The Mecca of New Year’s Eve in the U.S. is New York, but there are loads of understandable reasons why you may not want to go there. The weather. The millions of people. The weather.
Spending New Year’s in a tropical locale is a much warmer alternative that you’ll no doubt remember for the rest of your life. Here are 10 of the best beach destinations for New Year’s Eve.
10 Best Destinations for a Tropical New Year’s Eve
Big Island, Hawaii
Hawaii is great because it simultaneously feels like traveling to a foreign country while also feeling like you’re still in the U.S. (because you are). The gold standard for luxury accommodations is the Four Seasons Hualalai, including the amenities and service. A more moderately priced but still very beautiful option is the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa.
Those looking for a romantic getaway for New Year’s Eve should consider the beautiful island of St. Lucia. The Jade Mountain Resort offers top-notch food, drinks and luxury spa accommodations. On the more affordable side, Ti Kaye Resort & Spa is a great adults-only option that overlooks a lovely secluded beach.
Nestled off the coast of Venezuela, Bonaire is an island municipality of the Netherlands that’s excellent for group trips (which makes it one of the best islands to visit for New Year’s Eve!) and for those interested in diving. The Bellafonte Luxury Oceanfront Hotel has a wide variety of options, from studio apartments to two-bedroom penthouses. Meanwhile, the Coral Paradise Resort has very affordable weeklong packages, and ranks as the top resort in Bonaire on TripAdvisor.
This Hawaiian island is the birthplace of hula and is known to have a spiritual feel (mana) that is said to protect the island. The Pu’u O Hoku Ranch is a family-owned organic ranch and farm that boasts rich ecological and agricultural heritage. Hotel Molokai is another great option that is close to the beach and perfect if you’re looking for some of the world’s best surfing.
The people of Jamaica take New Year’s Eve seriously, including celebrations that last throughout January. The Sandals Royal Plantation resort in Ocho Rios is an all-inclusive luxury resort that includes butler service by the beach, top-of-the-line dining and seaside massages. An even more upscale and romantic option is The Caves in Negril, which features rooms situated atop a unique chain of sea caves.
In Costa Rica it’s more common for folks to spend New Year’s Eve at home with families reflecting on the year and bringing in the new one. But that doesn’t meant it can be an excellent place for you to spend NYE. Luxury travelers will want to check out the Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo, the only Forbes five-star resort in Central or South America. The Hotel Punta Islita is also very nice and a bit more affordable, without losing any of the beauty Costa Rica is known for.
Now that it’s much easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, you may want to consider a NYE trip that will no doubt be unique and memorable. The Iberostar Varadero is about as good as it gets when it comes to luxury accommodations on the island, and it can be good for either couples or families. Meanwhile, those interested in taking a closer look at city life in Havana should check out the Hotel Armadores de Santander, which boasts historic architecture and a central location.
Read more: The Easiest Way for Americans to Visit Cuba
The Bahamas is the perfect destination for those looking to spend the NYE period with days on the beach and parties at night. The Cove, Eleuthera is a romantic getaway spot that features white sand beaches and breathtaking views of the sunset. On the more moderate end, Bahama Beach Club is an affordable beachside resort that offers two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom condominiums.
Visiting the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador is a life-changing experience no matter when you go, so why not make it a NYE trip as well? One place to try is the Finch Bay Eco Hotel, which offers natural surroundings, a swimming pool and bar area, and daily trips aboard the hotel’s own yacht. The Hotel Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is the perfect luxury option that features snorkeling, fishing, and–a must for most travelers these days–free Wi-Fi.
One New Year’s Eve tradition in the Dominican Republic involves keeping your doors and windows open at midnight, allowing evil spirits to exit and make room for good spirits for the New Year. You don’t have to partake, of course, but you can still enjoy a luxurious NYE at Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana, which offers gourmet dining, excellent views from its suites and a number of other amenities. Another strong option is the JW Marriott in Santo Domingo, which features five restaurants and a rooftop bar and lounge.