The time to visit these island escapes is now, when the northern winter is getting old and temps in the tropics are ideal. Our far-flung quartet offers loads of sun and plenty of adventure: Mauritius, above, can be combined with an African safari.

By Georgina Read

When winter’s chill and gloom get the better of you, it’s time for a fix of tropical sunshine and balmy evenings. For a lazy vacation of sunbathing, water sports, and eating sensational seafood, Barbados is your go-to destination, in particular the glamorous west coast. With 30-degree heat until the end of March and a sea temperature of 26 degrees, you’ll wade out of the ocean almost as dry as when you waded in, your skin glowing and free of goose pimples. Much appreciated by visitors for its friendly, laid-back atmosphere, Barbados has become a magnet for the mega-rich, particularly those in search of a holiday home backing onto a private white-sand beach.

With 330 kilometers of coastline, crystal blue waters, world-class golf courses, and mountainous terrain, the island of Mauritius is a popular playground for hikers, snorkelers, and outdoor sports enthusiasts. Start your holiday with a safari in South Africa, a four-hour flight away, where high summer coincides with winter in the Northern Hemisphere, drawing snowbirds with 27-degree temperatures and a maximum of 10 hours of sunshine each day.

For the ultimate escape, nothing beats a private island. Palawan, a 125-acre estate in the Philippines, combines the best of tropical living with all the comfort you’d expect from a luxury resort. The island has been singled out by Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic, and Forbes as one of the best luxury travel destinations in the world.

If one island is not enough, why not hop between 333 of them? The volcanic archipelago of Fijimidway between Tahiti and Australia, is blessed with a hospitable climate year-round. Aboard a private catamaran, you can navigate the floating chain that stretches into both the Koro Sea and South Pacific Ocean and moor up at one island paradise after another, many of them decorated with luxury mansions and beachfront villas.