As this year comes to an end, we break out the champagne bottles and stock the cabinets with delicious snacks for New Year’s Eve. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends, and bask in the glow of last year’s accomplishments.
Most folks gather in their homes to watch the New York ball drop on TV, or brave frigid temperatures to see it from Times Square first hand. Others sip coffee and tea around a fireplace as the snow falls outside the window.
However, some are looking for a change in tradition this year– and if that’s you, you’ve come to the right place! We at KeyCaribe bring you 2 awesome ways to kick off the New Year in the Caribbean, of all places.
Perhaps tropical breezes and swaying palms aren’t the first thing to come to mind when you think of “New Year’s Eve”. But never mind that– New Year’s celebrations are absolutely incredible in the countries that touch the Caribbean Sea! So, here are three incredible ways to celebrate in paradise:
1. Watch the largest fireworks show in the Caribbean
Head to the island of St. Martin for what is said to be the biggest display of fireworks in the Caribbean Sea on New Year’s. You can watch this fabulous pyrotechnics show at Great Bay, near Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island. Grab a drink and some food at Great Bay Promenade while you wait for the fireworks to begin.
In addition, you can catch another fireworks display on the French side of the island. Orient Bay, on the island’s East Coast, also launches midnight pyrotechnics on December 31st.
2. Join in for the joy of Junkanoo
The Bahamas holds an annual Junkanoo festival on December 31st. On the island of New Providence, a giant parade forms in Nassau around 2 am. Revelers dance and drummers beat hypnotic rhythms as they make their way down Bay Street. Nearly everyone wears some sort of elaborate, feathered costume, and the music, food, and drink lets everyone get in on the fun.
The parade continues until about 10 am on January 1st, when judges award prizes for the best dressed participant, best group presentation, and best music, among others. You can also experience Junkanoo on other Bahamian islands, including Grand Bahama Island, Eleuthera & Harbour Island, Bimini, The Exumas, and The Abacos. The parades there may be a bit smaller, but they’re just as fun!
3. Forget the ball– watch an onion drop!
Did you know that the island of Bermuda used to be a major exporter of onions? In fact, the country was nicknamed “The Onion Patch”. Since these vegetables grew so well on the island and were a staple crop well through the 1800s, they have been played an important part in Bermuda’s history.
Therefore, instead of a giant mirror ball, Bermudians gather at King’s Square to watch a huge, paper-mache onion covered in lights descend from above. The celebration takes place in St. George, where revelers can enjoy live music, dancing, and great street food. Afterwards, thousands gather at the harbor to watch fireworks light up the skies. Is this isn’t a unique way to celebrate New Year’s, we don’t know what is!
4. “Jump Up” for the New Year
We don’t literally mean jumping off your feet to celebrate– although you certainly can. There’s a New Year’s party on the Caribbean island of Montserrat that might make you do just that! Starting from December 23rd, you can attend pageants, parades, and competitions. The festivities culminate in energetic street dancing/parading on January 1st, also known as “Jump Up Day”.
5. Host a private New Year’s Bash
Did you know that you can actually rent your own private island in Belize and for your own New Year’s blowout party with friends or family? Or, you can book a fabulous villa with room for all your guests to stay comfortably.
Key Caribe provides excellent concierge services that are perfect for party-hosting. Choose from hundreds of available private villas on a host of Caribbean islands, including St. Martin, Barbados, Aruba, Antigua, Curacao, and Turks & Caicos.
6. Kick it off “low key”
Not everyone wants to spend the last night of the Old Year surrounded by loud music and hundreds of strangers. Nor does everyone like to party. Don’t worry– we’ve got you covered. The Caribbean is known for being a corner of the world with plenty of secluded areas as well as lively ones.
All you have to do is book your accommodations anywhere but a tourist-packed resort or hotel, and voila! You’ll be able to celebrate the New Year surrounded by nothing but peace and quiet.
In fact, we love the idea of stretching our legs out on the sand, sipping a glass of champagne with a treasured friend or loved one, and watching the sunset on the last day of the year. Afterwards, a private candlelight dinner would be just the ticket, followed by a few board games or maybe a movie or two until midnight rolls around. Or, perhaps you’d like to sit seaside, feel the warm ocean water on your toes, and contemplate the moon’s reflection on the glassy surface.
7. Find your wild side
The great thing about the Caribbean islands is that there are plenty of secluded places to do whatever you want to do…wherever. You know, like midnight skinny dipping, for example! Of course, that’s a no-go if you’re staying at a crowded resort.
So, book a special, private place where you can really enjoy the ocean, sand, and shore– and have them (literally) all to yourself (and a few adventurous friends, if you like).
Ready to head to the Caribbean for the New Year’s celebration you never knew you needed? Let KeyCaribe give you the keys to the Caribbean, and make the last day of this year absolutely unforgettable!