Which is the most dangerous Caribbean Island for Tourists?
When choosing the perfect vacation paradise, the many exotic gems of the Caribbean top every backpacker and vacationer’s list, and for good reason! For what does one need more than the heavenly sanctuary of the Caribbean islands and their stunning beaches and fauna? From endless miles of beautiful pristine white sand beaches to crystal clear azure blue waters, there is beauty and magnificence to the limits of the eye. That all being said, and when planning your vacation, you may also want to know about which is the most dangerous Caribbean Island, so that you can be more aware of what may be happening around you.
Be it the beaches of the Bahamas with their breathtaking white sands or the feisty aura of Nicaragua and its numerous cultural offerings, the Caribbean has a little something for anyone looking to relax, unwind and have their best time in a tropical paradise miles away from home and its troubles. Each year the amount of tourists visiting the Caribbean and its many stunning islands increases at a staggering rate. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), more than 25.68 million tourists visited the Caribbean in 2018, and the number is only going to rise.
Visitors to this heavenly region range from married couples looking for a romantic getaway to enjoy their time, to families looking for a calming vacation away from the rugged and rough cityscape of their home countries, to solo adventurers attracted by the sheer frenzy of water sports that these islands host. These sports in themselves are a significant reason why the islands of the Caribbean top every traveler’s bucket list.
But needless to say, the Caribbean islands have more to them than the exotic paradise that a tourist or traveler thinks they are. Delve deeper into their warm waters and you discover the sad reality of crime culture and growing unrest which mar these countries. Many travelers are unaware of the dire happenings that terrorize some of the islands of the Caribbean and as a result, are left unguarded and unprepared for some of the challenges they might have to deal with in these island nations.
Sad as it’s, the Caribbean islands suffer from a multitude of problems such as political unrest and corruption to sheer poverty and other societal troubles. As a result of these problems, many areas are a no-go for tourists and cannot be considered as tourist-friendly.
So while you still may be attracted by the luster of soft sandy beaches and sky blue waters to lose yourself in, there is more than one traveling to the region must know. Being informed before visiting the Caribbean is the only way to know what places one must avoid and what places are safe to go.
To aid that process, we have looked through the many gems of the Caribbean and collected a list of the most dangerous places in the region which one should look to avoid. So, honeymooners and vacationers, while you should still fulfill your bucket-list goals, make sure to know what places post the most danger in this paradise.
Is Puerto Rico dangerous?
The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S territory which is rife with a beautiful and breathtaking set of tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and mountain peaks. In particular, the Isle Verde area of the capital city, San Juan, is known for its stunning beaches and accompanying resorts and casinos.
A strip of luxurious and lavish hotels outline the premises with the best places to relax, let loose and chill to the sound of crashing waves, and the toasted smell of sea-air and vendor food. Many tourists also frequent Puerto Rico due to its colorful and rich buildings and historical structures. However, despite being home to a trove of tropical treasures, Puerto Rico is also home to danger.
Crime and political instability rock this sanctuary and in recent years, there has been a cycle of violence and a staggering increase in organized crime observed. Illicit drug trade and gang culture are prevalent in Puerto Rico and visitors and tourists are easy targets.
The worst part is perhaps the fact that daytime crime is also common in Puerto Rico and homicide rates are sky-high. Despite this reputation, the U.S Department of State hasn’t issued a travel warning for Puerto Rico. More than crime and violence, the Condado area of San Juan is also notorious for being dangerous for swimmers due to high tides.
The beach, though attractive due to its sandy spots and strong currents, is dangerous for tourists. More than that, Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan is also a regular on the list of most violent cities in the world and has a staggering rate of 48.7 per 100,000.
For those still looking for traveling to Puerto Rico, to experience the rich culture and stunning supreme beaches that it boasts, precautions are a must. Visitors must also be fully aware of the high risks posed by the prevalent gang culture and violence in Puerto Rico, for while it sure has amazing beaches, nothing can be more precious than life.
Are the Bahamas dangerous Caribbean Islands?
Situated within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Caribbean, the Bahamas are a stunning destination for all those looking for crystal clear waters and bright sandy beaches. Be it the iconic Atlantis Casino or the lavish resorts, the cruise port of Nassau is the center point for all things happening on these islands.
