12 Most Exotic Places to Spend your Christmas Vacation

Discover these mind-bending places and make your Christmas a truly unique experience

If you are opting for a Christmas escape this season, three are many exotic options. While some would like to spend Christmas under swaying palm tree, others dream about white Christmas with a burning fireplace in some cosy resort.

Whatever your dream is, here is a list of some of the most exotic places on earth to spend your Christmas vacation and come back with pockets full of joy.

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The archipelago of 19 islands floating in the Pacific Ocean is the place where Sir Charles Darwin would surely recommend to spend your Christmas vacation. Just imagine yourself on a boat, exploring the wildlife found nowhere else on earth, or gazing at mesmerising volcanic landscapes of the islands. What could be more exotic? And if you’re afraid that in such an exotic place you might forget about Christmas spirit, don’t be. Ecuadorians have rich Christmas traditions - from eating roasted turkey to decorating trees, to singing Christmas carols. There you will feel like a part of a big family, and who knows, you might even encounter Christmas iguana.

Kauai, Hawaii

If you’re looking for a tropical paradise of untouched natural beauty to make your Christmas a unique experience, Kauai, the oldest of Hawaiian Islands, is the place to be. Also known as the Garden Island, it’s one of the most remote places on earth. One could say that seeing those lush forest, weeping waterfalls, imposing mountains, and beguiling beaches is just enough for your Christmas gift, but wait a sec - have we mentioned abundant Christmas festivities in Kauai? During December, such events as Festival of Lights, Hula Celebration, and lighted Christmas parade will be a true joy for your family. In case you want to escape Christmas lights, winter time is perfect for surfing in Kauai. Some say even Santa Claus can’t resist having fun on those mind-blowing waves.

Christmas Island, Australia

How do you feel about spending Christmas on Christmas Island? If you are wondering about the name of this far-away place in Australia, you’re not the first one. The story goes that this little patch on earth, sometimes called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, was named by English captain William Mynors on Christmas Day (December 25), 1643. It’s not an easy travel to embark on, but the world-famous red crab migration, usually starting in December, might make your Christmas the experience of a lifetime. As surreal as it sounds, we bet that Salvador Dalí would have liked that idea very much.

Santa Claus Village, the Arctic Circle

If you’re looking for authentic white Christmas experience, the idea of crossing the Arctic Circle in Santa Claus Village, located in Rovaniemi - the capital of Finland’s northernmost province, Lapland - should grab your attention. Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus - just imagine the excitement on your children’s faces when meeting the real Santa Claus with his playful elves or getting a special Arctic Circle postmark on a Christmas card. Moreover, just imagine yourself gazing at Northern Lights on the eve of Christmas day or taking a ride in reindeer slade. Christmas can’t get more Christmassy on the Arctic Circle.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, is a Christmas miracle in itself - after devastating hurricane Maria, it is back on its feet. Spending your Christmas vacation in a place, also known as Enchanted Island, might be a truly revealing experience. Here you can enjoy an exotic mix of tropical weather and vibrant Christmas festivities, or just be lazy on a sandy beach under a palm tree. By visiting San Juan, decorated in thousands of lights until the end of January, you will not only have enviable Caribbean Christmas, but also support the recovery of wonderful Puerto Rico.

Cape Town, South Africa

Spending Christmas holiday on the continent of Africa won’t get more jolly than in Cape Town, the Mother City. It has been titled many times as the best city in the world to visit and seems to have it all - balmy weather all year round, spectacular sceneries, raging from mountains to beaches, and even wineries with fantastic landscapes. If you want to have vibrant Christmas, don’t hesitate and come here to enjoy Festive Lights Switch-On on the Grand Parade, sing Christmas carols at historic gardens, or share pure joy with your family when meeting lovely African penguins on Boulders Beach. Last but not least, Cape Town is proud of being tilted as South Africa’s culinary capital, offering unique food experiences.

