7 Zika-Free Beach Destinations to Visit Now
When word of the Zika outbreak first hit newsstands in 2015, headlines made it really easy to keep track of destinations that posed a threat. Now that multiple years have passed, staying in the know has become more of a personal task. Here, we’ve done the research for you and cleared 7 tropical destinations that—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—are blissfully zika-free and safe to travel to.
A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.
Floating out in the Indian Ocean, just off the eastern coast of Africa (not too far from Mauritius, Madagascar, and Réunion), lies the 115-island archipelago of Seychelles. While most visitors head for resort-dotted Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue to sleep amongst granite cliffs, lush jungles, rare wildlife, and postcard-perfect beaches, Félicité—one of La Digue’s satellite islands—offers all that with a side of privacy. Full disclosure: a stay at Six Senses Zil Pasyon—Félicité's one and only resort—comes at an admittedly hefty cost, but the resort is as utopian as they come with 30 private-infinity-pool villas. The thatched roof digs are more than spacious—each larger than the size of your average NYC three-bedroom, seriously—are serviced by a dedicated butler, and work understated, eco-conscious interiors.
Day in and day out, Bermuda can hold its own against any Caribbean isle (see: 21 miles of pink-sand beaches, pastel colonial towns, and crystal caves). But when it comes to the best tropical spots to visit now, the British territory comes out an even clearer winner since it’s entirely sans outbreak (the same sadly can't be said for the Bahamas, Jamaica, or U.S. Virgin Islands). Check in at The Loren at Pink Beach, a sleek 45-suite waterfront boutique that wows with ultra-modern architecture; understated, Euro-inspired interiors; two beachfront pools; and a contemporary spa with signature treatments like the Loren Massage, which utilizes salt stones from the Himalayan Mountains.
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On the south shore of Maui, Wailea has no trouble attracting travelers with cove-like golden beaches, championship golf courses, and glam, A-lister-frequented resorts. While the spot has no shortage of family-friendly properties, if you’re looking for something that airs more on the side of romance, the mod Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is our go-to. Cascading infinity pools, the lavish apothecary-style Āwili Spa and Salon, pied-à-terre–inspired guest rooms (some with their own private lanai), and hand-rolled sushi and sashimi at Morimoto simply have us sold.
South of the Seychelles and north of Reunion, Mauritius splays out off the east coast of Africa in an array of lush vegetation, placid turquoise lagoons, and coconut tree-lined Indian Ocean stretches. It’s all about leisure here, and the iconic (but surprisingly affordable) Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa facing tranquil Trou d’Eau Douce Bay offers every lavish diversion imaginable. Lounge on one of the resort’s idyllic—beach-butler-serviced—white shores, go for a cocktail at the trendy beach club, or indulge in a holistic Chinese treatment at CHI, The Spa. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always arrange for a private excursion to offshore islands Ilot Mangénie and Ile aux Cerfs. The first belongs to Le Touessrok, so you’ll be offered exclusive, guest-only access to the isle’s pristine beaches, while the latter gathers quite a crowd with its 18-hole Bernhard Langer–designed championship golf course.
If geography isn’t your strong suit—no judgment!—let us spell this out for you. French Polynesia encompasses all the islands that have us most starry-eyed: Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea, and more. Are these islands ultra-indulgent? Absolutely. But, don’t go crossing them off your list for purely budgetary reasons. Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort presents a veritable steal with swim-up, thatch-roofed overwater bungalows, romantic candlelit restaurants, and casual views of nearby Tahiti for less than $500. Just a couple islands to the west, Le Meridien Bora Bora also comes to bat with its own glass-bottom-floored bungalows, serene, feet-still-in-the-sand dining options, and daily—complimentary—Polynesian pirogue (flat-bottom boat) sailing expeditions.
*Though French Polynesia experienced a Zika outbreak in 2013, it has now been cleared by the CDC as Zika-free and safe to travel to
Take a moment to summon every top-notch beach destination you can think of. Did New Zealand make the list? If not, you’re sorely missing out. The dramatic nation may be better known for its Middle Earth cameos, but with more than 9,000 miles of coast, it’s a swimming and surfing sanctuary. Head for the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs near Matauri Bay—one of NZ’s top summer havens thanks to crystal clear waters abutted by pristine white beaches. The striking lodge sits on 6,000 acres overlooking Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Islands—with 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean—and offers access to three private beaches, including the seashell- and coral-lined Pink Beach (which also hosts a weekly BBQ).
RELATED: 22 Dreamy New Zealand Photos That Make Us Want to Hop on a Plane
Canary Islands, Spain
Quaint seaside villages, trail-woven active volcanoes, and a killer tapas scene are just a few of the reasons we can’t free the Canaries from our travel-fiending minds. Pack your bags for Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, or any of the rest as they’re all fair game when it comes to zika-free getaways. At Tenerife’s cliff-top Ritz-Carlton Abama, floor-to-ceiling glass windows in luxe rooms and suites make way for Atlantic-facing private balconies and furnished terraces. There are plenty of ways to spend a day in the sun; plop down along one of seven swimming pools, go for a round at the Dave Thomas-designed golf course, or devote ample time to the Atlantic shores of Guia de Isora.
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