Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Top 5 Hidden Gems to Discover

Thanks to its beautiful coastline, courteous locals, and plenty of sightseeing treasures, Sri Lanka is rapidly becoming an increasingly sought-after vacation spot. If you visit the well-known coastlines in the south or enjoy a few days in Ella, you may have stumbled across Tulum or the banana pancake route of Southeast Asia.

Sri Lanka Hidden Gems

There are excellent, unknown beauties in Sri Lanka that many travelers are unaware of. Although rare tourist sights, these secret spots are breathtaking and captivating. Although Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura, and Sigiriya are probably familiar, the locations we will share with you are equally beautiful places to explore.

In today’s guide, we will tell you about five magical Sri Lanka gems for a mesmerizing vacation with your loved one.

Riverston

The Riverston province of Sri Lanka is about as far away from the tourist path as it gets. This breathtaking area, located in the central part of the island, has more waterfalls than you can shake your hand at.

Several waterfalls, soaring peaks, and gently sloped terrain surround this verdant paradise. Traveling there from Kandy is better if you’re looking for a quiet retreat in the woods far away from Ella’s throng. You can take a train from Ella to Kandy to reach Riverston for a magical vacation.

Gartmore Falls

Among the most spectacular waterfalls in the country is Gartmore Falls. This gorgeous two-tier waterfall offers an untouched infinity pool where you may take a refreshing dip and a breathtaking 30-meter plunge.

It is incredibly gorgeous and is considered one of Sri Lanka’s treasure troves. Suppose all of that wasn’t sufficient. In that case, very few international visitors know about it, let alone visit, as it’s utterly off the main route in Sri Lanka.

Delft Island

As you explore the island, you will find many historic structures and artifacts from the Portuguese, Dutch, and British imperial centuries. A few of them are connected to the Chola era. You can indulge in sandy beaches and tourism in solitude because this serene region is usually unoccupied by tourists. The sole disadvantage is the need for more eateries and dining possibilities.

Panduwasnuwara

During King Pandukabhaya’s administration, Sri Lanka’s headquarters was Panduwasnuwara, a medieval city in the Kurunegala province. The city kept a wisdom tooth antique, which is an emblem of royalty and without which the ruler or the queen cannot be accepted.

Panduwasnuwara has a few good attractions, although it is home to just the wreckage of the kingdom’s structures, which are scattered over 20 hectares.

Like many Sri Lankans who avoid historical towns like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, few travel to this historic settlement. It’s like taking a leisurely stroll through an old town in pieces when you walk through the Panduwasnuwara walls.

Goyambokka and Silent Beach

Besides Goyambokka and Silent Beach, which are idyllic pockets of beauty in the south, the excessive development that’s taken over nearly every square inch of this area has had no impact.

Other than lovely beaches, a small number of eateries, and some water, there are only a few activities to engage there. If all you desire to do is lounge on the beach, this is Sri Lanka’s greatest-kept mystery.

Sri Lanka is slowly becoming a more beloved vacation spot because of its gorgeous coastline, friendly individuals, and many recreational activities. Remember to include these hidden gems if you’re going to Sri Lanka soon.

With this guide to the most scenic and undiscovered spots in Sri Lanka, we have finally discovered the best off-the-beaten-track locations the country offers travelers worldwide.

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10 Stunning Images of Spring Trips

Spring is here folks! As Percy Shelley, an English romantic poet, said, “If Winter comes can Spring be far behind?” 

That is what we all think when the winter freezes us off, but as soon as we see the first blooms of spring, we only want to bask in the sun.

Read: Top 9 Spring Destinations You Must Visit

Spring Trips

Here are the 10 stunning and soulful photographs from 10 different destinations to visit this Spring.

SRI LANKA

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The sun glides over the horizon leaving a crimson reflection on the Pottuvil lagoon, Sri Lanka. If you want to enjoy the sunset as much as the fishermen in the image are doing then you can take canoe tours through the lagoon and see lizards, crocodiles, macaques and even elephants.

In Sri Lanka, you can indulge in all kinds of boating activities. You can sail from a beach to beach and you can also ferry yourself to Pigeon Island which is famous for snorkeling.