Barbados, Atlantic Ocean

If you want to spend your Christmas vacation surrounded by turquoise waters, interesting wildlife, good food, dreamy beaches, and secret places to explore, this charming Caribbean island ticks all the boxes. Since Christmas is an important tradition in Barbados, you will have an opportunity to enjoy fascinating festivities - such as a traditional stroll through the Queen’s Park on Christmas morning wearing one’s finest clothes, a drive around the island to admire magical Christmas lights, or a tasting of local Christmas delicacies such as jug jug. The unhurried pace of the island is a great way to relax from constant cares of everyday life and listen to Christmas songs when sunbathing on a wide white beach. To have some romance, you’re always welcome to hop on a catamaran cruise to explore more of Barbados’s tranquil west coast or take a swim with sea turtles.

Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard - the northernmost settlement on Earth - is for hardened travelers and dreamers who want to have a truly Arctic Christmas. From mid-November to late January this Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean enters into mystical dark season known as Polar Night. During this period, the sun is hidden from the horizon and everything is pitch-dark around the clock. The most unique thing about Svalbard is that here you have a double opportunity to admire the Northern Lights. It’s the only permanently inhabited place on earth where you can experience dayside Northern Lights. Just imagine yourself traveling by dog sled or snowmobile and gazing at imposing Aurora Borealis, big moon and sparkling stars - no need for Christmas miracles, they’re in front of your eyes.

Samoa, Pacific Ocean

This remote island nation floating in the South Pacific Ocean is another tropical paradise waiting for you to be discovered. Impressive waterfalls, emerald jungles, soothing beaches, and rich Polynesian culture - here you will feel as close to nature as possible. During Christmas, this tiny island becomes the jolliest place on earth - dozens of local choirs gather to perform Pacific-style Christmas carols and short dramas in the beautiful Upolu village of Vaitele-Uta. Gazing at divine sunsets when music gently echos in your head defines the magic of Samoa’s Christmas. Though it’s a long-haul flight, Samoa is one of the most affordable South Pacific destinations.

Goa, southwest India

If you’re looking for golden-sand beaches, colourful parties, and vibrant nightlife for your Christmas vacation, then Goa - India’s fun capital - is the place for you. Maybe it is the smallest Indian state, but its charm attracts large numbers of tourists every year. Yet Goa is not all about having fun and watching fireworks on the beaches, bathed by the azure Arabian sea. Here you will find an intriguing mix of Indian and Portuguese architecture and heritage, as Goa was the only Portuguese colony in India. On Christmas, you can attend midnight masses in old Goa’s churches. Because of the magnificent churches, this Indian state sometimes is called Rome of the East. Spending your Christmas here will be as fun, peaceful, and warm as are Goa’s people.

Sri Lanka, South Asia

In this island country, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Christmas will have a lovely smell of the best tea and cinnamon in the world. Sri Lanka can boast good weather all year round, but December is the most pleasant time, and it will not be overcrowded with tourists. Here you can exchange your Christmas presents on the sunny beaches, drink coconuts, and take a deep dive into relaxation. Oh, and wild elephants! Seeing these wondrous creatures in their natural habitat from close up - a unique attraction in Sri Lanka - will make your Christmas truly special. By the way, did you know that Sri Lanka is home to the world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree? It is located in capital Colombo and is 72.1 metres tall.

Mauritius, Indian Ocean

Mauritius, also called the pearl of the Indian Ocean, holds something truly unique. “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius,” wrote Mark Twain. This tiny island is full of lavish nature, raging from topaz waters and coloured layers of sand to tropical forests and bewitching underwater world. During December, Mauritius is even more exciting and full of joy - lovely fuss, preparations, and Christmas songs take place. With temperature not dropping below 25°C, you will be forced to celebrate Christmas in shorts and flip-flops. Amongst many attractions that Mauritius offers, there is one exceptionally unique. If you ever had a dream to swim alongside dolphins, Mauritius is the best place to do that - and why not live your dream during Christmas vacation?

Just thinking about these stunning places makes one feel relaxed and inspired. If you have that feeling of wanderlust in you, it’s time to start planning the best Christmas vacation ever!

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