Swap the cold winter for Caribbean sunshine
There’s one sure-fire way to beat the cold of the British winter: a hearty dose of warming sunshine in the Caribbean.
Though it wasn’t easy to narrow it down, we’ve chosen five of the Caribbean’s most laid-back islands for your perfect winter holiday. Dig your toes into the powder-soft sands, listen to the gently lapping waves and soak up the warming sunshine – rum cocktail optional (but highly recommended)…
At six miles long and just over a mile wide, Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands is a small but perfectly formed slice of paradise. Its beaches are postcard-pretty: sugary soft white sands fade into water so turquoise, it has to be seen to be believed. Governor’s Beach and Pillory Beach are two of the most popular beaches and well worth a visit (and a good, long stretch-out on the sand). Snorkelers and scuba divers are spoilt for choice in the surrounding seas – seahorses, stingrays and colourful coral reefs are all waiting to be discovered. The Gibbs Cay, Stingray and Beach shore experience takes in a boat ride, snorkel and time on the beach – the perfect way to while away the day.
If you can tear yourself away from the beaches (and frankly, we don’t blame you if you can’t), visit Cockburn Town, Grand Turk’s main town. Stroll down Duke and Front streets and admire the 18th and 19th century Bermudian architecture.
St Vincent is one of 32 islands that make up St Vincent and the Grenadines, an idyllic archipelago that, despite its many charms, has managed to remain relatively off the tourist radar. Its verdant landscape has everything a nature-lover could want: lush rainforests, cool caves, swaying palms and cascading waterfalls, many of which double as swimming holes. Explore it on the Waterfall and Coast shore experience, a fun and full day ashore that includes a visit to Dark View Falls, the Bat Cave and the Pirates of the Caribbean film set, plus a buffet lunch, coastal cruise and swim.
Venture even further off the beaten track on a catamaran trip to the nearby island of Bequia, where you can snorkel the clear blue waters and relax on the soft sands of Princess Margaret Beach.
Grenada is known as the Spice Island, and it’s not hard to figure out why: one whiff upon arrival and you’ll smell the spices – nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves – that grow bountifully here. Also evident is the island’s beauty: Grenada is abundant with waterfalls, mountain valleys, rainforests, lakes and volcanic craters. Be sure to spend some time in the picturesque cruise port of St George’s, with its forts and French colonial-style buildings. Beach bums are in for a treat, too. Grand Anse, a two-mile stretch of pure white sand just around the bay from St George’s, is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
For the ultimate day on the water, sign up for the Champagne, Lobster, Sail and Snorkel shore experience, which includes a decadent champagne-and-lobster lunch on the beach.
The soaring twin peaks of the Pitons – a UNESCO World Heritage site – dominate the skyline of St Lucia. The lush island nation is the perfect destination for nature-lovers, with its verdant rainforests, dramatic volcanic landscape, pristine beaches, exotic birdlife and gardens full of hibiscus and bougainvillea.
Hike through the rainforest, kayak the blue waters or snorkel around the Pitons. For a taste of the island’s many charms, embark on the St Lucia by Land and Sea shore experience, where you can soak up the stunning sights on a guided tour, followed by a Caribbean-style buffet lunch, a coastal cruise and a swim stop at spectacular Marigot Bay.
Deserted beaches, charming villages, tropical forests – St Kitts is the quintessential Caribbean island. Its waters are brilliant for swimming (the sea temperature rarely dips below 26°C) – perfect for lazy days ashore. The island also boasts its own UNESCO World Heritage site: Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is one of the largest and best-preserved forts of its kind. St Kitts’ sister island, Nevis, is a hidden Caribbean gem and definitely worth the short boat ride to visit.
For a unique way to take in the island’s sites, try the St Kitts Railway shore experience. Built between 1912 and 1926, the railway was originally designed to deliver sugarcane from the fields to the capital, Basseterre. The railcars feature an upper level with a spacious open-air observation deck – perfect for taking in the coastline, villages, farms and sugarcane fields in comfort.
Are you ready for your time in the sun? Find and book a cruise holiday to the Caribbean