Noel—or Not!

Holiday Aversion

Aug 8, 2006
Outside Magazine
Holiday travel

DECK THE HALLS: Trade tinsel for Moorish tilework in Morocco    Photo: courtesy,

Holiday Aversion
1) Christmas Island, Australia Though named by a British sea captain on December 25, 1643, this Indian Ocean isle is populated with Buddhists and Muslims—no nativity scenes here. Spend the holiday exploring Christmas Island National Park, which makes up nearly two-thirds of the island, then hunker down on Dolly Beach, an isolated, palm-fringed strip of sand where you can watch for the millions of endemic red crabs that migrate from the forest to the sea at this time of year. For information, contact the tourism association at 011-61-8-9164-8382;

2) Erg Chebbi, Morocco You won't find any Christmas trees atop Morocco's largest sand dunes. Mountain Travel Sobek departs for the desert from Marrakesh on a two-week trip that starts Christmas Day. After visiting casbahs in the town of Ouarzazate (a major international filming locale), as well as Berber villages in the scenic Dadès Valley, you'll board a camel for a four-day trek across the Sahara. $3,390–$3,790 per person; 888-687-6235,

3) The South Pole For those trying to get as far from Santa as possible, The Northwest Passage offers an eight-day expedition to Antarctica, culminating in a round-trip champagne flight to the South Pole. First you'll fly across the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the Patriot Hills base camp, to explore the white-on-white landscape on nordic-ski and snowmobile tours. Then hop aboard a twin-engine Otter for the six-hour flight south, pop open some bubbly, and call home from the bottom of the world. $33,500 per person; 800-732-7328,

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