You can paddle through the waters of lagoons and watch the diverse wildlife. And you can also get a suntan at the Pasikuda beach. Sri Lanka offers you a relief from the winter blues and is one of the sunniest places you can opt for in Spring.

Related: Travel Bucket List

FOGO ISLAND, CANADA

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A dream looks exactly like the Fogo Island Inn where you get a floor to ceiling views of the ocean. In Fogo Island in Newfoundland, Canada, the night views are adorned with the glittery Milky way above your head. A whole new world comes alive around you, pulsing with serenity.

Fogo Island Inn offers Luxury at its best. It is not just the Canadian Whiskey we are talking about or the rooftop hot tubs, but the magnificent views of the landscape around it.

Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn is surrounded by quaint fishing villages, along which you can take bike rides and go on boats to go whale-watching as well. The delights which this places offer are too big a temptation. If you have got the cash, then we recommend you go for it.

 

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NAMIBIA

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When the sandy shore of the Namib desert kisses the turquoise blue ocean, you get this surreal image of two worlds meeting. Want to see Ocean and Desert going hand in hand then a trip to Namibia is what you need to do.

As soon as spring touches the ground here, Rain leaves Namibia. There are abundant wildflowers and pastures from the previous showers to get you through your spring delight. At this time of the year, the travel costs are pretty low and you can get better access to hotels and basic amenities while traveling.

But you are not going to Namibia just to lounge in a hotel, right? The Namib-Naukluft National Park is rich in wildlife such as giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and lions, who come out of their hiding during summer. It’s not just about the wildlife, who wouldn’t love to surf through the sand?

Read: Adventure in Namibia (Trip Report)

PERU

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Into the wild, I go, to lose myself and find my soul. Embark on the wild journey through the upper Amazon, and let the river enchant you. Live in the treehouses and sail on wooden boats- like a local. Find your tribe.

Till May, Peru’s Amazon River receives rainfall. That means cooler temperatures and easy navigation through the river. You can beat the winter cold with the boat rides on this ancient river.

You might feel like you are in the middle of nowhere when you are here, but it is exactly the heart of nature you are in. The golden sunsets, the pink dolphins and the nights spent on boats and tree houses are worth a lifetime of experience.

SVALBARD

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Nothing is more breath-taking than watching the blind fury of nature. The 100-mile long ice wall of Svalbard crashes in the springtime. You can watch it if you are lucky enough – with some timing and a bit of patience.

 

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Svalbard is just 620 miles from the North Pole, which means it is the place of eternal sunshine during summers. In spring you can bath in the polar glow of the sun.

It is not just you who craves the sunlight, but the polar bears, walruses, and seals also come out of their hibernation. So, you can see their summer bodies. Spot the wildlife while you are off hiking or kayaking.

JAPAN

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All of us love that blush pink color and we always wish we could bottle it up. Such is the charm of the cherry blossoms you see in this picture. The golden lights and the pink reflect in the water of the Meguro River in Tokyo giving it a twinge of sunset.

Spring in Japan brings with it a season of cherry blossoms. People flock to places where there are these blossoms like Nakameguro canal, sakura hot springs where you can watch the bloom in all its glory.

There is also the Takayama Spring Festival in the Hida Mountains where there is an exquisite lantern parade every year. The blossoms continue till the month of May in Hokkaido.

And there are many ways for you to enjoy these cherry blossom sessions in sspring, may it be boating down the Kitakami river surrounded by cherry trees or dipping in the hot springs of Kawazu.

PANAMA

 

The turquoise blue water meets the sandy white beach in the Coiba National Park, Panama. A day on the beach is magical when you spend it doing boating or snorkeling.

Most of the tourists prefer traveling to Costa Rica, which leaves Panama less-crowded and serene. This Caribbean island has a variety of fun things to do – like from diving in with sharks and manta rays, to pampering yourself in a swanky cabana in Pearl islands.

It is a bit rustic compared to its neighboring islands. It has got a weak Wi-Fi connection, which is good if you want to get lost. And the chief mode of transportation are still horses, and you can have a clear sky for star gazing.

