The Best Vacation Destinations Where Pesky Mosquitoes Will Not Be Your Problem

It can seem like wherever you go on vacation, tiny, whiny, uninvited guests always come along, too. Mosquitoes have the ability to turn a romantic stroll into a run for your life or a relaxing snooze in a hammock into a game of slaps. Their itchy bites can swell to the size of small balloons, and, more importantly, they carry and spread diseases in many parts of the world. No one wants to come home from vacation with dengue as a souvenir. 

Mosquitoes are almost everywhere. But not quite. There are two places on the planet where they haven't managed to colonize. Iceland and Antarctica remain blissfully mosquito-free. That's one country and continent where you can vacation without pesky mosquitoes bothering you. But if those far-flung and very chilly destinations don't call to you, some other areas of the planet are almost mosquito-free. And they're much closer to home than Antarctica.

Go totally mosquito-free

You may not be surprised to learn that there are no mosquitoes in Antarctica. The harsh climate means that mosquitoes can't survive there. There's insufficient food, and the conditions are too cold for the mosquitoes to fly. So you can trade bug spray for breathtaking vistas when you travel to Antarctica. Over 100,000 people visited the continent in 2023, and it's at the top of many people's travel bucket lists. However, this number is relatively low compared to other countries, so it likely won't become a regular vacation spot. 

That's where Iceland could step in. The flight time from New York to Iceland's capital, Reykjavík, is around six hours, so it's fairly accessible to Americans. The reason why Iceland doesn't have mosquitoes is something of a mystery. Reykjavik is on the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska, where the mosquito is often called the "state bird." And Iceland's neighbor, Greenland, is swarming with mosquitoes. 

So, does Iceland have an invisible DEET force field deterring mosquitoes? According to the New York Times, some scientists believe Iceland's oceanic climate and three big freezes and thaws per year have stopped mosquitoes from moving in and breeding. Other scientists think there's something in the soil and water that mosquitoes just don't like. Whatever the reason, mosquitoes haven't made it there yet. 

Mosquito-lite destinations

If the idea of Iceland or Antarctica doesn't make you leap up and book a plane ticket, how about Chile's beautiful Atacama Desert? Mosquitoes love water, where they tend to lay their eggs, so places with little standing water don't support large mosquito populations. Therefore, a vacation in the desert, away from human populations who tend to leave water standing around via irrigation and other methods, is a great way to avoid pesky bugs. The Atacama is the driest desert on Earth; it's a majestic, desolate place that offers visitors some of the best stargazing in the world.

Finally, mosquitoes are seasonal in many places. Even in Alaska, those notorious swarms are only present for a couple of months of the year. There, mozzies emerge in mid-June and tend to thin out in early August. Plan a trip outside these months, and you're far less likely to encounter mosquitoes. Mozzies also tend to be most active at dawn and dusk, so staying indoors or covering up at those times can also help prevent mosquito encounters. There are many ways to avoid mosquito bites, too, so even if you find yourself mobbed by mozzies, there are things you can do to keep them away.