This is Caribbean week
The Dutch have left their mark on Curaçao in many ways, most obviously in the architecture. (Jerry Alexander/LPI)
Last week I wrote that when it comes to winter season, there are two camps: love it or leave it. Last week’s Snow & Skiing Week embraced the former with international options for enjoying the frigid season. This week is for the other group, the sun worshipers and beach bums, with a lineup of Caribbean articles to entice you away from your snow globes of teeth chattering misery.
Next time you are outside, cowering under a parka, your toes going numb, imagine strutting in a bathing suit with those toes in the sand, along warm, bright blue waters beckoning you to take a relaxing float. Winter? Bah-humbug.
The Caribbean delivers on its promise of great weather most of the year, beautiful beaches, great diving, even better sailing, seafood and a slower island pace. The island chain does not have a monopoly on these features, but it does offer other advantages. The variety of islands, stretching between the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico to the South American coast, means you can keep visiting the islands and having different vacations: romantic, adventurous, relaxing, foodie, luxury, backpacker, gambling and more. And for those travelling from the US, it has the added advantage of proximity. Bermuda (technically not in the Bahamas, but rightly lumped in) is only about two hours from New York. Cuba is famously 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
The Caribbean is also in flux, for good and bad. Jamaica was once the "it" spot for jet-setting Americans and British in the 1950s, only to follow Cuba down its revolutionary road in the '70s and now starting to break out of its resorts-behind-security-walls status. Puerto Rico's Vieques island is getting more built up every season, so do not wait another year if you like your beach finds DIY and your resorts small and rustic. Go to Cuba (if you legally can) before Castro dies for historical bragging rights and before the US travel spending ban is lifted and the island is dramatically altered by Yankee dollars.
This week's line-up of articles has more ideas for you to consider. Caribbean lifestyles of the rich and famous is a list of the best place to park your yacht and have a blue blood adventure, Lobster diving in the Abacos is Rome Hartman's tale of making a guy's week of spearfishing and lobster eating in the Bahamas. Sailing the Caribbean blue by Lori Robertson, details how to island hop in the British Virgin Islands on a chartered boat, and Catch some rays in the Caymans is Tim Rock's review of Stingray City, often considered to be one of the best shallow dives and snorkelling spots in the world. Finally, Robert Reid's Ten great Caribbean secrets includes non-yachting ideas like hiking in Dominica, biking in Cuba, and attending "Voudou rock" concerts in Haiti's Port-au-Prince.
What are you waiting for? Book your flight to the Caribbean. There are deals easily found, unspoiled beaches waiting to be discovered by you, and fun for everyone, whether you hate winter or not. Return to BBC Travel all week for these stories and more.