The United States just issued a Bahamas Travel Advisory due to increased violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault in many common touristy areas in the Bahamas specifically Nassau. The warning, released Feb. 25, urges American tourists to “exercise increased caution” when traveling to the popular tropical islands of the Bahamas.
The U.S. federal government released this statement: “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during the day and in tourist areas.” The Bahamas advisory is designated as Level 2, which means “Exercise Increased Caution which is the same travel warning that was issued to Mexico earlier this year.
There are four levels of advisory in the State Department’s warning system:
- Level 1 (“Exercise Caution”)
- Level 2 (“Exercise Increased Caution”)
- Level 3 (“Reconsider Travel”)
- Level 4 (“Do Not Travel”)
Is Nassau, Bahamas Safe For Tourist?
The Bahamas has more than 700 islands and five million visitors come to the Bahamas each year to explore one or more of the 700 Islands. The Bahamas offer sandy beaches, great weather and Miami is only a 30-minute flight away from the United States so when the recent travel warning was issued it cause an uproar in the tourism industry.
Nassau is considered the most dangerous place in the Bahamas, followed by Grand Bahama. These two islands are where the majority of tourists visit when traveling to the Bahamas.
Criminal Activity In Bahamas
The U.S. Department of State rates the criminal threat level for Nassau as critical and the criminal threat level for Grand Bahama Island as high. The Bahamas has experienced an uptake in armed robberies at gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and private residences.
Whether you’re looking to go on a culinary adventure, experience Bahamian history via Segway or view the beautiful blue Bahamas waters by horseback you will need to be cautious and put your safety ahead of having a good time.
I suggest using a reputable tour company while traveling to the Bahamas. I always use Viator when booking excursions no matter what destination I am traveling too and use the safety tips below to ensure you are not a victim of a crime while in the Bahamas:
- Go over your itinerary and understand your schedule
- Keep a low profile in crowds
- Don’t wear T-shirts with American logos
- Always travel in groups of two or more, especially at night
- Don’t get drunk or keep the drinks to a minimum since travelers who are drunk are more likely to be taken advantage of by criminals.
The Bahamian Police generally respond fairly quickly to reports of travelers being victimized and the police is normally out patrolling the touristy areas.
Additional Ways to Stay Safe
The State Department specifically warned visitors to keep their eyes open and be alert when traveling to New Providence and the Grand Bahama islands as this are where “the vast majority of crime” occurs.
If you have plans on attending a Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau the State Department suggest you should be extremely careful and do not resist any robbery attempt an in addition to not resisting criminals please follow the following guidelines:
- Do not answer your door to your hotel unless you know who it is.
- If you’re carrying a purse I recommend keeping it close to your person at all times
- keep any jewelry in a hotel safe
- Always lock your car
- Keep your passport and other forms of identification in a safe place
- If you’re a woman traveling alone, do not walk unescorted at night
Women Traveling To The Bahamas Alone
While we would like to think we should be able to dress as we wish that is not always the case. I think it’s a good idea to leave the thongs at home for the time being if you don’t want to be harassed or God forbid something worse.
There have been reports of verbal abuse and sexual harassment while traveling so to avoid any harassment I suggest making sure you are dressed appropriately even at the beach. I wore a cute vintage high waisted swimsuit.
Ladies, let’s use our common sense and take precautions while out at night by taking a licensed taxi to a club and avoid walking in poorly lit areas alone.
I know this is a hard one but DO NOT accept cocktails from strangers! You should have learned this in college but beware of over-friendly men who want to buy you a drink and if you do accept a drink make sure you get it yourself from the bartender and never ever leave your drink unattended.
The State Department also suggest tourists should be extremely cautious if you intend on participating in recreational water sports. Many companies operate without safety certifications and the water vessels are not properly maintained and on top of that many of the operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists. To avoid becoming a victim of crime, visitors to the Bahamas are advised:
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol
- Don’t accept rides from unlicensed taxi drivers.
- Do not leave valuables on the beach or poolside while swimming
- Travel in groups
- DO NOT ALLOW YOUR GIRLFRIENDS TO GO OFF WITH STRANGERS I DON’T CARE HOW FINE HE IS!
- Be cautious when using an ATM to prevent being robbed or stolen PIN numbers.
- Secure valuables in your hotel room
- Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up when driving
Things You Need to Know Before You Go:
- Bahamians speak English and are easy to understand
- Only use official taxis identified by their yellow license plates
- US currency is accepted everywhere
- Travel with cash and a major credit card
- Taxis are cash only
- Cars drive on the left side of the road
- Many excursions have a pickup and drop off point on Paradise Island.
Emergency Care In The Bahamas
If by any chance you are the victim of a crime there is adequate medical care on both New Providence and Grand Bahama islands, but if you are outside of the two major cities and need medical attention it will be limited.
- General emergency numbers: 911 or 919 for police/fire/ambulance
- Recommended hospitals on New Providence Island include: Doctor’s Hospital: (242) 322-8411 or 322-8418 or 302-4600
- Princess Margaret:(242) 322-2861 Medical Walk-In Clinic, Colin’s Avenue, near downtown Nassau: (242) 328-0783 or 328-2744
- Medical Walk-In Clinic, Sandyport Business Center, near Cable Beach: (242) 327-5485
- Recommended hospitals on Grand Bahama Island include:
- Sunrise Medical Center: (242)373-3333
- Rand Memorial Hospital: (242) 352-6735
Where To Stay In The Bahamas
Exumas draw those seeking more outdoor pursuits, including boating, swimming with the pigs, fishing, and snorkeling so stay at Sandals Resorts where you can experience all of these activities and so much more.
Enjoy all-inclusive luxury vacations at Sandals Caribbean Resorts as Sandals offer the most romantic getaways with quality inclusions than any other luxury beach resort. Sandals Grand Bahamian features one the world’s most comprehensive all-inclusive package where guests can enjoy gorgeous white-sand beaches, 5-star Global Gourmet™ dining, opulent accommodations, unlimited premium spirits, and exciting water sports where you will be absolutely safe and will not have to worry about the U.S. travel warning.
Book your stay at Sandals Emerald Bay
Traveling anywhere else in the near future? Check out the State Department’s color-coded travel advisory map that they just rolled out last year.
Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!
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