Imagine sunbathing on a perfect sweep of white sand, brilliant turquoise water lapping at the shore, punchy rum cocktail in hand. We couldn’t picture a better end to the year than spending our Christmas vacation in the Caribbean, and with good reason. Mixing their tropical vibes, warm temperatures, and an infectious festive spirit, it’s hard to beat a Christmas vacation in this slice of paradise.
The following islands have all reopened to tourists in time for Christmas, so it’s time to get packing. When it comes to each island, nothing can beat renting out an isolated, beachfront villa for your stay – see them here. So, don’t forget your sunscreen, travel safely, and enjoy your stay at one of these top 5 Caribbean Christmas vacation destinations.
1. St. Barts
For those looking to mix their Christmas fun in the sun with some French sophistication, St. Barts is the Caribbean destination for you. With undulating tropical landscapes, pristine beaches, and beautiful towns, it’s no surprise that this is the destination of choice for celebrities and millionaires from around the world. Christmas is the busiest period on the island, and the locals go all out: it’s a glitzy, glamourous, and exciting place to spend your Christmas vacation.
Current guidelines for travel to St. Barts: For entry into St. Barts, travelers will need to provide a negative Covid-19 test result, administered within 72 hours of departure. All restaurants, boutiques, and businesses are open again in St. Barts, meaning life is almost back to normal. Restaurants are limiting parties to six people and have also spaced out their tables to ensure social distancing.
Masks are required on busy streets and when entering indoor places like shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Once seated at a restaurant, guests may remove their masks. No masks are required as you laze away on the beach. Before arriving, visitors also need to obtain a negative Covid-19 test.
2. Turks & Caicos
Secluded, luxurious, and genuine; it’s hard to find a more fitting description of Turks & Caicos. This small archipelago of islands and sandy cays remains delightfully off the radar for most travelers. This jolly tropical destination mixes its rustic colonial charms with world-class luxuries, powdery white sand, and historic, jungle-clad ruins. Christmas time is a festive period on the islands, with plenty of dazzling light displays going up at the luxury resorts and plenty of events. December 26 is a highlight though, when the impressive Maskanoo Parade takes over, a colorful and rhythmic procession rooted in the African tradition.
Current guidelines for travel to Turks & Caicos: Before arriving in Turks & Caicos, visitors need to complete a pre-authorization form for travel. They also need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result administered within 5 days of arriving on the island.
Masks are currently required in public places on the islands, and restaurants are open but operating at 30% capacity. All tours are available by appointment. For the latest updates on the situation, head to the official Turks & Caicos tourism website.
3. St. Martin
While the island still bears some marks of Hurricane Irma, St. Martin is well and truly on the way back up. Spending your Christmas holiday on this relaxing island will instantly become a fond memory you’ll carry with you for the rest of your days. With duty-free shops once again open, powdery white sand beaches, and water sports on all sides of the island, St. Martin is an excellent choice for your vacation. Oh, and who could forget the incredible array of fine-dining restaurants?
Current guidelines for travel to St. Martin: As part of the new requirement for entry, visitors will have to provide a health form and a negative Covid-19 test result, taken within 5 days of your departure.
Like most other Caribbean islands, masks are compulsory in all public spaces, on public transportation, inside supermarkets, and other stores and areas where social distancing is impossible to maintain.
With fantastic beaches, brilliant turquoise waters, and sunny weather, after one Christmas in Barbados you’ll never want to experience another white Christmas in your lifetime. Luckily, there’s no chance of that happening on this island, which packs a rum-laden, Caribbean punch. From its UNESCO-listed capital city to enchanting gardens to an untamed east coast, this island has it all. With welcoming locals year-round, Christmas here is especially fun – there are plenty of lights strung up around the island and loads of festivities for you to enjoy. To stay safe this festive season, we’ve also rounded up some helpful tips to consider when planning your journey.
Current guidelines for travel to Barbados: Barbados is once again welcoming tourists if you provide a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of your arrival, as well as fill out a health form. fill out a health form.
Guests from high-risk countries (like the US and the UK) will have to also go into quarantine for at least 4 days until they pass a second test, but with such luxurious villas scattered across the island, it could be worse. If your second test is negative, you’ll be free to roam around Barbados as you wish.
For more information about the current guidelines in place in Barbados, check out the official tourism website.
5. The Dominican Republic
As one of the most diverse countries in the Caribbean, a Christmas vacation in the Dominican Republic is an easy choice to make. There are tropical beaches galore for some sun and sand leading up to Christmas, but also mountainous landscapes rising in the interior for some jolly adventures as well. As far as the vibe goes, Dominicans absolutely love Christmas. The holiday season starts in October, so their already festive spirits have been ramping up long before you touch down for a Christmas vacation. There are plenty of family gatherings, big feasts, and of course friendly hospitality. If you’re here on your Christmas vacation, get ready to be treated like family by the locals.
Current guidelines for travel to the Dominican Republic: Out of all the Caribbean destinations on this list, the Dominican Republic is the only one that doesn’t require a negative Covid-19 test for entry. Instead, visitors will simply need to fill out a Traveler’s Health Affidavit on top of the normal customs and immigration forms.
Once you’re inside the Dominican Republic, masks are required in all public places, including supermarkets, public transport, and other areas where social distancing can’t be maintained.
The Caribbean is open and waiting, ready to welcome back tourists with their gorgeous beaches, tropical clime, and laid-back vibes. This year more than most, having your own luxurious beachfront villa will be hard to beat. Isolated and opulent, they’re the perfect place for a tropical Christmas. So, what are you waiting for? Tell Santa that this year, he’ll find you on a beach in the Caribbean.