By Julie-Ann Sherlock
Do you see it? That flicker of light at the end of the COVID tunnel seems to be getting brighter. Hopefully, it is signalling that we are almost out of the pandemic so that my favourite pastime can begin again in earnest: Travel.
While some countries are still being very careful, guarding their borders with zeal, others are flinging caution to the four winds and preparing to lure holidaymakers, business travellers and digital nomads back to their shores. But is it safe to pack your bag, dust off the passport and head to the nearest airport with a tropical beach or exciting city in mind?
We took a look at the current (at time of writing) advisories from the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on which countries are safe.
Sun And Fun In Bali
If you are hoping to spend your vacay time lounging by a pool sipping cocktails, diving in deep blue waters or just generally enjoying some sunshine, a trip to the Indonesian island of Bali seems right up your street.
Currently one of the safest places in the world for COVID, Indonesia’s tourist hotspot offers everything you could need. From bustling nightlife to peaceful secluded beaches, this beautiful island is the safe haven we are all searching for right now. Indonesian neighbour Timor-Leste is also ranking high on the CDC’s list of places where the pandemic has eased.
Find Paradise In Paraguay
Escape to the centre of South America to explore tropical rainforests, visit a real working ranch and immerse yourself in unique cultural experiences on a trip to Paraguay.
This landlocked nation may not attract as many tourists as its neighbours Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, but it still has a lot to offer, including its status as one of the safest countries in the region. It seems to have the pandemic almost tamed, making it a good option for those who are fully vaccinated, as do the fellow South American islands of the Falklands.
Indulge Your Senses In India
As one of the world’s most exciting, if somewhat chaotic, countries, India sure has a lot to offer for those looking for an adventure. With beautiful beaches, bustling cities and breathtaking countryside, a visit to the sub-continent is sure to be memorable.
Having come through a devastating two years of dealing with the rampant Coronavirus, India is now coming out the other side of the health crisis and preparing to welcome guests once more. It is dropping down the list of countries on the CDC’s danger list and looks set to put the pandemic behind it sooner rather than later. Similarly, neighbour Pakistan seems to have gotten to grips with the disease and is another excellent option for a truly culturally awakening holiday.
Go Wild in Benin
Have you always dreamed of watching lions strut their stuff across an African plain? A visit to the Pendjari National Park in Benin will make your dreams come true. Home to a massive herd of African Elephants and the majority of the remaining West African Lions, a visit may also afford you the privilege of spotting the rare Northwest African Cheetah too.
Combine your safari with a trip to swim at the Tanongou waterfalls or explore the old Portuguese port city, now the capital and ironically called Porto-Novo, meaning New Port. The CDC has ranked it as one of the lowest risks countries for COVID right now, along with its West African counterparts of Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Guinea.
Enjoy the East
It may have been ground zero for the current pandemic, but China’s swift actions and continued efforts make it now one of the safest places to visit. Check walking along the Great Wall of China off your bucket list, marvel at the Terracotta Army or gamble your life savings away in Macau. As one of the largest countries in the world, you will not run out of things to see and do on a trip to the People’s Republic.
A visit to other areas in the region such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Bhutan are all considered safe by the CDC, so make the most of this chance to explore these magnificent places before all the tourists come flooding back.
With the pandemic in constant flux, please check travel advisory notices and up to date information before you book or go on a trip. Remember that not all countries are ready to receive guests, and others may have some restrictions as they ensure the danger has disappeared before opening up fully.
Wherever you decide to go, take all the precautions necessary to stay safe and healthy and follow all rules and guidance in host countries so that we can get back to travelling freely as soon as possible!