The holiday season is the perfect time of year for a Caribbean getaway. The weather is great and major discounts are available if reservations are made in advance. There’s nothing like spending the traditional Christmas season in another country to learn about its local customs.
If you’re tired of the same old Christmas and want a break from the cold weather, here are some must-have holiday travel ideas for an amazing Christmas in a bathing suit.
The best 2017 Christmas travel ideas
A Caribbean getaway! These are the best 2017 Christmas travel ideas
In the Caribbean, the traditional carols that are so famous in other countries—where are heard in the streets and shopping malls starting in early December—are replaced with popular songs and Caribbean beats. The dining tables in homes are filled with rich and varied local creations as opposed to a traditional suckling lamb or stuffed turkey. The streets of Caribbean cities fill with light and color during the many festivities that take place. For all of these reasons, in addition to the warm temperatures of the Caribbean paradise, places like Cuba or Panama are favorite destinations for Christmas at the beach.
Trade your coat for swimwear and snow for sand. Now is the time to plan a trip to the Caribbean during Christmas!
Christmas in the Riviera Maya, toast the New Year in paradise
What is the average temperature in the Riviera Maya in December? 79 °F.
Aside from the Riviera Maya’s amazing climate in December and January, the Mexican coast along the Caribbean Sea is one of the most popular destinations for Christmas travel thanks to its impressive Mayan ruins, lush landscapes, natural pools and majestic beaches.
In Mexico, the Christmas holidays begin in early December with the Posadas festivity and last through the first few days of January. Families come together for a traditional Christmas Eve dinner on December 24th. This widespread custom also takes place in most Riviera Maya restaurants and resorts, which serve special menus so visitors feel at home.
Since New Year’s Eve has less of a family focus, Mexicans throughout the country go out in search of a party. Bars and restaurants in Playa del Carmen, one of the top tourist spots, organize themed celebrations to toast the New Year on the evening of December 31st.
The Riviera Maya has everything for a fun Christmas vacation. Travelers who prefer to combine all of the region’s appeals with relaxation can stay at the luxurious establishments in Playacar since they are the best starting point for exploring the area while enjoying the convenience of an all-inclusive trip to the Caribbean.
Christmas in Cuba, Christmas Eve and 2017 New Year’s Eve to the sound of Cuba
What is the average temperature in Cuba in December? 75 °F
Christmas was not celebrated in Cuba for 28 years, but following the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1997, Cubans took up their Christmas customs once again, such as coming together in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square) for midnight mass.
A delicious Christmas Eve dinner can be enjoyed here, with turkey or chicken with rice and beans as the star dishes on the tables of Cuban families, followed by Cuban roast pig on New Year’s Eve. The two holidays are quite family oriented, and a ritual that stands out at midnight on December 31st is “throwing water”, which consists of tossing buckets of water from balconies in the hope of kicking off the new year with a clean slate.
A seven to ten-day trip through Cuba to experience these Christmas traditions begins among the historic stones of Old Havana. It continues through the historic cities along the south, such as Trinidad and Cienfuegos, and ends with well-deserved rest by the Caribbean waters in the northern part of the island. The fabulous Cayos and Varadero beaches are home to the idyllic images of fine sand and inviting blue waters, far from the cold that takes over the Northern Hemisphere during this time of year.
Christmas in the Dominican Republic, carols to the beat of merengue
What is the average temperature in the Dominican Republic in December? 79 °F.
In the Dominican Republic, merengue adds the perfect Caribbean touch to create a different kind of holiday season. Although Christmas in this country is not closely linked to religious celebrations, its Catholic churches are filled to the brim the evening of December 25th and representations of the Nativity by real people are accompanied by fireworks.
Some of the customs around these dates include cleaning the home on December 31st to get rid of evil spirits and arranging Secret Santa gift exchanges between friends and colleagues.
To experience these festivities and bask in the enticing waters of the Dominican Republic, it is advisable to combine urban tourism and a beach vacation, starting with a tour of the capital. The city of Santo Domingo exudes life on every corner, and the streets that highlight its colonial past are decked out in Christmas decorations.
Only one hour from Santo Domingo, residents of San Pedro de Macorís dress up in flashy costumes and, donning a whip, perform a dance to the beat of Afro-Antillean music. This second stop along the Christmas route through the Dominican Republic will reveal very interesting customs.
The best way to close out 2017 and add the finishing touch for the perfect vacation is to lounge on a sunbed on one of Punta Cana’s perfect beaches.
Christmas in Aruba, fireworks from a hammock
What is the average temperature in Aruba in December? 80 °F.
Christmas in Aruba touches every corner of this small island to combine the Latin, American and Dutch traditions from all the nation’s influences over the course of its history, as reflected in the varied dishes that are served at Christmas dinners. The holiday season takes place throughout December, with Boxing Day as the highlight on the 26th, when gifts and food are given to those who are less fortunate. Music, especially the traditional Dande, can be heard at parties, shows and homes all over the country, inviting people to sing and dance.
The wide array of activities available in this tiny country are a treat for visitors who are willing to try them out during their stay. The Palm Beach tourist area is home to the best resorts, restaurants and entertainment, in addition to stunning beaches from which to see fireworks on Christmas.
Christmas in Panama
What is the average temperature in Panama in December? 77 °F
Despite Panama’s high temperatures in December, Christmas is transformed into a tropical festivity that combines Latin and European traditions. Ornaments, decorated trees and festivals appear throughout the country during this period, and some of the capital’s neighborhoods even compete for the best decorations.
If you arrive the week before Christmas, you will be able to witness the great parade with floats and bands that take center stage in the festivities of Panama City. The Panamanian capital will always be the best starting point for a Christmas vacation in the Caribbean since the entire city is filled with light and color this time of year.
When it’s time to choose the best beach, don’t hesitate to opt for a domestic flight so you may bask in the untouched paradise on Earth: San Blas Islands. Occupied only by Kuna Indians, these islands maintain the charm of being relatively unknown to tourists, making them the best alternative to ring in 2018 from a hammock on a solitary island bathed by the intense blue hues of the Caribbean Sea.