US Department of State Continues to Urge Travelers to Exercise Increase Caution in The Bahamas

The US Department of State recently reissued their travel advisory for The Bahamas urging travelers to continue exercising increased caution as a result of crime in the the region during the day, including tourist areas. The reissued travel advisory for The Bahamas is just an update after periodic review with additional information recent crimes. The level remains at 2: Exercise Extreme Caution.

Travel Advisory are issued by the US Department of State for each country around the world. Travel Advisories are published in a consistent format and use plain language to help US citizens find and use important security information. Travel Advisories apply up to four standard levels of advice, describe the risks, and provide clear actions U.S. citizens should take to help ensure their safety.

For example, the advisory for The Bahamas is Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

According the advisory from the US Department of State (pdf),  violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, 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. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime. Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas. Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists. As a result, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.

The State Department suggests the following for those who decide to travel to The Bahamas.

  • Exercise caution in the area known as “Over the Hill” (south of Shirley Street) and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau, especially at night.
  • Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for The Bahamas.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

The US Department of State’s travel advisory is a general advisory to all US Citizens visiting all The Bahamas. Disney Cruise Line has long been sharing some additional safety information in a small blurb on one side the the Personal Navigator for Nassau as well as other ports of call.

DCL Nassau Guest Safety Notice Dream 20190216

However, Disney Cruise Line has the following statement posted on their website.

Nassau is a resort destination and considered very safe, but Disney Cruise Line Guests are always advised to follow safety precautions to protect valuables. Please follow these tips to help ensure that you have a fun and safe vacation. Instances of pickpocketing activity may increase in busy tourist areas and outdoor festivals. Always be conscious of your personal belongings and surroundings. It is a good practice to keep your wallet in your front pocket and any bags securely zipped. (screenshot)

If you are not planning to spend the day onboard the ship, it may be a good idea to stick with Disney Cruise Line’s vetted Port Adventures in Nassau versus exploring on your own or with third party tour operators. If you choose to explore Nassau on your own I would suggest, letting other know of your plans and travel in a group using the buddy system. For the most up to date travel information please visit the US Department of State’s International Travel Information page for The Bahamas.

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