There are few places that tick off all the boxes for a picture-perfect sunny vacation more than the Caribbean.
With travelers looking to escape the cold weather in many parts of the U.S., many Caribbean destinations are a short flight away to paradise.
One of those is the gorgeous islands of The Bahamas, where typically all you have to worry about is being bit by a swimming pig.
However, 2024 has manifested other concerns for tourists as a new security alert has been issued by the U.S. Embassy in Nassau.
And it's not the only alert for a popular Caribbean island. The State Department issued a new travel advisory earlier this week for Jamaica.
Travelers dreaming of exploring some of the Caribbean's most fascinating islands and staying at incredible resorts should know of potential risks on the ground in order to have a worry-free vacation.
The U.S. State Department's Take
Intel from both the U.S. State Department and U.S. Embassies should be taken seriously, but sometimes their perspectives don't align.
It remains to be seen if the State Dept. will issue its own travel warning for the Bahamas, but as it stands now, the popular vacation destination is listed as Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
**UPDATE: As of January 26, The State Department has also updated its Travel Advisory.**
Given there are 4 levels to determine safety risks, ‘Level 2' isn't terribly alarming. It's actually on par with many vacation hotspots around the world, such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and France.
Untouched since July 2023, there are no new updates from the State Department, yet at the time of release, the focus was “crime,” mostly due to gang activity in Nassau and Freeport.
Other minor concerns were red tape issues regarding regulation oversight with tour operators, basically translating to “don't ride in sketchy boats!”.
The U.S. Embassy's Take
On January 24, the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas issued a new travel security alert for American citizens.
While the latest alert doesn't explicitly detail if tourists have been victims, there has been enough intel gathered to sound the alarm for this record-breaking country for tourism.
Let this statistic sink in for a moment…
The alert was issued on January 24, meaning 24 days have passed in the new year, obviously.
The Bahamas is not typically known as a crime-ridden country, yet as a result of an uptick in gang violence, 18 lives have been lost in just 24 days this year.
Thus far, that's slightly under one life lost per day on average on a small island. That's not to say criminals are targeting tourists, but it's unsettling to say the least.
Especially for such a place known for its wonderful hospitality. The Embassy is encouraging vacationers to remain aware of their surroundings at all times, as these unfortunate events have occurred at all hours, including in broad daylight in public spaces.
The last thing vacationers would ever want is to be caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous situation, so the Embassy has provided more tips to remain safe:
- Exercise extreme caution in Nassau, particularly the eastern side of New Providence
- Use caution at night, especially when walking or driving
- Keep a low profile
- Do not resist if you are the victim of a robbery
- Review your personal safety plans
Bad Apples Everywhere
Ultimately, it's up to travelers to plan out their trip. Travel advisories and security alerts are issued every month while most travelers make it back home the same way they left, except happier after a trip, of course.
Crime is a fickle topic that ebbs and flows with unpredictable circumstances. It's certainly concerning lives have been lost at such an alarming rate, but tourists can still have the time of their lives with everything the lovely Bahamas has to offer just by simply staying aware and being informed, which is the whole point of travel advisories and alerts.
There is a reason this stunning island nation broke all-time tourism records, and that's because it's a phenomenal place to visit.
Home to iconic resorts like Atlantis, delicious cuisine, and stunning scenery on every island, this Caribbean paradise is about as perfect as can be for a sunny beach getaway.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.