Sure, snow is beautiful. But do you really need Jack Frost nipping at your nose to know it's the holiday season? I don't think so! This year, consider trading in your Christmas sweaters and fleece-lined slippers for swimsuits, sunglasses, and short-sleeved T's.
The following destinations practically include blue skies in the room rate, and have given Christmas meals, décor, and activities a balmy, sunshine-filled backdrop. Skip the frostbite without missing out on the season's festive fun. These destinations will fill your holidays with seasonal cheer. Here are the best Christmas Vacation Destinations:
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
December average high/low is 86°F/64°F
Puerto Vallarta is on Mexico's pacific coast and remains one of the country's tourism gems. Not only has it avoided the safety problems that a few other resort areas have struggled with in recent years, but it's also the most interesting and authentic of Mexico's resort areas. The weather during Christmas time is perfect for anyone wanting to escape the cold, and the airport also has good deals on flights from many North American cities as well. Hotels for well under US$100 per night per couple are easy to find, although if you want a well-located chain hotel you'll be paying at least a bit more. Start planning your Puerto Vallarta vacation and visit our Puerto Vallarta Travel post.
Best Puerto Vallarta Hotels:
December high/low is 82°F/75°F
December marks the end of the rainy season 0n Boracay, but those tropical storms rarely last long so the place is very popular over the Christmas holidays anyway. This gorgeous strip of sand is lined with hotels, as well as a sand pathway along the beach, making it possible to spend days at a time in bare feet. There are no super-cheap hotels, but that's mainly because every hotel is right on the beach. There are many choices for international cuisine here. This includes the great number of all-you-can-eat buffets that set up every evening right on the beach. There's also plenty of live music.
Best Boracay Philippines Hotels:
Tenerife, Canary Islands
December high/low is 71°F/61°F
Tenerife is the most English-language-friendly of Spain's Canary Islands, which are just west of Morocco (and about the same latitude as central Florida). It's not nearly as hot as most other destinations during December, but it's still darn nice! It's very popular among Europeans looking for something warmer. Because it's not really a great beach season, hotels in Tenerife are still quite cheap during the Christmas holiday period. Most everything else is quite affordable as well. If you are looking for a place with reasonable airfares, this could be a good choice. The area around Los Cristianos and Playa de la Americas is the easiest for English speakers, and it has the most consistent warm weather as well. Visit our Tenerife Vacation Guide to start planning your vacation.
Best Tenerife, Canary Islands Hotels:
December high/low is 86°F/76°F
Colombia has been rediscovered by tourism in recent years, but the historic beach city of Cartagena has been popular for much longer. Along the country's Caribbean coast (about the same latitude as northern Costa Rica, by the way), Cartagena is an interesting mix of beach hotels and a gorgeous walled colonial city with plenty to see. Not only is Cartagena popular with international tourists in the winter months, but domestic Colombian tourists taking their holidays as well. So you won't be avoiding the crowds here, but it is one of the more affordable sunshine destinations in the region.
Best Cartagena Columbia Hotels:
Panama City, Panama
December high/low is 90°F/70°F
Panama has some very nice beach resort areas with reasonable prices during Christmas, but it also has a large and mostly modern city at its heart. You can spend some of your stay at a beach and another part of your stay in the city, as both are a great value this time of year. The city has a few large shopping malls in the tourist area, so it could be a good place to do some Christmas shopping or just hanging around. The restaurant scene here is very good.
Best Panama City, Panama Hotels:
Montego Bay/Ocho Rios/Negril, Jamaica
December high/low is 86°F/70°F
Jamaica has 3 busy resort towns that are all served by the same large airport so they are somewhat interchangeable. Montego Bay has the airport so it's the easiest to reach, but it has fewer affordable, hotels so Ocho Rios and Negril might be better options if you are interested in a more affordable hotel. These Jamaican resorts are also known for all-inclusive resorts and appealing package deals. Even during the peak holiday months, it's possible to lock in an appealing deal if you book early enough. Visit our Jamaica Travel Guide to start planning your vacation today.