Bahamas travel warning: Is it safe to travel? Latest advice after US Embassy issues security alert
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The US Embassy has released a security warning and travel advisory for holidaymakers travelling to the Bahamas after a string of murders that have taken place in both tourist and residential areas of the country since the start of 2024. The capital city of the island nation, Nassau, has reported 18 murders since the beginning of this year with some incidents occurring “in broad daylight”.
The embassy wrote in the release: “The US Embassy in Nassau advises US citizens to be aware that 18 murders have occurred in Nassau since the beginning of 2024. Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets. Retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 murders.”
Following the security alert, the US State Department has put Bahamas on its “Exercise Increased Caution” list raising it to a Level 3 as it warned Americans to keep a low profile, be aware of the surroundings, and to not resist if confronted by robbers. The warning read: “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence. ”
The State Department also told travellers that they should not even try to “physically resist” when being robbed and use caution when travelling at night. It also warned that many recreational watercraft rentals, tours and trips are inconsistently regulated.
The release said: “Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications. Always review and heed local weather and marine alerts before engaging in water-based activities.”
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMT) board has insisted that the country is still safe to travel to. The BMT said that the warnings and advisories “do not reflect general safety in the Bahamas, a country of 16 tourism destinations, and many more islands,” according to Travel Weekly.
However, the BMT did note safety concerns have reached a point of severity and is working to enforce new safety measures. It said: “The government of the Bahamas is implementing a robust and innovative crime reduction and prevention strategy. This comprehensive approach is informed by the latest research and successful international models, focusing on five key pillars: prevention, detection, prosecution, punishment, and rehabilitation.”