Travel

Is the Bahamas Safe for Travelers Right Now?

In January, the U.S. State Division raised its journey advisory for the Bahamas to a Stage 2 following 19 reported killings up to now this yr, recommending that vacationers train “elevated warning.”

Nearly all of the crime has occurred on the islands of New Windfall, the place the capital metropolis of Nassau is situated, and Grand Bahama, dwelling to the seaside metropolis of Freeport, the Related Press reported, with “retaliatory gang violence” behind many of the killings.

The up to date State Division alert made headlines partly as a result of it’s an uncommon one for the Bahamas, one of the crucial widespread vacationer locations within the Caribbean, which is usually thought of secure and ranked at a Stage 1—that’s, vacationers ought to train regular precautions. Greater than 7 million vacationers go to the Bahamas every year by air and by sea for the glowing turquoise water, sun-bleached powdery sand, and limitless choice of stress-free resorts and trip leases.

With the reported enhance in violence, vacationers could also be questioning whether it is secure to journey to the Bahamas proper now. AFAR spoke with journey advisors and guests on the bottom to get the most recent insights.

Is it secure to journey to the Bahamas proper now?

On January 24, the U.S. Embassy within the capital metropolis, Nassau, issued a safety alert advising vacationers to take the next actions:

  • Train excessive warning within the japanese a part of New Windfall Island (Nassau)
  • Use warning when strolling or driving at night time
  • Maintain a low profile
  • Concentrate on your environment
  • Don’t bodily resist any theft try
  • Overview your private safety plans

Different main vacationer locations with Stage 2 warnings embody the Dominican Republic, Denmark, Maldives, Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos, France, Italy, the UK, and lots of others. The U.S. State Division just lately issued a Stage 3 journey advisory for Jamaica, urging guests to rethink journey there attributable to an uptick in crime and the dearth of medical providers.

Bahamas journey recommendation from journey advisors

It’s additionally vital to know what a Stage 2 warning is and to place it in context with regard to security and safety for vacationers all through the world.

“In all honesty, a Stage 2 sometimes doesn’t deter most individuals from touring,” mentioned Ragan Stone, founding father of bespoke journey company Ragan Stone Journey. “In the event you take a look at a Stage 2 record, there are various nations on that record and nations that you simply maybe wouldn’t understand as harmful. [For countries that] have a Stage 3 or 4, I might not suggest touring to these. Stage 4 is a spot like Israel proper now or Somalia. In the event you examine [to] these conditions, the Bahamas is kind of totally different.”

As for the Bahamas, it helps to know simply how massive the Caribbean vacation spot is. The Bahamas is an archipelago of practically 700 islands. About 30 of them are inhabited, and there are 17 principal islands for tourism. New Windfall and Grand Bahama are solely two islands amongst this sprawling island nation. And even on these two islands, there are solely choose areas the place vacationers are suggested to journey with elevated warning.

“My colleagues on the bottom haven’t reported any adjustments. The areas which had been instantly talked about are Freeport and Nassau,” mentioned Stone. “Sometimes, these are much less widespread vacationer places than the place lots of people are touring, like Eleuthera and the Abacos. You’re not seeing the identical warning in these areas.”

Nassau is a high vacationer vacation spot within the Bahamas, dwelling to 2 main resorts: Atlantis and Baha Mar.

Stone added, “In the event you’re touring to Nassau, my recommendation is to seek the advice of your resort and ensure safety is at a stage you’re feeling snug with. Each Atlantis and Baha Mar have fairly a little bit of safety and gated entry. As a traveler, you’ll be able to nonetheless go to Nassau and really feel snug, however with the data that you simply don’t must discover outdoors the grounds.”

Margie Hand, a Caribbean specialist with Andavo Journey, a Virtuoso journey company primarily based in Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah, echoed an analogous sentiment. “So far as what I’m seeing, it’s enterprise as traditional [in the Bahamas],” mentioned Hand. “Nevertheless, many vacationers are selecting to do a resort versus a personal villa rental due to the elevated safety in a resort setting.”

Hand, who additionally works with cruise traces, is seeing that cruises to the Bahamas are working as traditional.

 

 

 

Large pool area at Baha Mar, Bahamas with a row of blue and white cabanas and palm trees on each side

 

Vacationers report feeling safe at resort properties equivalent to Baha Mar.

What vacationers who’ve just lately been to the Bahamas are saying

Paul Rubio, AFAR’s particular correspondent for factors and miles, is just lately again from a visit to the Bahamas, the place he visited Nassau.

“I used to be at Baha Mar and it was enterprise as traditional,” Rubio mentioned. “No one appeared significantly involved and there was no further safety. We didn’t depart the property, which was all the time the plan and never a direct results of the advisory.”

Pema Chinyam, a photographer and content material creator for journey weblog Journey Period, was just lately within the Bahamas, as nicely, and studies that issues there appeared regular and safe.

“My expertise touring within the Bahamas was extraordinarily relaxed. Everybody I met was useful and laid-back. I didn’t discover any heightened safety and felt fairly secure,” she mentioned.

Chinyam was in Nassau for 5 days, adopted by Harbour Island (one other island within the Bahamas) for one more six.

“I didn’t get far off the crushed path in Nassau, however my good friend left his digicam bag on a shuttle, which was returned to us the subsequent day. It had a number of thousand {dollars}’ value of kit. The locals at a preferred dive web site additionally watched our gear whereas we had been within the water, and we felt very secure to take action,” mentioned Chinyam.

The one phrase of recommendation she acquired was from an worker at her Nassau resort, who advised her group to not exit ingesting on the principle a part of the island.

Regardless of how secure a vacation spot is (or isn’t), the choice to remain or go or the right way to proceed whereas there comes down to every traveler’s particular person consolation stage. Feeling assured wherever you’re touring is what helps to make it an satisfying trip. In the event you’re feeling cautious about any journey vacation spot, it’s all the time OK to alter the plan and go elsewhere.

“It is vital for vacationers to really feel snug with their journey to allow them to go along with peace of thoughts and luxuriate in themselves,” mentioned Hand of Andavo Journey. “If that’s not the case, then I need to assist them discover another.”

 

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