With another month of the British winter left and snow falling across the country, we thought we'd take you to sunnier climes by looking at the countries where it's sunny for most of the year and that never get cold.
While 16C might be pretty mild for us Britons, the temperatures in these countries doesn't drop below this and most of the hot holiday spots have never seen snow! We spoke to senior meteorologist Kirsty McCabe at The Weather Channel to find out the destinations where it is warm every day of the year and perfect for a winter sun holiday.
There may be other locations on the planet that have recorded far higher record-breaking temperatures, but visiting blisteringly hot uninhabited deserts doesn't hold quite the same appeal as these warm holiday destinations where the only ice is in your drink. Average temperatures of 26C, white sand beaches and swaying palm trees - these places have it all when it comes to winter sun.
Sunglasses at the ready: From Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula to Australia's Whitsunday Islands, here are ten seriously sunny destinations that will make you want to hop straight on a plane to more tropical climes this winter...
Places where it never gets cold
Ten places where it never gets cold
Beautiful Hawaii boasts world-class surfing, spectacular waterfalls and active volcanoes, as well as a hot climate. Temperatures at sea level generally range from highs of 29 to 32C during the summer months to 26 to 28C during the winter months. Rarely does the temperature rise above 32C or drop below 18C. To see snow in winter, you will have to head for the islands' highest mountains.
You won’t get snow in Puerto Rico. Only palm trees, white sand, sunshine and year-round temperatures of 24 to 31C. The tropical climate can get humid in the summer months and Puerto Rico experiences the Atlantic hurricane season (June to November) with a hurricane passing the vicinity of the island on average every 11 years. Only one Category 5 hurricane has struck the island since 1851, the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of September 1928.
Like the rest of the Caribbean, the tiny island of Saint Lucia boasts a warm, tropical climate all year round. Trade winds stop things becoming too hot with temperatures ranging from 21 to 32C. The wet season is generally at the same time as the Atlantic hurricane season (June to November). The most humid weather can be found in the rainforest in the centre of the island, while a hike to the Pitons will help you cool off.
Sitting on the eastern coast of Central America, Belize enjoys a comfortable tropical climate with an average yearly temperature of 29C with only about 4C between the coolest (January) and warmest (May) part of the year. The coastal breezes help ease high humidity levels. With consistent temperatures all year round, Belize only has two seasons, the wet (from June to December) and the dry (February to May).
Separating the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula enjoys warm weather all year round at a steady 27C and seasonal fluctuations of just 4 to 6C either side. It does lie within the Atlantic Hurricane Belt and with almost uniformly flat terrain is vulnerable to large storms coming from the east.
Lying just to the south of the Equator, this archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean stays warm and humid throughout the year with temperatures rarely dropping beneath 24C or rising above 32C. The seasons are controlled by trade winds and the Seychelles does not experience extreme weather conditions.
Durban, the largest city in KwaZulu Natal, boasts an average of 320 days of sunshine a year. Temperatures range from 16 to 25C in winter and from 23 to 33C in summer, with January the hottest and most humid month. The warm Mozambique current flowing along the coast means the water temperature rarely falls below 17C even in winter. The city is occasionally affected by tropical storms during the cyclone season (November to April).
These picturesque islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef enjoy a subtropical climate with an average annual temperature of 27C and lots of sunshine. Summer in January sees an average temperature of over 30C in Australia's Whitsunday Islands, with the water temperature not far off.
You’ll never see snow on the tropical island nation of Fiji in the South Pacific. Maximum temperatures rarely move out of the 26 to 31C range all year round. Southeast trade winds from March to November bring dry weather and the rainy season runs from December to April, which overlaps with the tropical cyclone season.
The temperature hardly ever changes in the Maldives, averaging a warm and humid 30C throughout the year. That’s thanks to their equatorial location, which also keeps them out of the firing line of cyclones. The tropical equatorial climate has two seasons, with the highest temperatures occurring during the dry season (November to March).
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Now take a look at the world's wettest places where the rain rarely stops...
Ten of the world's rainiest places
Ten places where it never gets cold
Cherrapunjee in the East Khasi Hills, India holds the world record for the most rainfall in a month and year. In July 1861 it received a whopping 366 inches and between 1 August 1860 and 31 July 1861, 1,041.75 inches of rain fell. The rains come in from the Bay of Bengal, mainly falling in the morning, making it the ultimate spot to experience an Indian monsoon. Cherrapunjee is also famous for its waterfalls, hills and living root bridges. Travel The Unknown offers a Monsoon Magic holiday (£745 for seven days exc. flights) where you'll experience the infamous Indian summer in Cherrapunjee, visit bustling markets, rolling hills, jaw-dropping waterfalls and the bridges made from trees.
