Winter’s enchantment unfolds with its sparkling snow, festive celebrations, and the joy of snuggling by a warm, crackling fire. However, despite its charm, the season can sometimes weary us. Even the most passionate winter lovers can only endure chapped lips and dwindling daylight for so long. That’s why the colder months offer a perfect opportunity to embark on a journey. In this complete guide, you will discover 29 warm places to visit in December worldwide.
Sunny beaches and tropical islands beckon, providing a delightful escape from the chill. Moreover, as the temperatures drop, so do the prices of hotels and flights. If you prefer sandy shores over a snowy Christmas, you’re in for a treat. We’ve explored the world to uncover warm destinations to visit in December and throughout the winter. These places maintain pleasant temperatures, rarely, if ever, dipping below 50 degrees, regardless of the local season.
Whether you dream of basking in the sun while your friends shiver back home or are ready to explore arid, sun-soaked deserts in Africa, there’s a balmy destination waiting to embrace you.
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica truly offers a natural paradise. With its rich rainforests, lively volcanoes, and peaceful beaches, this Central American gem caters to outdoor lovers. Whether you adore nature or prefer city life, there are many exciting things to do. You can soak up the sun on Nicoya Peninsula’s beautiful beaches, go on an adventure climbing Arenal Volcano (starting at just $59 per person), explore the enchanting Monteverde Cloud Forest (typically around $40 per person for tours), discover the country’s national parks, and wander through the lively streets of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.
In December, Costa Rica enjoys a warm climate, with temperatures reaching around 86 degrees Fahrenheit along the coast and approximately 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountains. For getting around, local buses offer both affordability and eco-friendliness, but remember to secure your tickets in advance. When it comes to food, the prices can vary based on where you choose to dine. You might spend between $10 and $20 for a full-course meal, while a simple dish at a local “soda” restaurant will likely cost you around $5.
If you’re looking for a great place to stay, Aguas Claras in Puerto Viejo, boasts six cabanas and a few restaurants that are favorites among the locals.
2. Okinawa, Japan
Winter in Okinawa brings average temperatures of around 70 degrees for the high and 57 degrees for the low. While northern Japan offers a haven for skiers during this season, the southern islands of Okinawa stand out as excellent warm destinations to explore in December.
Although the ocean’s water is a tad cool for most swimmers at around 70 degrees, there are still numerous activities to enjoy throughout the prefecture. The mild climate makes it ideal for cycling, with many islands boasting well-established paths and bike rentals conveniently located near ferry ports. Riding through the flat terrain allows you to relish the breathtaking ocean vistas without overexerting your leg muscles.
Visitors can also immerse themselves in the mesmerizing sight of 3,000 vibrant lanterns during the Ryukyu Lantern Festival, typically held from early December through late March each year. If you extend your stay into January, you may have the chance to spot humpback whales in the ocean. Depending on the weather, you might even witness Japan’s earliest cherry blossom blooms, adding an extra layer of magic to your journey.
3. Bora Bora
With average winter temperatures reaching a high of 86 degrees and a low of 75 degrees, Bora Bora proves to be a fantastic destination throughout the year. This idyllic island, renowned for its crystal-clear waters and lush mountains, becomes an even more enticing escape from the cold and icy conditions.
Often described as a slice of paradise, Bora Bora offers some of the finest resorts in the South Pacific. Its turquoise waters and vibrant landscapes make it a truly heavenly destination.
Winter temperatures along the Namib Desert’s coast average a high of 68 degrees and a low of 59 degrees. If your idea of a perfect winter getaway involves safaris rather than lounging in the sun, then Namibia is tailor-made for you. This captivating country has experienced a surge in tourism recently, and part of the credit goes to its enhanced accessibility.
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of connecting flights into Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, through major hubs like Johannesburg on South African Airways, Amsterdam on KLM, Doha on Qatar Airways, and Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines. The availability of renovated lodges, such as the ultra-luxurious AndBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, has contributed to this trend.
Namibia’s well-maintained road network, some of the most navigable in Africa, has fueled a surge in road trips, making it an ideal choice for travelers seeking captivating Instagram-worthy experiences.
5. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Winter temperatures in Puerto Vallarta typically reach a high of 81 degrees and a low of 63 degrees. While the town may exude youthful energy during spring break, there are many experiences beyond sunbathing undergrads waiting to be discovered in this Pacific resort destination.
You can indulge in winter whale watching in Banderas Bay or explore an artisan market offering local goods. Just a short half-hour boat ride to the south, you’ll find the tranquil shores and scenic waterfall hikes of Yelapa Beach. For those looking to experience a touch of celebrity life, Casa Kimberly, the former residence of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, has been transformed into a nine-suite boutique hotel, offering an exclusive and luxurious stay.
6. The Bahamas
During the winter, the East Coast folks are fortunate to have the perpetually sunny Caribbean within easy reach, and the Bahamas stands out as one of the finest and most convenient options in the region. While it’s technically located in the Atlantic, the crystal clear turquoise waters here rival anything you’d find farther south.
For a memorable escape, make your way to Nassau, where you’ll discover some of our cherished properties that have remained untouched by time. Notable options include SLS and Rosewood at the Baha Mar resort complex, along with the enchanting Harbour Island.
7. Penang, Malaysia
During the winter, Penang, a Malaysian island with average temperatures of 89 degrees for the high and 75 degrees for the low, offers a captivating journey through its rich history. Once a bustling trading hub, the island has absorbed the cultural influences of various civilizations.
George Town, the island’s vibrant capital, is a living testament to this cultural fusion, boasting a blend of colonial and Chinese architectural marvels, as well as rows of charming pastel-painted shophouses. What makes Penang even more enticing is its global reputation as a street food haven. The Gurney Drive Hawker Centre in George Town is a vibrant hub of culinary delights, with the most diverse selection of food stalls, promising an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.
8. Sydney, Australia
Winter in Australia is an enticing option. We’re eager to embrace those warm Southern Hemisphere summers once more. Sydney is a fantastic destination for a week or two, offering golden beaches, surfable waves, and a vibrant culinary scene.
If you’re seeking a respite from the student crowds during their summer vacation, you can plan a quick day trip to the enchanting Blue Mountains or the picturesque Northern Beaches. Australia’s warm winter beckons, promising a memorable escape filled with sun and adventure.
9. Madeira, Portugal
Situated 300 miles west of Morocco, this island is renowned for its captivating black-sand beaches, breathtaking hiking trails, and the art of sipping wine. Don’t miss the chance to explore Cabo Girão, which boasts a dizzying skywalk, one of the highest in all of Europe, and vineyards teeming with malvasia grapes used in creating delectable malmsey wine.
For a memorable stay, consider checking in at Belmond Reid’s Palace. With its 158 luxurious and roomy accommodations perched on a cliffside, it treats you to spectacular views of Funchal Harbour, making your visit even more special.
10. Paros, Greece
From December through March, Paros emerges as one of our cherished warm winter getaways. This gem in Greece’s Cyclades might not enjoy the same level of fame as Santorini or Mykonos, but it has its own unique charm. The island boasts an abundance of pristine beaches, picturesque whitewashed hillside villages, and hidden swimming caves waiting to be explored.
What sets Paros apart is the scarcity of other tourists. You’ll find yourself sharing this tranquil paradise with European vacationers who have chosen it as their second home. The charming villages of Parikia, Naoussa, Lefkes, and Marpissa offer an authentic and peaceful escape from the crowds.
11. Antigua and Barbuda
Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda stand as twin islands proudly displaying their rich history. Remnants of British colonization, the well-preserved forts stand tall, bearing witness to centuries of historical significance. Every nook and cranny weaves a tale of bygone eras, from the lively local markets overflowing with handcrafted goods and exotic fruits to the charming streets of harbor towns.
These islands are home to over 365 beaches, assuring a unique sandy escape for each day of the year. Sun-seekers can laze under the warm rays, while the more adventurous souls can dive into activities like snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, or even ziplining. Moreover, with temperatures ranging from 73 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit, December provides the perfect warm backdrop for your getaway.
12. Cancun, Mexico
Cancun is a coastal treasure. On one side, ancient Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza celebrated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, proudly display the area’s rich history. On the flip side, renowned beaches and clubs, such as Coco Bongo and Mandala Beach, offer ideal settings for daytime relaxation and lively nighttime entertainment. Moreover, adventure enthusiasts should definitely explore the cenotes, natural limestone sinkholes brimming with fresh water, for a scenic day trip.
December, with its pleasant average temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, stands out as one of the finest times to experience Cancun. With warm days, cooler evenings, low humidity, and conveniently situated outside the hurricane season, it’s a surefire choice for a great visit.
Nestled next to the shimmering Caribbean Sea, Jamaica stands as a tropical paradise, where the blend of African and European cultures weaves a rich tapestry. Yet, it’s the alluring beaches – picture Seven Mile Beach and the inviting Sandals Montego Bay Beach – that beckon wanderers to bask in the sun or partake in water adventures.
With December temperatures dancing around a pleasant 82 degrees Fahrenheit, Jamaica offers a warm getaway. Thrill-seekers can revel in attractions such as Dunn’s River Falls and the heart-pounding cliff dives at Rick’s Cafe in Negril. Moreover, local delicacies like jerk chicken and patties not only tantalize the taste buds but also prove gentle on the wallet, ranging from just $2 to $6.
Peru weaves a captivating tapestry of history, nature, and culture. Tucked into the Andes, cities like Cusco and Lima seamlessly blend colonial charm with indigenous heritage, painting vivid tales of empires colliding in days of old. Beyond the urban landscapes, the Amazon Rainforest enchants us with its remarkable biodiversity. However, the true gem of any Peruvian journey is the renowned Machu Picchu, a testament to the ancient Inca civilization.
Come December, Peru offers a pleasant climate, with Lima and Mancora boasting temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Amazon region, highs hover around 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, you can expect a range from 45 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in high-altitude places like Cusco. Although the rainy season kicks off in December, painting the land in lush greens, adventurers still find ample opportunities for trekking, water sports, and jungle escapades.
15. Seville, Spain
Nestled in the heart of Andalusia, Seville exudes a passionate spirit. It’s a place where fiery flamenco dances, intricate Moorish architecture, and delicious local cuisine come together harmoniously. Landmarks like the Alcazar Palace and the Seville Cathedral proudly tell the story of its vibrant history. Moreover, the Santa Cruz neighborhood, with its winding alleys and lively squares, captures the city’s very essence.
During December, Seville blesses you with a mild climate, where daytime temperatures reach a comfortable 65 degrees Fahrenheit. To savor the flavors of Spain, you can explore tapas bars scattered throughout the city, serving delectable small dishes priced at approximately $3 to $8 each. And for those who adore sangria, a glass of this delightful wine-based cocktail will only cost you around $6.
16. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
At the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula lies Cabo San Lucas, a place that seamlessly combines natural beauty and vibrant nightlife. From the famous El Arco rock formation to the pristine golden beaches, this destination offers a mix of relaxation and adventure that won’t break the bank. The marina, where luxury yachts and lively eateries abound, serves as the city’s vibrant heart.
Come December, Los Cabos treats you to a warm escape, with temperatures reaching a pleasant 81 degrees Fahrenheit, providing respite from the winter cold. When it comes to dining, street tacos can be relished for a mere $1 to $3 each, while dining at a restaurant may range from $15 to $25. And if you’re looking to embark on exciting tours and experiences, set aside around $35 for a boat trip to El Arco, approximately $100 for a memorable camel ride, and $90 for an ATV adventure, just to name a few.
Cuba offers a unique blend of vintage automobiles, charming pastel buildings, and the lively beat of salsa music. The historic charm of Havana’s Old Town and the UNESCO World Heritage-designated tobacco fields of Viñales transport you to a bygone era.
A December visit to Cuba promises pleasant weather, with temperatures averaging around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the heart of the dry season, ensuring your plans won’t be spoiled by unexpected rain. For those traveling on a budget, paladares and home-run restaurants serve up traditional dishes like ropa vieja and arroz con pollo for $8 to $12. Additionally, street food options abound, offering tasty treats for less than a dollar. When it comes to navigating the city’s streets, the iconic almendrones and vintage cars provide both a unique experience and a cost-effective mode of transportation.
18. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, a U.S. island territory, beautifully blends Caribbean allure with contemporary comforts. Old San Juan, with its cobblestone streets and historic Spanish forts, provides a captivating contrast to the lush tropical rainforests of El Yunque, the only tropical forest in the United States, and the enchanting bioluminescent bays of Vieques, known as the world’s brightest.
In December, Puerto Rico bathes in sun-kissed warmth, with temperatures averaging around 83 degrees Fahrenheit. While the local beaches, particularly the renowned Flamenco Beach in Culebra, are a sight to behold, there’s much more to keep you engaged. If you’re a fan of rum, don’t miss Casa Bacardi, one of the island’s premier attractions, offering a 90-minute guided tasting tour for $75.
19. Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena’s walled city radiates colonial charm along Colombia’s northern coast through its vivid buildings and cobblestone streets. The iconic Clock Tower presides over the city, enclosed by centuries-old fortifications, creating a vibrant hub of excitement, renowned cuisine, and captivating street art at every turn.
Cartagena enjoys tropical warmth in December, with temperatures averaging a comfortable 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you crave local treats like arepas and empanadas from street vendors, priced at just $1 to $3, or prefer a meal at a top 50 Latin American restaurant like Celele, where an average meal costs around $33 per person, dining in Cartagena is a unique experience in itself. Additionally, the Rosario Islands, a short boat trip away with boat fares ranging from $16 to $25, offer pristine beaches, luxurious accommodations, and enchanting coral reefs to explore.
20. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana, renowned for its beachside resorts and palm-fringed shores, is the quintessential Caribbean escape. Yet, beyond its stunning beaches, there’s a wealth of attractions to explore, including the Reserva Ecológica Ojos Indigenas, a sprawling 1,500-acre private reserve, and the vibrant Coco Bongo nightclub, a favorite hotspot for tourists seeking a lively time.
In December, you can look forward to pleasant temperatures hovering around 83 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to unwinding on a beach chair and working on your tan with a refreshing drink (cocktails priced at around $8 at beach bars and beers comfortably at $6), consider embarking on locally guided adventures. Options include a thrilling buggy adventure at $40 per person, an Isla Salona excursion at $75, or a Santo Domingo city tour at $95.
21. Savannah, Georgia
Drifting in the gentle embrace of Southern charm, Savannah reveals its antebellum architecture, lush squares, and a captivating hint of the supernatural. As one of the nation’s top spots for ghostly encounters, this American treasure presents many opportunities. You can stroll down cobblestone streets and feel a touch of nostalgia, especially along River Street. Alternatively, you can jump on a trolley tour, join a haunted pub excursion, or explore the lively Forsyth Park.
In December, cooler breezes sweep through, but the temperatures hold steady at a comfortable 64 degrees Fahrenheit. To uncover more of the city’s history, you might fancy a horse-drawn carriage ride or a visit to the famous locations featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Don’t forget to savor classic Southern dishes like shrimp and grits or peach cobbler at local eateries, which have an average cost of around $23.
Fondly known as “One Happy Island,” Aruba showcases its azure waters, sandy beaches, and the rugged terrain of Arikok National Park, covering nearly a fifth of the island’s land. Eagle Beach, celebrated as one of the Caribbean’s finest, and the famous California Lighthouse, offering panoramic views from its summit, are must-visit destinations for sun-seekers and nature enthusiasts.
December graces Aruba with consistent trade winds and temperatures hovering around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re up for an active day outdoors, consider renting a bicycle to explore the coastline and visit some of the island’s most iconic attractions.
Nestled on Central America’s stunning Caribbean coast, Belize is a small but captivating nation. Its charm lies in the harmonious blend of lush jungles and pristine shores. Notable attractions include the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich and the renowned Great Blue Hole, a diver’s paradise.
Belize enjoys a pleasant climate in December, with temperatures averaging around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the ideal time to embark on a sailing tour to the nearby cayes or bask in the sun on the country’s unspoiled beaches, both favored activities among tourists. When it comes to dining, you’ll easily discover local dishes like rice and beans, stew chicken, and fresh seafood, with prices typically ranging from $5 to $15, depending on your chosen dining spot.
24. Gulf Shores, Alabama
Alabama is a delightful fusion of Southern hospitality and coastal allure. The city’s pristine, white sandy beaches are the perfect spots for sun-soaked relaxation and idyllic picnics. The inviting Gulf waters invite visitors for refreshing swims.
