Are you thinking about booking a Sunshine in December holiday and looking for ideas on where you could travel to? We have listed ten countries across four continents to get your holiday juices flowing. Read on for ideas on where to go for sunshine in December.
New Zealand is a small island country located about 4000 km south-west of Australia in the Oceania Region. It will leave you spellbound with its supremely splendid sceneries, delicious food, and friendly people. If you’re looking for sunshine in December, December is a great time to visit as it is summertime in New Zealand so you’ll experience bright, sunny and very long days. Plus it is relatively mild for summer with daytime temperatures ranging between 20-30ºC approximately.
The country is best travelled by car or campervan as road infrastructure is really good and there are a plethora of campsites and vehicle rental companies available. When travelling by car, choose to stay away from the town in quaint b&bs. If you’re visiting New Zealand in December, plan your trip and make all your bookings at least two-three months prior.
Your New Zealand road trip itinerary should comprise of the two main islands – North Island and South Island. North Island has beautiful beaches, rolling green meadows, and cosmopolitan cities. The top things to do here include seeing geothermal activity at the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Park in Rotorua, watching Haka at Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua, hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing near Taupo and relaxing at the beaches of the Bay of Islands.
You can get from North Island to South Island by a three and half hour scenic ferry from Wellington to Picton.
The drive through South Island is beyond breathtaking with glaciers, lakes, mountains, rainforests and ocean views teasing you from time to time. The top things to do in here include whale watching in Kaikoura, heli-hiking a glacier in Franz Josef, hiking around Wanaka and Mount Cook, partaking in adventure activities in Queenstown and stargazing at the dark sky reserve in Tekapo or Mt.Cook. Do not miss going for the one hour immensely scenic drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy.
No trip to New Zealand is complete without taking a dip in geothermal hot springs or visiting a vineyard. Choose from the many options available on either island.
Do try the tasty food in the country – kiwi burger, fish and chips, pavlova, seafood, roast lamb, hokey-pokey ice cream and pies. For a traditional meal relish a Hangi Feast at the Maori show you attend.
From Trisha of Try Wandering More. See more from Trisha on Instagram.
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Cuba’s beaches are like none other and make for the perfect sunshine in December getaway. It’s an ideal place to visit to catch some sunshine, mingle with friendly locals, and experience the history of the country.
Visiting in December prior to Christmas will allow for inexpensive vacation packages and is typically a quieter time at the resort which is great if you are looking for some rest and relaxation. With a short flight from the east coast of Canada or the USA, it makes for an idyllic holiday without all of the travel time.
Varadero is one of the more popular vacation spots, with numerous resorts right on the pristine, white-sand beaches and bright blue, crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. Varadero offers numerous shopping opportunities and restaurants and is arguably one of the safest tourist spots in all of the Caribbean.
For adventure-seekers, there are Jeep safaris, speed boats, deep-sea fishing, catamaran trips, incredible diving, along with numerous wildlife excursions available to arrange directly through your resort, should you choose to stay at one.
No trip to Cuba is complete without a visit to Havana, the vibrant capital city, which dates back to the early 1500s. It’s a city rich in history and culture. With charming cobblestone streets and old, classic American cars, Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical and architectural values.
Havana is home to famous landmarks like the Museum of Revolution and El Capitolio, the most visited site in the city. There is also Morro Castle, a fortress designed to protect the city from pirates and offers sweeping views of Havana bay. You can also visit some of Ernest Hemingway’s most-frequented places, like La Bodeguita del Medio, where it’s said the mojito was invented, or tour a cigar factory.
It’s expensive to rent a car in Cuba, so alternative options include taxis, renting a motorbike, Viazul (the tourist bus) or public transportation, which is incredibly cheap, but often quite packed. You can also take a plane to and from Havana to 11 regional airports in Cuba.
It helps to pick up some Spanish phrases before going. A little goes a long way and can come in handy but you’ll find most people will speak a bit of English in the city.
For those wanting some rest and relaxation, Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Coco offer pristine beaches and ultimate seclusion, making it the perfect spot to visit in December prior to the holidays as a year-end retreat.
Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia that shares a border with Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. As soon as you step foot into the country you understand why it is known as the land of peace and prosperity.
