Insiders' Guide to Christmas In The Caribbean
PHOTO: Imagine waking up here on Christmas morning? (Courtesy Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts)
Fall is in the air, kids are back in school and like it or not, holiday displays are going up in stores around the country. Retailers are hoping to spur an early shopping season, but savvy travelers know it’s also a great time to check out deals on the best holiday gift of all – travel.
And, what better place to spend the holidays than someplace tropical?
So while the rest of your friends and family are digging out from the latest winter storm, you can be kicking back and enjoying warm sands and discovering new holiday traditions that will warm even the “Scroogiest” of hearts by having Christmas in the Caribbean.
To help kick the holiday season off on a jolly note, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts is offering a host of fantastic packages in their unique locations throughout the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Jamaica on qualifying stays from Dec. 23 – Dec. 30.
In the Dominican Republic alone, guests of the Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts have 14 properties from which to choose, and packages to suit every budget with deals starting as low as $113 pp/night (Grand Bahia Principe San Juan) all the way up to 25 percent off rates at the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado ($303 pp/night). Those looking to vacation in Mexico can take advantage of 35 percent off their stays at each of the Bahia Principe’s three properties, including a stay at the Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an for as low as $236 pp/night. Bahia Principe is also offering an unprecedented 40 percent off room rates at its two properties in Jamaica.
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Once at your destination, there are plenty of new traditions to discover. If you’re in Jamaica, why not do as the Jamaicans do and enjoy a glass of red sorrel (similar to hibiscus tea and made with dried sorrel, spices and orange peel) with black cake (a rum-soaked version of fruit cake) while singing along to reggae-influenced carols. A holiday in Jamaica also means a meal of slow-cooked ham, accompanied by yams and a plate of arroz con ganules, a special version of rice and peas using pigeon peas. Junkanoo is another fun tradition celebrated across the island. This festival draws brightly costumed revelers in exotic masks who dance along to the beat of drums. This high-energy celebration is infectious, and even observers find it hard to stop themselves from joining in.
Caroling is popular in the Dominican Republic and people will stroll through their neighborhoods singing traditional Dominican folk carols before heading home to savor a glass of the anisette Anis del Mono. As in Spanish-influenced countries throughout the Caribbean, holiday revelers may find themselves seeking out turron, a sweet delicacy of nougat studded with almonds or other nuts and seeds.
Guests of the Bahia Principe’s Mexican properties, meanwhile, will want to seek out the beautifully decorated nacimientos (nativity scenes) over the course of their stay as the Baby Jesus isn’t added until Christmas Eve and the three kings won’t make an appearance until January 5. Mexicans also take place in posadas, or processions that occur between Dec. 16 and 24 and that reenact Mary and Joseph’s search for a shelter. And like other countries, Mexican holiday traditions include plenty of sweet and savory treats from tamales and bacalao (dried saltfish cod) to rosca de reyes (a sweet bread) and buñuelos, something akin to a sweet tostada.
More by Rich Thomaselli
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