Considering visiting The Bahamas in December and don’t know where to start planning? We’ve got you covered!
The Bahamas in December is a cool in temperature and can get crowded toward the end of the month. December is the beginning of high season in the Bahamas so crowds and pricing will rise as the month goes on. Christmas, New Year’s and the famous island “Junkanoo” festival is a busy time, so if you’re looking to save a little money, plan to visit at the beginning of the month.
No matter what you intend to do, the islands are fun this time of year. We’ve built this big guide to help you determine what to add to your itinerary to get the most out of your trip.
Bahamas Weather in December
December weather in the Bahamas is known for high wind and typically being the coldest month of the year. The sun is a little more scarce this time of year, making these breezy Winter days comfortable and cool. The average high at the beginning of December tends to be around 80°F each day and the low is around 70°F. This average decreases by a few degrees through the month.
The skies can range from clear to overcast each day, but rain showers and thunderstorms are far less likely to plague your vacation this month. As a matter of fact, the Bahamas historically receive only 1 inch of rain in December. Humidity drops significantly this month, so you won’t be as likely to sweat while the sun is shining.
Water temperatures cool down to an average of about 78°F in December; that paired with average wind speeds of 15mph or more make diving conditions less favorable but still possible. The overall great weather and lack of rain is a huge reason for December becoming pretty popular with the tourist crowd.
Bahamas December Weather Cheat Sheet
|Average Low Temperature||68°F (20°C)|
|Average High Temperature||79°F (26.1°C)|
|Average Sea Water Temperature||78°F (25.6°C)|
|Average Rainfall||2.0 inches (50.8 mm)|
|Average Days with Rain||6 days|
|UV Index||6 (High)|
|Day Length||~11 hours 15 minutes|
|Sea Conditions||Moderately choppy|
|Visibility||Good, 8-10 miles|
|Dew Point||~66°F (18.9°C)|
|Air Quality Index||Good|
|Likelihood of Hurricanes||Low|
Bahamas Affordability & Crowds in December
At the beginning of December, crowd levels will often match those of November – light and less busy. As the month goes on those tourist numbers will spike rapidly, especially during the holiday week. Visitors will flock to the islands for the beautiful weather and comfortable climate, not to mention the fun festivities the Bahamas are known for.
December is the beginning of high season for the Bahamas and is usually the second busiest month of the year. Pricing increases follow the demand, so booking your vacation far in advance is a must when vacationing in December.
Prepare for some of the highest transportation rates in December, no matter where you decide to go. Plus, the hotels and tour may adjust their pricing for the high season. December is not a good month for vacationing on a budget, but it is a great month for experiencing some of the Bahamas’ most beautiful weather conditions.
Traveling to the Bahamas in December
Tourists take all forms of transportation to the Bahamas in December since the Winter weather will not hinder their plans like the hurricane season. The most affordable way to get to the Bahamas in December is by taking the Ferryboat from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. But this option is best recommended for those who live in Florida.
The ferry is convenient for a weekend trip or a short trip, and takes approximately 3-4 hours to reach Bimini, Nassau or Freeport. The only downside to using the ferry is that you can’t bring too much luggage with you and you won’t have much entertainment on the ride.
Cruises, on the other hand, are packed with entertainment, dining experiences and full itineraries for each guest. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive form of transportation, a cruise is the way to go. They’ll be more expensive and more crowded in December, but it’s worth the hassle if you’re looking for a hands-free vacation.
Flying to the Bahamas is the last, but often easiest way to get there. Flights can be more expensive this month and we suggest flying into the bigger airports to keep rates lower.
Best Bahamas Islands in December
December can be a busy month to visit the Bahamas, and most of the islands will have an influx of visitors. That said, no one does the holidays better than the Disney Cruise Line. So if you’re looking to experience the holidays in Bahamian style, book a trip to Castaway Cay with Disney to get the full holiday getaway.
Disney Cruises in December may be a little more pricey, especially when going on a themed sailing, but it’s definitely worth it for a special occasion or for a fun family trip. All the Disney cruise ships participate in holiday festivities by decking the ships out in festive embellishments and bringing special characters onto each ship. The itinerary is also filled with holiday fun, even on land.
If you go for Christmas, the crew and characters will be dressed in their holiday finest. Special activities will be going on for kids, along with a festive menu and special merchandise. Santa will even join you for your cruise. For New Year’s, the fun is taken up a notch with a special fireworks celebration when the clock strikes midnight.
Disney has two different cruise stops including Nassau and their private island, Castaway Cay, which you choose in advance. The Nassau trip features lots options to suit your interests. You can do anything from Adventure Jeep Tours and day passes to Atlantis Resort, to sightseeing tours, semi-submarine explorations, and even scuba diving or deep sea fishing excursions.
