With its flat, white-sand beaches framed by lush tropical palms and the sweet scent of the Caribbean fruits drifting on the breeze, there is no place more perfect in winter than Barbados. This photo is of St Lawrence Gap Beach, in the south of the island, where beach sellers have shoulder monkeys, and painted blue fishing bots bring in your supper. Some of finest characters are found at ‘The Gap’ as you stroll through the town at sundown; fishermen, jewellery makes and taro-card readers alike will chat to you and tell you their stories. I spent ten days here last year, drinking rum, eating fresh lobster and paddling in the crystal clear waters. Can any beach in the world compare?