The main reason that millions of visitors flock to Cambodia each year is to explore the mysterious ruins of Angkor Wat. Located just outside of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is one of the oldest and largest religious complexes in the world, roughly the size of 300 football fields. You may be familiar with Angkor Wat as it has been featured in several movies including Transformers 3 and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Siem Reap is a lively city, a place to relax by the pool and get pampered in the spa. After much needed R&R, party the night away on Pub Street, the main drag of Siem Reap.
But there’s more to Cambodia than just Angkor Wat. Once you’ve had your fill of exploring hidden ruins in the jungle, head south to the coast to explore some of Southeast Asia’s most untouched islands. If you’re looking for sunshine in December, where better to soak up the sun than the beautiful beaches here.
Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem are the two main islands to visit. Wooden bungalows, hammocks and swings line miles of white sand, palm-fringed beaches. I imagine these beaches are what Thailand’s beaches looked like 20 years ago.
There are no cars, hospitals or ATM’s on the islands so planning ahead and making sure you have enough cash to support your activities and accommodation costs.
A trip to Cambodia isn’t complete without a stop in the capital city of Phnom Penh to get to know Cambodia’s dark past. Understanding Cambodia’s history, helps you understand the Cambodian people’s way of life.
Getting around is straight forward and easy to navigate. Buses are frequent and connect you to the bigger cities as well as the smaller towns. If you’d rather fly, there are several international and local flights in and out of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
The best part about Cambodia has to be the price. The cost of food, accommodation and spa treatments are very affordable even by Southeast Asian standards. The cost of travel in Cambodia is anywhere from $15-$30 per day depending on your budget.
From white sand beaches to ruins strewn throughout the jungle, Cambodia has an experience anyone can enjoy.
Written by Jess from I’m Jess Traveling. See more from Jess on Instagram.
If you’re looking for the perfect affordable, sunny December travel destination, look no further than Guatemala. This Central American country is ideal for adventure and leisure lovers alike, boasting everything from stunning mountain ranges to idyllic beaches, colourful colonial towns, delicious food, and balmy winter weather.
Located just south of Mexico and to the west of Belize, Guatemala is still considered as a more off-the-beaten-path destination, especially when compared to tourism hubs like Costa Rica and Mexico. That being said, this makes Guatemala unique, as the country still maintains its cultural identity and many indigenous traditions without being overridden by tourists.
So if you’re looking for sunshine in December, start off in the capital of Antigua, where you’ll be able to soak in the beautiful colonial architecture and colourful buildings. The city is full of colonial churches and old convents, many of which you can visit for a small admission fee. Some favourites include Convent de las Capuchinas, La Recolección, and La Merced.
Outside of the capital city, Guatemala is home to many indigenous villages and Mayan ruins. Head to Tikal, an ancient Mayan city in the country’s northern rainforest that dates back to 200-850 AD. You can walk through the grounds of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, including ruins of incredible carved altars, palaces, ceremonial buildings, and two giant pyramids.
For incredible volcanic views, head to Lake Atitlan. The lake is set in the midst of lush, green mountains, offering panoramic vistas and a peaceful atmosphere. There are several small towns around the lake where you can stay, including Panajachel, Santiago Atitlan, and San Pedro La Laguna. San Marcos, for example, is known for its hippy vibes, where you can experience a reiki healing or participate in a silent retreat, while Santiago Atitlan tends to attract mostly backpackers. Take out a kayak or paddleboard on the lake, go for a swim, or treat yourself to a relaxing massage.
Food lovers will also enjoy indulging in Guatemala traditional foods. Be sure to try the Pepian, a thick stew made of meat, rice, and spices in a rich tomato-based sauce. You’ll also want to try some Guatemalan coffee, some of the finest in the world. Coffee is grown around the country, and many farms offer guided tours and tastings. Be sure to pick up a couple of bags to bring home as souvenirs for friends and family.
Trinidad is the most southern island in the Gulf of Paria and its location places it close to the South American country of Venezuela. Trinidad is one of the islands that make up the nation known as Trinidad and Tobago. This island is the larger of the two-island nation and is approximately 1,850 square miles.
