As of summer 2018, you can swap out the Clifton Suspension Bridge for Punta Cana, and see why it’s been nicknamed the ‘coconut coast of the Caribbean’. Stay on Bavaro Beach and watch the sunset with a rum on the rocks, spot sea horses and lion fish on Catalina Island, or explore the capital city, Santo Domingo, and visit one of the oldest churches in the world.
Average flight time: 9 hours 15 minutes
Or, fly from: Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham.
We’re proud to say we’re the only UK airline that goes direct to Costa Rica’s Liberia – the perfect launch pad to explore the rest of the country. It’s worth noting that a quarter of eco-warrier Costa Rica is protected, meaning you’ve got national parks, wildlife havens, and nature reserves right on your doorstep. If you fancy it, add the Monteverde Cloud Forest to your to-do list – it’s not hard to be enchanted by the mist that hangs low over its green canopies.
Average flight time: 11 hours 15 minutes
Manchester to Aruba is an exclusive Thomson Airways route, so seats are going like hot cakes. On arrival, we recommend heading to Renaissance Island to meet its inhabitants, a colony of fuchsia-feathered flamingos. After you’ve taken a snap or 20, grab your towel and take your pick from Aruba’s award-winning beaches. Eagle Beach is stunning and quiet, but next door you’ll find Palm Beach, which ups the tempo and offers the perfect waves to try a spot of jet-skiing.
Average flight time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Or, fly from: Gatwick
From this winter, we’ll be the first UK airline to fly direct to Vietnam’s next big thing, Phu Quoc. It’s a gateway to beach paradise, with Long Beach on its doorstep – an aptly named stretch of sand that goes on 12 miles. But it’s not all sand. In fact, 90 per cent of the island is cloaked in forests. Over 31,000 hectares is national park – go for a tour and spot some of the world’s most impressive wildlife, including snub-nosed monkeys and bears, if you’re lucky. Phu Quoc also puts you in a good position to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay, and shoppers’ paradise, Hanoi. You’ll be pretty close to Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh, too. Can’t ask for a better base than that…
Average flight time: 11 hours 50 minutes
Hippy hangout, Goa, is in easy reach over the winter, thanks to regular flights from Manchester. Head to North Goa to visit ancient temples, beach with the locals in Anjuna, or bag a colourful bargain in the Arpora night market. South Goa is even more laidback, if that’s possible. Sun yourself on Cavelossim Beach, or head 20 minutes down the road to Varca, where wooden fishing boats dot the coast and mango trees line the sand.
Average flight time: 9 hours, 20 minutes
Or, fly from: Gatwick and Birmingham
Have a look at our range of direct flights. Plus, most of our long-haul holidays fly out on our state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliners. Benefits include mood-lighting that helps you adjust to new time zones and an improved cabin pressure to reduce jetlag. They’re also much quieter and more spacious than other planes. Handy. In the meantime, find out why we think Birmingham airport is the best in the world.
Author: Lucy Perrin
Located right by the beach and backed by lush hills and mountains, Riu Palace Costa Rica is a stylish addition to the RIU portfolio delivers big-resort facilities with a boutique touch.
The Vinpearl Phu Quoc Resort is perched on the edge of Bai Dai Beach, giving you excellent views of the Gulf of Thailand from almost every angle.
A beautiful white-sand beach, designer interiors and a gourmet dining scene are the calling cards at TUI SENSATORI Resort Punta Cana.
Our top deals tailored to you, straight to your inbox Sign up for offers
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information check www.gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCOtravel and Facebook.com/FCOtravel
More information is available by checking /destinations/info/travel-aware
Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting www.travelhealthpro.org.uk.
The advice can change so check regularly for updates
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate