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10 Cheap and warm places to go over 2019 Christmas & New Years weeks

Written by ziir

Spending the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weeks with family and friends is the longstanding tradition in most of the Western world, but those based in the colder northern climates are looking for alternatives. After a couple decades of being bundled up, many start to wonder if there is another way to spend the holidays.

Those with the resources have been heading to Hawaii for Christmas for a long time, but there are actually dozens of countries and islands with similar tropical climates around the world, and most of them are far cheaper, at least once you get there. Below is a list of nearly every major tourist destination that combines warm weather and low prices during the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

December average high: 86°F/30°C
December average low: 64°F/18°C

On Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta remains as one of the country’s tourism jewels. Not only has it avoided the safety problems that a few other resort areas have struggled with in recent years, but it’s also regarded as the most interesting and authentic of Mexico’s resort areas.

The weather during Christmas time is pretty much perfect for anyone wanting to escape the cold, and the large international airport also has good deals on flights from many North American cities as well. Hotels for well under US$100 per night per couple are easy to find, although if you want a well-located chain hotel you’ll be paying at least a bit more.

While it’s not as historic or “authentic,” it might also be worth looking into Los Cabos at the southern tip of Baja California. Things tend to be a bit more expensive there, but it’s a shorter flight for most people and sometimes a cheaper flight as well.

3-star hotels from: US$79 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$159 per night for two people

Cancún/Cozumel/Riviera Maya, Mexico

 

December average high: 84°F/29°C
December average low: 69°F/21°C

In case you aren’t aware of all of these, Cancún is the purpose-built resort city on the Yucatán Peninsula facing the Caribbean, and the area just to its south is known as the Riviera Maya, which includes the nearby island of Cozumel. In other words, they are all basically the same travel market, with nearly 1,000 hotels in total, and all served by the huge Cancún Airport with cheap flights from all over.

The weather in late December is predictably perfect with barely a chance of a quick thunderstorm, much less anything worse. With so many hundreds of hotels competing for business, holiday room rates for well under US$100 per night are easy to find. Package deals to Cancún are very popular, and probably the best deal for those who book early. As you can see by the room rates below, there is a huge difference between 3-star and 4-star properties in this area. A 3-star can be just a normal hotel room in the city, while the 4-stars are all wonderful resorts with pools, usually on the beach. In other words, you will generally get what you pay for, so a hotel that charges twice is much is almost always MUCH nicer.

3-star hotels from: US$45 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$189 per night for two people

Punta Cana/Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

 

December average high: 83°F/28°C
December average low: 72°F/22°C

The Dominican Republic has a reputation for its large all-inclusive hotels at great prices, and its two most popular resort areas are Punta Cana (on the eastern tip) and Puerto Plata (on the northern shore). Each has about 200 hotels to choose from, including dozens of all-inclusive resorts designed to keep you there for your entire stay.

The weather and resort prices are similar in both places in late December, so either one would be a fine choice for someone looking for a cheap and warm place to spend a week. You’ll find that flight+hotel package prices are especially appealing to the DR, and those who book early will usually get the best deals.

3-star hotels from: US$97 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$169 per night for two people

Montego Bay/Ocho Rios/Negril, Jamaica

December average high: 86°F/30°C
December average low: 70°F/21°C

Similar to the greater Cancun area mentioned above, Jamaica has 3 busy resort towns that are all served by the same large airport so they are somewhat interchangeable. Montego Bay has the airport so it’s the easiest to reach, but it has fewer affordable 4-star hotels so Ocho Rios and Negril might be better options if you are interested in that category.

All three towns have a different vibe, so it’s really only the weather and most prices that are similar. Along with the Cancun area and the Dominican Republic, these Jamaican resorts are also known for all-inclusive resorts and appealing package deals. Even during the peak holiday months, it’s possible to lock in an appealing deal if you book early enough.

3-star hotels from: US$68 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$174 per night for two people

San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

December average high: 83°F/28°C
December average low: 72°F/22°C

While San Juan isn’t among the cheapest places on this list for Christmas, it’s still very good value and it’s a great place for a longer stay during this period. The wide and sandy beaches just next to the historic center are some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and since it’s part of the US, things like shopping and sightseeing are much easier here than in most of the cheaper islands.

Especially if you are going to stay for more than a week, it pays to look into an apartment rental instead of a hotel. There is an abundance of nice apartments in the tourist area that are rented out most of the year. If you are staying for a month, you can get an amazing deal compared to a hotel. San Juan was famously hit hard by storms in 2017, but as of autumn 2019 the city is back to normal again and visitors can help the economy recover.

3-star hotels from: US$109 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$265 per night for two people

Ambergris Caye/Caye Caulker, Belize

December average high: 81°F/27°C
December average low: 68°F/20°C

Those looking for more of a low-key holiday with no huge chain hotels in sight might prefer the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, both just off the coast of Belize City. These are both long, thin islands where golf carts serve as taxis and there is little or no pavement in sight. The diving and snorkeling here are some of the best in the world, even if these islands are short on long sandy beaches.

Belize is (more or less) an English-speaking country, and these islands both have a bit of a Rastafarian feel in places, so it’s an interesting mix of culture and convenience. Nearly all 4-star hotels here start over US$200 per night for the holiday weeks, but there are 3-star bargains nearby in addition to holiday villas for rent for those with higher budgets.

3-star hotels from: US$189 per night for two people

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

December average high: 71°F/22°C
December average low: 61°F/16°C

Tenerife is the most English-language-friendly of Spain’s Canary Islands, which are just west of Morocco (and about the same latitude as central Florida). As you can see above, it’s not nearly as hot as most others on this list during December, but it’s still damn nice so it’s very popular among Europeans looking for something warmer.

Partly because it’s not really a great beach season, hotels in Tenerife are still quite cheap during the Christmas holiday period. Most everything else is quite affordable as well, at least compared to where you live now. Especially if you are looking for a place with reasonable airfares from elsewhere in Europe, this could be a good choice. The area around Los Cristianos and Playa de la Americas is the easiest for English speakers, and it has the most consistent warm weather as well.

3-star hotels from: US$65 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$104 per night for two people

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

December average high: 74°F/23°C
December average low: 59°F/15°C

At the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh is more or less the Cancun or the Mallorca of the region, although not quite as warm in December. This is a purpose-built resort area that has been popular with Europeans and others for some time now. While it’s remote and has generally been safe from the turmoil nearby, most of its fans are choosing to go elsewhere at the moment.

We all hope that one day soon, travelers can head to Egypt without checking all the security warnings every few days. Until then, this one isn’t for everybody, although those who do visit are greeted with some amazing hotel rates, including for the popular Christmas holiday period.

3-star hotels from: US$21 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$28 per night for two people

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

December average high: 79°F/26°C
December average low: 61°F/16°C

One of the most unusual destinations anywhere, Dubai is a huge and booming city with a few nice beaches and an extremely busy airport. The period in late December is one of the nicer times of the year, so it can get pretty crowded during the holidays. The main activity here is shopping at enormous malls filled with all ranges of goods at reasonable prices.

It’s worth noting, however, that the nicer and better located hotels in Dubai will cost at least two or three times the minimums mentioned below. Those on lower budgets can get by pretty well here, but that’s not to be confused with the luxury market and beach hotels that rival top room rates anywhere on earth.

3-star hotels from: US$65 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$84 per night for two people

Goa, India

December average high: 91°F/33°C
December average low: 69°F/21°C

Goa has been a famous hippie hangout for Europeans and some others for decades now, but it’s also popular with families this time of the year, including many from elsewhere in India. Goa is actually a small state in southern India with more than a dozen different low-key beach towns, each catering to its own groups of fans.

In other words, it pays to do some research before choosing a beach hotel here because most of them won’t be suited to you. Room rates are quite reasonable even during this busiest time of year, although it’s important to note that the cheapest hotels in Goa (and all over India) tend to be disappointing and rarely worth the savings. Still, the 4-star hotels in Goa are mostly quite good, and excellent value at Christmas time.

3-star hotels from: US$58 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$117 per night for two people

 

 

 

 

 

 

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