For most people, the ideal holiday destination is somewhere where snow and perhaps even pine trees and ice skating rinks are part of the landscape. However, since a majority of the world’s people live in tropical climates, it is also possible to celebrate the holidays somewhere warm and sunny. Spending the holidays at the beach might not seem like a bad idea, especially for people who already live in colder climates and who need a break from the long winter, which will last two or three months after the holiday season has ended.

If you would like to enjoy a tropical Christmas on the beach, then these destinations will be your best options.

Surfer’s Paradise

Surfer’s Paradise

Photo: anthonycramp / Flickr

While the Northern Hemisphere is going through the first month of winter, the Southern Hemisphere is enjoying the height of summer. For Australians, the holidays are a time for a summer vacation. People flock to the beaches, and the sands of Surfer’s Paradise, on Australia’s famous Gold Coast, are among the most popular. Sitting on the country’s eastern seaboard, this beach is perfect both for sun-seekers and those who want to enjoy the surfing and other water-sports that are so popular in this part of the world. Best of all, the holiday season is a festive time in Australia, with locals coming to the beach because they are on vacation and their kids are off of school.

Hawaii

Hawaii

Photo: Ali San / Flickr

Holiday celebrations take place on all of Hawaii’s islands. Resorts put up some decorations and have holiday-themed events. Like the rest of the year, conditions are neatly perfect on Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Kauai and the Big Island during late December. Think it is not Christmas unless there is a chill in the air? You can head upcountry into the interior highlands of the islands, where temperatures sit at levels that are more akin to those that people would be experiencing if they had stayed home over the holidays.

Cartagena

Cartagena

Photo: Fernando Zeluta / Flickr

Colombia’s Caribbean city is charming at any time of year. Over the holidays, it has a certain allure, thanks to the energy that people here put into celebrating this time of year. Christmas decorations go up in early November. Despite the tropical temperatures, people will feel at home amongst the pine boughs, lights and holly that most locals here use to decorate. Shopping is widespread, with street markets offering decorations, gifts, and plenty of atmosphere. Local neighborhoods host get-togethers in the days leading up to Christmas, and there are also concerts and art festivals on the calender. In short, plenty of festivities make it possible to have a memorable holiday season while on vacation in Cartagena.

Cape Town

Cape Town

Photo: warrenski / Flickr

Cape Town is another Southern Hemisphere destination that is enjoying summer weather when Christmas and New Year roll around. The beaches are filled with people on vacation from school and work, and the city’s cafes, restaurants, wine bars, and shopping malls are in full swing. Main streets are decorated with Christmas lights, and there are some special events taking place. Tourists can also head inland to take in the world-class wineries in the Western Cape’s highland areas.

Singapore

Singapore

Photo: sayfool / Flickr

Singapore does have some great beaches, but it is probably best known for its urban atmosphere. The main city streets are lit up as brightly and extravagantly as any city in the world. Yes, you can head to Sentosa Beach for some sand and sun, but the main attraction in Singapore is its shopping. Orchard Road, the city’s main shopping street, has some of the world’ best malls and boutiques. It is also heavily decorated, so there is an unmistakable holiday atmosphere. Best of all, since the weather is consistently warm in Singapore, shoppers can leave their parkas at home.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Photo: Leandro’s World Tour / Flickr

In Rio de Janeiro, Christmas is a summertime affair. A huge party takes place on Copacabana Beach, with fire works and hundreds of thousands of people celebrating the season (more fireworks take place to ring in the New Year). A gigantic floating Christmas tree sits off of the beach. Most stores and shops close early, so it seems like everyone in the entire city is standing on the sands and enjoying the celebration together. Like the other Southern Hemisphere destinations on this list, Rio’s south-of-the-equator location means that conditions are nearly perfect when the holiday season rolls around.

Have you ever enjoyed a tropical Christmas on the beach? Tell us where in the comments section below.

Josh Lew
Josh Lew
Josh Lew has traveled widely in Asia and the Americas. He has contributed to popular travel sites like Gadling and Brave New Traveler and currently writes a weekly travel column for MNN. His work has also appeared on the websites of CNN and Forbes Magazine.

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it's free).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>