With mosquito season in full swing (and wedding season, too), the Arkansas Bride team figured it was a great time to fill you beautiful brides in on the Zika virus' whereabouts as you plan your honeymoon or destination wedding.
Earlier this year, we teamed up with the Arkansas Department of Health for a survey to gauge Arkansan's knowledge about the virus, which will help them develop their health messages in the future. We learned quite a bit from that survey — and learned that there are some big misconceptions about the virus. While Zika is no longer considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the Centers for Disease Control still considers the Zika virus and its associated consequences a "significant enduring public health challenge," according to the CDC's website. Over the next few months, we'll touch on various topics on the blog surrounding Zika, from where it is to how you can prevent it.
This month, we want to discuss where exactly the virus is in relation to honeymoon hotspots that you may be visiting (or may have already visited). We discovered in our survey that the top travel destinations for Arkansas Bride readers are the Caribbean, South Florida/Florida Keys and Mexico. While those may seem like Zika-free zones, the CDC has declared the Caribbean islands, South Florida and the Keys and all of Mexico areas with risk of Zika.
While these areas have reported cases of Zika and travelers run the risk of contracting the virus if they visit, that doesn't mean it's guaranteed to happen. Prevention is key. But if the idea of Zika is enough to scare you away, there are still plenty of prime Zika-free honeymoon destinations to consider!
Top 10 Zika-free Destinations
A colorful British island in the North Atlantic Ocean. The weather is typically warm, with August being the hottest month (82°F average) and the "coldest" month in February with an average of 64°F.
Whether you want to stay put in one spot, or hop around from city to city — there's no shortage of sight-seeing and activities in SoCal. The area is home to some of California's best cities (Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara) and plenty of beaches for you to soak up the sun.
Known for being incredibly gorgeous, Hawaii is always a top honeymoon destination. And you don't have to worry about getting your passport renewed!
Malta is officially known as the Republic of Malta. It's Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago located in the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its mild climate and a booming tourist industry.
For the more adventurous couple, Chile is not lacking in the activities department. Honeymooners can sightsee in urban Santiago, drive into the nearby Andes for world-class skiing or pass through Chile's vineyards to get to the coastal towns of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso.
Perfect for those with pristine beaches in mind, Seychelles consists of 115-islands located east of mainland East Africa. If you were thinking about heading to the Maldives (where Zika is endemic), the Seychelles are a comparable but Zika-free option.
The Land Down Under is never a bad idea — especially when you're looking for a beautiful not-so-typical honeymoon destination. For those planning their vacation during the United State's winter months, you'll be happy to know that's actually Australia's summertime.
Where else can you go on a safari by day and dine on Cape Dutch cuisine in Cape Town by night? You can rest assured every one of your Instagram followers will be incredibly jealous of your trip while you make memories to last a lifetime.
The Cook Islands is a nation in the South Pacific. Aitutaki Island has a vast lagoon encircled by coral reefs and small, sandy islets. The Cook Islands are perfect for scuba-diving fanatics because the county is renowned for its many snorkeling and scuba-diving sites.
If you're worried about whether your dream destination is a high-risk area, the CDC has a great interactive map on their website that lets you key in the country to see if it's Zika-free or not.