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Holiday Hotspots for 2016

With the excesses of Christmas firmly behind us, the new year, for many, brings the lure of another holiday.

And 2016 is no different. Or perhaps it is, as there are some exciting and interesting destinations that have become more accessible this year.

Costa Rica
You might have heard several radio ads recently plugging Costa Rica. Well, this Spanish-speaking Central American country is expecting big things from the British tourist industry this year.

Thanks to many tour operators adding it to its line up, this stunning country is now very accessible for couples and families. There’s a great range of boutique, spa and all-inclusive hotels to choose from.

Temperatures are in the mid 80s to 90s pretty much all year round and, although Costa Rica would officially say its rainy season sets in during late August, the UK’s peak holiday months of July and August will see little rain.

With beautiful beaches edged by luscious rainforests and reasonable prices, this long-haul destination takes 11 hours from London Gatwick. 

Japan
Interest in this Asian country has increased since Japan was awarded the 2020 Olympic Games.  For those of you who have already experienced a more relaxed and laid back adventure in places like Cambodia and Laos, Japan offers a modern twist on Asian culture.  

Japan has a diverse mix of culture – experience uber-modern technology at its best, crazy fads and fetishes that are part of everyday life, as well as relaxing in a calm Zen-like state off the main city track.

This long haul destination takes approximately 14 and a half hours from Gatwick.

Latvia
Eastern Europe has seen a huge increase in popularity for city breaks with us Brits and now Latvia is set to take its turn with the British tourist, having already received European Capital of Culture status for Riga, its capital city.

The country is investing heavily in rebuilding derelict regions and carefully restoring historical castles. It’s also reviving old customs and traditions that will appeal to those seeking cultured city breaks.  It’s also reinventing its cuisine, all ready to bowl over tourists with its welcoming locals, enticing culture, historic architecture and beautiful scenery.

St Helena
You could be forgiven for not knowing about this South Atlantic island however, thanks to its first airport opening up this year, St Helena will be accessible from the UK. 

This is a lush island that boasts wildlife and stunning natural scenery, such as the jaw-dropping waterfall at Diana’s Peak National Park.

Weather wise, there are no seasons as such and average temperatures are between 70 and 80F.  For hot-house flowers, it’s best to visit between January and March when the country is at its hottest. You’ll find cooler temperatures in the mornings and at night between June and September.

Cuba
Flights to Cuba are increasing from major UK airports this year –Virgin Atlantic is increasing the number of its Gatwick flights to Cuba next winter.

With the increased connectivity, Cuba is expected to see a rise in popularity with tourists, which could see the uniqueness of the country – with its historic buildings and ‘50s movie style look and feel - give way to a very modern and updated way of life.  Many believe this will change Cuba’s vibe beyond recognition and, what’s more, see prices increase. So be quick if Cuba is on your travel bucket list.