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Best Tropical Places To Visit In December

Last update: 2023-12-07

December is a great time to escape the cold and visit tropical destinations around the world. With warm temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower prices than the high season, December is an ideal month to explore beaches, jungles, and ancient ruins. Here are some of the best tropical places to visit in December:


Thailand offers a perfect blend of culture, cuisine, and natural beauty. December falls during the dry season, when temperatures are warm and pleasant. The beaches along the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand have ideal conditions for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Popular spots like Phuket, Koh Samui, and Krabi are less crowded and cheaper in December. It's also a good time to visit Bangkok and Northern Thailand, with cooler weather in the mountains.

Phuket, Thailand - December 24, 2015 : Old building Chino Portuguese style in Phuket on December 24, 2015 in Phuket, Thailand. Old buildings area is a very famous tourist destination of Phuket town.

The best things to do in Thailand in December include:

  • Relaxing on white sand beaches and clear blue waters
  • Experiencing Bangkok's energy, nightlife, and temples
  • Trekking and jungle safaris in Northern Thailand
  • Trying authentic Thai cuisine with fresh seafood and spices
  • Visiting historical sites like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Ayutthaya
  • Partying at the Full Moon Party on Ko Phangan island

With its affordability, safety, warm weather, and unique culture, Thailand is at the top of the list for tropical getaways in December.

Hawaii, USA

For an exotic Polynesian vibe without leaving the United States, Hawaii has perfect tropical weather in December. On the islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island, temperatures stay in the 70s and 80s year-round. The beaches are less crowded before the Christmas holidays. It's a great time to find deals on hotels and flights.

Hikers with the view of Lanikai from a top the Pillbox hiking trail Kailua Hawaii in December

Top things to do in Hawaii in December include:

  • Relaxing on majestic beaches like Waikiki, Ho'okipa, and Hapuna Beach
  • Experiencing Hawaii's beauty on scenic hikes like Diamond Head and Volcanoes National Park
  • Snorkeling with green sea turtles near Turtle Bay or Hanauma Bay
  • Whale watching, as humpback whales migrate to Hawaii to breed
  • Learning to surf on the legendary North Shore beaches
  • Exploring historic sites like Pearl Harbor and Iolani Palace
  • Dining on fresh poke bowls, pineapple, and local cuisine

With nonstop options from the West Coast, Hawaii is one of the most convenient tropical getaways for US travelers in December.


December is an ideal time to visit Mexico's Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Temperatures are consistently in the 80s along with low humidity and fewer crowds. Many popular resort areas offer special deals for the holiday season.

December 30, 2014: Sailboats anchoring in Port Elizabeth- Admiralty Bay- Bequia- St. Vincent and the Grenadines- Caribbean

Top spots to visit in Mexico in December include:

  • Riviera Maya - Relax on white sand beaches and tour ancient Mayan ruins like Tulum and Coba
  • Puerto Vallarta - Dine at beachfront restaurants and bars in the lively downtown
  • Cabo San Lucas - Enjoy fishing, watersports, and whale watching in Baja California
  • Cancun - Experience the hotel zone's nightlife and take day trips to Isla Mujeres
  • Oaxaca and Chiapas - Explore colonial cities, indigenous cultures, and ancient ruins

Other highlights of a Mexican vacation in December include delicious street food, tequila and mezcal tastings, getting immersed in Mexican culture, and taking scenic day trips to beaches, waterfalls, and historic cities. With its affordability and proximity for US travelers, Mexico offers an easy tropical escape.

Costa Rica

For adventure and wildlife, Costa Rica shines in December. Dry weather provides perfect conditions for surfing, ziplining, whitewater rafting, and wildlife spotting. With diverse microclimates, December temperatures stay comfortable in the 70s and 80s across most of the country.

Surfer couple in silhouette holding surf boards at sunset

Top activities in Costa Rica in December include:

  • Ziplining over rainforest canopies near La Fortuna
  • Spotting monkeys and sloths at Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Snorkeling with sea turtles in Cahuita National Park
  • Hiking around Arenal Volcano and soaking in natural hot springs
  • Surfing at beaches like Tamarindo, Jaco, and Santa Teresa
  • Going on a jungle safari to see exotic birds and animals

Costa Rica offers endless options for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The country's commitment to eco-tourism also makes it a great tropical destination.


What is the best tropical destination in December?

Thailand is likely the best all-around tropical destination in December, with warm weather, lower prices, and lots of cultural sights and outdoor activities. Hawaii and Mexico are also excellent choices.

What is the cheapest tropical vacation spot in December?

Mexico and Thailand tend to have the most budget-friendly options for tropical vacations in December, with affordable hotels, dining, and activities. Flights are also generally cheaper than other peak seasons.

What is the weather like in tropical destinations in December?

Most tropical destinations have their peak tourism season in December, so expect warm temperatures in the 70s, 80s and 90s Fahrenheit. There is low rainfall and humidity, providing perfect beach and outdoor conditions.

Are there good travel deals in the tropics in December?

Many tropical resorts, hotels, and tour operators offer special discounts and deals in December to attract tourists during this shoulder season with nice weather but fewer crowds. It's possible to find great package deals and sales before the winter holidays.

What are the downsides of visiting the tropics in December?

Some destinations get busier and pricier around the Christmas and New Year holidays. You may also experience some short tropical rainstorms. Overall though, December is a great time with minimal downsides for tropical trips.


December is one of the best times to visit tropical destinations around the world. With fewer crowds and lower prices than peak season, it's possible to have an affordable beach vacation before the holidays. Thailand, Hawaii, Mexico, and Costa Rica all offer warm weather, beautiful beaches, outdoor adventures, wildlife, culture, and cuisine. For an unforgettable tropical getaway, book your December vacation to make the most of ideal weather conditions.

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