If you are wondering what are the best Caribbean islands to spend Christmas, then you have come to the right place!
Growing up in the Caribbean, Christmas is an extra special time of the year.
Individuals use the occasion to upgrade their furniture, clean their homes from top to bottom and cook dishes synonymous with the season.
The Christmas fruit cake is a must along with ham, sorrel and ginger beer. These are some of the main items consumed during the season.
Individuals also attend church services as well as exchange gifts among friends and families.
In this article, we explore some of the best Caribbean islands to visit for Christmas.
Furthermore, we highlight events and festivals celebrated during the Christmas season.
So let’s dive in!
1. St Vincent & the Grenadines
Its night mornings! Visit St Vincent and the Grenadines to experience a unique festival which is held to mark the Christmas season.
Nine mornings before Christmas, locals wake up early and gather at various spots where there are dances, singing and cultural performances.
The origin of the festival is unknown but many believe that it is rooted in the Catholic novenas.
St Vincent and its chain of 32 smaller islands known as the Grenadines are home to the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere.
Today, a descendant of the first breadfruit tree brought to the Caribbean by Capital Blyth still exists.
To enjoy some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, a visit to the Grenadines islands is required.
The mainland St Vincent is the preferred location for black sand beaches due to the volcanic nature of the island.
Lower Bay Beach in Bequia and Salt Whistle Bay Beach in Mayreau are two amazing white sand locations to visit.
Known as the Isle of Spice, Christmas time is celebrated with Parang music in Grenada.
This music art form has Spanish origins. Cuatros and maracas are the main instruments used by parang bands.
Yearly, the smaller dependency island called Carriacou hosts an annual Parang festival which began in 1977 where various bands compete for the championship title.
Bands also use the opportunity to create songs about cultural, political and economic hot topics that occurred during the year.
Pronounced Karry-a-cou, the island has a number of fantastic dive reefs, snorkel sites and the award winning Paradise Beach.
If you are short on time, the flying time from Miami International Airport is less than two hours and hence Jamaica is a great location for a short weekend getaway.
One of the unique art forms to enjoy during the Christmas season is the National Pantomime.
This began in 1941, and the national pantomime starts on Boxing Day (December 26) and ends in May of the upcoming year.
The show features comedy, jokes and other cultural presentations.
Jamaica is an island known for its exotic cuisine, wide range of excursions and white sand beaches.
Seven Mile Beach is one of the must visit locations on the island for its silky white sand and amenities.
Dunns River Waterfalls and Park is a major attraction which is a must visit if you are in Ocho Rios. This is truly the crown jewel of the island.
4. Trinidad & Tobago
As its regional counterpart Grenada listed above, parang music is a major part of the festivities in Trinidad & Tobago.
The instruments being the cuatro and maracas are featured in the bands. Parang comes from the Spanish word ‘parranda’ which means party.
The sound of parang has evolved over time to infuse some soca beats into this musical genre.
Trinidad and Tobago is a Caribbean island that is well known as the birthplace of steelpan music.
Visitors love the island for its exotic street foods such as doubles and also the golden sands and beautiful Maracas Bay Beach near Port of Spain.
5. St John, US Virgin Island
It’s party time on the Caribbean island of St John during the Christmas season !
What began as efforts to providing funding after the passage of hurricane Marilyn in 1995 has evolved into an enormous Christmas tradition.
The event is usually hosted at Mongoose Junction which is about five minutes’ walk from the ferry terminal.
The All Island Holiday Party which is also called the Prom attracts visitors and locals alike.
Persons usually dress in party attire and there are local bands which provide entertainment into the early hours of the morning.
A committee crowns a Prom King and Queen at this event.
St John is the smallest of the three major US Virgin islands. It is known for its hiking trails and the stunning Trunk Bay Beach.
This beach is usually featured in many of the photographs of the US Virgin Islands.
6. Turks & Caicos Islands
The British overseas territory of Turks & Caicos Islands is another exciting Caribbean island to visit for Christmas.
There is usually an after Christmas party held at Grace Bay Beach where locals and visitors relax as well as participate in a range of water sporting activities.
Additionally, the Maskanoo Parade occurs annually on Boxing Day with live bands and entertainment.
The islands are a group that consists of 40 different islands and cays. However, only 8 of these are inhabited.
The island of Barbados is located Southeast of St Vincent & the Grenadines and is a popular tourist destination in the Southern region of the Caribbean.
Christmas is a great time to head to Barbados as the Bajans mark the festival with a grand Christmas concert at Queen Park on Christmas morning.
