Is your Caribbean vacation destination safe?

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State Department warnings on popular vacation destinations
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Americans looking to travel to the Caribbean are typically interested in the three S’s: sand, sun and safety. But it’s the latter that has people’s attention of late.

One reason for that is the mysterious deaths that have plagued the Dominican Republic of late. While the investigations into those deaths continue, Delta Air Lines is allowing customers to change or cancel their flights there.

Does your favorite vacation spot have a travel advisory?

When it comes to favorite tourist destinations in the Caribbean, Americans have a wide palette. But with the state of the world, it’s always best to cross reference potential vacation spots with safety advice from the U.S. government.

The State Department maintains a list of travel advisories and warnings for countries around the world. There are four levels to be aware of. They are:

  • Level 1: Exercise normal precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise increased caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider travel
  • Level 4: Do not travel

Most Caribbean islands only have Level 1 travel advisories at present, but some (including Dominican Republic) are under Level 2 travel advisories. Here’s how they stack up and what, specifically, the government says you should be looking out for if you travel to any of these places.

Caribbean destinations 2019: Level 1 travel advisories

Country Reason for Level 1 Travel Advisory Date Issued
Aruba Travel Advisory “Crime against tourists consists primarily of theft. The main targets are valuables left unattended in public areas (beaches, cars, hotel lobbies, etc.).” January 8, 2019
Barbados Travel Advisory “Some areas have increased risk. Do not travel to: Crab Hill, St. Lucy, Ivy, St. Michael, Nelson Street, Bridgetown (at night), Wellington Street, Bridgetown (at night).” March 7, 2019
British Virgin Islands Travel Advisory “American citizens are not specifically targeted for crime in British Virgin Islands. However, crimes of opportunity such as petty larceny, burglary, automobile break-ins” do happen. May 7, 2019
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Travel Advisory “The crime threat is considered low for Saba and St. Eustatius and medium for Bonaire, although you should always take precautions in unfamiliar surroundings.” January 8, 2019
Cayman Islands Travel Advisory “The Cayman Islands are a safe place with little criminal activity affecting tourists.” January 8, 2019
Curacao Travel Advisory “Crimes of opportunity are common, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, particularly at beaches, hotel lobbies, or from cars.” January 8, 2019
Dominica Travel Advisory “Dominica continues to rebuild following Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Electricity is restored to the capital and other populated areas, but some rural areas remain without electricity.” May 7, 2019
French West Indies Travel Advisory “Petty street crime, including purse snatching, does occur. Do not leave valuables unattended in public areas, unsecured hotel rooms, rental homes, or visible in vehicles.” February 25, 2019
Grenada Travel Advisory “Crime in Grenada is mostly opportunistic. Tourists have been the victims of robbery. These crimes are most likely to occur in isolated areas.” February 25, 2019
Montserrat Travel Advisory “Montserrat’s crime rate is relatively low. However, crimes, including murder, rape, armed robbery, petty street crime, automobile break-ins and burglary, do occur.” February 26, 2019
Saint Kitts and Nevis Travel Advisory “American citizens are not specifically targeted for crime in Saint Kitts and Nevis. However, crimes of opportunity such as petty larceny, burglary, and automobile break-ins … do occasionally occur.” May 7, 2019
Saint Lucia Travel Advisory “Do not leave valuables unattended in public areas, unsecured hotel rooms or in rental homes.” April 15, 2019
Sint Maarten Travel Advisory “Crimes of opportunity, such as pickpockets and purse snatching particularly at beaches, hotel lobbies, or from cars are common.” January 8, 2019
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Travel Advisory “Crimes, including murder, rape, armed robbery, petty street crime, automobile break-ins and burglary, do occur.” February 26, 2019

Here are the Level 2 travel advisories and warnings, according to the State Department:

Caribbean destinations 2019: Level 2 travel advisories

Country Reason For Level 2 Advisory Date Issued
The Bahamas Travel Advisory “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, occurs even during the day and in tourist areas. Although the family islands are not crime-free, the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands.” April 15, 2019
Jamaica Travel Advisory “Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts. Local police lack the resources.” May 7, 2019
Trinidad and Tobago Travel Advisory “Exercise increased caution due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. Do not travel to: Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.” April 9, 2019
Cuba Travel Advisory “Exercise increased caution in Cuba due to attacks targeting U.S. Embassy Havana employees resulting in the drawdown of embassy staff.” April 23, 2019
Turks and Caicos Islands Travel Advisory Especially in Providenciales, “local medical care and criminal investigative capabilities are limited.” February 25, 2019
Dominican Republic Travel Advisory “Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault is a concern throughout” the country.

April 15, 2019

A Level 3 travel advisory constitutes a “Reconsider Travel” warning. As for Level 3 travel advisories in the Caribbean, there is only one:

Caribbean destinations 2019: Level 3 travel advisories

Country Reason For Level 3 Advisory
Haiti Travel Advisory “Political violence and violent crimes are common in Haiti, including murders, robberies, assaults, vehicle break-ins, and home invasions. Travelers are often targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport.”

Note: As of spring and summer 2019, there are no Level 4 travel advisories in the Caribbean. 

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When it comes to travel advisories, conditions can change at any time, so it’s always a good idea to check with the State Department before you travel out of the country.

Here are 3 safety steps when traveling abroad

Here are three safety tips from the State Department:

  • Never leave valuables unattended: That goes for any public areas, including the beach, the hotel lobby, hotel rooms, or in rental homes.
  • Don’t isolate yourself: Going out on the town? Always stick to well-lit and well-traveled routes.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings: If you see something suspicious or unusual contact local police to report immediately.

Traveling abroad? Check out what to pack on this travel checklist

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