When you book the cruise to Castaway Cay, expect the full holiday treatment of Disney proportions. The island is impeccably themed and extremely well-maintained, designed with a lost at sea theme. Castaway Cay is very family-friendly and offers plenty of different areas for you to relax or have fun, including a family beach, snorkeling lagoon, Pelican Plunge deck, teen hideout, game pavilion and more. There are also boat and snorkel rentals, drink and quick service food stations, and even character appearances throughout the day.
For Christmas, Castaway Cay transforms into a winter wonderland. Snow flurries dance in the sky, a decorated Christmas tree stands at the center and characters visit the passengers in their holiday best. The Nassau adventure may not be quite as festive as Castaway Cay, but it comes with its perks. Fireworks light up the sky on New Year’s Eve and the Junkanoo celebration begins in all its rowdy splendor.
Best Things to Do in the Bahamas in December
The Bahamas has no shortage of island-y activities for you to participate in and it can often be difficult to choose between them if you have limited time. To make life easier for you, we’ve listed some of the best things to add to your itinerary in December so you can make this getaway the greatest possible.
December is a great month to go golfing in the Bahamas. While it can get windy, there’s little chance of rain as well as temperate weather that makes for a great round of golf almost any day your trip. Many of the largest resorts in the Bahamas have well-managed and professionally designed golf courses for you to choose from.
Paradise Island Golf Club, pictured above, is among the top courses in the Bahamas and offers golfers 18 holes in Nassau. It’s located right on the ocean, making for impeccable views, and features wetlands and lagoons on a Par 72 championship course.
The Royal Blue Golf Club is another stunner, designed by Jack Nicklaus and equipped with bunkers and sand dunes along the evergreen fairways. Rocky hills offer a stunning backdrop to this 18 hole championship course on New Providence Island.
Book a Glass Bottom Boat
Glass bottom boats are some of the most spectacular ways to see what’s going on under the surface of the water without having to snorkel or dive into the depths. This is a truly unique way for visitors of all abilities to explore the surrounding reefs and marine life, all for about $50 – $150 per person. The boats hold 10-15 people for a two hour tour and often come stocked with snacks and beverages.
If you prefer to go into the water, snorkeling tours are abundant along with snorkeling gear for rent at several places around the Bahamas. Shallow reefs, ship wrecks and plane wrecks are among some of the interesting finds around the islands.
If you plan to spend the day at the beach, consider renting a water vehicle for an hour or two in between sunbathing. This is a great way to explore the coastline without venturing too far offshore. You can get anything from jet skis to banana boats which hold groups of 2 to 5. Rental companies line the beaches, especially in popular areas like Nassau and Freeport.
Perhaps the most unique rental in Nassau is the Personal Underwater Sub, which takes you underneath the waves to explore local reefs for up to 35 minutes. These unique vehicles take you completely underwater to see shallow reefs and colorful fish along the coastline. No prior diving experience is required and a short-term tour guide will get you to all the cool spots on your journey.
Dive with Schools of Fish and Sharks
Winter is a great time for scuba diving in the Bahamas, though the water can be a bit cool, so be sure to bundle up in a full body wetsuit. Lots of excursions will take you to the Exuma Cays, Bimini or Grand Bahama where you can dive ship and plane wrecks featured in the movies, or explore colorful coral reefs like the Exuma Land and Sea Park.
In December, massive schools of grouper can be found around the coastline near Nassau. The Bahamas have loads of different schooling species, including Nassau grouper, redfin grouper, tiger grouper and Atlantic Goliath Grouper (which prefer to go it alone).
While diving in December you can find additional forms of marine life. Hammerhead sharks are prevalent this month and can be spotted in Bimini and Grand Bahama. Whale & Tiger sharks are also among the more frequent sightings this month, along with reef, lemon and nurse sharks all over the Bahamas.
The Bahamas is well-known for the signature Queen’s Conch shells, often occupied by mollusks. These shells are prized by residents and protected, so you can’t take them home. However, they are beautiful to see in person. While shelling, the best ones you can collect include Cowries, King Helmets, Tulip Shells and Angel Wings.
You can find a lot of these at Somerset Creek Beach on Andros Island and Eleuthera Island, which are considered the best locations in the Bahamas for shelling. You’ll find anything from sand dollars to conches here, plus you’ll be surrounded by some of the loveliest landscapes in the Caribbean.