 

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COLUMBIA RIVER, CANADA

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This image looks nothing less than a painting. The Columbia River in British Columbia, Canada winds through the deep gorges, and the gentle colors of sunrise grace the sky. Anybody would kill to have a view like this as soon as they wake up. 

Besides, the river live many indigenous tribes who have lived there for centuries. Yakama, Nez Perce, Umatilla – all these tribes are masters at living in the wild.

You can Learn many things from them like nest-fishing or basket weaving. You can even find few touristy places around here to visit the Western Antique and Automobile Museum and Fort Clatsop.

SEYCHELLES

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Vitamin Sea is all anyone needs after a long winter. And what better way than to witness the deep blue waves crashing against the rocky beaches of Seychelles. This image is of the La Digue beach in Seychelles, one of the popular beaches.

There are about 115 islands along the coast of Tanzania which make up Seychelles. It is a dream holiday to fly over any one of these islands and enjoy your spring amidst the cool blowing trade winds and cute tortoises making their way into the moonlit ocean. 

These islands are not limited to coastal vegetations and aquatic animals, but you will find that the shores of the beaches are rocky. There are granite cliffs rather than the sandy beaches, and quiet dinners rather than loud crowds – its Nirvana.

MOROCCO

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Go offbeat, while visiting Morocco and visit this little town of Essaouira as an alternative to Marrakech. It is more of a quaint fishing village rather than a loud tourist town.

The Berber villages of Atlas mountains are cooler options to visit in spring, cooler as in literally. The village of Essaouira is cooled with the Azilee trade winds.

There is another city of Chefchaouen which also has a great outdoor market like Essaouira selling oriental rugs, aromatic spices, and Moorish lanterns. Explore these Moroccan delights in spring to take a break from the winter blues.

 

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How Climate Change Is Going To Affect Travel

There is no doubt that each one of us has an idea about climate change. The rise in temperatures, the ozone hole, the ice sheets melting all point out towards the inevitable truth that our Earth is changing. And in the process, so are the beautiful places changing.

CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE

An increasing number of cyclones / The Art of Travel Partners

The major factor leading to Climate Change is the Green House Effect. Now, what is the Greenhouse Effect? A Greenhouse as we all know is a Glass building where plants grow in cold weather.

When the heat enters the Greenhouse, it tries to bounce back outside. But the glass stops it from retreating, hence trapping the heat of the sun rays within the house. In this way, the plants grow even in Winter.

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We use a lot of fossil fuels in our Vehicles. It releases gasses like Carbon Dioxide and Sulphur Dioxide which are greenhouse gasses. It means that they have the capability to trap the heat. When these gasses move above in the atmosphere, they form a layer.

Fossil fuel pollution / The Art of Travel Partners

The sun rays penetrate the layers of atmosphere and warm up the earth, but when it is time for them to bounce back they can’t. It is because the Greenhouse Gases absorb the heat. And in this way the temperature of Earth Increases.

The 2000-2010 was the hottest decade ever; you can imagine very well how rapidly the Earth is changing!

Before we move on to the effects of Global Warming, let us have a look at the amount of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S.

Infographic by The Art of Travel

30% – ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION (Mostly 67% of  electricity comes from burning fossil fuel mostly coal and natural gas)

26% – TRANSPORTATION (Over 90% of the fuel used is petroleum based which includes gasoline and diesel)

21% – INDUSTRIES

12% – RESIDENTIAL and COMMERCIAL

9% – AGRICULTURE

11% – LAND USE and FORESTRY (More emission of Carbon dioxide than the forests could absorb)

CLIMATE CHANGE EVIDENCE

THAWING PERMAFROST IN ALASKA

Permafrost Thaw in Alaska / The Art of Travel Partners

Alaska is double the area of Texas, and it spans on both sides of the Arctic Circle. Hence, making the US an Arctic Nation.

Alaska also occupies 20% of the Land area of the United States. As it is in the Arctic Region most of Alaska has the Permafrost. The layers of Permafrost are frozen soils underneath another layer of soil.

In the past 60 years, the temperature of Alaska has increased by 3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is, in fact, twice the increase as compared to the rest of the U.S.

