We're looking for a fun, warm place to spend New Year's Eve!
November 10, 2009 5:26 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I want to be someplace warm for New Year's Eve where we can see the full moon over the water.

We can take time off between Christmas and Jan 3, and we'd like to go someplace warm for a few days. We're travelling from the East coast, have never been to the Caribbean or Mexico, and have a nerdy desire to see the full moon over *some* body of water. I'd like something relaxing and beachy, he'd like a bit more adventure and local interest and tall shit to climb (sorry, editorial I know).

Our problem is narrowing down our options - can you help us? Any recommendations for islands, cities, beaches - I know it's broad, but we don't know where to start! Assume that money isn't a huge object, but we'd also prefer not to blow 10K on a week. We're happy to make lots of reservations and stuff ourselves, but could be swayed by an all-inclusive that wasn't tacky and/or a ripoff. We're both late 30s. Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by ersatzkat to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
1) Amazingly enough, you're in luck. The full moon is, in fact, on 1-Jan-2009.

Because of orbital mechanics, a new moon rises with the Sun* and full moon rises with the setting sun**. So, what you need is simple.

1) Water.

2) Facing *east*

3) And no clouds.

That last one can be a kicker.

Warm implies tropics or Southern Hemisphere -- you're a braver couple than I if you're going to stand on the shores of Thunder Bay, ON and try to watch anything, and hey, you said sunrise over the water, not ice.

So: There's your constraints. You need a water view *to the east*.

As to which islands? Not my thing, but hopefully, others can use this to give you targets. The Outer Banks of North Carolina work well, but probably aren't warm enough.

*Which is why Solar Eclipses are possible

** Which is why Lunar Eclipses are possible
posted by eriko at 6:20 AM on November 10, 2009

posted by stormpooper at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2009

I would look into cruises to Bermuda.

Or fly into St. Croix which has the easternmost point of land owned by the U.S. In fact, there is a nice little park/bluff on the east end of St. Croix that you can drive to. it would make an ideal full-moon viewing location as it's as remote as you'll get on the island, there are few trees and you have a completely uninterrupted view of the ocean facing east. It might be a bit chilly and windy, but tolerable considering you are in the Virgin Islands in January.

I regularly browse the deals at cheapcaribbean.com. Prices for package deals over Christmas and New Years will be more expensive because so many people have that week off and use it to take little vacations, but prices starting the first week of January drop like rocks as so few people travel right after the holidays.
posted by camworld at 6:39 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Probably not the answer you are looking for - but the last time I saw the moon over the water on new year's eve it was the Atlantic ocean and I was looking out of a plane on a night flight from New York to Edinburgh. Since we were crossing time zones we never really had a "midnight" - although I guess we could have had up to about 5. I mention this mainly because new year's eve itself can be a cheap time to travel whilst still fulfilling your criteria.

Somewhere beachy and adventurous however: what about sucre state in Venezuela?
posted by rongorongo at 6:55 AM on November 10, 2009

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Anywhere between Cancun and Chetumal, but I suggest somewhere around Tulum.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:10 AM on November 10, 2009

Best answer: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Anywhere between Cancun and Chetumal, but I suggest somewhere around Tulum.
posted by JaredSeth

My favorite place in the world is Isla Mujeres, which is just off of Cancun. Spending NYE there would be the raddest of the rad.
posted by COBRA! at 7:11 AM on November 10, 2009

I've personally always wanted to go to Belize. It sounds like it might be ideal for you — beaches & reefs for you to relax on, Mayan ruins & caves for him to explore, and lots and lots of east-facing coastline. And while I hate to sound like an arrogant American, it also has the advantage of having English as the official language. Here's their tourism website.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:15 AM on November 10, 2009

Negril has amazing sunsets. I would look into Tensing Pen in Negril.
posted by beccaj at 7:25 AM on November 10, 2009

A cruise is a smart bet-hedge, since on any cruise ship, you'll have 360 degrees of freedom to walk around and find the east-facing spot.

I don't know anything about Isla Mujeres, but I'll sign up based on the name alone. :)
posted by rokusan at 7:26 AM on November 10, 2009

I'm a goof - the MOON. Ok then. Tulum!
posted by beccaj at 7:26 AM on November 10, 2009

I would say Puerto Escondido, or, if you want to rough it a bit more, Puerto Angel, both on Mexico's Pacific Coast.

You could hit Oaxaca city on the same trip and Christmas there is really special, moreso than other places in Mexico, I would dare say.
posted by Danf at 7:51 AM on November 10, 2009

If you're considering the Pacific Coast of Mexico, we just got back from the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa area and had a great time. Lots of water, plenty warm, and very reasonably priced. Zihua is fairly quiet to boot.
posted by jquinby at 7:54 AM on November 10, 2009

Someplace with a beach facing south would be nice. The full moon would rise in the east, be visible for most of the night, set in the west. I say this because my house faces S-SW, and the moon is visible most of the night. You'd have a beautiful view at midnight, with the moon over the water.

So what you want is someplace with the least cloud cover. Caribbean, Virgin Islands, Key West. Tons of options, just make sure you talk to the resort or hotel, and tell them a cabana or room facing the water, facing the south, is non-negotiable. Travel forums are likely to help.
posted by theora55 at 8:03 AM on November 10, 2009

Puerto Rico is usually lovely that time of year. Hell, it's lovely most any time of year. Mindful of the comments from eriko and theora55, the southern coast of the island is on the Caribbean, which is warm and calm, surrounded by towering palm trees, unspoiled, and...well, you get the picture.

Most of the big resorts are in the San Juan area, and they are very nice if you're into that sort of thing. If you prefer something more remote and less touristy, the island promotes a series of paradores, which are country inns located outside of the major cities.

The paradores are all independently owned and managed, but they must meet certain specifications in order to maintain their certification as a parador. Most are quite charming, and they are all very reasonably-priced. For example, this one which is located on the bioluminscent bay, is under $100 a night when you'll be traveling.
posted by DrGail at 11:11 AM on November 10, 2009

A little further off the beaten track: Cahuita on the east coast of Costa Rica is a pretty little town beside the national park. I first heard howler monkeys there, coming together in a tree over our heads and sounding like Jurassic Park in a tropical rainstorm.
posted by anadem at 12:40 PM on November 10, 2009

Best answer: I also recommend Isla Mujeres
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:47 PM on November 10, 2009

Response by poster: Husband and I will be watching the full moon on New Year's Eve (and the sunrise, too) from the easternmost tip of Isla Mujeres! Thanks to all for responding. So excited!!
posted by ersatzkat at 12:24 PM on December 17, 2009

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