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Winter Sun Breaks - The Caribbean

By Robin Richmond

The build up to Christmas is always an exciting time of the year with various parties to attend and presents to buy. However, January and February can become pretty depressing times of the year, with little to look forward to and the festive cheer of Christmas nothing but a distant memory. Booking a winter holiday and getting some sun can be the perfect tonic to beat the winter blues - and where better to head than the Caribbean!

Lets face it swapping horizontal sleet and freezing winds for a beautiful, warm beach isn't a tough choice - but choosing the right holiday package to ensure a holiday of a lifetime. With prices becoming increasingly more competitive for long-haul winter sun destinations, a Caribbean holiday shouldn't necessarily mean a begging letter to the bank manager either. In terms of destination, you're spoilt for choice between the popular islands of Barbados and Jamaica or the equally beautiful Dominican Republic or Grenada, among others.

The Dominican Republic is becoming an increasingly popular destination for British holidaymakers - not least for its consistently warm temperatures. Most tourists stick to the southern and eastern coasts where the weather tends to be dryer. The island is covered in white-sand beaches, dramatic mountain ranges and spectacular rivers and waterfalls - meaning it fills every fantasy you may harbour of a tropical island. The island also boasts a multitude of top class hotel accommodation, such as the beautiful Barcelo Bavaro Beach and Caribe.

Located on a 3km stretch of tropical beach surrounded by a coral reef one can not ask for much more in terms of location. The hotel provides an excellent choice of facilities against the backdrop of the Caribbean Sea. Guests can enjoy the use of 8 restaurants, 13 bars, 24 hour casino and several swimming pools. All bedrooms are air conditioned and equipped with modern amenities. For further details on this hotel check out which has some fantastic offers for 2006.

Perhaps the most famous island in the Caribbean, Jamaica has been a popular tourist destination for decades. The variations in landscape from the expansive beaches to the lush jungles, misty mountains and African esque savannas mean that one can enjoy a multitude of views and outdoor experiences. While the island has a somewhat dubious reputation for high crime rates the problems really are isolated to a few inner city area and can be easily avoided.

Jamaica owes part of its success to the prevalence of all-inclusive resorts, which were first popularized here and have spread to several other Caribbean islands. While many people complain that staying in the resort limits ones exposure to real Jamaican life it should be remembered that they do have the choice to leave at any point! The resorts also allow you to really control the holiday budget and have huge amounts of fantastic activities available that will keep you entertained for the entire stay.

Whether you're interested in a relaxing sail from bay to bay on a chartered yacht or an energetic hike through the mountains, there are activities to capture almost anyone's interest. The island is a mecca for Anglers who can spend an adventurous day out looking for Jamaica's famous deep sea fish, while divers can get right into the underwater environment.

For the less adventure-minded tourists there are plenty of other more low key activities to choose from. The island has a number of world class golf courses to choose from and the local artwork and craft shops are a great place to buy gifts for friends. If even that sounds to energetic then sun bathing while imagining all your cold friends and family stuck back in the UK comes highly recommended!

Most tourists are willing to overlook Jamaica's rough edges, because, overall, it's a fantastic place to visit and an ideal getaway for some summer sun.

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