Spending the Christmas and New Year holiday weeks with family and friends is the longstanding tradition for most people in the world, but those based in the colder northern climates are looking for alternatives. Breaking the habit of staying home will always reward you with a Christmas you will never forget.
Those with the resources have been heading to Hawaii for Christmas for a long time, but there are actually dozens of countries and islands with similar tropical climates around the world and most of them are far cheaper.
Below is a list of tourist destination that combines warm weather and low prices during the weeks around Christmas and New Year.
If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, then Colorado’s most famous mountain town and ski resort is the spot for you. Not only does Aspen offer the opportunity to ski down snow blanketed mountains at 20-25 miles an hour, the town also hosts a series of incredible holiday music events, shopping streets and tasteful displays of holiday cheer that encourage wintery strolls.
Aspen Colorado Christmas Vacations are a one-of-a-kind experience that will be remembered for a lifetime. The historic streets and scenic mountains of Aspen provide the perfect backdrop for holiday celebrations.
Dubai is a city that revels in superlatives: the biggest, the best, the richest, the newest, the most luxurious and the most expensive are all adjectives that really matter in the desert metropolis. Every year the government outdoes itself by pulling all the stops for its New Year’s Eve celebrations. For 2014 NYE, the city smashed the Guinness World Record for largest-ever fireworks display with nearly 500,000 shells fired in just six minutes.
A bevy of international celebrities and ‘it’ girls have rung in the New Year at three of the city’s most iconic locations: The Palm Jumeirah, The Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab.
You can check out travel deals for Dubai here and don’t forget to search hashtag #DXBNYE for NYE fun events in Dubai.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
If a snowy Christmas is not for you, then check out the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico for a truly tropical Christmas adventure. Go and experience all manners of lights, foods and partying…lots and lots of partying. Christmas in Puerto Rico is a big deal, bigger than in most places and bigger than you might imagine. It’s up there with Amsterdam’s streets, Finnish theme parks and the tree at Rockefeller Centre as must-sees on a Christmas tourist’s list.
A Puerto Rican Christmas is acknowledged as the central holiday of the year, the party lasts from the day after Thanksgiving to January 14, six full weeks of holiday spirit with a mind-boggling series of festivals, traditions and musical celebrations that power the island’s social life.
If you decide to visit the beautiful island buy yourself a ‘pava’ and enjoy the beautiful melodies of Feliz Navidad.
Santa Claus Village and Santa Park Napapiiri in Lapland, Finland (known as “Europe’s Christmas capital”)
Santa Claus Village and Santa Park are located at the foot of the Arctic Circle. Each year they draw thousands of visitors from all over the world to tour the two different Santa-themed parks, which include real reindeer, a tour of Santa’s workshop, and a meeting with the big man himself. This tourist location is ideal for a family Christmas holiday, where children make gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, enroll in Elf School or take a calligraphy class and compose their Christmas wish lists with a traditional quill. Other area attractions include the Ranua Zoo, home to baby polar bears, wolverines and moose; Sirmakko reindeer farm, where visitors can take a sled-led reindeer safari; and the Arktikum, a science center where the mystery of the northern lights is revealed.
When parents begin to feel like they have overstayed their welcome with Santa, the nearby city of Rovaniemi provides a wider array of holiday delights including the Artic Snow Hotel, which is made entirely of ice and snow.
Obudu Mountain Resort
If you have had a stressful 2015 and you need the Christmas holidays to hibernate and relax, Obudu mountain resort is perfect for you. Obudu is located deep in the tropical rain forest of Cross River State, an area of idyllic tranquillity and enchanting scenery. Activities include driving on the famous Devil’s Elbow road with its 22 bends, walking on the 60KM canopy walkway built in the form of a ladder treehouse, for a breath-taking view. You can also visit the water park and the cattle ranch, and play golf.
New York City
One of the world’s biggest holiday destinations, New York City gets a yuletide makeover every December for Christmas. You can check out the Rockefeller, with its 30,000 twinkling fairy lights and its famed ice rink; stroll along Fifth Avenue where the Fifth Avenue flagships and department stores like Saks and Bergdorf shops are aglow with festive window displays; go ice skating in Central Park; or marvel at Macy’s fantastic Santaland.
You can also purchase tickets to famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular or visit the New York City Ballet. On New Year’s Eve, millions crowd in to see the iconic ball drop at 11:59PM at Times Square. This celebration features a star-studded musical. However, if you are looking for a more private celebration to ring in the New Year there are lots of private parties to attend!
The Palawan Island in Philippines is a hidden piece of paradise recently named “The Top Island in the World” by Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader Choice Awards. The beautiful blue water mixed with emerald green, jungle-filled mountains that appear to rise up from the ocean, and small fishing villages that dot the island together with its neighbouring islands, all create the Palawan province.
Home to amazing locations for snorkelling and diving, Palawan province has a second UNESCO World Heritage Site that is popular spot for undersea adventurers – Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park. Palawan’s beauty and thrilling outdoor or undersea adventures are no secret to the world. It was once named one of the best islands in the world by National Geographic Traveller.
If you are a nature lover and don’t want to travel too far then IITA (the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) in Ibadan, Nigeria would be a good spot to spend your holidays. Much of its 1000-hectare campus is used for scientific research on improving food production in Africa, but a third of the campus consists of unspoiled tropical forest, a natural preserve for birds and other fauna.
A lake about 3 km long developed to provide irrigation water, attracts hundreds of species of resident and migratory birds. The lake has been spawned with various fish species and is a lodestone for anglers. There’s also a golf course, tennis court and swimming pool to keep you active all through the holidays.
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you want a fun-filled holiday and to ring in 2016 with a bang, then Las Vegas is the place to be! Las Vegas is known to do everything big and with style so you can plan a different event every day of your holiday when in the desert city. Notable events include Jerry Seinfeld at Caesars Palace, The Nutcracker show performed by the Nevada Ballet, ice-skating at the Cosmopolitan or watching the Bellagio Fountains dance to your favourite Christmas carols, and if you are a rodeo fan you can watch the National Finals Rodeo.
We can only sum up New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas in one word: crazy (in a good way). The entire Strip is shut down to traffic and it becomes one giant block party. At midnight, the casinos launch a choreographed fireworks display and the nightclubs are packed with celebrities and partygoers who are dressed to impress.
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Where would you like to spend your Christmas and New Year holidays? Let us know in the comments.