Traveling to the Caribbean for a music festival? Stay healthy and safe.
Throughout the year, but especially in the spring and summer, many islands in the Caribbean host festivals for a broad array of music enthusiasts. These festivals beckon people from around the globe to enjoy international rhythms set against the lush backdrop of Caribbean seas and sunshine. Popular festivals like Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest and other Caribbean festivals highlight many different genres of music. In recent years countries such as St. Lucia, Curaçao, Aruba, and St. Kitts have experienced a growth in tourism due, in part, to hosting music festivals.
Traveling to international events can be exciting, but an illness or injury can spoil your trip. Illnesses like the flu can easily be spread from person to person when a lot of people gather. Bug bites and too much sun can also make you sick or ruin your vacation. In fact, cases of chikungunya (a disease spread by mosquitoes) have recently been reported in several Caribbean countries.
Get the most out of your Caribbean festival experience by following these tips to protect your health and safety before, during, and after your trip.
Zika in the Caribbean
Most destinations in the Caribbean still have a risk of Zika. Zika is spread primarily by mosquitoes, but it can also be spread through sex. Many people with Zika infection do not feel sick or know they are infected.
Stay healthy with these CDC recommendations for Caribbean travel:
- Do not travel to areas with risk of Zika if you are pregnant. Zika infection in pregnant women can cause serious birth defects. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor before and after they travel and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission during the trip.
- Protect against mosquito bites during travel and for 3 weeks after your return. Preventing mosquito bites after your trip will stop the spread of Zika to local mosquitoes, which can then bite other people and spread Zika in your community.
- Use condoms or do not have sex during travel to avoid getting Zika through sex. Continue using condoms after your trip to protect your partner, especially if your partner is pregnant (see more on how long to use condoms). Couples thinking about pregnancy can learn more about planning pregnancy after travel.
Before Your Trip
- Learn how to prepare for a healthy trip by visiting Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel.
- Learn about destination-specific health risks and recommendations by visiting CDC Travelers’ Health website.
- Make an appointment to see a health care provider familiar with travel medicine, ideally 4–6 weeks before your trip. Go to the Find a Clinic webpage for help in finding a travel medicine clinic near you.
- Be sure that you are up to date with all your routine vaccinations, including the seasonal flu vaccine.
- Learn how to protect yourself from diseases spread by mosquitoes commonly found in the Caribbean.
- Pack a travel health kit.
Stay Healthy and Safe During Your Trip
- Avoid bug bites and use insect repellent to prevent bites from insects and mosquitoes that can transmit malaria, dengue, chikungunya, and other infections. If you are visiting an area with malaria [Haiti, Dominican Republic and Guyana] and your doctor prescribed medicine, remember to take it exactly as prescribed.
- Follow food and water safety advice. Eat only food that is cooked and served hot, and drink only beverages from sealed cans or bottles. Do not put ice in your drinks unless it has been made from treated water. Do not eat foods that are raw or undercooked, fresh fruits and vegetables (unless you peel them yourself), or unpasteurized dairy products. Download CDC’s free mobile app, Can I Eat This? to help prevent travelers’ diarrhea, and other more serious illnesses caused by contaminated food and water.
Avoid bug bites.
Drink only beverages from sealed cans or bottles.
- Stay safe on the roads. Look in both directions when crossing the street, wear a helmet when you ride a bike or motorcycle, and always wear a seatbelt.
- Dehydration and heat-related illnesses are common in tropical countries. Drink plenty of bottled water, keep cool, and wear sunscreen. Read more about how to prevent these conditions by visiting the Travel to Hot Climates and Sun Exposure webpages.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Being drunk can cause you to hurt yourself or other people, engage in risky behaviors, or get arrested.
- The relaxed environment and festive mood can encourage travelers to engage in risky sex, especially if alcohol or drugs are involved. Carry condoms that you purchased in the United States. Read more about how to prevent these conditions by visiting the Traveler Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) webpage.
- U.S. travelers may be targets for criminals. As much as possible, do not travel at night, avoid questionable areas, do not wear expensive jewelry, and travel with a companion.
After Your Trip
Pay close attention to how you feel after you return home. Go to the doctor right away if you
- have a fever with a cough or sore throat, or have trouble breathing.
- have a fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, or flu-like illness, and you visited an area with malaria.
- If you go to the doctor, tell your doctor about your recent international travel.
- For more information, visit the Getting Sick after Travel webpage.
- Page last reviewed: June 18, 2014
- Page last updated: June 18, 2014
- Content source:
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs