The end of the year is fast approaching, and if you’re hoping to escape the winter blues by traveling to a tropical paradise, you’re in luck — December is the perfect time to visit some of the best islands in the world.
The weather is milder, rainfalls are less frequent, and there are fewer tourists. Many hotels offer great deals during this period too, and you can enjoy a sunny vacation at the beach without having to worry about melting in the heat.
Even if winter is not your favorite season, these are definite upsides you can’t ignore! So ditch the city blues – here are the 21 best islands to visit in December.
With its picturesque overwater bungalows and impossibly turquoise waters, it’s no wonder that this island in French Polynesia is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Pacific.”
December is the perfect time to visit Bora Bora, as the weather is sunny and dry, with temperatures hovering around 80°F / 26°C.
In addition to being a popular honeymoon destination, Bora Bora is also home to a number of luxury resorts, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the company of your significant other.
And with so many activities to choose from – like snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding – you’ll never find yourself bored.
If you’re looking for an escape from the winter weather, Bora Bora is definitely the place to be!
Where to Stay in Bora Bora:
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort
If you’re looking for the best island to visit, there’s really only one choice: Hawaii.
One of the only places in the continental United States that you can get a taste of ocean and mountain rainforest in the same day, Hawaii is a truly unique destination.
And with eight major islands to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
Most of the state is covered with tropical rainforests and the landscape of Hawaii is dotted with palm trees, sandy beaches, wild jungle landscape, and huge waterfalls.
Beach lovers will find it difficult to resist the urge to visit the most famous stretch of coastline in the USA, Waikiki Beach.
However, if you prefer to see more than just the ocean, you should make your way to Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Home to the most active volcanoes in the world, you’ll witness and hear the rumbling sounds of its constant activity.
Hawaii also has a vibrant and welcoming culture that’s hard to miss when you wander around the islands.
For a detailed guide, check out our ultimate guide on the best island to visit in Hawaii.
Turks and Caicos is an archipelago of 40 islands sitting in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a popular tourist destination for its powdery white sand beaches, luxury resorts, and clear turquoise waters.
This British territory in the Caribbean is a top destination for winter sun seekers; December is the perfect time to visit as the weather is warm and sunny with temperatures around 80°F / 26°C.
It’s no surprise that Turks and Caicos is world-renowned for its stunning beaches, but there’s more to this Caribbean paradise than meets the eye.
Just offshore, an intricate network of coral reefs beckons scuba divers from all over the world. These reefs are home to a wide variety of marine life, from brightly colored fish to graceful sea turtles.
In addition, the clear turquoise waters provide excellent visibility, making Turks and Caicos a top destination for both beginner and experienced divers alike.
For those who want to explore beyond the beach, there are plenty of sights to see such as the Mudjin Harbor rock formations, the Junkanoo Museum, and historic Fort St. George.
If you’re looking for a place to escape the cold this December, Turks and Caicos should be at the top of your list!
Where to Stay in Turks and Caicos:
The Bahamas are a stunning collection of islands, and there’s no better time to visit than during the peak season from December to April.
This is when the weather is at its best, the sun is shining, and people flock to the beaches to enjoy the warm ocean waters.
However, this is also the busiest time of year for tourism, so it’s important to book accommodations in advance.
Nassau, the capital city, is a bustling metropolis with plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife options. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle, there are many quiet beaches and coves to explore.
And for those looking for adventure, there are plenty of activities like snorkeling, diving and fishing.
Plus, there’s no need to worry about language barriers – English is the official language here!
Note: Cruise ships regularly stop in Nassau and can be a great option for getting to the Bahamas if you don’t want to fly.
Where to Stay in the Bahamas:
There’s no place quite like Bali. Located just a short flight from Australia, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.
The island’s year-round warm weather, tropical climate and beaches make it the ultimate destination for a December vacation.
And while there are plenty of activities to keep you busy here, one of the best things to do is simply to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the island.
Whether you’re soaking up the sun on one of Bali’s many sandy beaches or exploring the island’s temples and rice paddies, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.
Bali will become one of your favorite destinations in no time!
Where to Stay in Bali:
St Barth’s is the perfect island for anyone who wants to rub elbows with the rich and famous. This exclusive enclave is home to luxury resorts, private villas, and five-star restaurants.
But don’t let the celebrity testimonials fool you – St Barth’s is also a stunning island with plenty of natural beauty.
The beaches here are some of the best in the Caribbean, and the hiking trails offer breathtaking views of the sea.
But what makes St Barth’s truly special is its unique French atmosphere. From the moment you arrive on the island, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a French Riviera town. The streets are lined with chic boutiques and cafes, and the locals speak with a charming French accent.
If you’re looking for a taste of the high life, St Barth’s is the perfect destination – just don’t forget your wallet.
Where to Stay in St. Barthelemy:
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a country made up of dozens of islands, located in the Caribbean Sea.
While the island of St. Vincent is the largest and most populated, the Grenadines are a chain of smaller islands that offer pristine beaches, secluded coves, and lush rainforests.
Travelers can explore the capital city of Kingstown, visit the picturesque islands of Mustique and Bequia, or hike to the top of La Soufriere, an active volcano.
One of the best times to visit is during the Christmas season, when the island comes alive for the Nine Mornings festival.
This unique event celebrates Vincentian culture with music, dance, and steel pan performances.
Full of culture and natural beauty, St. Vincent and the Grenadines should be on everyone’s travel list!
Where to Stay in St. Vincent and the Grenadines:
La Vue Boutique Hotel & Beach Club
Blue Lagoon Hotel & Marina
Aruba is best known as a paradise for sun-worshippers and a visit here is not complete without spending some time soaking up the rays on one of the island’s many beautiful beaches.
But if you’re looking for something more than just a place to sit and relax, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.
Water sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing are popular, or you can take a hike through Arikok National Park to see some of the island’s unique flora and fauna.
From its stunning beaches to its lively nightlife, Aruba is the perfect place to escape winter and experience something truly special.
Where to Stay in Aruba:
Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba
Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort
Bonaire is a small island located in the southern Caribbean. Often overlooked by travelers, it’s not as developed as its Dutch neighbors, and it does not have the same nightlife or tourist attractions.
However, what Bonaire lacks in entertainment, it makes up for in natural beauty!
The island is located just off the coast of Venezuela and is known for its clear turquoise waters and prolific marine life. In fact, the island’s reefs are some of the most biodiverse in the world, with over 370 species of fish and 60 types of coral.
What’s more, the island’s shores are lined with soft white sand, making it a perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
Best of all, Bonaire is a great value destination, with affordable accommodation and activities to suit every budget.
No matter if you’re looking to explore underwater wonders or simply enjoy some rest and relaxation, Bonaire is sure to be your ideal Caribbean destination.
Where to Stay in Bonaire:
Windhoek Resort Bonaire
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino
Harbour Village Beach Club
Phuket is often lauded as the best island to visit in Southeast Asia, and it’s easy to see why. With white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush tropical jungle, it’s a paradise for nature lovers.
The coastline promises natural beauty just as breathtaking as the scenery inland. There are dozens of stunning beaches to explore, and many are untouched by tourism.
But there’s more to this island than meets the eye! Phuket is also home to a lively nightlife scene, with countless bars and clubs to keep you entertained into the wee hours of the morning.
And if you’re looking for something a little more cultural during your visit, Phuket also has plenty of temples to explore. From the Old Phuket Town to Wat Chalong, there are temples of all shapes and sizes to discover.
Many of these temples offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, and all of them offer a unique glimpse into the religious beliefs of the Thai people.
As for the weather in December, you’ll find an average high of 82°F / 28°C during this month. The rainy season is also over, so you can expect it to be sunny throughout the day.
It’s true that you’ll have more beach time than you can handle when you’re in Phuket, but who’s complaining? One thing’s for sure, your visit here will certainly be a smooth one.