Nassau’s Paradise islands are also well-known for their rich and luxurious amenities and the breathtaking views of their ocean-front villas. Here you can sip through your cocktails and mojitos while staring wondrously at the heavenly and majestic views of the Caribbean from your luxury resort or bathe under the warm heat of the sun. However, this heaven has its trouble and comes with quite a price.
While the waters of the Bahamas and particularly of Nassau aren’t ones that are teeming with sharks (though few sightings have occurred so always be careful!) the real reason why the Bahamas is placed on our most dangerous Caribbean islands list is due to the high crime rates that entrap all those visiting. A 2016 report by the United States Embassy situated in Nassau published clear and detailed accounts of occurrences of targeted crime against tourists within the premises of the Cable Beach and its nearby resort areas.
The demographic that seems to be the most targeted happens to be solo female tourists and travelers. The water sports industry of Nassau is one that is notorious for not having enough regulations and being devoid of safety assessments. This loose regulation has led to numerous instances of reported sexual assault of citizens, particularly female tourists, hailing from the United States.
Other victims of such crimes include minors and many individuals have reported misconduct, harassment, and discomfort caused by jet-ski operators in Nassau in 2015. The reason why the Bahamas is even more dangerous is that most of these occurrences happened on relatively “safe” beaches within the premises of the Paradise Island, which is almost always swarming with foreigners and the United States Embassy personnel. For those still looking to frequent Bahama and its beaches, the Atlantis resort might be a safer option.
Although many resorts across the Bahamas have on-site cameras and security personnel, Atlantis is fairly the only place that is safer and well-managed. Generally, the Bahamas may be considered the safest option on this list, but vacationers must still exercise caution. Less developed residential parts of the town are riskier and there are multiple instances of harassment, petty theft, and pick-pocketing that have been reported.
Certain beach zones such as the West End of the island are also notorious for shark sightings and waters are known to be shark-infested. All these safety concerns make the Bahamas a questionable option for those looking for a calm and safe environment to relax.
Is Nicaragua a dangerous Caribbean Island?
Next on the list of addressing the question, “which is the most dangerous Caribbean Island”, is Nicaragua. Nicaragua is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and is famed for its lavish and expansive web of lakes and stunning pristine beaches. Its capital of Managua also attracts hordes of tourists each year to visit the most iconic cathedrals and natural sights that are sure to take your breath away.
However, despite being popular as a tourist destination, Nicaragua is one of the most dangerous places to travel due to its epidemic of civil and political unrest, sky-rocketing crime rate, and poor health care facilities. Visitors to this beautiful paradise are often unaware of the violent protests and political instability boiling within. The protests and unrest increased to such an extent that the United States Government even evacuated all of its government officials and personnel.
Apart from political turbulence, petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and armed assaults on tourists and visitors are also common occurrences. These crimes hit their peak when the sun goes down. Instances of harassment and violence against women and minors have also been reported multiple times, even in the best hotels and tourist hotspots in the region.
All these reasons have prompted the State Department of the United States to offer a travel warning to avoid traveling to this hub of crime and turmoil. While the Corn Islands are one of the few picturesque and relaxing beach spots, most of Nicaragua is dominated by inhospitable swathes of tropical rainforest, and not the best place to vacation with friends and family.
Trinidad & Tobago
The dual-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago is situated near Venezuela and is known for its distinct traditions and luscious ethnic cuisines. Trinidad’s capital city-the the Port of Spain-is also well-known for attracting hordes of crowds for its rich and lavish cultural celebrations and feisty carnivals rife with live music and dancing crowds.
The islands are also known for their rich biodiversity and host numerous bird sanctuaries. Tobago, too, is a tourist destination that is frequented by throngs looking for relaxation on its beautiful beaches and nature reserves. Those looking for a bit of natural reconnection and fun-filled feisty vacationing are known to visit Trinidad and Tobago to get the perfect experience.
However, this sovereign state has more to it than just being a cultural paradise. In 2019, the United States State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory and advised all those looking to travel to the islands to exercise great caution. In recent years, the islands have fallen prey to the menace of terrorism and kidnapping.
Crime is sky-high and places such as Laventille, Beetham, and Sea Lots, as well as the interior of Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain, are hubs of violent crimes and kidnapping. Instances of tourists being harassed are plenty and many have been embroiled in kidnappings and assault.
