The Perfect Islands for a Holiday Getaway

Have you been dreaming of a tropical Christmas? We've got just the ticket.

If you ask me, the only thing more fun than building a snowman is a sandman. And if you’re sick of getting bundled up, staying in, and doing the same old, same old, maybe it’s time to mix it up and have a balmy and breezy Christmas, even if just this once.

Why not trade those icicles for warm waters? Instead of rocking around the Christmas tree, lay under the palms for a while. With these ideal islands, they’ll already be wrapped in lights by the time you get there.

Bora Bora

Overwater bungalows of a luxury resort providing a view on the Otemanu, Bora Bora, Tahiti, French Polynesia
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Famous for its romantic resorts, turquoise waters, colorful fish, and coral reefs, this Polynesian paradise becomes quite festive at Christmas time. Many of those aforementioned resorts and hotels offer rate specials with the holiday season in mind. You’ll also find great rates on Christmas dinners too.

If you stick around until New Year’s Eve, you’ll be treated to a spectacular fireworks display on the beach.

Barbados

Pisces Restaurant at St. Lawrence Gap on Barbados Island
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Come to Barbados for its sparkling Caribbean waters and powdery white sands. Stay for its fun and friendly holiday traditions. Or just go for a stroll. Because everywhere you turn, the homes, shops, hotels, and eateries are decked out for the most wonderful time of year.

You might even run into Father Christmas at one of the island’s hotels. If you’re looking to get out and about, there are Christmas festivals, craft fairs, and traditional feasts offering baked hams, ornate cakes, dried fruits, local spices, and holiday-themed drinks. Cheers!

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel island beach palm tree hammocks in Riviera Maya of Mexico
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Located off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the ever-so-popular Caribbean Island of Cozumel is a jet setters go-to for a tropical Christmas. Along with the dazzling holiday lights and vibrant decor, tourists are welcome to take part in tons of local traditions between all the relaxing.

In Cozumel, islanders participate in Las Posadas — a nine-day event that’s somewhere between caroling and a traveling nativity play. But if you’re just looking to lounge on the white sands and stare into the bluest of blue water, you’ll find plenty of quiet spots to take it all in. Cozumel is also known for some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling, in large part thanks to having the second-largest coral reef system in existence.

Malta

View from above of the golden domes of churches and roofs with church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral, Valletta, Capital city of Malta
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Craving a Mediterranean holiday? Go to Malta. From its festive decor to its sapphire-blue waters, its strolling carolers, and extremely traditional midnight masses, the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in this ancient island city.

If you’re in the mood for some jolly togetherness, join the congregation at St. John’s Co-Cathedral for candlelit caroling around Valletta. If you have a little extra time, head over to Gozo island to experience some of Malta’s most stunning natural wonders. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Kauai, Hawaii

lounging chairs overlooking Hanalei Bay and the Na Pali coast Princeville Kauai Hawaii
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With its glittering golden sands, endless waterfalls, and easy-breezy vibes, Kauai is one of the most beautiful destinations on earth any time you visit. But you’ve never seen it quite like this. Feast your eyes on the Festival of Lights, a twinkling Christmas parade boasting hula concerts and once-a-year whale watching. For those who love to surf, it’s also the best time of year to ride the sparkling waves.

Grand Cayman

Christmas tree at Camana Bay a waterfront town by the Caribbean Sea on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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Obviously, there’s not a lot of snow on Grand Cayman Island. But the warm-spirited locals more than make up for it by covering almost everything in colorful Christmas light displays. There are endless holiday events too, including winter-themed beach parties you definitely don’t want to miss.

Also of note, now’s your chance to make tropical snow angels when they cover the grass in white sands. Chances are, you’ll cross paths with the flip-flop donning Caribbean Santa. He’s said to roam the island and its hotels all season long.

Grenada

Annandale Falls, Grenada
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If you’re looking for a tropical Christmas that’s truly unique, don’t overlook Grenada. But do bring your appetite. Along with never-ending holiday menus, treat yourself to a traditional eggnog at any restaurant you’ll go to, but know what to order. In Grenada, it’s called a ponche-a-cream.

You can also immerse yourself in Grenada-specific holiday traditions like the Christmas masquerade soiree, which is just one of many celebratory street parties. But this time of year, the masquerade bands have a very special lineup just for the yuletide season.

Lord Howe Island

foggy view of Mt Gower, Lord Howe Island
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Located in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, Lord Howe Island allows you to escape the bitter winter and embrace summer in the Southern Hemisphere. If you’re looking for somewhere you can really take some time to yourself, this might be the perfect place for you.

With very few humans at all, only about 400 tourists are permitted to visit annually. You’ll have to make arrangements in advance, but you won’t regret planning this trip. What better way to celebrate Christmas than by surrounding yourself with untouched nature, glimmering lagoons, and magical coral reefs? Also, this sleepy island comes to life on Christmas Day, so follow the scent to one of the many BBQs on the beach, then go swimming with the sea turtles.

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