In early February 2016, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency regarding a relatively unknown virus: Zika. Now, almost a year later, Zika, a mosquito-borne virus known to cause harm to unborn babies, had spread across many parts of the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, eliminating these popular tropical destinations for travelers who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. While non-pregnant travelers can still visit these areas without much concern, those who are hoping for a new addition to their family are left with fewer options. If you and your family are desperate to escape the chill this winter but want to be sure to avoid Zika, here are four fabulous Zika-free destinations for family fun in the sun.
Coronado is the perfect destination for those looking to relax under the California sun. This resort island is just a 10-minute drive from downtown San Diego. Get the best of both worlds by crossing the island’s bridge to experience San Diego’s endless activities.
Traveling with kids? The San Diego Zoo is voted the number-one zoo in the world and a place your kids will love. Make sure to grab ice cream at MooTime Creamery during your visit to Coronado. This popular ice-cream shop has two locations and is a staple for locals and tourists craving a sweet treat. One is located on Orange Avenue, the island’s downtown district with quaint boutiques and eateries.
The other is found inside the historic Hotel Del Coronado. This 125-year-old Victorian beachfront hotel is said to be the inspiration behind The Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. Another fantastic hotel is the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. This resort is five miles away from Coronado Beach and gives visitors views of the glistening Coronado Bay waters and the San Diego skyline.
This low-key island is the perfect spot for a romantic and rejuvenating beach getaway. With more than 60 beaches, Kauai offers some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Although it is one of the least commercialized Hawaiian islands, there is no reason to underestimate this stunning destination.
Also known as the Garden Island, Kauai boasts beautiful landscapes of luscious vegetation. You can get a great view of the island’s backdrop by visiting one of its many hiking destinations. You might even recognize the setting from some of Hollywood’s hottest blockbusters like “Jurassic Park.” With gorgeous waterfalls, Nā Pali Coast State Park is ideal to hike along sea cliffs and lush valleys.
From casual to fine dining, Kauai’s restaurant variety satisfies even the pickiest of eaters. However, trying a few local Hawaiian dishes is a must for those who want the complete Kauai experience. Traditional dishes are infused with influences from Japan, Spain and the Philippines, to name a few. But, make sure to save room for dessert! Lilikoi pie, a lemon meringue pie, is a delicacy unique to Kauai. The best lilikoi pie is said to be found at Hamura’s Saimin Stand, a popular eatery amongst locals.
Stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort or The St. Regis Princeville Resort. The Grand Hyatt is set on the sands of Poipu, Kauai’s sunny South Shore. Hotel amenities include golf at Poipu Bay Golf Course and an open-air spa. The elegant St. Regis Princeville, located on the North Shore, overlooks the mesmerizing Hanalei Bay and is a few miles away from the active Kīlauea volcano.
Key West is the southernmost point in the U.S. and about 90 miles north of Cuba. It is home to the third-largest coral reef in the world, the Florida Reef, and is the only one in the continental U.S. Unfortunately, according to recent reports, the reef is disintegrating so make sure to get a glimpse of this natural wonder soon. If you’re hungry after a long day in the water, grab a bite to eat at the island’s Historic Seaport district for fresh seafood. Then, take a scenic stroll along the boardwalk.
The Saint Hotel is a swanky hotel located in Old Town and just a 10-minute walk from the Ernest Hemingway House. Casa Marina is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts contemporary luxury accommodations. This resort spans more than 1,100 feet of private beach and is also located in historic Old Town, right by the city’s museums and galleries on Duval Street.
The island city lives by the simple phrase “One Human Family,” meaning they respect all people. This phrase, which became the island’s official philosophy in 2001, is reflected in Key West’s culture and celebrations.
Although Key West is currently free of Zika, there are reports of Zika in other parts of Florida. Keep in mind that no matter where you go, taking certain precautions can lower your chances of contracting Zika. For example, wear mosquito repellant with 20 percent or more DEET and avoid traveling to confirmed Zika-affected regions if you’re pregnant.
Known for its pink sand beaches, this British island territory is a “must-visit” destination for beach lovers. Although it is referred to as a whole, Bermuda actually consists of 181 islands and islets. The clear turquoise water makes it one of the top diving destinations in the world. Other popular activities include fishing, water skiing and kayaking. Although it’s certainly known for its water-related activities, Bermuda is also a cultural hotspot.
There are many museums that celebrate Bermudian art, heritage and culture. Bermuda’s proximity and positive relations with the U.S. are reflected throughout Bermudian culture. For example, all businesses accept the U.S. dollar, so there is no need to worry about exchange rates.
Visitors feeling more adventurous should visit “Bermuda’s hidden treasures,” the jaw-dropping Crystal and Fantasy caves in Hamilton Parish. These caves started forming about 1 million years ago and are surrounded by azure blue water. Each cave features unique and spectacular formations, including chandelier clusters.
Elbow Beach is the only beachfront hotel in Bermuda and a short distance from popular attractions such as the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Aquarium. This colonial-style resort offers a stunning ocean-view outdoor pool. The resort’s private pink sand beach is perfect for a stroll or horseback ride during sunset.
The Fairmont Southampton sits on the highest point in Bermuda. Each guestroom has its own private terrace to enjoy the marvelous views. Other amenities include walk-in closets and marble bathrooms.
Before you book a trip, it’s important to know that most insurance policies will not cover a trip cancellation to a country where Zika is being transmitted unless you purchased a “cancel for any reason” policy. However, if a traveler purchased insurance and becomes pregnant later and needs to cancel a trip to a Zika-affected area, then it would be covered under the clause of a new “medical condition.”
For more information on this or other travel destinations, please contact Royal Travel & Tours at royal-travel.com.
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