It's a great way to bring some joy to the holiday season when you go to the Caribbean for Christmas.

The Caribbean is particularly dry in December, making it a good place to spend Christmas.

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A drawing of a Christmas tree is etched in the sand next to a beach
Trade-in snow for sand and warm waters during this holiday season © SW Kunst / Getty Images

1. Jamaica: fresh sorrel, fruit cake and reggae fests

It's the best part of Christmas in Jamaica. Sorrel is in high demand and the markets are livelier than ever.

In Jamaica, the top beaches are.

2. Dominican Republic: waterfalls, free concerts and nightlife

Christmas holidays are celebrated in the Dominican Republic through music and shopping. Shopping malls in Santo Domingo are well decorated and host arts and crafts markets.

You can find live music in the Zona Colonial every day.

The beaches and resorts of Puerto Plata are less crowded than in other places. Hike to waterfalls in the countryside, tour a chocolate factory, and watch the Christmas Eve tradition of pig roasting. If you want to practice dancing merengue and bachata until sunrise, you can go to a few local bars or nightclubs.

You can sample Christmas dishes on or off your resort. Sampling Dominican ponche is recommended.

A wooden pier extends into a shallow beach from the shore. Palm trees dot the shoreline and cover a beach house.
Tobacco Caye is a perfect destination to escape the colder temps © Simon Dannhauer / Getty Images

3. Belize: rainforests, culture and cayes

It is possible to experience some of the unique cultural events of the country during the Christmas season. As more tourists come in January and February, the price of lodging remains reasonable.

A traditional Christmas dinner of turkey with cranberry jelly, rice and beans, ham, potato salad, black cake and rum popo can be found at either a riverside lodge or in a village outside of Belize City. There are horse races on Boxing Day.

Christmastime in Dangriga brings junkanu and charikanari to the street. Participants in the dance wear headdresses that look like a cow's head, with real horns, and hunt a two foot cow in the street.

Tobacco Caye is a great place to snorkel and relax on the Barrier Reef.

Head to the Bahamas during the holidays to celebrate the country's biggest festivals of the year © Marc Guitard / Getty Images

4. The Bahamas: Junkanoo, shopping and seclusion

The Junkanoo Festival is one of the best things to do in the country. Everyone on the islands is welcome to participate in the colorful parade in Nassau.

Vendors from around the islands come to Nassau to sell their wares. Locally made items can be found at Festival Place. The Port Lucaya Market is back open. If you want to escape the crowds, hop over to Eleuthera, Bimini, or any of the Out Islands except for the Abacos.

It's a no-brainer to add proximity to the US, numerous nonstop flights, and the chance to contribute to the recovering tourism industry in the Bahamas.

There are a lot of road trips in the Bahamas.

Water in a fountain is light up in red and green colors on a highly decorated plaza for Christmas in Puerto Rico
Christmas is a major holiday in Puerto Rico © TexPhoto / Getty Images

5. Puerto Rico: parties, old world charm and wild beaches

Puerto Rico is a great place to go for either parties or seclusion. US citizens don't need a passport to fly from the US.

Old San Juan has charming streets for shopping, history and food, as well as dancing to live salsa or bomba.

Vieques is an easy hop on the ferry from Fajardo. Booking your rooms and car rentals ahead of time is important. Vieques has a holiday party vibe on the busy side of the island, or you can go to the hills near the beaches.

The article was first published in November.