The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory for The Bahamas, a popular destination for spring breakers. The advisory was prompted by an increase in violent crimes such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault, particularly in New Providence and Grand Bahamas Island.
U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime, the advisory noted, adding that activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including tours, are of particular concern.
“Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas,” the state department said. “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 advisory is a level 2. Visitors are asked to exercise “increased caution.”
In a statement, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation advised visitors to “maintain awareness of their surroundings and exercise basic precautions, as they likely would in their home cities and not on holiday.”
“In reality, the vast majority of our 6 million annual visitors do so without any incident whatsoever,” the ministry said.
If you do travel to the Bahamas, the State Department recommends:
- 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 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. You can find that in the Traveler’s Checklist.