Where to travel with no Zika risk. Warm, relaxing, Western hemisphere
September 25, 2018 12:14 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I want to travel somewhere warm and relaxing in late December/early January. Cartagena and several of the Caribbean resorts were top of the list but as we're considering trying to have a baby in the first quarter of next year, we're not sure it's a smart move. More specifics inside.

Warm weather, relaxing, excellent food and drink, slightly exotic (deserts, mountains, forests count, too!). I'm not one to love laying on a beach all day but we thought some ocean and beach time would be nice, too. Sooooo...

We're not looking to totally splurge on this one; we have other, bigger travel plans for later next year. We're located in Atlanta and have plenty of points so that airfare isn't too big a deal. We'd been looking at all-inclusives in the Caribbean, and then thought Cartagena (or Panama) would give us more history, local flavor (and dining options) and we could spend a night or two on the Rosario Islands, which look incredible.

However, although it sounds like the Zika risk is real but minimal in these areas, we didn't want to have to wait months, worry about getting tests done and then having one extra fear if/when my wife became pregnant. Does this sound reasonable, or is the risk so infinitesimal as to be silly factoring in, at this point?

One option we've considered are resorts/hotels in Arizona but not sure at this point if the money is better spent elsewhere. We looked into Hawaii but it's just too much money and travel time for what we intended. St. Bart's is off the Zika list now but looks to be very expensive, even on the cheapest ends ($500-600 a night, lowest).

What other locations or specific resorts would you recommend we check out as options that fit most of the criteria and considerations above? Thanks!
posted by rbf1138 to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure this is warm enough for you (warm but not hot seemed to be the case when I looked into it), but when I was trying to conceive I did some research and the Canary Islands were pretty much the only place I found that was somewhat warm but did not have the mosquito that carries zika. That was my standard. I wasn't willing to book a trip anywhere that didn't have zika if they did have the mosquito because I figured the trip would be booked a couple of months in advance and who knew what would happen in the meantime.

posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:23 PM on September 25, 2018

When I was pregnant last October, my OB-GYN recommended that I don't visit my sister in Houston (the local health department had just identified a zika case there). I went anyway because it was a really important trip to me and my brother in law assured me the risk was tiny (he's a physician). I didn't get Zika, but I was a little worried during the trip.

The problem is that you want a hot and humid place, and mosquitoes love that. I would stick to Arizona for peace of mind. Pregnancy is really stressful and depending on how anxiety prone you are there are already a million risks to lose sleep about without adding one more.
posted by Tarumba at 12:39 PM on September 25, 2018

Palm Springs or Joshua Tree in CA? Desert vibes instead of beachy but very trendy and Zika free. The CA coast is also safe but the water won’t be warm like in the Caribbean.
posted by permiechickie at 4:30 PM on September 25, 2018

Avoiding regions with known outbreaks of Zika infections and known large populations of Aedes spp. that carry the virus is reasonable and prudent for pregnant women.

Avoiding regions that have those mosquitos and some small number of cases seems seems a bit overzealous for women who are not pregnant but are considering trying to conceive next year.

Read up on the biology, ask your doctor, etc, but you’re basically asking for square pegs to fit in round holes here, because the risk is non-zero just about everywhere that is warm and accessible from Atlanta in December without being fairly expensive.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:23 PM on September 25, 2018

When we were in the same situation earlier this year we ended up going to Miami in order to have an inexpensive beach/ warm weather vacation with the lowest possible risk of Zika. The CDC has updated their information to reflect that "In 2018, no local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States."

We did look at the World risk map really carefully and considered traveling to Chile or Uruguay since they are Zika free. Our OB-GYN also said that the risk would also be low if we traveled to Bogota since the climate (cool/cold, high altitude, etc) means you have few mosquitos. We ended up deciding against that since what I most wanted out of a vacation was to lay by the pool in the sun.

Where I really wanted to go was to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, but after going through the trouble of finding the rates of Zika reported by the Mexican Government I decided that the risk to travel to one of the beach resorts in Mexico was too high for us.
posted by zamdaba at 7:59 PM on September 25, 2018

The Bahamas are zika free! Also Cayman Islands and a few other ones...though they tend to be the more obscure, more expensive islands. Check out the interrupted transmission list here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:29 AM on September 26, 2018

I don't think it's definitely a square peg situation - Bermuda is relatively close and inexpensive, definitely checks the warm weather boxes, and it's entirely zika-free; however, other than beaches it doesn't have a TON going on nature-wise.
posted by mosst at 6:34 AM on September 26, 2018

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