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Spend Christmas at the Beach

Spending Christmas on the Beach

Did you ever think maybe it’s time to forget the traditional white Christmas and spend the holidays somewhere warm and relaxing?  Although many beach destinations might also be a little chilly come late December, you can’t go wrong with Central America. While more northern climates are freezing their socks off, countries in this part of the world are enjoying blissful sunshine. Spending Christmas on the beach could be just what your wishlist is missing! So if you’re looking to get out of town this Christmas and make your way to the surf and sand, here are five great Central American destinations for a white hot Christmas.

1. Placencia, Belize

Sitting at the tip of a long sandy peninsula that juts out into the Caribbean Sea, Placencia is a small beach village that is home to just 500 people, but features some of southern Belize’s best bars and restaurants, as well as good accommodations. If you’re the type of person that is looking to simply kick-back, relax and enjoy the surf, sun, sand and maybe sip on a cocktail or two, then a trip to Placencia might be just the thing you need.

2. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

The quaint town of San Juan del Sur, with its Victorian clapboard houses and vibrant local scene, makes for the perfect place to begin exploring the southern pacific beaches of Nicaragua. With some of the region’s most astounding beaches just a few minutes to the north and south, great local nightlife, bars, and restaurants, San Juan del Sur is the perfect spot to make your home base if you’re looking to explore multiple beaches and do a little touring.

3. Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Often ranked in the top beaches of Central America, Playa Tamarindo is not only a stunning beach in its own right, but it is also sandwiched between two beaches that are protected nesting sites for the giant leatherback turtle. The breeding period for these turtles is between October and March, so don’t be surprised if you see a few coming ashore to lay their eggs while you enjoy the surf and sand. Tamarindo is also home to great snorkeling, diving, fishing, and surfing.

4. Barra de Santiago, El Salvador

Tourism is relatively new to this area, so when you arrive in Barra de Santiago don’t be surprised if you’re treated more like a new friend than a tourist. This region might be best known for the Balsam Coast, which is an absolute paradise for surfers, but if you’re after some true isolation and relaxation, then Barra de Santiago is a must-see. Located in a national park threaded with mangroves and waterways that cover this large sandbar, the local eco-resort is made-up of thatched roof bungalows set amongst the palms and sand.

5. Bocas del Toro, Panama

This friendly and laid-back town is the perfect base for anyone looking to spend Christmas in Panama. The region is an absolute treasure trove of sandy islets and remote beaches, where you’ll find some of Central America’s best snorkeling sites. If you’re after a good mixture of exploration and relaxation, then the chilled-out atmosphere and diverse collection of islands and beaches here make Bocas del Toro a great spot for you.

Whatever your plans this Christmas, remember that just because you haven’t planned a getaway yet doesn’t mean you can’t plan some great last minute holidays.

Images by KTDrasky and Daquella manera used under Creative Commons License.

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costa rica family travel guide

Costa Rica Family Travel Guide

Blessed with amazing beaches, pristine wilderness, unique wildlife and a warm, friendly culture, Costa Rica has quickly become a leading family travel destination.

costa rica map

To help you plan your family’s next vacation, start here with my Costa Rica family travel guide.

Top Things to See and Do in Costa Rica

Thanks to a significant amount of thermal activity, Costa Rica is dotted with a large number of volcanoes and thermal hot springs. These hot springs, which come in every size, shape and temperature imaginable, are a fun way to experience another element of Costa Rica’s amazing natural beauty. But not all hot springs are made equal when it comes to visiting with children. Here are the best Costa Rica Hot Springs for families.

Manuel Antonio National Park is widely considered Costa Rica’s piece de resistance. One of the most bio-diverse parks on the planet, lush tropical forests, clear lagoons, mangrove forests and pristine white sandy beaches are all found within the boundaries of Manual Antonio. Here are four great things to do in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica.

In recent years, a number of world-class yoga studios have opened across Costa Rica. Across the country you’ll find that the yogic principles and lifestyle are simple to lear and ascribe to when surrounded by such calm and natural beauty. Here are 4 of the best spots to find your yoga in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Family Travel Tips

Planning a trip to Costa Rica that keeps everyone in the family happy can seem like a challenge. Here is a sample Costa Rica family itinerary that has something to offer the entire family, while balancing the must-see spots with more off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Nestled between the Pacific and the Caribbean, Costa Rica has literally hundreds of beaches. If your family loves a good beach as much as mine, be sure to check out these best beaches in Costa Rica. 

Where to Stay in Costa Rica

While in the Arenal/ La Fortuna area you can ogle a picture perfect volcano, spend the days exploring the jungle, wallowing in mud baths and rinsing off in the numerous hot springs in the region. More adventurous families can enjoy ATV tours, zip lines and river rafting here. There are a number of hotels at a range of price points in the area, but only a few are ideal for family travelers. Here are my picks for the best hotels in Arenal Costa Rica for families.

Manuel Antonio National Park is a must-see on any Costa Rica travel itinerary. Located on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, these tangled mangrove waterways and wild rivers found in the park are very easy to access. While there are a large number of hotels in the Manuel Antonio area, a few stand out as clear leaders when it comes to kid-friendly options. Here are the three best Manuel Antonio hotels for kids.

Want more? Consider traveling with the family to Mexico. Check out my Riviera Maya Family Travel Guide here.

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