As the temperature increases the frozen layers beneath the soil, start to soften, making the upper layer of soil susceptible to the change. Most of the highways and houses are built on the Permafrost which makes Thawing of Permafrost a nightmare. The frozen soil of Alaska is melting away very fast, and it is all because of climate change.

The glaciers are melting, and that is why Polar wildlife has nowhere to go. In no time we might have to say goodbye to Polar Bears!

If important steps aren’t taken as soon as possible, the temperature of Alaska is going to increase by another 4 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century.

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HIGHER TEMPERATURES IN GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

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The world-famous Galapagos Islands are near the Equator which makes it vulnerable to temperature rise.

As the Environmentalists predict- by 2100 the average Global temperature will increase by 2-4 degree Fahrenheit. As the Galapagos Islands are near the Equator it has more chances of experiencing a hike in temperature.

When the temperature of the islands increases what is gonna happen? The Rise in Temperature results in higher sea surface temperature. As we know the specific capacity of water is higher than the land, the sea water is going to get heated. Increase in Sea water temperature affects the El Nino current (increased rainfall).

It will also affect marine life- green turtles, Galapagos tortoise, marine iguanas. Sea level will rise by 1m and the pH of the water will drop, making it more acidic. These climatic changes will put a direct effect on beaches, mangroves, and wildlife (all the things why Galapagos is popular for).

CORAL REEFS REDUCING IN SRI LANKA

Reducing coral reef across the world / The Art of Travel Partners

Sri Lanka is a tiny island nation, and it emits a small share of greenhouse gasses as compared to the rest of the countries. Still, it is one of the few countries to be affected adversely by climate change. Sri Lanka is already on the brink of climate change whereas Galapagos has still to experience it.

Due to the increase in temperature, 40 migratory bird species are endangered. The prolonged droughts have also increased the decline in some amphibian species.

The decrease in pH forces the corals to inhibit the growth of shells. And sea level rise also decreases the number of coral reefs in the Sri Lankan Coast. Climate change turns the attraction of Sri Lankan tourism to ashes.

These are just a few instances of what is going on on our planet. And how it is affecting the tourism industry. Either visit these places before they run out of their beauteous charm or follow steps to decrease the Climate Change.

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Did you know that a round-trip coach ticket from New York to San Francisco accounts for two metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions? So, unless and until it is necessary to avoid air travel for business (resort to video-conferencing).

Let’s reduce our carbon footprints / The Art of Travel Partners

Use a hybrid, and avoid using your car. Bicycling and walking are the environment-friendly way of getting around.

Use Energy Star products, as they generate less heat. If possible use renewable energy resources. Like, install solar panels if you live in State with Net Metering law state.

Maintain your household electrical devices regularly- insulation, filters; help in controlling emissions.

Follow the 3R:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

Consider using less waste generating items. Recycle your waste products and use composting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.

From the 26% gasses produced by transportation, 13% Greenhouse gasses generate from vehicles transporting food products. So, use locally produced meat and dairy instead of using the ones transported from Latin America.

It will reduce the greenhouse gas production through transportation, and it will also save the rainforests in Latin America which get cleared for building farmlands.

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10 Most Exciting New Year Traditions around the World

Unlike other holidays, New Years is celebrated almost everywhere in the world; regardless of the nation’s religious beliefs or even their calendar. However, New Year traditions and celebrations differ from country to country.

New Year Traditions

Here are some of the unique New Year traditions from around the world.

Austria

Austria has one of the most glamorous ways of celebrating New Year.

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The operetta “Die Fledermaus” by Johan Straus is performed every New Year’s Day in Vienna. Plus, on New Year’s Eve, the capital of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire holds a traditional Imperial Ball. 

A New Years dinner in Austria traditionally contains edible pigs and peppermint ice cream. A suckling pig on the table symbolizes good luck.

Related: Top 9 Destinations to Spend New Year in the USA

Denmark

CopenhagenNYE BY Stig Nygaard CC BY 2.0

In Denmark, people save old dishes for the entire year. On New Year’s Eve, they throw them at friends’ doors. This symbolizes friendship and brotherhood. People believe that the larger pile of dishes one has in front of the door, the more friends he has.

Some Danish also leap over chairs at midnight.