Where to Stay in Phuket:
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
Chanalai Garden Resort
Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach
If you’re looking for an island vacation that offers something a little different from the usual tourist traps, then be sure to add Saint Lucia to your list.
This Caribbean may be small and is often overlooked by tourists, but it packs a big punch when it comes to natural beauty.
The island is home to towering mountains, lush rainforests, and dramatic cliffs overlooking the sea. Saint Lucia’s beaches are also a major draw, with their sparkling white sands and turquoise waters.
In addition to its natural attractions, Saint Lucia boasts a rich history, from centuries-old sugar plantations to historical sites, such as Fort Rodney, an 18th-century British fort that played a key role in the American War of Independence.
Today, it’s a beautiful blend of Caribbean charm and modern sophistication; an excellent place to visit if you want to experience true Caribbean culture while unwinding on a relaxing vacation.
Where to Stay in Saint Lucia:
Royalton Saint Lucia
Stonefield Villa Resort
Royalton Mystique St. Lucia
Cape Verde is a string of 10 volcanic islands, eroded by wind and waves, that stretches off the West African coast.
Capped by limestone cliffs and steep mountains, this small country is home to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever lay eyes on.
And trust us, you’ll want to spend plenty of time lounging on the sand – because the temperatures here are pretty much perfect all year round.
The islands are well known for their excellent kite-surfing conditions, but there’s much more to do here than ride the waves. You can also hike to the top of Pico do Fogo, the highest peak in the Cape Verde islands.
While the islands’ spectacular scenery is beautiful, the main draw is their laid-back vibe and local culture.
If you’re looking for an island getaway that’s a little off the beaten path, Cape Verde should definitely be on your radar.
Where to Stay in Cape Verde:
Hotel Riu Cabo Verde
Melia Llana Beach Resort & Spa
Hotel Riu Touareg
Situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise that features stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and scenic mountain ranges.
If you’re looking for a festive island getaway this December, there’s no place better than Puerto Rico.
Celebrating the Christmas season until mid-January, the island is covered in twinkling lights and decorated trees, making it the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit.
Puerto Rico is also home to some of the best beaches in the world, so you can enjoy some sunny weather even during the winter months.
Explore colonial architecture in Old San Juan, take a dip in the Bioluminescent Bay, or hike through El Yunque National Forest.
And because Puerto Rico is part of the United States, you won’t need a passport to visit if you’re a resident!
With its festive atmosphere and beautiful scenery, Puerto Rico is the perfect destination for a December vacation.
Where to Stay in Puerto Rico:
The Royal Sonesta San Juan
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
If you’re looking for a picturesque island vacation, there’s no need to look any further than Santorini.
The island’s dramatic cliffs and whitewashed buildings make it a photographer’s dream, and its abundance of romantic restaurants and cliffside sunset viewing spots is the perfect destination for couples.
And while it’s certainly a popular spot in the summer months, it’s even more magical in the winter. December is the perfect time to enjoy all that Santorini has to offer without the crowds, as the shoulder season stretches from November to April.
You can explore the winding streets of Oia, relax on one of the black sand beaches, or take a boat ride to see the famous Caldera. In addition, Santorini is home to several wineries and is renowned for its excellent Vinsanto Wine.
So whether you’re looking to snap some postcard-worthy photos or simply relax with a glass of wine in hand, Santorini is the ideal island destination.
Where to Stay in Santorini:
Apanemo Hotel & Suites
Astro Palace Hotel & Suites
Cavo Bianco Boutique Hotel & Spa
If you’re looking for an island that hasn’t been ruined by tourism, Grenada is the place for you. It’s a call to come and relax, as well as to explore nature, because this little slice of paradise is still relatively unspoiled.
The island is home to some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world, as well as a number of amazing restaurants and hotels.
But that’s not the only thing that makes Grenada stand out from other islands in the region.
Fort George, for example, is a well-preserved 18th-century fort that offers stunning views of the island. Bianca C, on the other hand, is a 600-foot shipwreck that has become one of the most popular diving sites in the Caribbean.
