Many associate New Year’s Eve as being a cold winter holiday, but in certain locations around the globe, it’s anything but. Why should one layer and bundle up when they could be rocking a bikini or swim trunks on a Mexican beach, wearing a sundress in Northern Thailand, or exploring a South American city in shorts? For those who have had enough of the freezing weather, try ringing in 2023 in one of these warm destinations.
Blue waters, white sands, and pink flamingos: what more could travelers want? Aruba is a Caribbean island just 654 kilometers, or 406 miles, north of Venezuela. Known for its famous divi-divi trees, conch stew, and happy-go-lucky people, Aruba is “one happy place,” and that happiness is infectious to all of those who choose to visit. Ring in 2023 right at this sunny destination.
9/10 Cape Town, South Africa
Remember geography class, kids? In the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, it’s the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. This means a quick escape from places like Europe, the USA, Canada, and more can be solved quickly by heading as far south as possible. South Africa, the nation at the most southern tip of the African continent, has something for every traveler. Head on a safari, sip some of the world’s best wine, see cute penguins and stunning Table Mountain, and for the adventure lovers out there, go diving with Great White Sharks. Cape Town is one of the best cities to situate in, and with New Year’s activities ranging from partying on rooftops to sleeping out in the wild, Cape Town has something appealing for every traveler.
8/10 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Otherwise known as the “Paris” of South America, fewer cities do New Year’s better than Buenos Aires. New Year’s in Argentina typically includes a late dinner with loved ones, followed by a celebration on the street as the clock strikes midnight. Argentinians are incredibly family and community-oriented, as the world has recently witnessed with the World Cup, and with the country currently facing a detrimental decrease in the peso, the currency goes much further than it once did here and making Buenos Aires a New Year’s destination is a great way to give to Argentinian economy. Because the peso is far below its typical market rate right now, go big or go home and stay at The Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires.
7/10 Punta De Mita, Mexico
Move over Tulum, and make way for Mexico’s luxurious, over-the-top destination of Punta de Mita. Located on Mexico’s coveted Riviera Nayarit, Punta de Mita is home to several luxurious resorts that each have a special New Year’s Eve party for every type of traveler. Start the last day of 2022 with some relaxing yoga and meditation, and kick off the night with a party on the beach, where a fireworks display will be in full effect at midnight to ring in 2023.
6/10 Chiang Mai, Thailand
By far, one of the most illuminating New Year’s Eve celebrations occurs in the northern Thai oasis of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai not only has some of the country’s best cuisine, but its New Year’s Eve celebration is one of the most fascinating in the entire globe. As the clock nears midnight, thousands of lanterns are released into the sky. Before partaking in the local lantern tradition, The Four Seasons in Chiang Mai has a special dinner planned for launching into Year of the Rabbit. The Year of the Rabbit, according to the Lunar Calendar, brings a hope of longevity, peace, and prosperity.
5/10 La Fortuna, Costa Rica
For nature lovers who want to truly get away from it all and enjoy some sweltering temperatures while doing so, La Fortuna in Costa Rica is an animal and tree lover’s paradise. See cute sloths, snakes, and unique bugs, take a river cruise where toucans and other birds can be sighted, and more. Enjoy some of the town’s many natural hot springs, such as Ecotermales Fortuna. With temperatures rarely falling below 83 degrees Fahrenheit in La Fortuna in January, there are many reasons to visit this fun Costa Rican town, and the weather is certainly one of them.
January marks the beginning of the high season for Barbados, so it’s safe to say the weather and conditions are ideal on New Year’s Eve. Boasting some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, Barbados is not only picturesque but great for surfing, swimming, and snorkeling. Ring in the New Year sipping champagne and eating fresh, local food on one of the Caribbean’s most elegant islands.
3/10 Queenstown, New Zealand
For those who want to travel to the other end of the earth to a magical place where there are more sheep than people, New Zealand is calling. One of the best perks about celebrating in New Zealand is it’s one of the first places on planet earth to ring the New Year in. With new direct flights from New York City to Auckland via Air New Zealand, getting to New Zealand is easier than ever. There’s no better way to travel throughout and explore New Zealand than by renting a camper van, sleeping in it, and living out of it for a few days (or weeks). Start in Queenstown, make way down to Wanaka, Hooker Valley, and several other stops on a New Zealand South Island road trip while ringing in 2023.
2/10 Sydney, Australia
For those looking for warm weather and an ultimate party, Sydney in the land down under fits the bill. The City of Sydney has so many New Year’s Eve events that they’ve made a website solely dedicated to all of them. Fireworks occur not only once but twice (once at 9 PM and once at midnight), Sydney Harbor Lights at 9:15 PM is when boats line up on the harbor and light up, and at 11 PM, Sydney welcomes WorldPride 2023 with a lighting display celebrating the community. Sydney is a great place to socialize, so solo travelers should consider this hotspot for New Year’s.
1/10 St. Maarten
For those based out of the US looking for a quick escape where a passport is not even required for US citizens, St. Maarten is just a quick jaunt away. Take in the views of the infamous beach where the airplanes are so close to the beach itself that it feels like travelers can touch the plane itself simply by reaching their hands up. Sip on some guava berry liquors like the locals do as the clock strikes midnight, ringing in 2023. Who wouldn’t want to start their New Year off on one of the world’s best beaches?