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Wishing for a relaxing Caribbean getaway but worried about the risk of Zika? We’ve put together a list of island getaways that are perfect for a Zika-free holiday.
When news first broke about the Zika epidemic in 2015, media outlets covered every development. It felt like every week, the Center for Disease Control announced new countries reporting infection, with locales rarely being removed from the list. In the years since, the news has slowed to a halt, but the threat is still prevalent.
Currently, according to the CDC, there are 26 nations in the Caribbean that are affected and five reporting no risk of infection. And while the number of reported cases dropped in the last year, it’s still a good idea to err on the side of caution, especially for expecting parents.
Below, we’re put together a list of all Caribbean destinations where you can have a Zika-free (and worry-free) vacation.
Declared Zika-free in only the last two months, you can now visit any of the 2,000 islands and cays that make up the Caribbean country without worrying about how to pack an industrial-sized container of Deet. For an adventure-packed holiday, go scuba diving for sunken Spanish Galleons off the coast of Grand Bahama Island, or swim with pigs in the Exumas. Luxury and relaxation more your style? Check out these stunning oceanfront hotels that offer the luxe experience you’re looking for.
Removed from the CDC’s advisory list in July 2017, the Cayman Islands experienced a tourism boom due to their Zika-free status. A record-breaking, nearly 40,000 tourists visited this trio of islands this past January, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and it’s easy to see why. With breathtaking beaches and world-renowned diving, it’s the perfect place to get away and relax.
To learn a bit about the Islands’ history, head to the Cayman Islands National Museum where they have over 8,000 artifacts that tell the story of the British territory. Adventure-loving travelers can charter a helicopter to see the stunning scenery from a different perspective.
From mountainous vistas to sandy beaches, Guadeloupe is the perfect Caribbean vacation destination. No island vacation is complete without a little rum and the archipelago is home to some of the best distilleries in the Caribbean. Hike through Parc National de la Guadeloupe to see beautiful wildlife and take in some of the best views of the island. After a full day of exploring, head to popular Grande-Anse Beach and grab a Ti’ punch—made from lime juice, rum and sugarcane—and just relax.
A popular cruise destination, Martinique is worth a much longer visit than a one-night stay. The island is home to white-sand beaches, great restaurants, spectacular parks, and beautiful colonial architecture. The Mount Pelée volcano offers some of the best views of the Caribbean sea on a clear day, and is a great hiking destination—there are a couple of different trails with varying levels of difficulty.
At only eight square miles, Saint Bart’s is a cozy (as they say in real estate) paradise, but it still has plenty to offer. The island has a handful of five-star hotels to choose from and one of the best dining scenes in the Caribbean. However, with a heavy villa-rental market (kitchens included), many visitors opt to peruse the local markets to get inspired for a meal in; Marche U, Boulangerie Choisy and Le Cellier du Gouverneur are great options.