10 Amazing Zika-Free Beaches to Visit Now
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Thinking about planning a beach getaway but concerned about Zika? Unfortunately, the two are still very much connected. We might not hear about it on the news as much as we did in 2016, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still counts more than 50 countries on its risk list.
That said, there are still tons of stunning destinations complete with sunshine, white sand and blue seas where Zika hasn’t yet been reported. As always, check the CDC regularly for updates to its travel advisories, and be sure to consult a doctor if you’re pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant, and planning a trip.
1. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
While most of the Caribbean has reported Zika, there’s a nearby neighbor that hasn’t: Bermuda, due east of South Carolina, has managed to stay free and clear. The island, with its pink-sand beaches and quaint British charm, also happens to be an amazing place to visit, even in winter, when the temps hover in the 60s. At Horseshoe Bay, you can take a dip in one of the coves or ride a horse along the shoreline. Save for the opening of The Loren, a modern new boutique hotel, Bermuda’s hotel inventory has remained largely stagnant over the last decade, but there are still plenty of fine places to stay. Both Fairmont properties (Southampton and the newly renovated Hamilton Princess) are well regarded (although neither participates in Le Club AccorHotels), as is Rosewood Tucker’s Point, which will close temporarily for a renovation this winter.
2. Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
It’s hard to narrow down just one stunning beach in Hawaii since all of them are Zika-free. But you won’t be disappointed by Tunnels Beach, on Kauai, where the movie South Pacific was filmed, and where waves in the shape of perfect tunnels form along the shoreline. You can watch from the picture-perfect white sand surrounded by lush green hills, then retreat to the St. Regis Princeville, the most luxurious resort on the island’s quieter north coast; book for 30,000 to 35,000 Starpoints, depending on the season.
3. Mansa Beach, José Ignacio, Uruguay
Uruguay is one of only two South American countries that have remained Zika-free — the other is Chile — and its hottest beach town, José Ignacio, buzzes with glamourous people when it gets cold up in the Northern Hemisphere. While many tourists head to Brava Beach, the nearby Mansa Beach has fewer crowds and better sunsets. The water’s also calm, making it ideal for swimming. Splurge on a night or two at one of Vik Retreats’ three chic hotels.
4. Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
It might be a bit of trek, but Bondi Beach in Australia is worth the journey — especially because you can fly direct to Sydney from cities like LA and San Francisco. Not only do you have one of the world’s most renowned beaches complete with adorable restaurants, crystal-blue waters and a pool where waves crash alongside, but there’s also no Zika to be found. Sydney has plenty of points hotels, including a Park Hyatt (Category 7, or 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night) as well as an InterContinental.
5. Ca’n Picafort Beach, Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca, Spain, is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. People from all over the world flock here to experience the white sand, clear water, plethora of water sports and family-friendly feel. It can certainly get busy, so escape the crowds by walking to the nearby Playa de Muro. For hotels, the Park Hyatt Mallorca (Category 5; 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night), one of this year’s most anticipated openings, is a luxurious and hospitable choice.
6. Félicité Island, Seychelles
While parts of Africa have a high risk for Zika, the Seychelles, off the eastern coast, does not. But, that’s not the only thing attracting honeymooners and adventure-seekers alike. Spots like Félicité Island has dense jungles, impressive cliffs, rare wildlife and Instagram-worthy beaches that are totally private. There are three Hiltons in the Seychelles, all of which participate in the Hilton Honors program, an SPG Category 5 Le Méridien and various non-awards luxury properties, including a Four Seasons and a Banyan Tree.
7. Matauri Bay, New Zealand
New Zealand has quickly become a go-to destination for nature-seekers, and there’s no better place to commune with Mother Earth than Matauri Bay on the northeastern shore. The road in is affectionately dubbed “the million-dollar view,” and for good reason; you’ll see glimpses of sparkling waters, golden beaches and topography famed for its world-class hiking. You can relax with your toes in the sand or try your hand at snorkeling or horseback riding. Hotels here tend to be small, independently run and pretty affordable.
8. Reñaca Beach, Chile
Like Uruguay, its neighbor to the East, Chile has managed to steer clear of South America’s Zika problem. Reñaca Beach, in particular, has continued to attract visitors during the summer and winter. While the water can be a bit cooler in chillier months, there are still plenty of panoramic views, local shops, white-sand beaches and quaint cafes to explore. A bit farther down the Pacific in Viña del Mar, you’ll find the Sheraton Miramar Hotel & Convention Center (SPG Category 5, or 12,000 to 16,000 Starpoints per night) a beachfront property.
9. Yonaha Maehama Beach, Japan
With more than seven miles of beautiful beaches and crowds that are kept at bay, Miyako-Jima, an island south of Okinawa, is one of Japan’s most paradise-like gems. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to explore, and the turquoise sliver of the North Pacific makes it an ideal selfie locale. With hotel inventory consisting of independent Japanese-owned and -run properties, you’ll be able savor local culture while saving those World of Hyatt points for cities like Tokyo and Kyoto.
10. Tianya Haijiao, China
Tianya Haijiao literally means “heaven’s edge, sea’s corner” — and as far as beaches go, that’s pretty much ideal. Situated on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, it’s filled with palm trees, calm seas, huge boulders and luxury hotels in Sanya Bay, including an SPG Category 3 Sheraton. The area has been enshrined in romantic Chinese poetry, making it a popular destination about local honeymooners.
Feature photo of Bondi Icebergs Pool with the famous Bondi Beach in the background. Photo by Christopher Groenhout / Getty Images
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