On February 25, 2019 the US State Department issued a level 2 cautionary warning for its citizens with advice on how to stay safe and what to be aware of when traveling to the Bahamas this year. (For the sake of appreciating the severity of the warning, understand that there are four levels, with the 4th being the highest level of caution and a DO NOT TRAVEL ban for US Citizens, and level 3 being ‘Reconsider Your Plans’. To stay safe in hotels or when sightseeing in Bahamas including Nassau its important to have accurate information about where you are, know your environment (what is around you immediately) and have the right equipment at the ready incase you encounter an unsafe situation.
According to the US State Department’s warning, travelers and visitors are warned that there is an increase in violent crimes such as being held up, armed robberies, and sadly, sexual assault. These incidents and situations are not limited to occurring after dark, according to the report. These type of unsafe situations are also not limited to local neighbourhoods, they are happening in tourist areas on New Providence and Grand Bahamas islands. The Sand Trap area in Nassau is now a ‘no go’ zone for US government personnel due to the increase in crime. The Bahamas are some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and a popular wedding destination. An increased awareness around what is happening and some safety measures in place will ensure that your visit be as incident-free as possible when traveling to the Bahamas.
If you are considering going for a jet ski in Nassau or going on a water excursion, you may want to reconsider as these are typically rogue-run businesses that are unregulated. Not only is the equipment you might rent not regularly maintained or up to the safety codes of the The Bahamas, these rogue operators have been identified as a hot bed of violent sexual assaults against tourists. (Again, US government employees are forbidden from renting jet skis on New Providence and Paradise Islands — take the hint!)
Knowledge is power. Become familiar with the location of your accommodation before you get there. Using the WanderSafe app to locate 24 hour amenities within walking distance is a great way to familiarise yourself with the area if you are traveling to the Bahamas. Here are a few safety tips we’ve curated from the US State Department and our safety advisor in residence, retired CIA Safety expert, Thomas Pecora.