Where better to watch the sun come up on a new year than a Caribbean beach, in the company of fellow travelers and island residents with only one thing on their mind -- to welcome the day as happily and noisily as possible!
Bajans welcome the New Year with parades featuring traditional junkanoo dancing and music, on islands from Grand Bahama to Abaco. Think Mardi Gras meets New Year's Eve in Times Square! The parade in Nassau is the biggest and considered the best; other parades take place on New Year's morning. The Junkanoo Parades are celebrated on both Dec. 26, 2010 and Jan. 1, 2011 and cover several blocks on Bay Street and Shirley Street in Nassau from 2:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
The annual, month-long Crucian Christmas Festival on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands begins the first Saturday in December and ends the first Saturday of the New Year; it features J'ouvert parties, the crowning of a Queen and King, calypso contests, parades, and a special festival village. In mid-December, folks gather along the Christensted boardwalk to enjoy the annual St. Croix Boat Parade, an evening procession of watercraft of all shapes and sizes ablaze with Christmas lights. Fireworks cap off the celebration on New Year's Eve, but the party continues on for another week.
Each New Year's Eve residents and visitors alike flock to Philipsburg -- the capital of St. Maarten -- to view a massive fireworks display over Great Bay. Get there early to claim a spot on the boardwalk, a.k.a. The Great Bay Beach Promenade. The fireworks start at midnight, but allow time to stroll the streets of the town first, grab some festive swag, duff a cold Heineken, and indulge in some of the great restaurants before the show begins!