Finance: 9 Zika-free destinations around the world if you're planning a vacation this year
Zika occurs in mostly hot climates, but there are Zika-free destinations with beaches and high temperatures.
- Zika, the mosquito-born virus that causes birth defects, is still an issue in 2018.
- Zika is prevalent in tropical climates, but some warm locations are safe to visit this year for those worried about the risk of Zika.
- Zika-free destinations can be found in parts of Africa and all over Europe, according to the CDC.
The last thing you want to bring back home from a vacation is a serious infection.
Zika has found its way to many destinations, and the CDC keeps track of where the infection has spread.
Cases of the mosquito-born virus have been reported from Texas to Brazil to India. Zika occurs in mostly hot climates, but there are Zika-free destinations with beaches and high temperatures.
While fears over the global health emergency have dissipated since the peak Zika period of summer 2016, it is still worthwhile to exercise caution with the disease when planning a vacation. Zika is especially dangerous for women who are pregnant, nursing, or may become pregnant, as it can cause birth defects.
When in doubt, double check with the CDC for the most up-to-date list of countries that have reported Zika cases. If you want to take a vacation where Zika hasn't spread, check out these nine Zika-free destinations for 2018.
Only two countries in South America have no known risk of Zika infection — Uruguay and Chile. If you wanted to go to Brazil or Argentina but are worried of infection, Santiago is a great alternative.
Much of the Caribbean is at risk of Zika, so you may have to cross Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico off your list. Fortunately, the Bahamas has the perfect sandy beaches of your dreams — and it recently joined the list of Zika-free destinations on the CDC website.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
India and the rest of the Asian subcontinent are not the best places to avoid Zika. However, travelers can visit the island nation of Sri Lanka off India's Bengali coast with peace of mind.
While major Pacific islands of Indonesia and the Philippines are not exempt from Zika, just south is Australia with no known infections.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Much of sub-Saharan Africa is prone to Zika infections, but Zimbabwe falls south of the affected areas. The town and waterfall border Zambia, which also has no known risk of Zika.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Texas and Florida are the only US states that have reported cases of Zika. If you are cautious and fear Miami and Houston, you can split the difference by traveling to the Big Easy.
North Africa, with its hot desert climate, is free of any Zika worries. Marrakesh is a great, underrated travel spot that mixes the Sahara and the Mediterranean.
The Arabian peninsula is Zika-free, so anywhere in the United Arab Emirates is fair game. Dubai is a good choice if you're tired of the tropical vibe but aren't willing to let go of 80-degree warmth.
Anywhere in Europe
Europe — far enough north to make it mostly free of mosquitoes — has no known Zika infections. From Lisbon, Portugal, to Istanbul, Turkey, Europe has plenty of destinations for travelers worried about catching the virus.
Click here to read the full text by Matthew Michaels