Although December is a time of festivities and fun—holidays, school vacations, mid-season of football—it can often also bring with it harsh temperatures and icy cold conditions. This year, why not take a break from the snow and visit the islands instead? In the Caribbean, you can escape to warmer weather, celebrate local holidays and traditions, and of course, hit the beautiful white-sand beaches.
December Weather in the Caribbean
With the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms past, December travelers can look forward to the Caribbean's average daily temperatures in the high 70s, with lows around 73ºF and highs of about 83ºF (temperatures in Bermuda and the Bahamas tend to be on the cooler side of the range). You might get rain on about one of every three days, but it's more of a light afternoon shower than a torrential downpour this time of year.
Pros of Visiting the Caribbean in December
The few weeks before Christmas are filled with bargain rates on hotels and airfare because this is typically a slow travel time. Many resorts cater to families looking to spend the holidays together by offering all-inclusive packages. Since nearly every Caribbean island has a majority Christian population, it's easy to find local holiday celebrations regardless of where you travel. Christmas cruises to the Caribbean are also an affordable, family-friendly option.
Cons of Visiting the Caribbean in December
Early December may be a cheaper time to visit, but hotel and airfare prices rise sharply for the holidays and especially for the week between Christmas and New Year's, when many families have time off from school or work. Those looking for a traditional White Christmas obviously will be disappointed, as will those wanting a typical U.S.-style holiday celebration as the Caribbean has few shopping malls, palm trees in place of Christmas trees, sorrell instead of eggnog, and so on. But if you're willing to embrace new holiday customs and cultures, it could be an exciting and unique winter vacation.
What to Wear
Pack some bathing suits, summer clothing, and sunscreen for the Caribbean's warm, bright days. Nights can be a bit breezy, so women should pack a light sweater while men should bring long pants. If you plan to visit during the holidays, you'll want to wear nice Sunday attire, especially if you are going to attend a formal Christmas Mass.
December Events and Festivals
The Caribbean has a broad array of unique Christmas traditions. You'll find Christmas Markets in Jamaica, Junkanoo in the Bahamas, parang music on Trinidad, and Sinterklass and his "Zwarte Piet" (black Pete) helpers in Aruba and Curacao.