Three of the world's rainiest places are located in the Choco department of Colombia with the whole area receiving an average of 400 inches of annual precipitation. Quibdo, the capital of Choco, is the wettest city in the world and receives 320 inches of rain per year. The town of Lloro has seen the highest average of annual rainfall with an estimated 523.6 inches. Unlike many places that have record rainfall, Tutunendo receives rain distributed throughout the year totalling an enormous 463.4 inches.
The highest of the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism at 3,099 metres, Mount Emei in Sichuan, receives the highest level of rainfall in China with a yearly average of 68.866 inches. Rain is common year-round but is especially heavy in the summer when more than 70 per cent of the annual total falls from June to September. Weather aside, Mount Emei is a unique place to visit with its many temples and shrines, myths and legends and its mystical sunrise and Clouds Sea. The best way to enjoy Mount Emei is on foot where you'll come across a temple, monastery and snack bar every two to four miles. Just keep an eye out for the pickpockets... the Tibetan Macaques who rifle through rucksacks and like being fed by tourists!
One of the rainiest spots in the world, Mount Waialeale on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, receives an average of 452 inches of rain a year. In 1912 it saw a record 683 inches of rain. It is wettest at higher elevation yet the rain is much heavier and more frequent at the slopes of Waialeale. The steady rainfall and lack of sun stunts the growth of the tropical vegetation, which form a full-on rainforest further down the slopes. But it's not all rain on Kauai. Head 10 miles west of Mount Waialeale and you'll find clear skies, intense sun and dry weather.
The wettest place on record in Europe is the village of Crkvice in the Orjen mountain range of Montenegro. Its average annual precipitation from 1931 to 1960 was 4,927mm and 4,631mm between 1961 and 1990. In 1937 Crkvice saw its all-time historic high at 8,036mm. Being within the Mediterranean subtropical belt makes winter and spring rainy seasons and like monsoon rain, the precipitation is seasonally spread often seeing 2,000 litres of water when there are thunderstorms in November and completely dry weather in August. Part of the Bay of Kotor, the area is a beautiful place to visit in summer, with the picturesque towns of Kotor, Risan and Tivat, plus stunning natural surroundings. Explore Montenegro offers villas for rent in the Bay of Kotor with deals on summer holidays.
The tiny village of Mawsynram in the East Khasi Hills sees an average of 467.4 inches of rain per year. The Guinness Book of World Records says that in 1985 Mawsynram saw a huge 1,000 inches of rainfall. With its subtropical highland climate, the village rarely gets truly hot and one of the reasons for its high rainfall is the moist wind that comes from the Bay of Bengal. Conveniently, Mawsynram is located close to Cherrapunjee - another of the world's wettest places!
This lush island in the Indian Ocean holds the record for the greatest 24-hour precipitation total on Earth. This was in 1952 between 15 and 16 March in Cilaos at the centre of Reunion, which received 73.62 inches of rainfall. The island also received the most rainfall in 72 hours at 154.7 inches at Commerson's Crater in March 2007 from Cyclone Gamede. In 1980 a storm caused the most rainfall over all periods ranging from four to 15 days at Commerson's Crater. The island is located directly in the paths of south-west Indian Ocean tropical cyclones so it often receives direct hits or feels grazing impacts. Reunion is a hiker's paradise with the unique 'cirques', an active volcano on the south coast, waterfalls, beaches and mountains to explore.
As well as a famous film location where The Lord of the Rings was set, Milford Sound boasts one of the world's highest rainfalls per year with approximately 6,500mm of rain falling over 182 days. Surrounded by rainforest with temporary and two permanent waterfalls (Bowen and Stirling), it is considered a drought if the area doesn't receive rain for more than four days as the temporary waterfalls start to dry up! Visit the area during or just after rainfall when the cliffs surrounding the fiord turn into a mystical wall of cascading waterfalls. Southern Discoveries offers Milford Sound cruises on boats that have indoor areas with large viewing windows so you don't have to get wet and large outdoor decks for if you want to experience the Milford weather!
