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U.S. State Department Issues New Travel Advisories For 2 Popular Destinations

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It’s always important to check travel advisories before heading off to make sure you are up to date on the latest intel about your destination's safety.

The United States State Department has issued two key travel advisories this week. One for a popular Caribbean destination and the other for a popular South American country.

ocho rios jamaica

The State Department uses 4 tiers to alert citizens on the safety levels for each nation, which are:

  • Level 1 – Americans should take normal precautions
  • Level 2 – Americans should have an increased level of caution
  • Level 3 – Americans should consider traveling at another time
  • Level 4 – Americans should cancel their travel plans

Additionally, it is always recommended to enroll in STEP when traveling abroad. This is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, where travelers will receive emergency alerts should any occur.

The State Department and U.S. Embassies also provide updates on commonly used social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

These are the latest travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department:

Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution in Chile

skyline of santiago chile with snowcapped mountains

Chile is a beautiful country full of rich culture and traditions. Common for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts, this oddly-shaped nation should always be on the radar of travelers.

With over 4000 miles of coastline, Chile is only 61 miles wide. So there is a lot to see north and south but not so much from east to west in this narrow-body country.

Known for underrated beaches and as a backpacker’s paradise, those looking for a Chilean adventure should be up to date on what's going on in certain areas.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory on May 8, 2023 due to a rise in crime and civil unrest.

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playa la virgen in chile

American tourists should be aware of potential threats. There is often petty crime such as mugging and pickpocketing in most South American nations.

However, it’s the increase in violent crime that caught the attention of the State Department.

Travelers should know carjackings, assaults and homicides have increased enough to raise red flags.

In the buzzing capital city of Santiago, it is expected that unpredictable protests to occur at random.

Quite often, there is very little notice, if any at all of when these demonstrations take place. 

hand sculpture in chile

It is highly encouraged to leave valuables at your chosen accommodation and to avoid these gatherings to remain safe.

Level 3 -Reconsider Travel to Jamaica 

Jamaica is an absolutely stunning Caribbean nation with beautiful beaches, welcoming locals and food that packs a punch.

Many tourists go to Montego Bay, a major cruise port and resort area along a stunning coastline of calm, blue waters.

green mountains in jamaica

There are many other great beach towns, like Negril and Ocho Rios, that tourists often flock to as well.

It’s unfortunate to see what is happening in such a lovely place. Jamaica has been going through an up-and-down crime wave.

Late last year, Jamaica issued a state of emergency due to the volatile crime surge in many regions.

Now the U.S. State Department felt the need to issue a Level 3 travel advisory due to an increased number of threats.

While many visitors arrive at Sangster International Airport (MBJ) in Montego Bay, flying into the Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) in capital of Kingston is also an option.

pool at montego bay resort

Many of the violent acts occurring in Jamaica are happening in Kingston. However, there are a number of reports of sexual assaults happening in high-end resort areas too.

The country is experiencing a high level of violent crimes, not limited to home invasions, armed robberies and murders.

In fact, Jamaica has continually had one of the largest homicide rates in the Western Hemisphere for many years.

While its the State Department’s duty to inform travelers of these unfortunate acts, they have actually enforced a no-travel policy for themselves in certain regions due to the extreme risk.

food stand in jamaica

Tourists should know Jamaica’s police force is understaffed and may not respond in the time necessary to be a sufficient help.

Hospitals tend to lack organization and most likely won’t align with U.S. standards for emergency care.

The State Department highly recommends to avoid solo travel, especially at night. If you do find yourself in a robbery situation, it is best to not resist.

When Americans are victims of deadly accidents or violence, it has been reported not to expect a death certificate for at least a year in many cases.

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