China

The Chinese have their own calendar, consequently, they celebrate the New Year in February. These celebrations are always bright and loud. Firecrackers and noisemakers chase evil spirits away.

Fabulous dragons and lions dance in the streets. Plus, people give each other tangerines for good luck.

However, odd numbers are considered unlucky, so these tangerines are given in pairs. Also, the third day of the New Year is the day when mice marry off their daughters, so people try to go to bed early in order not to disturb them.

Red in China traditionally symbolizes happiness and good fortune. On New Year’s Day, people wear red and give children red envelopes with lucky money. Some people even paint their front doors red, before the celebration.

Spain

In Spain, people believe that eating 12 grapes at every toll of the clock will bring them good luck and happiness for the upcoming 12 months.

Japan

In Japan, the New Year is called Oshogatsu and is celebrated amongst family. The whole week before New Year’s Eve people clean their houses, settle debts, try to resolve all disagreements and forgive all offenses. After that, they are ready to welcome the New Year. Also, before midnight, the Japanese ring 108 bells. These rings symbolize the elimination of 108 troubles. And the day after New Year’s Eve is the First Writing Day when people write their dreams, hopes, and plans for the new year.

There are three traditional symbols for the Japanese New Year. A pine branch, or kadomatsu, represents longevity. A stalk of bamboo symbolizes prosperity. Lastly, a plum blossom denotes nobility.

Sri Lanka

Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka BY Amila Tennakoon CC BY 2.0

The New Year in Sri Lanka is called Aluth Avurudhu and it is celebrated in mid-April. Traditional rituals include a proper house cleaning, the lighting of the hearth, taking an herbal bath, preparing traditional dishes and strengthening family relations.

India

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In India, people celebrate New Year in mid-April too. However, these traditions vary greatly amongst the different regions. For example, in Odisha, the festival is held on April 13th or 14th, and involves worshiping the deities and offering them fruit-based drinks, called “pana”. In Kerala, people also worship the deities during New Year and make offerings, which have the name of Vishukanni.

In Tamil Nadu, locals light lamps to eradicate the darkness and they use auspicious tools, which symbolize prosperity. Furthermore, the people of the Bengal region believe that the way you spend the first day of the year marks the way you will spend the rest of it.

Germany

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In Germany, lead is believed to predict the future.

On the New Year, people pour molten lead into the cold water and observe what shape it takes. The shape of a heart predicts marriage in the near future. A round shape signifies good luck. An anchor shapes mean that you may need help soon. Whereas, a cross symbolizes someone’s sad demise.

Puerto Rico

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In Puerto Rico, people clean their houses properly before New Year. They also throw buckets of water out of their windows. They believe that this ritual will clean the odds of the last year and get the spirits out of their homes.

Philippines

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In the Philippines, people believe that all round things are lucky, attracting fortune and money. So, during the New Year, they consume grapes, wear polka dotted dresses and keep coins in their pockets. The Filipinos also throw coins during the New Years celebration to increase wealth and prosperity.

That’s the end of our top 10 list. So which New Year traditions attracted or intrigued you the most? Comment below.

 

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10 Summer Destination Ideas for a Christmas Vacation

If you are tired of spending Christmas the same way every year, bored with the view of snow and ice and eager for new experiences, try choosing a summer destination for your Christmas vacation this time.

Celebrating Christmas among sandy beaches, warm waters and palm trees, instead of snowstorms, ice sculptures, and traditional ornaments.

Isn’t it a wonderful idea? Here are our top ten summer destinations for your Christmas vacation:

Australia

During Christmas time, Australians enjoy sun baths, diving and drinking cocktails on the beach, as the holiday season falls during the summer in this part of the world.

What could be better than spending Christmas diving with colorful fish in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef? Cairns, for that matter, has become one of the most popular Christmas destinations in recent decades.

Barbecues on the beach, tours to the wine lands of the Yarra Valley and road trips along the Great Ocean Road are also popular Christmas activities in Australia. And you can build a sandman, instead of a snowman, if you want.

Fiji

If you really want to escape from it all and have a week or two just relaxing on a sandy beach with a refreshing cocktail in your hand, Fiji is the perfect choice for you!

