December 24 marks the most significant night in Mexico’s holiday calendar, Nochebuena. Mexican families typically get together for a feast of turkey, bacalao a la vizcaína (a Basque-style codfish stew) and romeritos (seepweed served with patties of dried shrimp, potatoes and mole sauce). Families may also attend Christmas Eve events where they sing carols, don Santa hats or have baby Jesus figurines blessed by a priest.
If you’re traveling to Mexico during this festive time of year and want to follow in the locals’ footsteps, celebrate seasonal excitement at the following luxury properties.
Chileno Bay celebrates Nochebuena with several events, including its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s arrival. Families can immerse themselves in a traditional posada celebration at Chileno’s Colors of Joy Village, where live music and beloved Mexican holiday treats like esquites (street corn salad) and churritos await.
On Christmas Day, children can enjoy an interactive cookie-decorating class in Santa’s North Pole workshop. Guests can also unwind with the resort’s enchanting LED-lit sunrise paddleboard experience, seasonal family movies and a few games of Lotería for adults. And when it’s time for a bite, the Five-Star hotel’s signature restaurants, Comal and Yaya, offer family-style dinners on Nochebuena and Christmas.
San Miguel de Allende’s regional traditions make it one of the best destinations for commemorating Nochebuena. Guests staying at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rosewood San Miguel de Allende on December 23 can join a callejoneada, a small parade led by music groups that’s accompanied by giant papier-mâché puppets called mojigangas.
Afterward, participate in a posada, a type of party held during the Christmas season that re-creates Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging before Christ was born. Singing Mexican carols before hitting the piñata and eating tamales and buñuelos (a fritter-like dessert) is also customary.
On Christmas Eve, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende’s farm-to-table 1826 Restaurant will serve a five-course dinner with dishes like foie gras brioche, duck confit ravioli and prime rib. The restaurant will also host a seasonally inspired brunch over the holiday with various food stations and a build-your-own-bubbles drink cart.
Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas
Five-Star Esperanza provides diverse experiences for food enthusiasts and creative souls in December. The former can join cooking classes or explore their palate through a blind wine tasting featuring Baja California and other varietals. Aspiring artisans can decorate personal guitars with traditional designs or craft unique Baja surfer necklaces. For those seeking an unforgettable adventure, take a lesson on preparing Christmas punch that’s followed by a private beach glamping session with the stunning Baja Peninsula as a backdrop.
Families can participate in a private sea turtle release on Christmas Day and set their intentions for the season. Children can explore their imaginations through Christmas tree string art. A communal three-course dinner will be served at Cocina del Mar on December 25. Along with breathtaking Sea of Cortez views, the restaurant’s curated menu combines Christmas and Baja classics.
Five-Star Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal presents two distinct Christmas Eve events. The first delicious offering comes via Don Manuel’s, a restaurant inviting patrons to savor classic seasonal dishes infused with a Baja twist alongside an exclusive pastry and dessert station. The Beach Club is also asking families to create new memories with relaxed dining, entertainment and a side of priceless waterfront vistas.
On Christmas Day, the holidays come alive in the lobby as Santa Claus arrives from the North Pole through the resort’s private tunnel. During this merry meet-and-greet, hot chocolate, cookies and even a few presents for children will be passed around. There’s no break in the fun at La Palapa, the beachside pergola where a special holiday piñata will await guests. And later that night, Don Manuel’s once again becomes the most festive spot on the property thanks to its multi-course Christmas dinner.
Its prime location along Reforma Avenue makes Four-Star The St. Regis Mexico City the ideal place to soak up the Mexican capital’s festive ambiance. Each year, this iconic street gets dressed up for the occasion in a red carpet made up of thousands of poinsettias in honor of Christmas.
On December 24, St. Regis guests can gather around Diana Restaurant tables as the hotel’s skilled culinary team crafts a multi-course menu, paired with carefully selected wines, that captures the flavors of the season.
The next day, Diana will host a brunch that combines classic seasonal dishes with inventive Mexican specialties. Between bites, children can share their holiday wishes with Santa Claus, mixing in a pinch of magic with all of the kitchen’s memorable flavors.
The celebration kicks off at JW Marriott Cancun on December 24 with Santa’s grand arrival at the beach. Later that day, young guests are welcomed to Christmas treats and hot chocolate at the hotel lobby and have a chance to get their portraits taken with Santa and his elves. When you tire of sampling from the Lobby Bar’s roster of 150 margaritas, head to all-day restaurant Bravio, where a buffet of holiday favorites will be served from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
While the 20-foot-tall locally hand-woven Christmas tree and the illuminated Enchanted Path lined with bright woven baskets likely will be the most popular sights at One&Only Palmilla’s Nochebuena festivities, the Five-Star hotel will furnish you with a treasure map of all the unique holiday installations from area artisans, weavers and craft makers.
Kids can also opt to bake cookies using local recipes in the outdoor kitchen, and all family members will enjoy local mariachi band Sol de Mexico playing Christmas carols. Then gather everyone around the table for a Christmas Eve dinner of family-style dishes at Agua or, for a more intimate meal, sit down at SEARED for a special selection of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s favorite holiday dishes. The next day, Christmas brunch will spotlight seafood, a bloody mary bar and live entertainment.
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