Travel Alerts

The US State Department has just issued the following notification: Level 3: Reconsider travel to Russia due to terrorism and harassment.
Do not travel to:

  • The north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to civil unrest and terrorism.
  • Crimea due to foreign occupation and abuses by occupying authorities

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Bomb threats against public venues are common.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup games will be held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, and Saransk, Russia, from June 14 to July 15, 2018. Large-scale international events such as the World Cup present an attractive target for terrorists. Although security for the World Cup will be extensive, terrorists may seek to attack event locations such as stadiums and Fan Fest viewing areas, tourist sites, transportation hubs, and other public venues. Travelers should expect increased police presence and enhanced security measures in and around the World Cup venues. Full information about the World Cup games for U.S. citizen visitors is available on our website.

U.S. citizens are often victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials. U.S. consular assistance to detained individuals is often unreasonably delayed by Russian officials. Russia also enforces special restrictions on dual U.S.-Russian nationals. Due to the Russian government-imposed reduction on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, the U.S. government has reduced ability to provide services to U.S. citizens.

The CDC has issued the Travel Alerts for the following countries:

Pakistan: Typhoid

Peru: Zika Virus

Brazil: Yellow Fever

Madagascar: Plague

The Bahamas: Zika Virus

Aruba: Zika Virus

Cuba: Zika Virus

Costa Rica: Malaria

South Africa: Malaria & Listeriosis

Venezuela:  Health Infrastructure Breakdown in Venezuela( The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Venezuela. The country is experiencing outbreaks of infectious diseases (Measles, Diphtheria, and Malaria) and adequate health care is currently not available in most of the country.

The CDC has issued Measles Alerts in the following countries: France, Italy, Greece, Serbia, Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Romania, Indonesia, England and Ukraine.

The World Health Organization has announced that there are now 14 confirmed cases of Ebola (although the total number of cases has reached 45)  in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There has also been one death. More than 4,000 doses of the new experiemental Ebola vaccine have arrived in Congo this week, with more on the way. One challenge will be keeping the vaccine cold in a region with poor infrastructure and patchy electricity.

Words of Wisdom from Your Travel Medicine Specialist

Coming soon


Questions and Answers

 How long before my trip should I schedule my appointment with your travel medicine specialist?

You should try to schedule your appointment 4-6 weeks before your travel date. If vaccinations are required, you need to give your body time to develop the necessary immunity.

Please submit your questions through our mailbox:

The Country of the Month

Trip of a Lifetime: The Galapagos Islands.

This is the one place on the earth, where you are actually able to observe wildlife in their natural habitat (while they are observing you). They have no fear of man. They have never been hunted. The wildlife is as curious about you, as you are about them. Now, they live in a National Park regulated by Ecuador. Once you visit the Galapagos, you will leave a changed person. Conservationists have made great strides eradicating species brought onto the Galapagos and supporting the proliferation of the endemic species.  Everyone who goes to the Galapagos has the opportunity to plant Scalesia Trees as your legacy ( The endemic wildlife depend on the Scalesia trees for shelter and food. It is an incredible feeling to plant something that will shelter and feed the wildlife to centuries to come.

     When to Go:

The best time is December-April. This is the rainy season but the seas are calmer, the weather is warmer and the islands are lush with plants. However, December-January is the busiest time. June-October is cooler, the seas are rougher but there are less mosquitos. The landscapes are more barren. June-August is another busy time.

You should invest in a good travel book. Every month of the year has something different to offer as far as the wildlife goes. For example, if you want to see sea lion pups, you will want to plan your trip in October.

You can choose between a cruise tour or a land tour depending on what you like to do and what you want to see. Should you decide on a cruise, the inner loop is better than the outer loop. Every island has something different to offer and different wildlife to see. Some islands have great hiking, some are known for great snorkeling and scuba diving. For example, yo will see the Galapagos hawks and Land Iguanas on Santa Fe. Blue Footed Boobies and Frigates on Seymour Norte, Marine Iguanas, sea lions and flightless cormorants on Punta Espinosa and the Waved Albatross on Punta Suarez and Red Footed Boobies on Darwin Bay Beach. If hiking is your thing, you will not be disappointed! But, bring hiking shoes! You will be hiking across lava fields on Sullivan Bay, along beaches and around an active volcano, which has the second largest crater in the world on Sierra Negra. Be prepared to climb stairs, rocks and lava formations. Bring plenty of water.  You will need to bring a refillable water bottle. Ecuador has recently made one-use bottles illegal. If scuba diving with sharks is your thing, do not miss Gordon Rocks (Hammerhead sharks), Kicker Rock (White-tipped reef sharks and hammerhead sharks), Gardner Bay (White-ti[[ed Sharks and sting rays) and Wolf (hundreds of Hammerheads and from June to November, gigantic whale sharks).

The Charles Darwin Research Station is located on Santa Cruz. This facility has done great work in restoring the Galapagos Tortoise population. The El Chato Tortoise Reserve is also located on Santa Cruz where you can go and watch the Galapagos Tortoises in their natural habitat.

Vaccinations:  Our office can tell you (and give you) all the necessary vaccinations. However, it is important to provide your travel medicine doctor with your exact travel plans as different vaccinations are required when entering the Ecuador from the United States than if you are entering Ecuador from Peru, Columbia or Brazil. If a country requires proof of vaccination, you will need a "Yellow Card" to enter that country. Our clinic will provide you with this card, whenever necessary!

Packing: Leave all of your bright-colored clothing at home! Wear light-colored or neutral clothing. This will make you less attractive to bees and mosquitoes. Remember that you are on the equator. You will need a SPF 50 sunscreen and a safari hat (preferably one that ties under your chin). Once is the Galapagos, you will be able to buy sunscreen up to SPF 150 and scarves that you can pull up over your ears and nose. You will notice all of the boat operators wearing these, as there is an increased risk of melanoma from over-exposure to the sun. Make sure that you take a good mosquito repellent. CDC recommends using one that is recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency [look for its registration number ("EPA Reg") on the label].

If you fly into Quito, Ecuador, you will need to stay overnight as all flights to the Galapagos Islands are in the morning. An important fact: Quito is 2,850 meters or 9350 feet above sea level. You may feel the effects of high altitude (light-headedness or shortness of breath). It is recommended that you take it easy, drink water and rest if you feel dizzy. The locals recommend drinking their "special" tea with sugar and eating bananas. If you can stay two nights, make sure that you visit Museo de Sitio Intinan. At the mus they will demonstrate the scientific effects of being on the equatorial line. You will also be able to have your photo taken while standing over the equatorial line with one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other is the southern hemisphere.

Money: In Ecuador, they use US currency, both paper and coins. Note: the paper currency must be perfect (no tears no matter how slight). Paper currency cannot have anything written on them(i.e. names, numbers or any other markings on the currency). Paper currency that is anything less than perfect will not be accepted by merchants.