A stunning archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, surrounded by crystal waters, coral reefs, and rich marine life, is probably the closest you can find to heaven on Earth. It is populated with the friendliest folk on the planet and offers numerous activities for travelers. No wonder, Fiji is one of the most popular summer destinations in the world!

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka usually experiences monsoon season from October until January. However, the southern part of the island is generally dry from October until April, which makes December a perfect month to visit.

The island offers much more than just the sun and the beach. You’ll also find a fascinating culture, ancient cities, rich history and prosperous wildlife. Visit the Nala National Park and watch leopards, colorful birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and elephants.

Or explore the jungle while sitting on the back of an elephant. Or watch the magnificent sunset on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

Your Christmas in Sri Lanka will be unforgettable!

Thailand

If your idea of a perfect Christmas includes white sandy beaches, unique culture, and delicious food, then Thailand is a perfect destination for you. The “land of smiles” offers its visitors a warm welcome and a warm climate, diverse wildlife, and cultural heritage, various entertainments and Buddhist temples to explore.

Thailand is really the best value for your money!

Indonesia

The Indonesian island of Bali is a wonderful travel destination all-year-round. There’s no way it will disappoint you during the Christmas vacation. Like Thailand, it offers great value for money and both day and night entertainment features.

During the day, Bali offers surfing, lying on the beach under the shadow of a palm tree or exploring the island. While during the night, you can enjoy the vivid club life with great music, dance, and low-priced drinks. Thousands of people go to Bali every year to celebrate Christmas and New Year in the tropical climate and pleasant, friendly atmosphere!

Mexico

Mexico offers numerous destinations for a warm sunny Christmas vacation. Swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, explore the Mayan sites in Cancun or enjoy the taste of Mexican delights in Puebla. 

This includes mole, a chocolate sauce with chili peppers, cinnamon, and fruit. In Puebla, you can also take part in the Christmas night procession, which represents the biblical story of Mary and Joseph looking for shelter. It starts downtown and walks throughout the neighborhoods of the city.

By the way, its proximity to the United States of America makes Mexico one of the most popular Christmas destinations among American citizens.

South Africa

South Africa is another fantastic place, which receives plenty of sunshine in December and January.

Enjoy a hot air balloon ride in the bright blue sky on an aerial safari as you look for elephants, giraffes, and zebras. Visit Ukutula Lion Park or a penguin colony on Boulder Beach, near Cape Town. Or spend Christmas day diving with Great White Sharks.

Christmas in South Africa will surely be an experience you’ll never forget!

Caribbean Islands

The Caribbean region is a perfect destination for visitors from the USA. Its geographical proximity, favorable climate, and the regular air connections make it one of the favorite places for Christmas vacation among travelers from the USA. Of course, island such as the Bahamas, for example, are dream destinations all-year-round.

But who could refuse to spend Christmas time among deserted sandy beaches, clear warm waters and out-of-this-world views?

Christmas celebrations in the Caribbean follow many American traditions nowadays. However, they are complemented with an abundance of traditional local festivals, carnivals, and other festivities. In the Cayman Islands, you can even meet their very own Caribbean Santa.

Holidays are also the great time to visit Barbados, with its endless blue sea, soft sand, and unique traditions. No matter, what island you choose for your Christmas vacation, the Caribbean will not disappoint you!

Spain

If you would prefer to spend your Christmas vacation in the Old World, but still want to bathe in the rays of a warm sun, then Spain should be your main choice. The Canary Islands are not as hot as Africa, but winters here are warm enough for a pleasant vacation.

Also, if you feel adventurous, you can explore the island’s soaring volcanoes or sail in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

United Arab Emirates

When you’re looking for Christmas vacation opportunities in a summer climate, you can’t leave Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, out, of course.

In this metropolitan city, you can ice skate, watch a fountain show or visit the famous Dubai Aquarium. The shopping enthusiasts will be excited to hit the huge Dubai Mall. This is the world’s largest shopping mall by area, which hosts over thousand different stores.

However, if Dubai is too much for you, and all you want is some peace and quietness, head towards the nearby island of Abu Dhabi, where you can relax and kayak in the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf.

 

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