Winter Holidays: Hot or Cold… or Both?

When thinking about a winter holiday, the first thing you have to decide is whether to go hot or cold.  It’s an age old debate.  Do you embrace the cooler temperatures with a trip to an even colder winter wonderland, or flee in search of shiver-free beach-based sun-loungers?

Now there’s a new option that’s becoming increasingly popular…. both!

Just imagine: Spending a few days scouring the sales in shopaholics’ paradise New York City, ice skating in Central Park and generally feeling wintery, before zooming down to the Caribbean for ten days of beachside bliss & rum punches in Barbados.  Truly the best of both worlds!

Traveling

Flying to New York first is a great way to break up the journey, and adding another flight into the mix is less of a palaver than you might expect.  Once you’ve hopped across the pond and landed in New York that main bulk of the journey is done: flight times from New York to Barbados are only just over 4 hours in length… you’ve barely left the ground before your landing again into much warmer weather!

What to Pack

When you’re visiting two extremes in temperature in one holiday, your packing strategy needs careful thought.  January averages in New York hover around 0°C , whereas in Barbados average highs are a balmy 29°C.  Our top tip is to wear your favourite warm winter coat on the plane (that way it won’t take up any precious room in the suitcase), and think in layers.

T-shirts can double as vests for the New York part of the trip, and skirts can be worn with leggings and boots in New York or teamed with flip flops in Barbados! Avoid extra baggage by planning what you’ll wear each day, being clever with your outfits and utilising the hotels laundry service in times of need!

New York Winter Highlights

New York is city that really suits winter.  Unlike London’s grey, damp, dull Januaries, New York is chilly yet fresh, full of bright sunshine and blue skies.  And when it snows (a far more likely occurrence than in London!), it really buckets down, covering everything in a beautiful blanket of white.

1. For rosy cheeks and giggles aplenty, embrace the outdoors and go ice-skating in Central Park at Wollmans Ice Rink.

ice skating in central park

2. Warm up with a visit to the iconic Guggehiem Museum; take the elevator right to the top, then wander down the long circular slope to the bottom, admiring (or lambasting) the opinion-dividing art along the way.

3. Spend a cosy evening seeing a show on Broadway.  Top of the watchlist for 2016 is An American in Paris, Jersey Boys and the School of Rock Musical (score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and based on the book by Downtown Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes)

Barbados Winter Highlights

1. Hit the beach – Pick your spot…. For calmer waters better for swimming, stick to the south or west coasts.  Accra Beach is pipped as one of the island’s best sandy hotspots.  It’s within walking distance of plenty of restaurants and there’s a buzzing atmosphere, with kiosks selling trinkets and watersports equipment available for hire. If you like your beaches quieter, head east.

accra beach vacation

Crane Beach is particularly highly rated, known for it’s softer-than-soft white sand.  You’ll find the local deli Cutters will deliver refreshments to the beach.  For even more quiet, and rugged landscapes, further up the coast (you’ll need a hire car) you’ll find Bathsheba.

crane beach getaway

 

Sometimes you’ll be able to spot a few brave surfers tackle the fierce waves at the notorious soup bowl.  It’s not a tourist hotspot (you won’t find any sun-loungers) … but if you just want to play Robinson Crusoe and stroll along a deserted tropical beach it’s perfect.  Nearby The Roundhouse is a great little Bajan restaurant known for salads and grills.

soup bowl surfing

2. Watch a polo match – Winter is the season for polo in Barbados, and you’ll find a game on most weekends at various locations across the island.  There’s a relaxed, family-vibe, with plenty of exciting horse action on the field.

polo match

3. Take a catamaran cruise up the west coast, with a stop off to snorkel with turtles – a magical experience.  Particularly good are the sunset cruises, which take place late afternoon – early evening.  Enjoy sundowners served with humbling views of the sun gently disappearing into the sea as the sky fills with magnificent pink, red and orange hues.  Look out for the ‘green flash’ just as the last of the sunlight disappears!

Where to stay – 4* option

Stay 3 nights at the 3*+ Hotel Edison – Great location right on Times Square

Stay 7 nights at the 4* Sugar Bay – Beachfront All Inclusive resort that’s just undergone a multimillion dollar makeover.

Where to stay – 5* option

Stay 3 nights at the 5* Renaissance New York Hotel Times Square – Newly refurbished with an unbeatable location on Broadway.

Stay 7 nights at the 5* Fairmont Royal Pavillion – An authentic Caribbean hotel located on a really nice stretch of west coast beach.

Letsgo2.com offer a range of luxury holidays worldwide.

This post is contributed by a guest author.

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