Women, in particular, are advised to exercise caution and undertake necessary safety measures to be safe from violent crimes occurring in the streets of Port of Spain. Moreover, drug trafficking has also become somewhat an epidemic in recent years. Gang warfare is common and the inner city areas are a no-go for all those looking to stay out of danger’s way.
Homicide rates are also increasing and are usually centered around the Laventille region. Most crimes appear to be linked to illicit drug trades and gang loyalties and are widespread.
People still looking forward to indulging in this cultural and natural haven should think twice and maybe look towards Tobago, which is still safer. Holiday periods such as Christmas and Carnival season are in particular, dangerous for visitors and tourists.
Can the Dominican Republic be dangerous for tourists?
The Caribbean island of Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti towards its West and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region known for its lavish and stunning resorts, pristine and beautiful beaches, and amazing golfing premises. For the more adventurous folk, Dominican Republic also boasts stunning savannah and highlands, rich tropical rainforests teeming with biodiversity, and a range of flora and fauna.
From the Caribbean’s tallest peak to stunning Gothic cathedrals, this island-nation has something for everyone. Be it culture resets or just a natural reconnection you are looking for, the Dominican Republic has the most striking and breathtaking collection of sites. But trouble in this paradise is prevalent.
This island was bumped to a Level 2 Travel Advisory in 2019 due to repeated occurrences of violent crime, sexual assault, and an epidemic of homicide and robbery. One of the reasons for this high rate is the wide availability of light weapons and the pervasive use of illicit drugs.
The criminal justice system in the Dominican Republic is also infamous for being weak and contributing to the high level of criminal occurrences and violence against tourists. Previously, the Dominican Republic has been headlining due to reports of numerous tourists and backpackers getting harmed on a couple of the resort beaches where they were staying. These instances of homicide and disappearances have raised widespread alarm and concern among travelers regarding the risk this island poses.
Tourists have a high probability of experiencing some sort of petty crime, theft, or vandalism. Chances of assault and harassment are also high as many tourists have complained and reported experiencing such discomfort. All those visiting are advised to not display pricey jewelry or belongings as it may attract unwanted attention.
Is Jamaica a dangerous Caribbean Island?
The Caribbean island nation of Jamaica is a haven endowed with lush green topography of mountains and rich wet rainforests. It has a string of stunning pristine beaches and accompanying reefs teeming with fish and marine life of all kinds. Jamaica is well-known to have stunning beaches and its Montego Bay is replete with lavish and luxurious resorts.
The most popular destination in the Caribbean, Jamaica is frequented by romantic couples looking for a getaway and even adventurous tourists looking to experiment with the many water sports it offers. Jamaica’s rich cultural allure has a way of making every traveler want to return. Backpackers particularly enjoy scrumptious jerk pork and chicken sticks that are easily available on all of its beaches.
From its rich culinary scene to its soft white-sand beaches, make Jamaica an exotic wonderland. Bathe under the warm Caribbean sun or get your feisty spirit up wake-boarding, this is one island that has it all.
But even this tropical getaway isn’t free of vices. Jamaica is probably the most dangerous spot in all of the Caribbean and thus it tops our list. Certain areas of Kingston in Jamaica are considered one of the most dangerous places for travelers and locals alike.
Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world and is rife with drug trafficking and crime. Violence against tourists, especially women is common in the Montego Bay sites and most of the spots for tourists are rife with trouble. Instances of sexual and physical assault, robberies, and murders have kept increasing every year. Many of these gruesome activities have also occurred in Jamaica’s most lavish and splendid 5-star resorts.
All these occurrences have raised alarm for tourists and backpackers. With a murder rate that is eight times the global average, Jamaica is a hub of danger for all travelers. Jamaica is currently under a Level 2 Travel Advisory due to the prevalence of violent drug trade and crimes against visitors. Tourist attractions in places like Kingston and Montego Bay are considered to be centers of crime.
While it’s true that the Caribbean is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches and natural scenery, the islands mentioned above are places that pose grave risks and danger to all those who visit. Tourism is an experience of adventures, fun, and relaxation, but many places in the Caribbean can mar your travel experience irreversibly.
Rest assured, there are still places like the Caymans, British Virgin Islands, and Antigua and Barbuda which offer stunning scenic landscapes and beaches, but the island nations mentioned above should either be avoided or visited keeping in mind the dangers they pose. I hope to have now adequately answered the question, “which is the most dangerous Caribbean Island?”.