The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory for the Bahamas, cautioning travelers about crime and safety issues, particularly on the water. The advisory, updated on Friday, designates the Bahamas as a “Level 2,” urging Americans to “exercise increased caution” when visiting.
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau has also issued a security alert, specifically advising travelers to “exercise extreme caution in the eastern part of New Providence Island (Nassau)” and to refrain from physically resisting any robbery attempts, following 18 murders reported since the beginning of the year.
The State Department’s advisory notes that the majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands. In Nassau, heightened vigilance is recommended in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street), where gang-related violence has led to a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population. The advisory emphasizes the occurrence of violent crimes, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Travelers are urged to be vigilant, especially when staying at short-term vacation rental properties lacking a presence from private security companies.
The State Department classifies countries on a 4-level scale, with the Bahamas falling under “Level 2,” indicating an “exercise increased caution” status.
Beyond crime concerns, the advisory also highlights potential risks associated with commercial recreational watercraft and water tours, citing inadequate regulation. This caution follows an incident where a 74-year-old Royal Caribbean cruise passenger died when the boat she was on sank during an excursion.
The advisory concludes by acknowledging that while many trips to the Bahamas remain safe, offering opportunities for beach relaxation, wildlife spotting, and vibrant festivals, travelers should exercise caution, particularly in areas prone to criminal activities. Cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, which operates private islands in the Bahamas, are also mentioned, emphasizing the need for awareness and adherence to safety measures.