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Find Your Ideal Island in the Caribbean this Winter

As the dark nights draw in and the autumn weather arrives, it’s time to start thinking about where to head for some winter sun. Many Mediterranean resorts close down completely at the end of October and few short-haul resorts offer the temperatures of the tropics in the winter months. From November onwards, the Caribbean is the perfect place to head for a warm winter holiday. The Caribbean tends to be talked about as one destination, but every island is different, so the experts at Hays Travel have compiled a list of what to expect from their favourite islands:

The Dominican Republic

For brilliant budget holidays in the Caribbean, head to the Dominican Republic. The country has a huge range of all-inclusive, beach front hotels that are great value-for-money. The northern Atlantic coast is home to Playa Dorada, a palm-fringed stretch of beach with a host of accommodation to choose from, great nightlife, casinos and even an 18-hole golf course. Choose a hotel to suit your budget, from 3*-5*: the total cost of an all-inclusive holiday can work out much less than going self-catering or bed and breakfast and taking spending money, making this a great choice for families. The south and east of the island are particularly popular with couples and honeymooners, who head for luxury, hideaway hotels. There’s more to the Dominican Republic than great beaches though. Expect a warm welcome and plenty of activities, from watersports to horse riding. Enjoy great cuisine and lively entertainment, including the local merengue dance. Venture inland on a jeep safari and explore the tropical forests, mountains and cascading waterfalls.

Jamaica

The classic Caribbean resort, Jamaica is everything you expect and more. With a great range of hotels from luxury boutique hideaways to especially-for-couples beach front boltholes and all-singing, all-dancing family all-inclusive hotels, you’re bound to find a place to stay to suit you! Montego Bay is close to the airport, so perfect if you want to fly in and relax, or venture further and discover Negril’s stunning Seven Mile Beach, or the tourist hotspot of Ocho Rios. The powdery white beaches and clear turquoise seas in all these resorts have to be seen to be believed. Relax and enjoy the relaxed pace of life on this colourful island. Lie back in a hammock in an all-inclusive hotel and enjoy great value food and drink, or stay bed and breakfast and enjoy all Jamaica has to offer, from the Appleton Rum factory tour, to the spectacular Dunn’s River Falls, misty Blue Mountains and that unmistakable reggae soundtrack. It’s easy to see why people flock to Jamaica to kick back and chill out.

Cuba

A fascinating country with interesting history, Cuba is perfect for those who want to venture beyond the beach. Don’t get us wrong, the beaches are pristine, but there is plenty more to see here. Varadero is located just a few hour’s drive from the capital Havana, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a twin centre holiday that combines city and beach. Resorts like Playa Pesquero and Guardalavaca are further away from the capital, but offer a brilliant-value range of all-inclusive hotels with choices for everyone from families to honeymooners. For a true escape, head to Cayo Maria, Cayo Coco or Cayo Guillermo: These tiny islands off the coast of Cuba are picturesque and serene and a great affordable alternative to the Maldives.

Barbados

The original luxury Caribbean island, Barbados offers a fantastic range of first-class accommodation, from hideaway villas to 5* spa hotels. This island is popular with the stars so get ready for celebrity spotting. Or, if you prefer marine life, you’ll find plenty in the beautiful coral reefs. Enjoy tax-free shopping for jewels and designer clothes in the capital, Bridgetown and lively nightlife in St Lawrence Gap. Popular for weddings and honeymoons, Barbados’s warm welcome also makes it a firm favourite with families.

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