If you’re looking for a little more adventure on the coastline, swimming with the pigs is the most popular experience year round. Due to the influx of tourists in December, this month could be really busy for seeing the popular farm animals, but there are many different speed boat tours that can take you to this experience.
For a little more laid back experience, try a horseback tour on the beach for breathtaking views of the crystal waters. Happy Trails on Paradise Island offers spectacular sunrise trail rides through the brush of the island to the coast. The Freeport tour guides will take you on a scenic journey to some of the most popular destinations on Grand Bahama while you slowly jaunt through the natural landscape. And in Half Moon Cay, the horseback experience takes you on a ride and swim through the waves on your horse.
Tour the Islands
There are loads of tours available to you all year in the Bahamas, including sightseeing, jet-setting and power boating your way across the islands. One of our top recommended activities to get you in touch with the islands is taking a scenic boat tour via catamaran, speed boat or power boat. These tours take place in Nassau and allow you to experience the sun, sand and city attractions in about half a day – some tours even include lunch!
Great weather in December makes the Exuma Powerboat Tours well worth it. The Exuma Powerboat Tours set sail from Nassau and make up to 7 different stops depending on the tour you select. This is a full day experience where you’ll encounter sharks, stingrays, and iguanas, plus you’ll get a chance to swim with the famous pigs of Exuma.
Island hopping via speed boat is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to experience lots of islands during your Bahamas trip. There are loads of different Speed Boat Tours that range in price from below $200 to under $1000. They will take you to see anything from private beaches to snorkeling holes to sand bars, so we suggest looking into the perfect tour to fit your budget and bucket list.
Since the weather is primed for fast-paced outdoor adventures in December, we also suggest looking into the Pirate Jeep Sightseeing Tour. This tour is built for groups who prefer to be chauffeured while taking in the pirate lore and history of New Providence Island. Tours usually end at John Watling’s Distillery for a rum tasting before the day closes.
The Bahamas is one of the top places in the world for landing Bonefish and December is a prime month to find them. The cold weather pushes lots of schooling fish from the flats, leaving the adjusted bonefish and other similar catch out for the taking. In December, the fish also tend to be larger and reach their peak weight in January.
Bonefish are one of the top catches in the Bahamas and they’re available to fish year round. The flats and mangroves are filled with bonefish at certain points in the day, especially near the Abaco Islands, Andros and New Providence. If you plan to troll the flats by boat or head a little farther offshore, you can also catch Barracuda and Wahoo, which are in season this month.
Fly Fishing is one of the preferred ways to catch bonefish in the Bahamas and any angler can set out on their own to accomplish this. You should head to the Abaco Islands as they are the most ideal for bonefishing, but many also like Andros Island, New Providence or Yamacraw Beach. But we highly suggest booking a charter or fishing guide to get you to the best spots in December.
December Events & Conventions in Bahamas
Bahamas International Film Festival
The Bahamas is a prime location for movie sets and scenes, so it’s no wonder the country hosts an International Film Festival to commemorate different cinematic pieces. The festival recognizes all types of films created over the last year and awards directors, actors and many others for their work on these impactful pieces.
This is by far the biggest and most anticipated event in the Bahamas year after year. Junkanoo has become such a grand tradition that all the islands celebrate with their own version, but visitors should experience the best parties hosted in Nassau. Parades, music, parties and grand clothing and decor make this post-Christmas holiday extra special.
December in the Bahamas is a magical time of year. For those escaping the wintery throws of the North, the Bahamas can offer a warm reprieve. The waters are comparatively warm, the air is comfortable and the atmosphere is unmatched. It may be a little busier this time of year, but it’s well worth it for a tropical island getaway.
If your goal is simply to live it up in the warmer weather, the Bahamas has some incredible golf courses that are fun to play in December. You also have a range of choices in the water and on land. Walking and sightseeing tours are fun this time of year when the weather is less humid and fishing and diving are great ways to explore the depths of the ocean.
If you’d prefer to experience the Bahamas for the holidays, book a trip with Disney Cruise Line for a pixie-dusted Christmas-themed adventure on the ship. Disney sails to Nassau or their private island Castaway Cay and offers fun Christmas and New Year’s festivities for the whole family.
Whether you want a break from the cold Winter weather or wish to experience a Bahamian holiday, December is a great time to visit the Bahamas. If you don’t mind the price increase and a moderate tourist crowd, consider looking at December for your next trip to the islands.
This article is part of Roundtript’s series of expert Bahamas travel guides for every month of the year.
Spring in The Bahamas
Summer in The Bahamas
Fall in The Bahamas
Winter in The Bahamas
For a summary of each Switzerland month & season all in one place, check out our big guide to the Best Times of the Year to Visit The Bahamas.