The pristine islands of the Bahamas make the Caribbean nation a popular destination for travelers from around the world, including the U.S. right next door. Travelers headed to the Bahamas soon, though, should exercise extra caution, according to the U.S. State Department.
On Jan. 26, the department issued a Level 2 travel advisory for the Bahamas, citing an uptick in violent crime and other possible dangers travelers might face on a trip. The department noted that the majority of crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, has been concentrated in a few areas — namely, the island of New Providence, where the Bahamian capital of Nassau lies, and the island of Grand Bahama.
“In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the ‘Over the Hill’ area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population,” the government alert warned. “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.”
Crime isn’t the only problem visitors should worry about. The State Department suggested that travelers stay away from boat tours with commercial recreation watercraft because they aren’t “consistently regulated.”
“Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications,” the department said. “Commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of weather forecasts; injuries and fatalities have occurred.” Because of this, U.S. government employees aren’t allowed to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and adjacent Paradise Island.
As always when traveling anywhere internationally, take precautions to avoid becoming an easy target.