If you’re dreaming of a white (sand) Christmas, then Barbados offers the best of both worlds – tropical temperatures with an abundance of festive cheer! Whether it’s your first time experiencing a Bajan Christmas, or you’re a regular seeking new ideas, our guide on how to spend Christmas in Barbados is here to help!
December – January is peak season in the Caribbean, with travellers from around the globe wanting to escape from reality for some much-needed winter sun. With blissful highs of 29ºc and lows of 23ºc, the warm Bajan temperatures are set to raise those Christmas spirits, making for the ultimate yuletide holiday.
Jetting off to the Caribbean is the most special way to celebrate Christmas with loved ones, and will create amazing memories to last a lifetime. So with that being said, let’s get into our guide on how to spend Christmas in Barbados…
Select your Christmas abode at the Merlin Bay Complex or Dream Villa:
Merlin Bay offers a beautiful postcard setting, with 7 boutique beachfront villas – ideal for family getaways or couple retreats. With private pools, beach access, housekeeping, and much more, our Merlin Bay rental villas make for an incredible Christmas trip!
A little further up the coastline stands our spectacular Dream Villa – the ultimate location for spending Christmas in the sun. With 5 ensuite bedrooms, an infinity pool, outdoor bar, and private chef, hosting a lavish Christmas or New Year’s party in Barbados has never looked better!
We recommend booking your St James Christmas rental villa as quickly as possible – this time of year is our busiest season without a doubt!
Embrace the yuletide cheer and traditional activities:
It’s no secret that Barbados loves Christmas, despite the juxtaposing weather. Surround yourself with all the best Christmas music, experience the joyful Christmas concerts, and embrace the Bajan Christmas spirit!
Over the Christmas period, the island is adorned in beautiful light displays. If you’ve hired a rental car, we suggest going out one evening for what’s famously known as a ‘Christmas drive’ – a popular tradition with locals! Trust us when we say some of the displays are out of this world…
Along with glittering light displays, you’ll also find stunning festive decorations at almost every location. Christmas decorations go up in most Bajan homes, alongside the customary Christmas tree! The hotels and restaurants typically go all-out for Christmas, and people flock to the capital of Bridgetown to see the streets adorned in red, green, and gold.
Barbados is a mainly Christian island, and so there’s plenty of traditions to get involved in. In the lead up to the big day, you’re able to take part in Midnight Masses, or attend the famous Carols by Candlelight at the beautiful Ilaro Court. On Christmas Day, locals attend church services, then head to Queen’s Park in Bridgetown, where the Royal Barbados Police Force Band perform a collection of carols and Christmas classics.
Indulge in Bajan festive cuisine:
We can all agree that one of the greatest parts about Christmas is the FOOD! Bajan’s are incredibly passionate about their cuisine, and so we highly recommend trying a traditional Bajan Christmas dinner.
A classic Bajan Christmas feast typically includes Great Cake, Jug Jug, and glazed ham. Jug Jug is inspired by Scottish haggis, and made with pigeon peas, salt meat, and minced pork. Great Cake is similar to Christmas Pudding, except doused in dark rum.
You can of course still find turkey roast dinners with all the trimmings at multiple fine-dining restaurants across the island. Choose to dine out for your Christmas lunch, or hire a private chef to cook up a storm at one of our beachfront, St James rental villas.
Boxing Day in Barbados:
If you’re not from the United Kingdom, you may be vaguely aware of Boxing Day that takes place on 26th December. It’s a day for sleeping in, relaxing, eating/drinking leftovers, and spending quality time with friends and family – it’s pretty much a secondary Christmas Day!
In the U.K. it’s somewhat customary to walk-off our astronomical Christmas dinners with a crisp, winter walk. Despite this tradition being a family favourite, it’s often cold, drizzly, and subject to the limited daylight – since the sun sets at around 4.00pm… However, this couldn’t be further from the truth on the sunny island of Barbados!
Boxing Day in Barbados is akin to the national public holiday celebrated in the U.K., meaning many local business will be closed to allow the island to relax and unwind. But that doesn’t prevent from having an amazing Boxing Day – island style!
After waking up to a delicious breakfast or brunch, and taking a Boxing Day dip in your private plunge pool, we suggest taking a leisurely stroll along the beach – just like in the U.K. but 1,000x better! There are beautiful beaches aplenty on the West Coast of Barbados, and of course our Dream Villas are all located on the water’s edge with the ocean on your doorstep.
If you want to travel further afield, and have a Boxing Day beach trip, read our guide to the best beaches on the West Coast of Barbados.
Another Bajan favourite is to attend the Boxing Day Races at Garrison Savannah. A fabulous venue, where local people of all ages come together to share a love of horse racing (and betting of course!). Expect a vibrant atmosphere, delicious food stalls, flowing cocktails, and much more.
Top tip: you don’t have to buy a ticket for the grandstand, as the track is accessible from the street!
Celebrate New Year’s Eve on the beach:
What bucket list dreams of made of!
After you’ve spent a couples of days detoxing from the chaos of Christmas, you’ll be ready to welcome the New Year in style. What better way to celebrate than on a beach?! Watch the sunset for the final time this year, and make a toast to new beginnings…
New Year’s Eve is known as Old Year’s Night in Barbados, and is a special occasion for the locals, so expect big parties, parades, displays, and rum punch galore!
It’s worth noting that fireworks aren’t sold to the public for health & safety reasons, but there are plenty of beach locations around the island to watch a magnificent firework display. Here are some of our favourite spots:
- Sandy Lane Hotel – A much-loved luxury resort in Holetown. Sandy Lane renowned for its idyllic location and incredible atmosphere. Each year, Sandy Lane hosts a lavish New Year’s Eve cocktail party. Be sure to dress up to the nines, and expect fireworks, a few famous faces, and delicious cocktails!
- The Hilton Barbados – just outside of Bridgetown. A popular spot with locals and tourists alike, with a magnificent fireworks display set on the beach. We advise securing spot early if possible, as the Hilton will get busy very quickly!
- 1st street, Holetown – a St. James favourite, and walking distance from both The Dream Villa and our Merlin Bay rental villas. Holetown is the place to be when searching for incredible nightlife on the West Coast – with find plenty New Year’s Eve parties in Holetown to watch the fireworks.
So there you have it! Ultimately, when wondering how to spend Christmas in Barbados, our golden nugget of advise would be eat, drink (rum), and be merry!
The Dream Villas team
Merlin Bay Villas Barbados
Seven 3-bed beachfront apartments. Each of these Barbados rental villas has a private plunge pool, along with a larger, quiet, communal pool and beach access.
The Dream Villa Barbados
The perfect luxury escape from reality. Enjoy unequalled privacy with thanks to the private drive, garden, and secluded beach.
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