Due to Trinidad’s large mass of land, the best way to get around this island is by car. The main and largest city is Port of Spain. Port of Spain is located about an hour away from the airport. When you are in Port of Spain you can take a ferry to the island of Tobago. The ferry takes approximately 3 hours. Sunshine in December is a perfect time to visit Tobago which is known for its idyllic beauty and its lovely beaches.
December is a great month to visit Trinidad because as an island its hot all year round but in December the temperatures start to drop to a comfortable 84 degrees on average. Furthermore, December brings the end of hurricane season.
Trinidad is very festive in December as it is the start of the holiday season. Additionally, in December Trinidad holds their annual Parang Festival. What is the Parang Festival? It’s a festival celebrating music known as parang. Parang is a type of folk music brought to Trinidad by Venezuelans.
In December there are lots of popular festive foods to eat. The most popular foods at this time of the year are as follows: black cake or fruitcake (a cake soaked in wine, sherry and rum months before), ponche de cream (a type of milky drink similar to egg nog), sorrel (a red spiced drink) and pastelles (cornmeal pies stuffed with meat, fish or vegetables with other ingredients such as raisins, olives and capers wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf).
Trinidad is known for being culturally diverse. The culture of the island reflects influences from Europe, Spain and India. One of the most countries most popular events of the year is their world-famous Carnival known for the colourful costumes and soca music that makes you move. In December after Boxing Day (December 26th) you will start to hear soca, calypso music and steel pans in the lead up to Carnival.
To end the year off with a bang is the festive fireworks being displayed all around the island whether they be from hotels to private homes. Trinidadians know how to party and there are so many parties held on New Year’s night which Trinidadian’s call Ole Years Night.
There is no better way to end the year on a high in Trinidad with lots of fireworks!
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Nevada is about much more than just Las Vegas. Although Las Vegas is definitely a Nevada destination you’d want to put on your itinerary, consider exploring the rest of this beautiful state as well: there are so many beautiful places to visit in Nevada!
As Nevada’s premier travel destination and the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is a fun place to visit. There are lots of things to do in Las Vegas even if you don’t gamble or party. You can do shopping or shows, check out some quirky museums, dine at celebrity chef restaurants, and enjoy attractions like the Bellagio Fountains.
You can also make Las Vegas a base from which to explore many natural wonders in the vicinity, including a number of national parks. One of the best day trips from Vegas you can do is to Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire State Park is arguably the most scenic state park in Nevada, with its beautiful red rock formations. It is also a historically significant place and boasts petroglyphs from ages ago. While you can visit Valley of Fire for the day, you can also camp here or stay in nearby Overton to enjoy the scenery over a few days.
Also near Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is another beautiful natural area, with many hiking trails and a scenic drive. The park is just 30 minutes from Las Vegas, making it an easy day or half-day trip.
Visit Boulder City, which is a visit-worthy town on its own, but is also close to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Hoover Dam. Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel that will astound you. You can tour the facility and take in views of the lake from above.
Nevada is also home to Great Basin National Park, where you can view ancient bristlecone pines and admire Wheeler Peak, which is over 13,000 feet tall. Tour the Lehman Caves and enjoy stargazing and camping. A small part of Death Valley National Park also lies in Nevada, and the rest of it is just over the border, so you can visit Death Valley as well.
In the north, the east shore of Lake Tahoe lies in Nevada, as also some of the Eastern Sierra. At Lake Tahoe, you can enjoy the coves and beaches and walk the boardwalk trail at Sand Harbor State Park.
The best way to explore Nevada is via a road trip, so make sure you rent a camper or tour the Silver State in your hire car.
Written by Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles. See more from Dhara on Instagram.
Peru is commonly known as the home of Machu Picchu, one of the most awe-inspiring Seven Wonders of the World. However, most people are unaware of the things to do in Peru besides Machu Picchu.
Spanning a total area of 1.28 million square kilometres, Peru’s diverse topography is unmatched. From the stunning beaches in the North to the mysterious Amazon Rain forest in the east to the soaring Andes that divide the country, Peru offers a wide variety of different attractions. Travelling from one region of Peru to another can feel like you have landed in another country.
Peru is a fantastic travel destination if you’re looking for sunshine in December, hugely because it lies in the Southern Hemisphere. As popular travel destinations suffer debilitating coldness in the winter, countries like Peru that are beneath the equator are blessed with soul-warming sun. If you ever wanted to celebrate Christmas by taking a dip in the sea, Peru is the perfect place for you.
