Top Caribbean Destinations for Christmas
The Caribbean is revered as a Christmas destination, but what is perhaps less well-known is the great variety of different Christmas celebrations and traditions that different Caribbean islands display.
Any December or January style magazine reveals that countless celebrities choose St Barths as their special Christmas destination, and it is a particularly magical time of year on the highly exclusive French Caribbean island. Villa Milou is set within the exceptional Pointe Milou neighbourhood, with a terrace that offers the perfect setting for alfresco, convivial dining. The infinity pool and well-equipped gym are peerless places to unwind and work off festive indulgences, and the layout of the six bedrooms offers a very versatile space for different Christmas configurations of guests.
La Musique villa is also ideally situated to enjoy the best of the seasonal spoils, as it is in a secluded spot for private celebrations within its five stunning bedrooms, swimming pool and spa, but also just a short drive from Gustavia. Gustavia hosts a lovely Christmas Village for nine days in December, the perfect spot to get into the party spirit and make unique local gift purchases. The New Year’s Eve Regatta, for diverse sailboats in a relaxed atmosphere, is another event not to be missed.
For those who seek out a cutting edge Christmas, the Barbados Paradise residence, St James, is a sleek modernist icon sleeping up to ten guests in an exceptional private beachfront retreat. It is perfect for those seeking a chic and grown up Christmas, and has inspiring touches including a pizza oven, charcoal barbeque and Karaoke system for belting out seasonal songs.
Barbados comes alive at Christmas, with several world class restaurants offering their take on the best of yuletide. Nishi hosts a popular traditional carol service on Christmas Eve complete with mince pies and mulled wine. On Christmas Day some of the best places to enjoy a Christmas feast with a view include the Beach House and Mullins Beach Bar and Grill.
Christmas is for many a time for family to come together. Casa Ambra in lively Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is ideal for a larger family gathering, with six sumptuous bedrooms accommodating up to 12 guests. Its beautiful gardens and private chef lend themselves particularly well to celebrating and entertaining.
Dominican locals also set great store on spending Christmas with family, and it is when their legendary hospitality is most apparent. Christmas Eve is a big party night for many, but the country has one of the longest Christmas celebrations of anywhere in the world. It begins with the musical festival of Santa Barbara Day on December 4 and extends all the way through to January 6, Three Kings Day. Punta Cana is famed for its New Year’s Eve parties, with lively salsa and merengue all the way through into 2017.
For many, the essence of tropical luxury is stepping out onto a perfect white sand beach on Christmas Day. Set within the gorgeous Turks and Caicos Islands on Grace Bay, Sand Dollar is a six bedroom villa with one of the very best beaches in the Caribbean. Remarkable vistas are on display from virtually every window of the property, which includes an impressive gourmet kitchen, perfect for those wishing to cater Christmas themselves.
The Turks and Caicos have a dazzling array of events throughout December, including fish fries, gourmet markets brimming with fresh produce, arts and crafts exhibitions and beach barbeques, Boxing Day sees the historic and fascinating Maskanoo, the “Masquerade of the Masses”, in the capital Providenciales. Founded by slaves in the nineteenth century to lampoon the costume balls of their rich oppressors, today it is a raucous and flamboyant display of parades and music.
The ultimate indulgence for a Caribbean Christmas gathering must surely be a private island, and that is exactly what the beautiful Bahamas hideaway of Peacock Island offers. With 13 staff members on hand to cater to every possible festive wish, Peacock Island belies its small size with the sheer variety of luxury experiences that it offers. Christmas Day could be spent sailing, diving or fishing, with Boxing Day the perfect time to decompress in the sea view infinity pool, or on the yoga platform mounted over the glistening sea.
Lively Bahamian capital Nassau is just a 15 minute flight away, and Peacock Island enjoys its own private airstrip. Nassau’s Junkanoo Boxing Day Parade is an exciting spectacle for the senses. There are belling, drumming and dancing competitions, watched by hundreds of enthusiastic spectators, and an incredible array of costumes on display. It is a memorable and quintessentially Caribbean Christmas experience.
By Phileas French, Travel Writer