This is truly a Bajan tradition and it’s a great time for locals to socialize with each other. At times, persons in various communities do not get to see each other. The Christmas concert often provides this opportunity.
The Barbados Police Band is usually one of the most anticipated performers.
On Boxing Day, there is usually horse racing at the Garrison Savannah which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Barbados is loved by visitors to the island for its beautiful white sand beaches and the unique Harrison caves.
8. St Lucia
St Lucians have a unique method of celebrating Christmas by bamboo bursting.
Cannons are made by filling bamboos with fuel. Thereafter, these are lit which leads to a loud explosion.
These sounds are often heard throughout St Lucia during the Christmas season.
Additionally, there are various Christmas markets and Christmas lightings at communities.
St Lucia is known for its UNESCO World Heritage site, The Pitons. The island is excellent for hiking.
The island is also blessed with amazing waterfalls such as La Tille, Sapphire, Toraille and Piton waterfalls.
Our next recommendation is the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba.
During the month of December Sinterklass is celebrated which is based on the figure St Nicholas.
The festivities are celebrated with special sweets and treats that are served during this time.
Certain figures such as zwarte piet which is black faced have been criticized by several groups
The term Zwarte Piet translates as Black Pete is Sinterklaas’s helper.
Aruba is one of the highly desired countries in the Caribbean region. It is loved as it receives significantly lower levels of rainfall.
As a result, warm and sunny weather is predictable when compared its other Caribbean counterparts.
The island is ideal for persons who love desert like terrain, golfing, butterfly farms, hiking, donkey sanctuary, sky diving and so much more.
Curacao and Bonaire also celebrates Sinterklaas as Aruba.
10. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is known around the world as the place with the longest Christmas season.
An overseas territory of the United States of America, the official currency is the US dollar and no passport is required by US citizens for entry and exit.
Due to the Spanish heritage of the island, there are many similarities between Christmas in Latin America and Puerto Rico.
Nochebuena is bigger than Christmas day where families get together to eat, celebrate and exchange gifts Christmas Eve night.
The Christmas season continues into January with the Three Kings Day.
If you are searching for a relaxing place to spend Christmas, then Montserrat is a great island to consider.
Fondly known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Montserrat celebrates the Christmas season which a range of events.
There are usually steel pan music, concerts, calypso competitions and pageant shows.
The island does not have an international airport and therefore the best way to get to Montserrat is through Antigua & Barbuda.
There are small aircrafts that travel from Antigua multiple times each day to Montserrat.
Guyana is a great place to spend Christmas if you will like to savor the taste of the national dish the pepperpot.
This is made with beef, pork or lamb and is simmered with spices such as cinnamon and clove.
Masquerade bands are a prominent part of the festivities. Locals can be seen parading through the streets with Christmas themed costumes playing drums and other instruments.
Located in the Amazon rainforest, Guyana is home to Kaieteur Falls which is the world’s largest single drop waterfall.
Belize is home to 300km of barrier reef system which is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which is the second largest system in the world.
Along the same lines as the other destinations mentioned above, Christmas is an important time of year which is marked with various celebrations.
One of the prominent Christmas traditions is the Christmas Bram which is rooted in the island’s Kriol culture.
The Christmas Bram began as part of the Mahogany camps when family members spend considerable amount of time in the forest.
Individuals returning from the camps will go from house to house with instruments eating, drinking and socializing.
Today, the community of Gales Point Manatee is well known for its lively Christmas Bram.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Caribbean Islands are the warmest at Christmas?
Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are Dutch Caribbean islands which traditional experience some of the warmest temperatures at Christmas. This is mainly due to the lower levels of rainfalls as a result semi-arid climate of these islands when compared to others in the Eastern Caribbean region.
What Caribbean Islands are best in December?
Some of the best Caribbean islands to visit in December include Turks & Caicos for those who love beaches. St Vincent & the Grenadines is also an excellent option to consider due to the uniqueness of the nine morning festivals which can be experienced in various communities throughout the island.
Best Caribbean Islands for Families At Christmas
The best Caribbean islands for families at Christmas are St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada and Aruba. These are among some of the safest islands in the Caribbean with many activities for kids. Also, the islands have excellent beaches, numerous direct and non-stop international flights, hiking trails and breath taking views.
Final Thoughts: Best Caribbean Islands To Spend Christmas
Christmas is the most important festivals for many islands in the Caribbean as locals pause to reflect and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
It is an excellent time to experience the foods and culture as many communities hosts various events to celebrate the season.
We hope that you consider spending Christmas in one of the Caribbean islands mentioned above.
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