Many go-to travel destinations throughout South America, the Caribbean, and Latin America are experiencing Zika outbreaks, caused by a mosquito-borne virus that has been known to cause birth defects in newborns. Recently, Mashable’s story on how some travel insurance plans did not cover Zika further frustrated holiday-makers and fanned debate.The spread of the virus has many travelers, especially pregnant women, thinking about flying to destinations that are Zika free. If you are looking to dodge locales abroad with the Zika virus, head for these alternative destinations instead.

 

Montreal

You don’t have to travel too far outside the US to find a slice of Europe. Montreal provides an ideal European-style city getaway that is most certainly Zika-free. Starting in Old Montreal, travelers will find loads of museums and 18th century facades to admire, and numerous cobblestone streets to get lost down. The Canadian city is also known for its festivals with more than 90 held throughout the year, including the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. Montreal also boasts one of the best culinary scenes in North America, serving up acclaimed restaurants and eateries all across town.

 

New Zealand

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Currently, New Zealand does not have the mosquito from which Zika derives, making it a perfect getaway. The small country yields big rewards for adventure seekers due to its natural playground of mountains, volcanoes, coastline, and lush forests. New Zealand furthers its appeal by tossing in idyllic vineyards to tour, as well as vibrant cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown to explore.

 

Bermuda

As of writing, Bermuda does not currently have any cases of Zika originating from the island. The British overseas territory provides all the perks of a Caribbean vacation without the virus. Bermuda is known for its pink sand beaches, sparkling blue waters, and  peace and tranquility. Just a two-hour flight from most East Coast cities, Bermuda is conveniently positioned so that you can get away without too long of a flight. The island is filled with colonial architecture, golf courses, shops, and plenty of idyllic beaches.

 

Tallinn, Estonia

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To get away from hard hit Zika zones, you can always head up north to Tallinn, Estonia. The capital of the country boasts an Old Town that is considered one of the best preserved Hanseatic town centers in the world. Tallinn was first established in 1154 and has the evidence to prove it. You can get lost in the city’s medieval streets and think you might have time traveled. Tallinn is adorned with ancient church spires, baroque palaces, wooden houses, and delightful squares.

 

Vancouver

With its scenic backdrops of both mountains and water, the third-largest metropolitan area in the country provides travelers with sophisticated restaurants, leafy parks, and lively bars. Just outside the city, you can take advantage of plenty of outdoor pursuits from hiking to sailing to cycling. With its laid back West Coast vibe, Vancouver even claims some of North America’s best seafood and local produce.

 

Sardinia

If you want all that the Caribbean has to offer – minus Zika, Sardinia is the place to go. The Italian island in the Mediterranean boasts of a wild interior, sparkling beaches, and plenty of ancient ruins to explore. Sardinia is a magnet for beach-goers in the spring, summer, and fall as it claims some of Europe’s best beaches from the Costa Verde to the Costa Smeralda.

 

The Azores, Portugal

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With no Zika cases reported as of writing, the Portuguese island group of the Azores is one of our picks for a great Zika-free vacation. Composed of 9 islands, the Azores float in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. It is relatively easy to snag a flight from the US to the Azores as well. Known for watersports, the Azores also offers plenty of hiking opportunities. The island chain is home to Mt. Pico, Portugal’s tallest mountain.

 

Tokyo

Japan’s sprawling capital lends a Zika-free cosmopolitan escape for travelers. Its crowded streets cohabit peacefully with towering skyscrapers, shrines, and gardens. Not only is Tokyo a great place to be overwhelmed by a skyline, but it also offers stellar shopping, a rich contemporary arts scene, and a mouth-watering food.

 

Iceland

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The Land of Fire and Ice offers natural wonders on any vacation. With waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, rugged fjords, lush valleys, glaciers, volcanoes, and geysers, Iceland almost seems other-worldly in its very makeup. In fact, Iceland is home to the largest glaciers in Europe and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Pack your adventure gear and appreciate its long summer days with nearly 24 hours of daylight.

RELATED: Thinking about traveling to Iceland for you next holiday? Check out Elina the Explorer’s adventures in the country!

Tenerife, Spain

Located off the coast of West Africa and part of the Canary Islands, Tenerife provides another Zika free getaway. The largest of the Canary Islands lends a little bit of everything you might want in a tropical getaway, from all-inclusive resorts to white sandy beaches to old colonial towns. Lording over the island is Spain’s highest mountain, the volcanic Mt. Teide, which also offers plenty of hiking opportunities.

 

If you are concerned about the Zika virus affecting your travel plans, you’ll want to do your research and talk to your doctor first before heading out. While these destinations aren’t on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of Zika affected areas, it’s always best to stay on top of the latest reports before you book your ticket.

 

Have you changed your travel plans due to the Zika virus? Where are you headed instead?

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About The Author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.