Travel trends are constantly shifting and changing, especially for trips taken during the popular winter holiday season. Some years Europe is all the rage, while in other years the Caribbean takes the top spot on the list. With the travel rebound now in full swing, but also with people still recovering emotionally post-pandemic, the easy-to-reach Caribbean appeals to many American travelers.
Here are nine great reasons to book getaways to the Caribbean in the winter of 2023-2024.
1. Easy airlift, shorter flights
The No. 1 reason to go to the Caribbean this winter is that “it is a destination you can be at within 3-7 hours from the East Coast, South, and Midwest,” says Jenifour Jones, event producer, and luxury travel designer, at Go Get It Events & Travel.
Also a top motivation to book the Caribbean for Diana Castillo, founder/owner, Integra Travel Group, LLC, she says that “delays and changes on flights are very frequent nowadays … and travel from the USA is much simpler. The flights are shorter, and we always plan for a Plan B, in case Plan A goes bust! The Caribbean is a much simpler fix.”
2. Year-round warm weather
Winter in the U.S. (December, January, and February) is high season in the Caribbean, the best time of the year to visit and escape the cold. Travelers can reliably expect to enjoy what Jones calls “guaranteed sunshine.” Temperatures are comfortable in the high 70s and low 80s, and rainfall is minimal. But the truth is that the Caribbean is a year-round destination, with every month of the year being a great time to visit.
3. Idyllic beaches and beautiful azure water
White sandy beaches, warm azure water, reefs brimming with underwater life, balmy breezes … the Caribbean always delivers the experience of paradise for which it is widely known. The breathtaking first moments of a vacation in the tropics leave a memorable impression - and can be repeated by returning to a favorite destination or venturing out to yet another island. The region also offers easy access to tropical rainforests, rivers, waterfalls, and national parks. For visitors who want to do something in addition to sunbathing and swimming, there are ample opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, horseback riding, rafting, golfing, and more.
4. The luxury of doing nothing together
One of the biggest draws is the pure downtime in such a spectacular location. This is a place where it is enough to just lounge at the beach, dip into the water, and maybe have a tropical drink under a palm tree. It may sound cliché, but who doesn’t want that kind of peace and paradise?
Castillo says what clients tell her they most enjoy about spending time in the Caribbean over the holidays is the “warm weather, at the beach, slow pace, not doing much – that is the luxury nowadays. Wanting to be together, not on the go all the time.”
5. Great for multigenerational groups
Castillo’s biggest reason for booking the Caribbean this winter is that it is “especially for multigenerational families. Europe has been so highly-priced, but this is a great option to get the family together. Patriarchs (and we have many Latin American clients in the U.S. and/or in Mexico) do want to get the family together but do not want to spend double the price. Yet, they want to stay with luxury choices. Some places in the Caribbean fit.”
6. Good prices and value
The closer-to-home Caribbean offers good vacation prices and value for just about any budget. Accommodations range from modest to ultra-luxury, and intimate villas to bustling resorts. There is something for everyone. Also a great value (and an easy, comfortable way to see multiple islands) are cruises to and around the region.
7. Friendly locals
The locals are generally warm and welcoming to guests. With so many different nations in the Caribbean, and a wide breadth of ethnic diversity, visitors can experience new cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking and living.
8. Festive food, drink & music
Everything about the food, libations, and music in the Caribbean is upbeat and flavorful. The fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and regional cuisine satisfy a broad range of tastes. And around every corner, there are fun places to dance and drink the night away. Colorful festivals and cultural celebrations are also plentiful.
9. Perfect for cruising
Travelers can choose to see the Caribbean entirely by cruise ship or book a shorter cruise and tack on a few days pre- or post- on one island. Either way, cruising to the region is very popular, especially during the winter season. “Cruising is in high demand for us, and Puerto Rico, the Caymans, and also Miami are good spots for it,” notes Castillo.
Everyone knows that the mega ships offer passengers non-stop parties and activities, which appeals to a segment of the cruise population that enjoys these types of vacations. On the smaller vessels, the atmosphere is quieter and more intimate, focusing on the spectacular scenery, the opportunity to really get to know the other guests and crew, and the ability to pull into smaller ports and explore out-of-the-way islands. If a traveler opts for a Caribbean cruise, there are nearly limitless choices.
Wherever you go, book now
Regardless of which islands travelers decide to visit, and whether they arrive by plane or by cruise ship, Jones recommends: “The Caribbean during the winter holidays books up very far in advance. Since most properties have flexible cancellation policies, people should book far in advance.”
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