by Joe Jamieson

All Disciplines, Ghana Takoradi, Merida Mexico, The Philippines Iloilo, Sri Lanka Kandy, Tanzania Dar es Salaam, Destination Features

Winter is deepening and the cold is well and truly setting in. So how do you chase off the chills and keep yourself toasty through the colder months?

The answer is to start dreaming about an overseas placement in a tropical country. We’ve pulled together a list of our destinations’ best beaches to give you some inspiration.

You’ll be basking in sunshine on a beautiful palm-lined, white sand beach before you know it.

1. Sri Lanka - Trincomalee

Archipelago

Trincomalee is the place to head for beaches in Sri Lanka

It’s on the island’s east coast, and if you’re in for a bit of snorkeling, it’s a paradise. The beach itself is stunning — crystal clear seas, soft sands and hotels opening onto the beach for you to grab a cocktail.

If you want to try surfing (or you’re already a pro) the swells at Trincomalee are consistently between 4 - 7 feet, so expect to catch some waves.

Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, you can take a trip out into the sea to go whale spotting. And if you want to explore the surrounding area on land, the historic city is incredible.

2. Mexico - Cancun

BEaches

Cancun on the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has about 34km of jaw-dropping, powdery white-sand beaches. The waters are a deep blue, and the coast makes for some of the most beautiful swimming in the world. 

If you’re here for the nightlife, the beaches around the city itself are where you’ll find your fun. You get the best of both worlds — gorgeous beaches during the daytime, and the biggest and best bars and clubs when the sun goes down.

You can jump into all kinds of watersports here too. There’s kayaking, and paddle boarding if you want a slightly slower pace. But if you want a boost of adrenaline, you can try kitesurfing, parasailing or jump on a jet ski.

3. Ghana - Cape Coast

Ghana might not be the first place you think of when it comes to beaches. But take a look at what Cape Coast has to offer and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Cape coast is the perfect place for a bit of rest and relaxation, but also gets you close to Ghana's history. The beaches themselves are stunning stretches of while sand, just like all the others on this list. You can choose from a range of beautiful hotels and resorts.

When you're ready to dive into local history, head to the National Museum on Slavery and Freedom. The museum will teach you about the history of the slave trade, and about Cape Coast’s history more generally.

In the evenings you an head back to the beach to find a peaceful and tranquil retreat, overlooking the sea. And you'll find plenty of restaurants and bars from which you can take in the incredible sunsets.

4. The Philippines - Boracay

BEaches

You won’t find a beach more postcard-perfect than on Boracay Island in The Philippines. Voted one of the world’s top destinations for relaxation, Boracay has stunning tropical beaches fringed by palm trees, as well as a big beachside town for you to explore. If watersports are your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

You’ll find White Beach at the centre of the hubbub. It’s a stretch of white sand that has more hotels, dive shops, bars and restaurants than you’ll have time to visit. It’s always busy and bustling, so the atmosphere is brilliant.

Look out to the sea and you’ll see an army of sailboats offering rides. And you can enjoy sunsets accompanied by live music. Once the sun goes down, the fire dancers come out and the beach parties begin.

5. Tanzania - Zanzibar

BEaches

Just an hour from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar Island’s stunning beaches and turquoise waters are a favourite among divers, backpackers and party-goers.

Nearly the whole of the island’s coast is made up of stretches of white-sand beach that are among the world’s best.

You could easily spend hours lazing the day away on a sun lounger next to the sea. Or you could explore the incredible underwater landscape just offshore. Snorkeling here is incredible, but if you want to get up close to the local marine life you need to dive. You’ll see shoals of fish feeding on coral reefs and dolphins further offshore.

At night you’ve got the option of hanging up the flip flops and heading to the centre for more sophisticated dinner and drinks. Or you can carry on the seaside life and hang out at a bar waiting for the beach parties to start.

Beaches are one of the huge number of reasons you might choose a particular destination. You can click below to explore more of what our destinations have to offer — mountain trekking, jungle expeditions, safaris… your options are nearly endless.

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