- HIROSHI H/Shutterstock
Warm-weather vacations could be slightly more risky this year. Zika has been found in mosquitoes in much of the Western Hemisphere south of Florida, as well as the entire Caribbean. That leaves few options for virus-free travels.
Though the Zika virus is only especially dangerous for pregnant women or those who are about to become pregnant, there’s still a chance of bringing the virus back and infecting others.
Here are 12 relatively warm places to go this winter where you won’t have to worry about the virus.
According to the CDC, these regions have either had no confirmed Zika-carrying mosquitoes (yet) or have been certified Zika-free, so there’s no need to stress. After all, isn’t travel all about relaxing?
Average high in January: 69 degrees Fahrenheit
Bermuda is only semi-tropical, but it’s far enough away from the Caribbean – out in the middle of the Atlantic – to be safe from Zika. It’s warm enough to go to the beach on a sunny day, and it has all the palm trees you could ask for.
Average high in San Diego in January: 65 degrees Fahrenheit
Average high in Los Angeles in January: 68 degrees Fahrenheit
Southern California boasts a mild climate all year, including the winter months. San Diego and Los Angeles are huge metropolises with plenty to do and warm temperatures to boot.
Average temperature in January: 61 degrees Fahrenheit
Zika hasn’t yet reached the Mediterranean, which is great news for those who love the region’s famous mild climate. Malta is an island smack in the middle of that sea, and it’s warmer than much of the region, with a booming tourist industry.
Average high in Honolulu in January:80 degrees Fahrenheit
Hawaii is the obvious choice here. Its Pacific location means it’s far away from the centers of Zika. And yet, it’s still incredibly warm even in January.
Hawaii should be at the top of the list for everyone looking for a stress- and Zika-free vacation.
- Flickr/Rob Oo
Average high in January: 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Dubai is a fast-growing tourist destination that has at least one big thing going for it: it’s very warm. It’s located in the desert, after all.
It’s a good choice if you’re tired of the tropical vibe but aren’t willing to let go of 80-degree warmth.
Average high in Sydney in January: 80 degrees Fahrenheit
Australia does not have any reported cases of mosquito-borne Zika virus.
And that’s great news, as you will still be able to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, explore the Outback, and experience all the world-class cities that Australia has to offer.
Average high in Cape Town in January: 79 degrees Fahrenheit
Africa has largely been spared of Zika so far, which means that South Africa is a great place to go on vacation this winter. It is summer there, after all.
- Cristian Bortes/Flickr
Average high in January: 60 degrees Fahrenheit
Mallorca, Spain, isn’t the warmest destination on this list, but it’s still a great place to go during its off-season.
The white-sand beaches and blue oceans don’t expire, after all.
- Karol Kozlowski / Shutterstock
Average high in Punta del Este in January: 83 degrees Fahrenheit
Only one travel-related case has been reported in Uruguay – ever. It gets cold enough that the mosquitoes are inactive in the winter months.
Uruguay is one of the most developed nations in South America, with a distinct local flavor unlike its neighbors. It also has plenty of beaches that are warm enough to visit in the winter months.
- Flickr/Gonzalo Baeza
Average high in Santiago in January: 85 degrees Fahrenheit
Chile has been spared of Zika, as it does not typically have the mosquito responsible for the virus’ spread.
That’s good news for visitors looking to explore South America without the worry.
Average high in January:62 degrees Fahrenheit
OK, so Austin doesn’t have that many beaches, and it’s not exactly exotic.
It won’t scratch your tropical vacation itch, but if you’re looking for a less expensive alternative this year, Austin has plenty to do and a funky local culture that everyone should experience at least once.
Average high in January:76 degrees Fahrenheit
Miami was recently certified free of active Zika transmission by the CDC for not having a recorded non-travel-related case of Zika for at least 45 days.
That’s good news for travelers looking to avoid the virus, as they now can enjoy the sandy beaches and culture of South Beach without having to worry.