Where to Stay in Grenada:
Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel
Mount Cinnamon Resort & Beach Club
With its crystal-clear water, white sand beaches, and lush jungle scenery, Cebu is a veritable Garden of Eden.
The city itself is a beautiful mix of colonial Spanish architecture and traditional Filipino culture, and is home to several historical landmarks, including Fort San Pedro, Magellan’s Cross, and Mactan Shrine.
But this idyllic island has more to offer than just a pretty face; Cebu is also home to some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene.
From lazing on the beach to exploring ancient temples, Cebu has everything you need for the perfect island getaway.
Where to Stay in Cebu:
Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu Resort
Granada Beach Resort
Plantation Bay Resort And Spa
Whether you’re soaking up the sun on one of the many white sand beaches or hiking through the lush green mountains, you’ll be amazed by the natural beauty of this island chain.
If you visit before mid-December, you’ll find great deals on hotels and activities since it’s just before the high season hits.
There’s no wrong answer when it comes to choosing between the British and US Virgin Islands – they both offer stunning natural beauty, unique cultural experiences, and plenty of opportunities for relaxation.
However, there are a few key differences that might sway your decision. If you’re looking for unspoiled beaches and quaint fishing villages, the British Virgin Islands are the perfect choice.
Visit the world-famous Baths; a series of spectacular limestone pools that have been carved out by years of erosion.
If you prefer a livelier scene with more nightclubs and restaurants, then the US Virgin Islands might be more your speed. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have an incredible time.
Where to Stay in The Virgin Islands:
Carambola Beach Resort St. Croix
Rosewood Little Dix Bay
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
No one should miss the opportunity to travel to an island that is off the beaten path and offers more than just a relaxing break.
Trinidad and Tobago is filled with wonder that can be found in many ways; you’ll discover a place brimming with diverse natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant cultures.
This twin island nation is home to unique Creole culture, with a melting pot of traditions and flavors from both East Indian and African settlers.
In Trinidad, take a boat ride through the meandering mangroves or visit the Asa Wright Nature Centre to see a wide array of birds.
And on Tobago, be sure to hike through the lush Main Ridge Forest Reserve – you might even spot a rare bird or two!
Or ditch the itinerary altogether; get to enjoy lesser-known parts of the island and discover the local life.
Where to Stay in Trinidad and Tobago:
Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort
Hyatt Regency Trinidad
Tropikist Beach Hotel Limited
Deciding on the best island to visit is no easy task – there are so many beautiful places to choose from! But Barbados might make your decision a little easier.
This small island in the Caribbean boasts crystal-clear waters and an abundance of activities to keep you busy.
Whether you want to relax on miles of white sandy beaches, discover the secrets of early explorers, learn about the history of slavery in Barbados or go on a walking tour of the hilltop villages, the island has it all.
So why not add Barbados to your list of potential vacation spots? You might just fall in love with this little piece of paradise.
Where to Stay in Barbados:
Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels
Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels
Fairmont Royal Pavilion
Sri Lanka is a little known gem that will surprise you with its natural wonders and rich history.
This small island nation lies in the Indian Ocean and packs a big punch, with everything from historical sites like Sigiriya Rock Fortress to unspoiled beaches like Mirissa.
Sri Lanka is also home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, and whales. And let’s not forget the food! Sri Lankan cuisine is a melting pot of influences, with Indian, Dutch, and Indonesian flavors all blending together.
So if you’re looking for a sunny escape this winter, Sri Lanka is definitely worth considering.
Where to Stay in Sri Lanka:
Hotel Riu Sri Lanka
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort
Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon
Just south east of Aruba, Curaçao might not be the first island you think of when thinking of beautiful destinations to visit.
This gem in the Caribbean is a great destination for winter sun seekers looking for warmer weather than what’s available back home.
The island is blessed with an average temperature of 82°F / 28°C and plenty of sunshine, and Curaçao’s lush landscape is punctuated by scenic beaches and idyllic white-sand coves.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some winter sun, be sure to add Curaçao to your list!
Where to Stay in Curaçao:
Sunscape Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino
Avila Beach Hotel
Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao