When the nights draw in and the temperature drops as winter approaches, it can be tempting to start daydreaming about shedding the knitwear and escaping to somewhere warm and sunny.
Although December in the UK means chilly, dark days, in the southern hemisphere countries swap the colder months for summer. The beaches of Sydney and Cape Town bask in temperatures in the mid-20s, while ever-warm Cancun has come out of its rainy season, making it an ideal time to visit Mexico’s tourism capital.
Meanwhile, some destinations enjoy a hot climate year-round; the sights of Oman are likely still resplendent in the sunshine come December, with the Thai capital of Bangkok as energetic as ever too.
Even in Europe, certain islands receive weather most of the continent could only dream of in winter, with Cyprus and the Canary Islands boasting temperatures in the mid-20s – the perfect backdrop for exploring a wealth of natural and historical sites.
Read on for some of the best winter-sun destinations to head to in December.
- Average temperature in December: 25C
- Hours of sunshine per day: 6
This city on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula has a reputation as being a spring break favourite among Westerners, but it is far more than just a place for seasonal partying. With December highs of around 30C and miles of white sands meeting emerald waters, it’s the ideal destination for combining winter sun with a vibrant local culture.
Nightlife isn’t hard to find (the Hotel Zone is the main party area), but neither is natural beauty thanks to the beaches on the Riviera Maya, such as Playa del Carmen and Playa Delfines. There are also great scuba diving spots on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, and chances to swim with whale sharks. Those who want to explore the history of the area can head to the nearby Mayan Museum and the Mayan ruins of El Rey and San Miguelito.
There are also a wealth of fascinating day trips on offer to places including Merida, Tulum and Chichen Itza. The first, the state capital, is known for its mix of Spanish and Mayan influences, while Chichen Itza is one of the country’s most renowned Mayan ruins. Tulum combines ancient ruins with attractive coastal areas and natural limestone sinkholes known as cenotes.
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