Some of the most incredible places to visit in Peru are Colca Canyon (the second deepest canyon in the entire world), Huacachina (a stunning oasis in the midst of Peruvian dessert), Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world), Rainbow Mountain (a multi-coloured mountain caused by mineral deposits at 5200m high), and a whole lot of stunning hikes.
Because of the vastness of Peru, public transportation is fairly good (in South America standards). Long-distance and overnight buses are fairly common, as major cities can be over 8 hours apart by bus. Part of the reason why it takes so long is the winding roads and the altitude that needs to be overcome to reach the next city.
Long-distance buses in Peru have high standards. Mid-range buses will usually feature reclining seats, an onboard bathroom, meals, and a shared onboard entertainment (usually a TV). High-end buses will also include a fully reclining (180 degrees) chair, your own entertainment system (plus headset), and blankets to keep your warm on the journey. Low-end budget buses are not worth it at all. They are usually crammed with no AC, and security can be a real issue on those buses. It is only a small extra price to pay for the mid-range and luxury buses.
Peruvian cuisine usually surprises a lot of tourists. With so many different environments in Peru, Peruvian dishes are not only fresh but diverse. One dish you must try in Peru is the ceviche, the national food of Peru. Ceviche is similar to sashimi, in the sense that you are kind of consuming raw fish. In the case of ceviche, the raw fish is cooked in lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon juice eventually “cooks” the raw fish. The result is something that is incredibly fresh and tastes like the sea!
However, you will only find good ceviche in Lima because of its strategic location off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. In fact, one of the most things to do in Lima is just to eat. There are 2 top 50 restaurants in the world in Lima. Don’t leave without trying one of them!
Written by Sean from Living Out Lau. See more from Sean on Facebook.
There is no better place than India if you’re looking for sunshine in December. So why not head to India’s northeast and go hiking.
The Dzükou Valley is located at the border of the Indian State of Nagaland, at an altitude of 2452 meters above sea level. Nagaland is a hub of unique ethnic cultures and the Dzukou Valley trek is a perfect opportunity to explore the least explored hills and experience its diverse ethnography.
The trek to Dzükou involves 5-6 hours of hiking through dense evergreen forests amongst clouds and the vast array of bamboo shrubs and hilltops. The rare Dzükou Lily and the vivid flowers decorate the valley in summer with a glowing charm. Green hillocks, mountains and the bamboo shrubs against the background of blue skies soothes the soul. In Winter, the valley freezes with showers of snowfall. A popular destination for adventure lovers from both Nagaland and Manipur, hikers have poured in from all parts of the country and the world in the past few years.
Hiking to the valley itself is an adventure. A campsite is maintained by the Southern Angami Youth Organisation (SAYO), who apart from providing accommodation, camping facilities look after the Valley. One may hike further down the valley to have a panoramic view. Dipping into the cold stream is always fun. The watch-tower view of the entire valley from high up the hill beside the campsite is mesmerizing. Campfire under the galaxy of stars and full moon sets the mood for a wonderful night. To gaze at the play of the clouds with the hills in the tranquil night is a blessing.
Tourists and hikers often stay only for a night exploring little the next morning. To feel the essence of Dzükou Valley, it is always better to at least camp for 3-4 days. Monsoons make the Jakhama trail more slippery, therefore, Viswema should be your choice.
Dzuleke, Khonoma, Pfutsero, Mt. Japfü, Mt. Saramati, Phek, Kohima War Cemetery are other off-beat destinations one must not miss out. Hornbill Festival organised from December 1 st to December 10th every year showcasing art, dance and cultures of all the ethnic groups of Nagaland.
To get here you can fly or catch a train to Dimapur. Buses and shared-sumos are frequent to the capital city Kohima. The valley is accessible through two trails- Jakhama and Viswema.
Written by Joydeep from The Gypsy Chiring. Read this is you’d like to visit Mount Saramati: Trek to the highest peak of Nagaland, India. See more from Joydeep on Instagram.