There’s no shortage of activities for both kids and adults. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo offers a fantastic day out, allowing you to get up close with various fascinating animal species. If you’re in the mood for shopping and dining, head over to The Wharf in nearby Orange Beach. It boasts an array of shops to delight shopaholics and various restaurants to satisfy every palate.
In December, Gulf Shores enjoys mild temperatures, around 62 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a welcome escape from colder Northern climates without the discomfort of excessive heat or humidity. To savor local flavors, don’t miss the delectable seafood, with dishes like po’boys and gumbo priced between $8 and $18. For the more active travelers, consider renting a bike for as low as $20 a day and exploring the scenic coastal landscapes.
25. Panama City, Panama
Panama City, a lively urban hub blending old-world charm and contemporary flair, is experiencing a thriving transformation. The enchanting Casco Viejo, with its cobblestone streets, colonial structures, and expansive plazas, is a living testament to the city’s rich history. The Panama Canal is a must-see attraction—a testament to human ingenuity connecting two vast oceans.
December graces Panama City with mild temperatures, averaging around 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The coastal breeze adds to the delight of outdoor adventures. And, once your day of exploration ends, the nearby beaches—though not suitable for swimming—offer a peaceful haven for unwinding. Consider taking a ferry to the popular Taboga Island for approximately $24.
26. Key West, Florida
Key West offers a perfect blend of excitement and tranquility at the southern tip of the U.S. mainland. Step into the island’s intriguing history with visits to historic homes like the Hemingway House. Also, bask in the sun at gorgeous beaches like Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor, where beach lovers and sun seekers can perfect their tan.
December boasts a delightful average temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, creating ideal conditions for outdoor adventures like snorkeling, diving, and fishing. When it’s time to dine, local restaurants serve up fresh seafood and the famous Key lime pie, rumored to have its origins in the late 19th century, all at prices ranging from $15 to $25 for main dishes.
27. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is a vibrant blend of culture and history. The city offers two distinct faces:
- the historic San Telmo district, with its cobblestone alleys and colonial charm.
- And the upscale Puerto Madero, where modern skyscrapers and chic eateries dominate the scene.
The southern hemisphere welcomes summer as winter graces the North. Thus, it draws locals and tourists to parks, open-air cafes, and plazas to bask in the warmth.
In December, Buenos Aires enjoys pleasant temperatures around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Dance enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the passionate tango at local milongas, while art lovers can explore colorful murals in Palermo and avant-garde exhibitions in Recoleta. Make sure to visit El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the world’s most exquisite bookstores housed in a converted 1920s theater.
28. San Diego, California
Often referred to as “America’s Finest City,” San Diego offers a captivating blend of golden beaches, lively city life, and a wealth of culture. The stunning coastline, boasting famous destinations like La Jolla and Coronado, invites guests to enjoy a day of sunshine, waves, and relaxation. Beyond the shore, the San Diego Zoo provides an immersive experience for both families and solo adventurers. One-day passes starting at $59 for children and $69 for adults.
In December, the daytime weather averages a pleasant 65 degrees Fahrenheit, making outdoor exploration a pure joy. For food enthusiasts, the dining scene is a delight, particularly the delectable seafood that fits well within an average daily food budget of $45.
When it comes to planning your trip, expect flight prices to San Diego ranging from $200 to $500. Accommodations are diverse, catering to various budgets, with nightly rates ranging from $90 to $300.
29. Quito, Ecuador
Nestled high in the Andes at an elevation of 9,350 feet, Quito treats you to awe-inspiring vistas and a mild climate despite its equatorial proximity. The city’s historic center, honored as a UNESCO Heritage Site back in the ’70s, is a beautifully preserved architectural wonder. Just beyond the city, the Middle of the World Monument beckons to those who wish to straddle both hemispheres. You’ll find tours to this attraction ranging from $15 for basic transportation to $120 for a full-day excursion with additional stops along the way.
In December, daytime temperatures hover around a comfortable 65 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a breeze to explore the city without breaking a sweat. You can also venture from Quito to nearby destinations like Otavalo, popular for its market and crafts, and Cotopaxi, famous for housing the Cotopaxi Volcano, the country’s second-highest peak. Both of these places are easily accessible via local bus. You won’t spend more than $3 to reach Otavalo or $20 for a round trip to the volcano checkpoint.
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