With each new warning about the dangers of the Zika Virus, it may be tempting to postpone your trip to Central and South America or the Caribbean, but keep your vacation days blocked on your calendar as all three of these destinations are home to some countries not currently affected by the outbreak, making them a safe choice for a vacation without Zika worries for travelers. Check out our list of getaways across Europe, the Americas and the Pacific which are all Zika free as of today but remember to keep an eye on the Government of Canada website https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/152 for updates.
Named one of the top places to go in 2017, this Atlantic island chain located two-thirds of the way to Portugal appeals to adventure travelers, beach bums, and Europhiles alike. The nine volcanic islands use the euro and speak Portuguese, but more importantly, offer hikes through hedges of blue hydrangeas, wine-tasting tours, and breath-taking whale-watching lookouts. These islands have so much to offer, you can’t go wrong.
European tourists have flocked to Cyprus’s beaches for years, and Canadians are finally catching on. With average daily temperatures in the mid to high 20’s celsius , Cyprus is beach-friendly as late as October, but pack a sweater, as nights can get chilly. If you tire of the Mediterranean sun and sand, (is that even possible?) you can head further inland into the pine and almond filled country sides.
If you seek an indulgent African beach vacation, opt for Madagascar. The island offers opulent resorts like the Miavana Island Sanctuary opened this year, and strong tourism infrastructure in place, the world’s fourth-largest island is one of those spots you’ll want to visit before your friends find out about it. Madagascar is home to the bug-eyed lemurs, geckos, giant moths, and other exotic fauna making it a hot spot for environmental travelers as well.
With pink sand beaches and pastel-colored homes, Bermuda is a pristine island with a strong British feel. The beautifully preserved town of St. George, Britain’s oldest town in the New World, is a World Heritage Site that also happens to have world-class shopping. Are you a golfer looking to practice your swing? The island is known for its golf, boasting some of the most challenging and scenic courses in the world. If on the other hand you are an action junkie, you will want to snorkel around the shipwrecks off Elbow Beach and hit the 22+ miles of bike trails.
Head to Uruguay’s interior and stay in an “estancia”, a working ranch, to experience gaucho life in the pampas. You’ll get an insider’s look at how these famous cowboys work with cattle and herd sheep in what are essentially the dude ranches of South America. Then head to the coast where the city’s capital, Montevideo, boasts a beautiful 19th-century opera house, Teatro Solís, on the outskirts of old town Ciudad Vieja. This area is also rich with beautiful old churches, Art Deco buildings, and museums.
Chile really does have something for everyone. Sightsee in urban Santiago, drive into the nearby Andes for world class skiing, head into the Atacama Desert to stargaze with astronomers, or pass through Chile’s vineyards to get to the coastal towns of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso Oh, and did we forget to mention trekking in Patagonia or visiting Easter Island? This South American country offers everything you may want and more.
It’s hard to go wrong on this Indian Ocean archipelago, straight north of Madagascar. Wander over the dramatic rock formations along Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue Island, explore the thick tropical forests of Praslin islands, snorkel with sea turtles, or simply relax at private island resorts like the new Six Senses Zil Pasyon. If you were thinking about heading to the Maldives, where Zika is a problem, the Seychelles are a comparable but Zika-free option.
It’s the best island in the U.S., according to our Readers’ Choice Award 2016 results, and has held that spot for the last 23 years. The choice of activities are endless, from lounging on the beach with no plans to snorkeling, hiking, and swimming in waterfalls all day, it means there’s something for everyone on the second-largest Hawaiian island. Beach bums can check out the #1 resort in the state, the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, while the outdoorsy, adventurous types should head out on the Road to Hana, a 68-mile scenic route that hits most of Maui’s most striking natural features, like the Seven Sacred Pools.
Are you looking for a more urban beach adventure? Head to Sydney, Australia, where you’ll want to check out the rock pools in addition to the classic sandy beaches like Bondi. Australia hasn’t seen the spread of Zika like its Southeast Asian neighbors, so you’ll be able to enjoy the serious food scene out on the patio without worrying about mosquitoes ruining your vacation.
In the summer, Mallorca is packed with European tourists. But, in the winter, you’ll find the classic Mediterranean blue waters, mountain views, and quaint cobblestone streets without the crowds. The lowest temperatures of the year hit in January and fluctuate in the 15 to 18C range, so it still won’t be too frigid for beach walks and boat rides.
New Zealand’s South Island is seeing a big boom in tourism thanks to some breathtaking Instagram shares of the mountains, but the beaches and wine regions have caught our eye also. You may want to skip this if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, but adventurous travelers should head to Queensland for an adrenaline infusion before taking a break to sink their toes in the warm sands.