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Senegal, on the west coast of Africa, is a warm & colourful country full of contrasts. To the north you’ll find the Sahel dune desert, to the east there are the deltas and lagoon lined with dense mangrove whilst in the centre, you’ll find impressive baobab forests. Visit the volcanic landscapes of Cape Verde in the west and amongst these beauties, the salt lakes with their changing hues.
Senegal was, until the 1960’s, a French colony. This is still evident today through the colonial architecture, the language and the number of French travellers that visit. If you’d like to know more about Senegal’s slave trade, which is a crucial part of their history, head to the brightly coloured island of Ile de Goree to learn about slave houses & slavery.
Like many places in Africa, long-distance buses and vans don’t leave until they’re full so unless you have a lot of time and patience we would suggest self-driving (for those with experience of Africa) or finding a private guide who can drive you around. If you plan on driving Horizons Unlimited and Africa Overland are great for resources.
The element attracting most travellers though are the amazing beaches. The best beaches being Saly, Nianing and Mbodiene however Senegal has a rainy season where it rains constantly for three months. This makes some of the roads impassable and it’s difficult to travel. I would therefore recommend visiting during the long, dry season which runs from December to April. The rains tend to be gone by November.
Dakar, the country’s capital is similar to many African cities; busy; noisy; chaotic & overwhelming. It is not that attractive so we recommend that you stay in Saly which is central to most things. Senegal is a peaceful country, mostly Muslim but pretty relaxed. Beer is easily available to buy but hard alcohol less so.
Although Senegal doesn’t have safaris as such, it has a huge amount of wildlife. Near the mangroves you’ll see flocks of pelicans, egrets, herons and mongoose. If you head to Bandia Reserve you’ll see animals from across Africa. You’ll need a 4×4 but you’ll see giraffes, zebras, warthogs, élans, gazelles, monkeys and even two elusive black rhinos. If you head further inland, you’ll find larger reserves and national parks.
Make sure you head over to either the Lac Rose, a pink lake, where they harvest salt and have impressive sand dunes or the LakeRetba. We also think the dunes of the shellfish island, Fadiouth are cool.
If you have time, a trip to the colonial northern city of St. Louis is worth it. It was the capital city until 1902 and is best known for its national parks, architecture and music festival
Reading this book before you go might help you understand how slavery from Senegal impacted the country.
La Tarifa, Spain
Europe’s top place to visit if you’re looking for sunshine in December is without a doubt, southern Spain. Anywhere along the southern tip of Spain, west of Gibraltar will guarantee you a daily temperature of the mid 20’s however if you’re looking for glorious beaches, an old fortified town, a laid back atmosphere, a foodies paradise and some adventure sports then you should head to Tarifa.
Tarifa is a Spanish town in the Cadiz Province of the Andalucia region. It is located in the Straights of Gibraltar, the southernmost point of Europe which separates Europe from Africa, where the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet. Due to this, it has a lot of wind but it also makes it an ideal location to spot sea life. Dolphins, Sperm Whale and Killer Whales frequent this area often & sightings are regular.
The town’s local beaches are Playa Chica & El Foso which are quite small but nice for paddling. The two most popular beaches in Tarifa are Playa de Los Lances and Playa de Valdevaqueros where you’ll find dazzling stretches of white sand, waves, windsurfers, kitesurfers and high dunes.
Behind Tarifa is the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales whilst the Parque Natural del Estrecho stretches northeast behind Tarifa. Both are idyllic but the Parque Natural del Estrecho is particularly beautiful and rural with lush foliage and flowers.
The Old Town of Tarifa is spectacular. A small town constructed around narrow stone streets, whitewashed houses, Andalucian courtyards, brightly painted windowsills and doors and plenty of orange trees. The Castillo de Guzman dates from the 10th century and the Puerta de Jerez is the only one of four medieval entrances that remain. The Old Town is packed full of character and if you can stay here, we recommend it. We rented a beautiful Airbnb with a rooftop terrace.
If this isn’t enough, two brilliant day trips are catching the ferry to Tangier, Africa and visiting the coastal town of Bolonia. 23km from Tarifa, Bolonia is home to some important Roman ruins dating back to the 2nd century AD. Check out the baths, aqueduct and salting facilities which remain amazingly conserved.
Read more about Tarifa and things to do there.
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