8 places to escape the Beast from the East 2.0 in 2020

There's nothing like talk of a possible Beast from the East 2.0 to get us thinking about winter sun destinations. In case you missed it, current chatter from the likes of The Sunday Times and The Independent is that the UK could see one of its coldest winters yet with lower than average temperatures, particularly in January and February 2020.

How to escape the Beast from the East 2.0 in 2020 © Jevanto Productions - Adobe Stock Image
How to escape the Beast from the East 2.0 in 2020 © Jevanto Productions - Adobe Stock Image

These reports were based on recent revelations by researchers at University College London, led by Professor of Climate Prediction Mark Saunders, who have suggested that this coming winter might be the coldest since 2013; that would make it the seventh coldest winter in the last 30 years.

If this has you searching for a seasonal escape, you're not alone but deciding where to go can be tricky with a wealth of options that need to line up with your desired duration and budget. To help you in your quest, we've curated a collection of destinations that are especially warm and sunny in the early months of the year.

Grenada

The white sandy stretches of gorgeous Grenada can be found lounging at the southern end of the chain of islands known as the Grenadines. Located closer to South America than many of its Caribbean siblings, this idyllic isle is a natural beach holiday charmer.

Its southerly location affords Grenada lusciously warm water for swimming, snorkelling and wreck diving, especially in January and February when the island basks in its winter dry season. If you're after a good, hot break, this is the place for you: most daily highs peak at around 29°C on average and all there's loads of sunshine - we're talking around eight hours per day with high heat and humidity to ensure it feels even hotter.

Grenada, known for its nutmeg as well as spices, chocolate and other exotic produce, is a truly tropical island escape. Go for the beach, yes, but do take a hike in the Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve, visit the National Museum of Grenada to get to grips with its history and leave time for a tasting at the historic River Antoine Rum Distillery.

Why go to Grenada? As well as the wonderful weather, you'll experience proper island vibes, where the pace of life is friendly and laid back - more so than some other Caribbean-dwelling destinations.

Weather in Grenada

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above shows the weather in Grand Anse Bay. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across Grenada.

Get to Grenada with:

  • Virgin Holidays - Grenada
  • Sandals - Grenada
  • British Airways - Grenada

Kenya

Looking for a break that'll showcase the finest of natural attractions? You'll find it hard to beat Kenya in East Africa. From the highlands of its interior, across the plains and parkland, down to the sugary white sands of its Indian Ocean coast, it has a little bit of everything for everyone.

And the best bit is that January and February host Kenya's dry season making them truly divine, weatherwise. Temperatures by the sea in resorts such as Malindi and Mombasa are hot, as is the sea itself, which is temptingly warm at around 27°C. There's nine whole hours of sunshine per day and minimal chance of seeing a passing shower.

Elephants in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya © Danielle Mussman - Fotolia.com
Elephants in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya © Danielle Mussman - Fotolia.com

What's more, you can top or tail your Kenyan adventures with a foray inland to see some of the continent's most revered creatures great and small. Lions, elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, hippos and so much more await on a safari in Amboseli National Park or Tsavo National Park, while Lake Nakuru promises pink flashes galore thanks to its flamingoes, which usually put on a vibrant display at this time of year.

Weather in Kenya

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above shows the weather in coastal Malindi. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across Kenya.

Get to Kenya with:

  • Mercury Holidays - Kenya
  • Travelsphere - Kenya
  • lastminute.com - Kenya

Cuba

Cuba may be a riot of kitsch colour and retro relics but it's also home to wonderful beaches, warm, crystal clear water, multiple architectural styles, dense rainforests, a fascinating history and a boatload of experiences you won't soon forget.

Weatherwise, Cuba enjoys its winter dry season during January and February. This means that trendy cities such as Santa Clara, where you'll get a good dose of Cuba's revolutionary past, see lots of dry conditions with plenty of sunshine and temperatures reaching the high twenties.

On the Atlantic coast, beach favourites such as Varadero, well-equipped with every resort amenity you could imagine, and the white sands of Cayo Coco, beloved for its shallow lagoon-like waters and famed flamingos, are also warm and sunny with water which is fine for swimming, snorkelling and water sports at 25°C.

Away from the beach, there's so much to see and do in Cuba. Take a city tour of the capital, Havana, count the pastel shades of colonial Trinidad or trek in the lush Pinar del Río tobacco growing region, among many other options.

Weather in Cuba

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall

The above shows the weather in Santa Clara. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across Cuba.

Get to Cuba with:

  • TUI - Cuba
  • Virgin Holidays - Cuba
  • Tucan Travel - Cuba

Mauritius

Mauritius - as colourful as the primary stripes of its vivacious flag. Especially popular with couples and adults looking for a grown-up getaway, this Indian Ocean island is a true tropical paradise, whether you're lounging on one of its glorious beaches or trekking in its hot and humid national parks.

Although January and February technically sit within its tropical storm wet season, don't be put off - days are long, hot and super sunny with just the chance of encountering a passing shower. And if the heavens do open, you can be sure it won't be for long as, typically, any rainstorms tend to move swiftly on.

Shades of blue on a January day in Mauritius © Oleksandr Dibrova - Adobe Stock Image
Shades of blue on a January day in Mauritius © Oleksandr Dibrova - Adobe Stock Image

We should point out that January and, in particular, February signal the peak of the cyclone season here, but again, the chance of your trip being affected is minimal - on average, only one or two days are affected each month.

The water here is, of course, spectacular at 28°C, giving you every excuse to delve beneath the surface, whether sedate snorkelling or pro-diving. The wealth of marine life off the coast of this densely-forested volcanic island is immense; expect to see coral reefs bursting with colourful shoals, while boat trips big game fishing or dolphin and whale watching are always popular pastimes.

