For quite a few years now I’ve created the tradition of visiting a new place for every New Year’s Eve. While many may be rushing to celebrate in my little home town called New York City, I have an opposition to the cold! So I’ve sought out warmer, beachier locations instead!
Here are some of my favorite places to party your ass off, explore the culture, taste the yummy foods and escape to some much needed warm weather!
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
There’s so much to say about this area of Mexico. You may immediately write it off as a touristy drinking area but it has so much more to offer than that! Take a ferry across the water and explore the beautiful island of Cozumel, rent some fins and a snorkel to see some of the most colorful fish you’re eyes have ever seen, sneak into one of the ritzy all inclusive resorts and drink until your hearts content or detour off the strip to explore some of the local food (not the chain restaurants please)! It’s super easy and not terribly expensive to book a day trip to some incredible neighboring locations such as the pyramid of Coba or the beach side ruins of Tulum. Or you can rent your own car and explore on your own. Not to mention the hundreds of cenotes (magical underground swimming holes).
Besides it being a great area to visit, it’s especially fun for ringing in the new year! Playa Del Carmen was without a doubt one of the most fun new year’s I have ever had. At one point during the height of my happiness I actually wondered if it was even legal to be enjoying myself this much. There were tons of daytime beach parties and on new year’s eve every club on the main strip has a party, but not to worry if you don’t want to pay a cover there is a HUGE party right in the street and the beach is literally steps away. Or you can do what I did and ask someone to hoist you up to a low lying balcony and sneak into a club without paying a cent! The Mexican tradition is to stay up all night and watch the first sunrise of the new year with your family. So if you walk along the beach not only will you see passed out gringos and Mexicans, but you’ll also find entire families, from babies to grandmas, camped out on the beach celebrating together.
South Beach, Miami Florida
Glitz and glamour is the Miami way, but did you know they also have a beautiful fireworks display right over the beach that you can see for free? You can camp out with your friends, make a picnic and watch the fireworks glitter with gold with heaps of other revelers. Right after midnight most of the clubs will let you in for free or super cheap, so after celebrating with friends go dance your ass off until the sun rises.
Because of a dense Brazilian population many people follow the Brazilian tradition of wearing all white to the beach and releasing white flowers and candles into the water to appease the diety Lamanja. This was truly beautiful to witness and now that I know, next time I’ll be wearing white too! PS Brazil for New Year’s is on my bucket list! Will add it once I make it there! 😉
$Free.99 tip: If you’re a single lady Miami is pretty easy to navigate as all the boys want to show off and buy you drinks. Plenty of promoters will come up to you on the beach or the street and give you free invites to clubs (don’t EVER go with a promoter who’s asking for money). Not to mention you can confidently walk into most hotels and hang by the pool without getting hassled if you’re a guest or not. Unfortunately guys have a bit of a harder time so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’ve got some cash to burn or your with a big group of friends.
This trip was planned completely on a whim. New York winter was really bumming me out and I was dying to get away. I didn’t have anyone to take a trip with and started exploring the ever popular Couchsurfing website. I came across a host in Puerto Rico who urged me to come visit. I was nervous at first but desperate to get away. I decided to throw caution to the wind and take a trip that changed my life and gave me a love of this incredible island, it’s people and culture. Not to mention made me fall in love with the concept of couchsurfing which is NOT to be confused with a free place to stay. It’s a truly unique way to experience a destination and one of my favorite ways to travel.
No one works for roughly 2-4 weeks surrounding Christmas, it’s a really big deal on this Catholic island; this is a time to hang out, relax and party with your friends and family. Needless to say it was the perfect time to meet new friends who had plenty of free time to show me around. There are tons of street festivals, music, clubs, parties and things to see and do around the holidays and the weather is to die for so if all you want to do is sit at the beach every day and soak up the sun that’s fine too!
If you want to do any real exploring of this tiny island (3-4 hours to driving across) you NEED a car but if you’re lucky like I was your couchsurfing host will be more than happy to take you around. The dense, tropical rain forest of El Yunque amazed me, endless waterfalls and rainbows dazzled my senses and if you’re a surfer the more hippy west coast is where you need to be! Always stop at street side vendors to enjoy the cheap eats and local beer.
I visited Israel over the holidays and had an awesome time counting down til midnight in Tel Aviv! A beautiful city with the Mediterranean sea as its back drop. Not to mention gorgeous, friendly people who love to party. Beach side clubs, bars, and a city with infinite possibilities! Sure Israel being predominantly Jewish they celebrate their New Year’s (rosh hashanah) a bit earlier in the year, but if you think they’re going to pass up an opportunity to have another celebration you’d be very wrong.
Besides Tel Aviv being an awesome party location with beaches galore, Israel is a country roughly the size of New Jersey and has incredibly varied terrain. Sandy beaches, natural mud baths from the Dead Sea, amazing hikes and lush green valleys where migrating birds come to rest, this country has it all. Not to mention the food is some of the best I’ve ever had hands down! If you’re looking for a fun place to party and an incredible country to explore with natural beauty and a fascinating history I highly suggest a visit.