Now that the holidays are over, the one question on everyone’s mind is: where to holiday next? Canadian winters (especially this one) usually inspire beach vacations, but concerns about the Zika virus might force you to narrow your search.
“The good news is, a lot of the places that were deemed Zika areas have been cleared,” says Claire Newell, president of Travel Best Bets. “A lot of the little islands in the Caribbean are fine now — at one point, the whole area was a Zika zone — but now, places like Martinique and parts of French Polynesia are clear.”
For a complete and regularly updated list of countries affected by Zika, you can check the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website. However, Newell points out, that while everyone was concerned about the virus at its height, women who are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant are the most at-risk group.
“I recommend that anyone travelling anywhere in the world, especially in an area that could have Zika, to wear insect repellant, to cover up when getting dressed in the evening since dawn and dusk is when mosquitoes come out, and to use a bed net if you’re in an area with a lot of mosquitoes,” she says.
While there are still more than 50 countries on the Zika list, a number of sunny, beachy destinations have been cleared of the virus and would make for idyllic winter getaways. Here are Newell’s top 10 picks.
Known for its pink sand beaches and colonial heritage, Bermuda is as much a destination for beach bums as it is for thrill-seeking scuba divers.
There is a host of things to see and do in Chile, including exploring its pristine nature and sampling its diverse wines, but when it’s time to wind down, you can relax on its sandy beaches and enjoy year-round warmth.
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path kind of holiday, Uruguay’s hot springs, lively festivals and white sand beaches more than deliver.
The south of Spain is home to the Costa del Sol, whose name says it all — the sun coast. Located in the Andalucia region of the country, it comprises the city of Malaga as well as numerous beach and fishing towns, including Marbella (pictured here).
Located between Sicily and the North African coast, Malta offers a mix of beach landscapes, from rocky coasts to golden sand, and boasts a subtropical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers.
Not just for Game of Thrones fans, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast offers miles of stunning beaches, with both rocky and sandy shores, as well as picturesque islands scattered throughout the Adriatic Sea.
Whether you’re a laze-on-the-beach kind of person or an adventure seeker, Hawaii has it all, making it a popular winter destination for couples and families.
If you’re looking for a North American destination where you can kick back or hang 10, the beachy stretch of California from San Diego to Santa Barbara offers gorgeous views and wicked waves.
Bora Bora is known for being a luxury resort destination as well as a natural wonder, and offers everything from thrilling scuba diving to leisurely snorkeling, all in picturesque turquoise waters.
An archipelago made up of over 100 islands, Seychelles is revered for its tropical beaches, coral reefs and respect for nature — most of its islands are nature reserves and large swathes of its most inhabited regions are protected.
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