When you think of Christmas, what comes to mind?
Let us guess: crisp winter air, snow, warm drinks by the fire, and family celebrations?
It’s classic festive season imagery.
But the Christmas holidays are also a time when people do a large portion of their yearly travel, and many spend this time escaping to warmer winter travel destinations.
Why not escape the brutal chill for a week or two? Why not exchange the same old Christmas experience for something a little different, like a sailing holiday in tropical paradise?
We’ve put together a list of the best places to vacation during Christmas so that you can spend this holiday season covered in sand rather than snow.
Welcome to the British Virgin Islands. Christmas here is going to be a little different this year. It’ll consist of gorgeous, white sand beaches, water so crystal clear you can see your toes, endless sunshine and an island-hopping itinerary. The BVIs provide strong trade winds and ideal sailing conditions for its guests, and as soon as you arrive you’ll feel all that 2015 tension melt away.
The BVIs and, more specifically, its yachting hub of Tortola — which is the ideal starting point for a 7-day British Virgin Island sailing itinerary — is packed with sailors this time of year, with many Americans escaping the cold and choosing to spend their Christmas break in the Caribbean instead. So don’t be surprised to see a Santa Claus tanning on the beach or to find that all of Jost Van Dyke’s bars and restaurants are full of Christmas cheer.
With relations between the U.S. and Cuba growing stronger, this warm winter holiday destination is becoming a popular spot to spend the Christmas break. White sand beaches, hospitable locals, affordability, and a vibrant culture make Cuba an awesome destination to spend Christmas.
Cienfuegos is known as Cuba’s ‘Pearl of the South’. It’s a coastal hub for yacht lovers and a home to Cuba’s best facilitated marina. Start your sailing holiday here and explore the coast of the Caribbean’s largest island. There are about 20 marinas and nautical centres all around Cuba’s coast. Do your Christmas chopping in Cienfuegos and then go inland for a family hike on Christmas day. Fly into Havana, where the colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, galleries and museums will no doubt be consumed by the festive spirit.
Centrally located in the heart of the Caribbean archipelago, Martinique is a great winter destination to experience Christmas on a yacht. Officially a region of France, Martinique offers stunning white sand beaches on the south coast and unique black sand beaches on the north. Spend Christmas snorkelling beautiful reefs and swimming in secluded bays.
Martinique’s French culture and style — which is most apparent in its fine seaside resorts and boutique shopping scene — mixes with a West Indian influence to create an interesting setting of warmth, music, and delicious food. One of the most popular yachting hubs is Le Marin, which is only a short ride from the Martinique airport. The marina here is well-stocked to provide you with Christmas lunch supplies, and it sits on a beautiful lagoon. From here, you can set sail and explore the beautiful south coast and the city of Fort de France, and it’s only a short day sail to the Grenadines.
If the Caribbean is too far to travel for a holiday break, Tenerife, with its strong winds and crystal clear water, is the perfect spot. Discover the beauty of a sandy Christmas while sailing the Tenerife coast on a beautiful yacht. It’s always sunny in the Canary Islands, so Christmas here will be a warm one.
Tenerife attracts over 10 million visitors each year, making winter by far the best time to go. The southwestern resorts of Playa de las Americas, Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos are the most popular coastal hubs. Take the cable car up to the summit of the Mount Teide volcano, Spain’s highest mountain. Snorkel with turtles or sail further out to catch a sight of the majestic whales and playful dolphins. However you spend it, Christmas in Tenerife will be a memorable one.
Phuket is the hub of sailing in Thailand, and winter is the best time to take advantage of its sunny, warm climate. The Andaman Sea, off Phuket’s coast, is a beautiful sailing ground with a scattering of breathtaking islands along the shore. Here, you’ll find some of the best beaches in the southern hemisphere, crystal clear water perfect for snorkelling, and some very hospitable people.
Phuket itself has a bustling city vibe with a great nightlife scene, excellent restaurants and plenty of places to do some Christmas shopping. With towering limestone peaks hiding secret bays and coves and world-class diving grounds, you won’t be stuck with nothing to do (unless you want it that way!) while spending Christmas in Thailand.
We realise it might be a little too late for you to book for this year, so why not start planning for Christmas 2016 and get a great deal on these hot winter travel destinations?
Discover your options at Zizoo, the home of sailing holidays.
Do you have a favourite Christmas holiday destination? Let us know in the comments!