Dreaming of a different kind of white Christmas this year? Trade snow for white sand beaches and turquoise waters and set out for a week of relaxation and celebration this holiday season.
As our early Christmas gift to you, we’ve put together list of five destinations perfect for a December sailing holiday you and your family will love. Refresh, relax and recharge because boats are waiting for you to climb aboard and make them your home for the week.
Come “sea” for yourself.
1. Phuket, Thailand
December Average High: 88°F/31°C December Average Low: 75°F/24°C
Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is surrounded by the mesmerizing teal waters of the Andaman Sea. Picturesque rock formations, historical architecture, and scenic national parks make this an explorer’s dream. Travelers can tour ancient temples, hike the Kathu Waterfall or spend time enjoying the views at Khao Sok National Park. Furthermore, Phuket is also home to some of the world’s best diving sites.
Locals enjoy catering to families that come here for the holidays and decorate the island festively. Local attractions and shows are a large draw for visitors as well. The Phuket FantaSea Show is known for amazing adults and kids alike with its trapeze acts, elephants, and thrilling pyrotechnics.
Your Boat in Phuket: Beneteau Oceanis 40, sleeps 6, €260/day (more options available)
2. Palmeira, Cape Verde
December Average High: 79°F/26°C December Average Low: 68°F/20°C
Just a short six-hour flight from the UK, the dreamy island of Palmeira was the first settled village in the northwest part of the island of Sal, Cape Verde. Travelers to Palmeira can enjoy scuba diving and horseback riding along the beach. Sal Island is also home to beautiful botanical gardens and the famous salt mines of Sal where tourists can be found floating the salty pools, rejuvenating their skin.
The Christmas holiday in Phuket arrives with elaborate gala dinners and celebrations throughout the month of December. The festivals, music, and outdoor activities are sure to put even the biggest scrooge in the Christmas spirit.
Your Boat in Palmeira: Beneteau Cyclades 43.4, sleeps 8, €314/day (more options available)
3. Grand Baie, Mauritius
December Average High: 83°F/28°C December Average Low: 73°F/23°C
Welcome to the beautiful blue lagoons and white sandy beaches of Grand Baie, an African village in northern Mauritius. CNN Travel voted this Indian Ocean paradise one of the “best African destinations”. Visitors can enjoy submarine tours, underwater sea walks, quad biking on the beach and private island day trips.
Because Grand Baie is home to many different cultures and offers a wide variety of Christmas celebrations, including evening firework celebrations and enhanced traditional holiday menus in restaurants and hotels.
Your Boat in Brand Baie: Beneteau Oceanis 361 (2 cab), sleeps 5, €450/day (crewed charter, more options available)
4. Great Abaco, Bahamas
December Average High: 78°F/26°C December Average Low: 66°F/19°C
Great Abaco is a group of islands and barrier cays in the northern Bahamas. Home to Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park and the Great Abaco Barrier reef, this destination is ideal for diving and exploring due to the underwater caves popular in the area. In addition, you can enjoy a relaxing picnic lunch on the beach with family or enjoy being pampered at one of the resort spas.
To kick off the holiday season, there is an annual Abaco Christmas Festival where travelers can take in a singing performances, marching bands, a parade, and dog show. In late December, there is a Christmas Junkanoo Competition where local groups compete for bragging rights in elaborate costumes and show off their musical talents. There is also a Festival of Lights. The Bohemians really know how to celebrate Christmas!
Your Boat in Great Abaco: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37, sleeps 6, €466/day (more options available)
5. Cartagena, Colombia
December Average High: 87°F/31°C December Average Low: 76°F/24°C
Cartagena is situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast and is one of South America’s most popular tourist destinations. This history-rich city is lined with cobblestone streets, and its buildings show off beautiful colonial architecture.
Cartagena is a tourist’s paradise. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a huge castle fort with underground passages that travelers can tour. Chiva bus tours are also a great way to see and learn about the city affordably. Horse-drawn carriage rides provide a romantic way for visitors to see what Cartagena is all about and there is also a neat gold museum that piques the interest of all ages.
Christmas time is when Cartagena really comes alive. Neighborhood gatherings abound, and theaters put on special holiday shows. Vendors line the streets with delicious food for purchase, and salsa dancers seem to come out of the woodwork for impromptu performances.
And if you’re looking for something more traditional, old churches and cathedrals offer gorgeous Catholic masses. You also can plan for a holiday feast at one of the many hotels and restaurants or book a private meal.
Your Boat in Cartegena: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 35, sleeps 6, €234/day (crewed charter, more options available)
Are you ready to trade in the Christmas trees for palm trees? Would you prefer warm white sands over cold wet snow? Make this a Christmas to remember and do something different this year.