Away from the water's edge, you can hike, bird watch and discover the history and culture of the people who've long called this place home at the Blue Penny Museum, the Mauritius Postal Museum or the Natural History Museum, all found in the capital of Port Louis.

Weather in Mauritius

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above shows the weather in Port Louis. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across Mauritius.

Get to Mauritius with:

  • First Choice - Mauritius
  • British Airways - Mauritius
  • Club Med - Mauritius

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become the accessible darling of eco-hunters and wildlife-lovers, and understandably so. It's a tapestry of landscapes and biodiversity that makes it a joy to explore. From volcanoes you can hike up and skite down to canopy trails, waterfalls, beaches and sloth spotting, it's virtually unbeatable if you have an appreciation for the most beautiful natural attractions.

These days, Costa Rica is also hugely accessible with major holiday companies offering breaks for various budgets to the lush rainforests and long sandy stretches of beach along its Pacific coast, whose water happens to be deliciously warm at 27°C to 28°C throughout the winter months.

Sticking by the beach, December to March sees a prolonged spell of dry weather with high temperatures as well as very high heat and humidity. Further inland amongst the wilds of the mountains, the dry season kicks in between late January and April and days are a little cooler than by the beach, because of the higher elevations.

The best way to 'do' Costa Rica is to combine a bit of beach with a stay in the interior. Get the best of both worlds as well as the hot and sunny weather.

Weather in Costa Rica

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above shows the weather in the beach resort of Tamarindo. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across Costa Rica.

Get to Costa Rica with:

  • Explore! - Costa Rica
  • TUI - Costa Rica
  • G Adventures - Costa Rica

Myanmar

Magical Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a great destination if you fancy combining both city and beach into one holiday. This enchanting country is made up of beaches along the eastern shores of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea as well as rainforest-rich interiors and ancient cities all dotted with temples and shrines at every turn.

Colourful monks on the move in Myanmar © Sutipond Stock - Adobe Stock Image
Colourful monks on the move in Myanmar © Sutipond Stock - Adobe Stock Image

When it comes to the weather, the capital city Yangon promises a hot and sweaty welcome with high heat and humidity and temperatures in the low-to-mid thirties. There's also a lot of sun to be had with nice long days enjoying between nine and 10 hours in January and February.

Yangon's big hitters include the shimmering gold of the Shwedagon Pagoda, the relaxing boardwalk alongside Kandawgyi Lake, and carefully crafted cocktails at Rangoon Tea House.

After a few hot and heavy days in Yangon, why not head out to the chic resorts that line Ngapali Beach? Here, the heat and humidity and temperatures all remain high but you've got the gloriously warm sea on hand for a much-needed dip. Take a boat trip, go snorkelling, visit local shrines or simply relax. For something even more adventurous, check out Macleod Island for a real Robinson Crusoe holiday moment. Bliss.

Weather in Myanmar

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall

The above shows the weather in Yangon. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across Myanmar.

Get to Myanmar with:

  • Wendy Wu Tours - Myanmar
  • Intrepid Travel - Myanmar
  • Explore! - Myanmar

South Africa

Ah, sunny South Africa. For that's exactly what it is in January and February in Cape Town with between 10 and 11 hours of the good stuff each day. This southern hemisphere city is busy basking in its summer during the UK's dark winter months, which is what makes this such a great time to go.

In the country's most popular city for visitors, Cape Town, you can expect days around 25°C on average with low heat and humidity, ensuring the air is warm but fresh. Located at the southern tip of Africa, the sea is never that warm, so only the hardy, such as extreme surfers, come here for the water.

Instead, pick a hotel with a heated pool and set about exploring the many attractions on offer from the heart-wrenching history at Robben Island to the playful penguins on Boulders Beach and the sweeping views from the top of Table Mountain. Expect fresh seafood by the marina, trendy bars serving only the finest local wines and galleries aplenty.

If you want to break free from city life, head out into the wine lands or hire a car and spend a few days exploring the Garden Route along the coast to the east.

Weather in South Africa

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above shows the weather in Cape Town. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across South Africa.

Get to South Africa with:

  • Virgin Holidays - South Africa
  • lastminute.com - South Africa
  • Cosmos - South Africa

New Zealand

Planning a longer trip? It may, indeed, be the other side of the world but New Zealand is more than worth the journey, especially if you're a lover of the great outdoors. It's a veritable playground for hikers, cyclists and canoeists, and fantastic territory for road-trippin'.

Hire a car or camper van for a few weeks' camping in this stunning antipodean island nation. Whether you spend your days and/or your nights in the wilds of this magnificent country, the one thing you can count on throughout January and February is the weather.

Summer in Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island © A. Karnholz - Adobe Stock Image
Summer in Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island © A. Karnholz - Adobe Stock Image

New Zealand is separated into North Island - with major cities including the capital Wellington and Auckland - and South Island - where you'll find Christchurch and Dunedin, also known as Edinburgh of the South for its architecture and climate.

Although neither island is known for its hot weather, you can expect sunshine and warm to comfortable temperatures with no heat and humidity to worry about. North Island is ever-so-slightly warmer and sunnier than South Island, as the latter is that little bit closer to the mighty Southern Ocean, next stop Antarctica - albeit very far away!

Weather in New Zealand

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above shows the weather in Wellington. Head over to our climate guides to find out more about the weather at destinations across New Zealand.

Get to New Zealand with:

  • G Adventures - New Zealand
  • Explore! - New Zealand
  • Titan Travel - New Zealand
Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton
Posted on Sunday 13th October 2019 in: Africa Asia Caribbean Central America Indian Ocean Oceania Weather Winter sun

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