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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.


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Where is hot in January

Cuba is hot in January

 By Mark Hodson, The Sunday Times Travel Writer

Q.  Where is hot in January?

A. It’s peak season in the Caribbean with lots of sun, temperatures of 29-30ºC and gentle breezes. In the Canary Islands, you’ll find temperatures around 20ºC, but for somewhere hotter you should consider the Arabian Gulf with guaranteed sun and 26ºC. For cheap winter sun, your options include The Gambia and Thailand.

Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.

Southern Caribbean

Average temperature in January: 29ºC
Hours of daily sunshine: 9
Flying time from UK: 9 hours

The southern part of the Caribbean is at its year-round best in January with reliable sunshine, gentle breezes and low humidity. Head to Barbados for great beaches, golf courses and a lively bar and restaurant scene. Arguably, St Lucia has the most scenic countryside – we recommend staying at Windjammer Landing.

Also consider: a tall ship sailing cruise visiting the smaller ports of the Caribbean.

    • Northern Caribbean

    Average temperature in January: 30ºC
    Hours of daily sunshine: 8
    Flying time from UK: 10 hours

    Jamaica offers great beaches, plenty to see and do with a splash of reggae. Stay at Round Hill. For the finest white-sand beaches, check out the Cayman Islands or the immaculate coral island of Anguilla. If you want a beach-city combination and you love cocktails and salsa music, it has to be Cuba – explore the capital Havana, the colonial city of Trinidad and spend a few nights on the beach at Cayo Santa Maria.

    Also consider: for Caribbean beaches at low prices, head to Mexico where you’ll find a great choice of all-inclusive hotels.

    See more holiday ideas in the Caribbean and details of the Caribbean weather in January.

      • Canary Islands

      Average temperature in January: 20ºC
      Hours of daily sunshine: 6
      Flying time from UK: 4 hours

      If you want warm weather in January without a long flight, the most reliable destination is the Canaries. It’s only a four-hour flight to the beaches of Tenerife. If hiking and nature are more your thing, try the tiny black-sand island of La Palma. You can also get some great deals on villas with private pools in Lanzarote and under-occupancy charges in January tend to be very low. Find the hottest islands in the Canaries.

      Also consider: Madeira is a stunning island with mountains, hiking paths, botanical gardens and great food. See these deals on luxury hotels.

      For more short-haul ideas, see where is hot in January in Europe.

        • The Gambia

        Average temperature in January: 32ºC
        Hours of daily sunshine: 9
        Flying time from UK: 6 hours 30 minutes

        The Gambia is a charming West African country offering great value beach holidays. It is only just over six hours flying time from the UK with direct flights and no jet lag. I have stayed with my family at the Kombo Beach hotel in January, which I highly recommend.

        Also consider: the Cape Verde Islands have influences from Brazil and West Arica. You’ll also find direct flights from the UK and good prices in winter.

          • Arabian Gulf

          Average temperature in January: 26ºC
          Hours of daily sunshine: 8
          Flying time from UK: 7 hours

          It’s only seven hours flying time to the desert heat of the Arabian Gulf. Abu Dhabi has great beaches and an impressive collection of glitzy hotels, fine restaurants and entertainment venues. Visit Yas Island to enjoy Ferrari World, a waterpark, Formula 1 race track and the world’s fastest roller coaster. Dubai continues to dazzle with its luxury hotels, water parks, endless beaches and vast shopping and entertainment malls.

          Also consider: Oman for more of a taste of ancient Arabia, along with luxury hotels, beaches and sand dunes.

          Goa is hot and cheap in January

            • Marrakech, Morocco

            Average temperature in January: 19ºC
            Hours of daily sunshine: 7
            Flying time from UK: 3 hours

            Morocco is a great short haul option. It will be warm, rather than hot in January, but it’s only a 3-hour flight to Marrakech from the UK, and it’s cheap. There is plenty to see and do, and the food is outstanding.

            Also consider: Fitscape offers fitness holidays in the Atlas Mountains, while destination yoga also features short-haul holidays in January to Morocco.

              • Phuket, Thailand

              Average temperature in January: 33ºC
              Hours of daily sunshine: 9
              Flying time from UK: 13 hours via Bangkok

              Thailand is the most popular destination in Southeast Asia for good reason: you’ll find gorgeous islands, delicious food and cheap prices. Avoid the east Gulf coast in January, when heavy rainfall is possible. Phuket and Krabi on the west Andaman coast are better than Koh Samui. If you want more than just a beach in Thailand, check out these exciting ideas from Experience Travel Group.

              Also consider: explore Malaysia or Vietnam. Further south, Bali is cheap and offers glorious beaches and a colourful local culture, though rain showers are a risk in January.

                • Goa, India

                Average temperature in January: 28ºC
                Hours of daily sunshine: 9
                Flying time from UK: 10 hours 30 minutes

                The land-back beaches of Goa are perfect for lazing in the sun, plus there is plenty to do if you want to explore colonial Portuguese villages. Further north, the weather is much more mild in Rajasthan – perfect for sightseeing, in fact – with temperatures in January falling to around 20°C in Delhi.

                Also consider: the Golden Triangle, home to many of India’s finest cultural treasures.

                    • Mauritius

                    Average temperature in January: 30ºC
                    Hours of daily sunshine: 8
                    Flying time from UK: 12 hours

                    If you’re feeling the urge to splurge on a tropical island, I can think of nowhere more appealing in January than the Indian Ocean. How about a spa hotel in Mauritius – we love the location of the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa. See the best time to visit Mauritius.

                    Also consider: an over-water villa in the Maldives (31ºC, 9 hours of sun) or a white-sand beach in the Seychelles (29ºC, 6 hours of sun).

                      • Costa Rica

                      Average temperature in January: 24ºC
                      Hours of daily sunshine: 7
                      Flying time from UK: 11 hours

                      Costa Rica is packed with Latin American charm and natural wonders, but it’s small and easy to get around. It offers world-class beaches, jungles teeming with exotic wildlife and lots of exciting activities. This 12-day tour Costa Rica Highlights is well priced and takes in Tortuguero Jungle Reserve, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Arenal volcano and time on the beach.

                      Also consider: for adventure, breathtaking sights, activities and superb beaches, how about Brazil or Argentina.

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