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Jul 18

White Sand Beaches Replace Snow Covered Holidays in Paradise

Everyone dreams of  white Christmas. But, if your version is paved with powdery sand and festive cocktails rimmed with salt, then a trip to one of our top destinations to spend the holidays in Paradise may be the way to get your holiday wish. And not to worry – a trip to a tropical beach won’t have you leaving the season behind. Each destination on our list will be decking the halls (or poolside tiki bars) with lights, gingerbread houses and plenty of ways to celebrate your holiday season. Here are our top picks for the sandy shores that will let you indulge the holiday spirit.


St. Kitts

With two weeks of celebrations, full of carnivals and parades every day leading up to Christmas, it doesn’t get more exotic than a Christmas on St. Kitts. Unlike most islands, St. Kitts and Nevis hold their annual Carnival from late November through the first week of January, rather than in the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday, which is in February. The celebration, Sugar Mas, combines elements of Carnival with Boxing Day activities, parades and street parties. Highlights include musical events like the Calypso Semi-Finals and Band Clash, followed by a variety of parties. The Queen and the Calypso Monarch are crowned on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, while The Grand Parade occurs on Jan. 1 with the Cool Down Fete wrapping up the season on Jan. 5.

(St. Kitts & Nevis National Carnival 2011-12)

St. Kitts & Nevis National Carnival


While a stay at Four Seasons Nevis will have you feeling joyful anytime of the year, the holidays are a special time for Merrymakers to enjoy the elegance of this beachside luxury resort.  This time of year, the lobby, restaurants and main areas are lined with seaside, holiday-themed decor. Each restaurant will feature special holiday menus and Coral Grill, in particular, will host a traditional Christmas Eve dinner. For an even more pampered holiday, choose to stay at one of the exclusive Villas on Pinney’s Beach where you can step outside your door and ring in the New Year at the resort’s White Party. There, you’ll enjoy live entertainment, dancing under the stars and a champagne toast under a private fireworks display. Talk about capping your year off with a bang!

Costa Rica

Boats And Yachts at Costa Rica boat parade

New Year’s Boat Parade in Costa Rica

Not only does Costa Rica offer visitors fantastic beaches, awesome surf, and unforgettable sunsets year-round, but during the Christmas season resorts along the Pacific Coast offer an array of Holiday activities. Choose from boat parades at the Los Suenos Resort & Marina or Marina Pez Vela, or dazzling firework shows that line the Pacific shores. Resort communities like Hacienda Pinilla, in the popular province of Guanacaste, host events throughout Christmas and New Years. From Christmas Eve dinners at the JW Marriott to rockin’ New Years Eve parties watching the stars over the golden Costa Rican sands, the jewel of Central America has plenty of events to have you ringing in the new year saying, “Pura Vida.”

The Bahamas

Winter is the high-season here, and for good reason.  From December – April, the islands get very little rain and daily temperatures range from 75-85 degrees, making the Bahamas the perfect escape from the bone-chilling rains of winter farther north. Drawing tourists from around the world, Christmas in the Bahamas is celebrated in the traditional gift-giving and feasting form. On the shores of the sandy beaches you’ll find special parades, parties and chef-crafted holiday menus with a tropical flare to bring you and your companions an unforgettable holiday season.


A White-sand Christmas in the Bahamas

Followed immediately by Boxing Day celebrations on the 26th, the festivities only continue.  Parades are held to ring in New Year’s Day and an event called Junkanoo is held both on Boxing and New Year’s Day, as it’s one of the biggest events on the islands. Resorts, like Atlantis, are decked out with holiday decor and hold an endless list of events for you and your family to enjoy.  Looking for a more private holiday – check out the “outislands”.  Places like the Abacos and the Exumas offer smaller celebrations rife with laid-back luxury and Bahamian hospitality.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


The dazzling lights in Puerto Vallarta

While things are cooling down in many other places around the world, Puerto Vallarta is sunny and warm, with holiday activities that are just heating up. In this delightful Mexican beach town, the Christmas spirit abounds and celebrations begin weeks before Christmas. With a variety of parties, dazzling lights and festivals, people in Puerto Vallarta love to share in the magic of the season. During the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the beginning of December, masses of “Vallartenses” parade through the center of town in an elaborate display that shows off their religious devotion and vibrant local culture. These parades take place on the first 12 nights of December and create a magical scene for visitors at one of Vallarta’s largest events of the year. December is also whale watching season in Vallarta, when Humpback whales can be seen in the Pacific Waters turning your holiday into the adventure of a lifetime.

Resorts in Puerto Vallarta decorate lobbies, drape string lights both pool and beachside and dream up festive cocktails that make for a delightful holiday in paradise. Special services are also offered to make your holiday even more unforgettable. Garzana Blanca Resort and Spa offers guests the option of having a Christmas tree put up in your room to ensure your Christmas in Vallarta is everything you wished for.

St. John, USVI


Christmas on Caneel Bay

Located in the USVI,  Americans won’t even need a passport to enjoy a tropical holiday on the charming island of St. John. Here, Santa travels to the historic Caneel Bay by boat, arriving on Christmas Eve to hand out presents to the children. And while snorkeling isn’t a traditional Christmas activity, it may just top your list of holiday experiences. Thankfully, there is no better place to try it. Sip on a Gingerbread Martini and soak up the sun on the sands of the beautiful Virgin Island beaches.



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