of Caribbean tourism. . For many, it revolves around luxury resorts on the west coast, but for heritage and excellent food, head to the capital, Bridgetown.
Check out our list of the best hotels in Barbados. BA and Virgin fly non-stop from Heathrow to Bridgetown.
The country, which makes up two-thirds of the second largest island in the Caribbean (Hispaniola), is sometimes overlooked as a vacation option. But in its southeast corner, Punta Cana becomes the focal point thanks to the luxury resorts around the residential area. The temperature usually cuts the high 20 degrees Celsius all the time. The European winter also largely avoids the hurricane season (June-November).
Check out our list of the best hotels in the Dominican Republic. Tui flies directly.
You want: 30C+
The nominal rainy season of the Indian Ocean’s most famous island cluster is from May to November, so it’s completely sunny until January. In reality, the time of year makes little difference in a vast archipelago located in the equatorial region. Visitors can count on 30C temperatures whenever they travel.
Try Tui or BA for a package or browse our list of the best hotels in Maldives.
This part of East Africa is an essential destination for those who love safari breaks, whether for the incredible scenery of the Great Antelope Migration to the Serengeti or for lesser-known wildlife experiences to be had in Ruaha National Park. Then there is the landscape – the volcanic caldera of Ngorongoro Crater, the snowy power of Mount Kilimanjaro, the soft beaches of Zanzibar.
Tui, Kuoni and Abercrombie and Kent offer packages to the country.
It’s rare to think of Argentina in terms of pure sunshine. After all, it’s a country that stretches (almost) to the glacial foot of South America (Chile holds the tip of the continent). But Buenos Aires enjoys temperatures in the above 20s Celsius throughout January – the evocative streets of La Boca, the steakhouses of San Telmo, the bright resurgence of the Puerto Madero quays and the trendy bars of Palermo all in a beautiful light.
These are the best hotels in Argentina. Fly direct with BA or fly Iberia over Madrid.
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