About 65 million Americans traveled over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday in 2007. For those who traveled internationally, the Caribbean islands were among the top ten most popular destinations.

However, the number of people traveling to the Caribbean this year is likely to be down. With the high cost of jet fuel, many airlines have cut back on the number of flights being offered for Caribbean destinations. And they are charging higher prices for available seats. Some travelers are reconsidering their plans and opting to stay home because of the higher costs. With fewer people going to the islands, that may mean savings for you when you arrive.

Some of the most popular Caribbean island destinations for the holidays include Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Each of these island countries has a unique cultural heritage but the majority of those who live on the islands are descended from Africans and most are Christians. So there are plenty of ways to participate in Christmas celebrations when you are away from home.

Puerto Rico

This may be the year to visit Puerto Rico for Christmas. With holiday airfare on the rise, this island nation is offering some bargain prices for lodging. In addition, there are numerous festive Christmas activities. Enjoy an authentic Puerto Rican Christmas dinner; watch a unique holiday street parade with music, singing, and dancing; or tour Old San Juan to see Christmas lights and decoration.

Choose from all-inclusive resorts or cozy bed and breakfasts. If you staying in or near San Juan you will have lots of historical and cultural landmarks to visit along with a variety of restaurants, great shopping, and nightlife.

Antigua

Christmas in Antigua could be a once in a lifetime experience. Enjoy all the celebrations of this festive holiday and escape the chill of the north at the same time. Christmas traditions are similar to those celebrated in the United Kingdom. A number of hotels in Antigua host fabulous Christmas dinners for their guests. And what would Christmas be without Santa? The staff in some of the hotels dress up as Father Christmas and visit with a sack full of gifts for the children.

Barbados

One of the highlights of the Christmas season in Barbados is the “Carols by Candlelight” held at the official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados. The audience holds candles while enjoying Christmas carols sung by various musicians. Barbados is a very religious country so you will find lots of churches holding Christmas services.

This island country offers something for everyone. In addition to soaking up the sun at the beach, if you like to be active you might enjoy windsurfing, kite surfing, or traditional surfing. For nightlife, Barbados has many bars, pubs, restaurants, and dance clubs. Maybe you enjoy horseback riding. There are a number of equestrian centers for riding horses through the sugar cane fields or on white sand beaches.

St. Lucia

Peaks and valleys offering you plenty of diverse terrain for exploration characterize St. Lucia. There are high mountain peaks, hot springs, waterfalls, dozens of small isolated coves, and beaches by a warm calm sea cooled by refreshing Atlantic trade winds. Enjoy this diverse landscape with biking, horseback riding, hiking, golfing, playing tennis, snorkeling, diving, or deep-sea fishing. St. Lucia also boasts the only drive-in volcano in the world!

Both Christmas day and the day after are official holidays in St. Lucia. However, if you arrive a little earlier in the month of December there is a special Christmas folk festival. This celebration has been held at the Pigeon Island National Park. Festivities include a Fiesta Night featuring Christmas music by choirs and steel bands. Music sets the ambience for a special Creole dinner and Christmas tree lighting. Other activities at the National Cultural Center include more food and drink and Santa Claus arrives to hand out gifts to children.

Jamaica

Santa Claus and his gifts are very much a part of a Jamaica Christmas. Although in some rural areas it is said that Santa rides a cart and donkey. The Grand Market is a special Christmas celebration in Jamaica. The main streets in the bigger cities and town are closed to traffic and sellers spread their goods out along the roads. This is a place for children and their parents to buy gifts for family and friends.

In Jamaica, you’ll hear Christmas carols like Silent Night and O’ Come All Ye Faithful but don’t be surprised if they are sung in reggae style! Located off the coast of Cuba, Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean. The landscape is diverse ranging from the Blue Mountains in the east to narrow coastal plains and flatlands in the south. There are hundreds of miles of coastline with enough fabulous beaches to suit anyone whether you would like peace and quiet or lively populated spots with sunbathers listening to reggae music.

Dominican Republic

Just as with many other islands, Christmas is a special time of the year in the Dominican Republic. Although many of the islanders are not well off, Christmas is a time of joy and celebration. These celebrations start as early as the end of October and last for about 3 months! There are lots of parties both private and community organized. You might see spectacular fireworks and enjoy fabulous food.

The Dominican Republic has been a well-kept secret because it is one of the less expensive Caribbean islands. Don’t wait long to make a trip and enjoy all that this beautiful island has to offer while the prices are still very reasonable.

Now you have an idea of what you might encounter on some of the islands but there are many more! Discover the best island for you based on what you would enjoy doing and seeing. Visit link text to learn more. http://www.bestcaribbeanchristmas.com

By: C. Kahn