Britain isn't one of the wettest places in the world but we thought you'd be curious to find out which UK spots received the most rain. Some of the rainiest areas of the UK include Northwest Scotland, Cumbria and North Wales, but the spot that has seen the highest rainfall in a 24-hour period is Seathwaite in Cumbria, which received 316.4mm on 19 November 2009. The pretty hamlet in the Lake District's Borrowdale valley is a paradise for walkers and gives hikers access to mountains, like Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Glaramara.
Ever wanted to visit Australia's most sodden spot? Head to Mount Bellenden Ker in Queensland, Australia, which sees an average of 327.2 inches of rain a year and holds the record for the highest rainfall in a year at 490.6 inches in 2000 and the most rain in a month when it received 212.1 inches in January 1979. The area of Bellenden Ker at the base of Mount Bellenden Ker boasts diverse landscapes, waterfalls and over 40 scenic drives.
Weird weather and strange phenomena around the world
Ten places where it never gets cold
Tornados have been ripping through parts of the USA at an alarming rate during 2011. This example was captured on camera in Limestone County, Alabama, in April. A tornado is a violent, rotating column of air that it is contact with a cumulonimbus cloud and the ground. Also called twisters, they’re characterised by the condensation funnel that touches the earth, and are surrounded by clouds of dust or debris.
On 11 January, 2010, two pranksters decided to drive their car along the frozen Union Canal in Winchburgh, West Lothian, Scotland. Unfortunately for them, the thaw had already started to set in. The canal froze solid during he longest spell of freezing weather in the UK for almost 30 years.
This dust storm engulfed the desert city of Bikaner, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan on 2 April, 2010. The town was already broiling in temperatures of 39C. Dust storms happen when strong wind carries loose sand and dust away from one area and deposits it in another.
This image of the Northern lights was captured in the Takotna, Alaska checkpoint during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in March 2011. Occurring just within the Arctic and Antarctic circles, the Northern lights – or Aurora borealis, to give them their Latin name – are the light display in the sky caused by the collision of charged particles directed by the Earth's magnetic field.
This impressive rainbow resulted from a spectacular storm and was photographed in Brandon Hill Park near Clifton, Bristol, in the UK on 27 August, 2010. The rainbow seems to rise from the top of Cabot Tower - which is itself 105ft tall - showing its immense scale. Rainbows are an optical phenomenon that occur when the sun shines on to moisture droplets in the atmosphere.
This set of footprints in freezing rain was snapped in Lexington, Kentucky, USA on 16 December, 2010. Rain that falls and becomes ‘supercooled’ when surface temperatures are below freezing point can freeze on impact with anything it touches, unlike snow which remains only partially frozen. The resulting ice is known as glaze. Freezing rain is one of the deadliest weather conditions, bringing down power line and causing numerous road traffic accidents and personal injury.
This example of smog was pictured hanging over Moscow, on 7 August, 2010, and was caused by the billowing smoke from peat bog and forest fires. Smog was originally a description of the pollution resulting from factory smoke and fog in the 1900s. Today it’s more often caused when sunlight reacts with car exhaust, coal power plants or factory emissions and the compounds released from petrol, paints and solvents.
This crashing wave was caused by the approaching of the Hurricane Earl in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, in August, 2010. Earl battered some islands across the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and roof-ripping winds, rapidly intensifying into a major storm on a path projected to menace the United States. Hurricanes are triggered by low pressure areas forming over warm ocean waters.
In March 2011, the 'supermoon' was the closest it had been to earth for18 years lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. This snap was taken from Huntington Beach in Los Angeles.
Rainstorms come and go, but not usually as dramatically as this downpour which completely flooded the town of Wuzhou in southwest China on 9 June, 2010, proving that the trusty umbrella isn’t always protection enough...
Ash covered everything for thousands of miles after the eruption of Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano in May 2011 sent clouds of ash high into the air, carrying it toward the European continent on the wind, disrupting flights for the second time in less than a year.
This magnificent lightning strike hit a tower during a thunderstorm in Zurich, Switzerland on 12 August, 2010. Lightning occurs when the balance between the negative charge of storm clouds and the positive charge of the earth is redressed by a current passing between the two - with literally stunning results.
This halo around the sun was photographed on the island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle on 19 April, 2011. These halos - spectacular and eerie at the same time - are caused by ice crystals in high clouds. They tend to occur during the summer months, during ‘midnight sun’ season in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles.