If you’re looking to escape the snow and ice this holiday season, there’s no better place to go than the Caribbean. Not all of us want a “white Christmas”, and some of us would love to exchange the lower back pain that snow shoveling brings for a beach-side massage on the steamy, sandy beaches of a Caribbean island.
So where will you call “home” this Christmas? Perhaps it’s time to head south for a change, and swap that frozen nose for some sandy toes. Read on to discover the best places to spend a fantastic Caribbean Christmas.
Unique Spots to Spend Your Caribbean Christmas
Belize– A Cultured Caribbean Christmas
Maybe Belize isn’t the first country you’d think of when it comes to Christmas, but trust us, Belize is really one of the most underrated places to spend your Caribbean Christmas vacation. In this Caribbean country bordering Mexico and Guatemala, people celebrate Christmas during the entire month of December.
Belize has such a mix of cultures that you’ll find all kinds of things happening during the holiday season, besides traditional Christian Christmas celebrations.
When you’re not lounging on the beach sipping a cool coconut drink, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Christmas Bram celebration. During this festival, which has roots in Belize Kriol culture, paraders sing and dance through the streets of Old Belize City and surrounding towns.
Jankunu Dancers and the Maya Deer Dance
The holiday festivals in Belize come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. In Dangriga, Jankunu dancers hold competitions to continue a centuries-old tradition begun by slaves living in Belize in the colonial era. The Maya Deer Dance in the Santa Cruz area draws hundreds of spectators who come to see traditional Mayan costumes and discover an ancient tale of rescue and heroism reenacted through dance.
In keeping with hispanic tradition, “Las Posadas” celebration begins on December 16th. Catholics take statues of Mary and Joseph, dress up, light candles, and parade through the streets to arrive at different homes. As they go, they play marimba music and sing, similar to what carolers might do. At each home, they find the doors locked because there is no lodging available, like Mary and Joseph’s plight in the biblical story. Finally, the procession arrives at a house into which they are invited, symbolizing Mary and Joseph’s arrival at a stable, and the subsequent birth of Jesus. After some prayers, all the guests enjoy refreshments in the home. The parade is repeated each day until Christmas!
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
There is also a Christmas lighting ceremony in Mule Park in Belize City. Every year, the mayor turns on the lights to illuminate the tallest Christmas tree in the city. The spectacle is certainly awe-inspiring, and perfect for getting you and your family into the Christmas spirit.
See spectacular, luxurious suites and villas in Belize available during the holiday season here.
Barbados– Christmas Wining and Dining
Barbados has often been called “the party island”, and December is no exception. There’s plenty to do, and lots of delicious food to sample.
Christmas in Queen’s Park
Queen’s Park, located in historic Bridgetown, is where the party’s at on Christmas morning. Enjoy great live music, a fashion show, and tasty Barbadian snacks. Grab a cold drink as you watch the Christmas Parade. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the famous Baobab tree, the oldest tree in Barbados. It’s estimated to be at least a thousand years old, and stands 90 ft (28 m.) tall.
Bridgetown is ablaze with red and green Christmas lights and decorations in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s no “winter wonderland”, but it’s a Christmas paradise of a different sort. Locals and tourists alike often drive around town to snap pictures of the elaborate holiday displays.
Great Cake and Delicious Barbadian Cuisine
Like any other country, Barbados has its own traditional Christmas foods. If you’re looking to add some spice to your holiday season while on your Caribbean Christmas vacation, Barbados is the island for you.
Great cake, a traditional Barbadian pastry, certainly lives up to its name. It’s a mixture of a great variety of ingredients: dried fruits (cherries, raisins, currants, prunes), spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice) and even liquor go into this delicacy.
Another must-have dish on the Christmas table is called Jug-Jug. Similar to Scottish haggis, it’s made from salt meat, guinea corn flour, green peas, and herbs. Barbadians also often include baked glazed ham as part of a Christmas meal. Cured ham is traditionally studded with cloves and covered in pineapple or sorrel glaze.
Anguilla– Christmas in Peace
Anguilla is one of the most peaceful, happy islands you could ever set foot on. And believe us, you’ll literally want to sink your feet into the soft white sand that virtually all of its beaches offer. Shoal Bay East has more than two miles of this powdery goodness– and you’ll get almost all of it to yourself.
Off the beaten path
It’s on the smaller side, and isn’t even on the typical tourist’s radar. Therefore, Anguilla doesn’t get too crowded, even during “high season” like Spring Break and the holiday season.
In addition, there are no major resorts on Anguilla, which means your accommodations will be more private and oftentimes more luxurious. For that same reason, many celebrities flock to Anguilla for vacation since they are less likely to be spotted there than on other Caribbean islands.
Anguilla’s Christmas Village
However, privacy is only one of the reasons why this island is a great place to spend Christmas in the Caribbean. The people of Anguilla often decorate their cities, streets, and houses with fantastic Christmas lights and decorations. The Christmas Village in the Lower Valley is a magical collection of decorations and lights set up for everyone’s enjoyment.
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