Sunday, July 14, 2024

US State Department Issues Warning For Bahamas Travelers

The United States Department of State has issued a Level 2 travel advisory for individuals intending to visit the Bahamas.

The advisory, released on Friday, urges travelers to “exercise increased caution” primarily due to concerns about crime, especially on the islands of New Providence, which encompasses Nassau, and Grand Bahama, which includes Freeport.

A security alert from the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas last Wednesday also cautions U.S. citizens about the occurrence of “18 murders in Nassau since the beginning of 2024.” The alert highlights that these incidents have happened at various times, including broad daylight on the streets, with retaliatory gang violence being the main motive for the murders in 2024.

As per the State Department’s advisory, travelers are advised to maintain “increased vigilance” in the “Over the Hill” area south of Shirley Street, where gang-related violence has led to a high homicide rate, primarily impacting the local population.

The advisory emphasizes that violent crimes, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, can happen in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Travelers are cautioned to be vigilant, especially when staying in short-term vacation rental properties lacking private security presence.

Moreover, the advisory discourages engaging in activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, citing inconsistent regulations and potential issues with poorly maintained vessels and operators lacking safety certifications.

US State Department Issues Warning For Bahamas
Photo Credit: Francisco Cornellana/Pexels

“Commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of weather forecasts; injuries and fatalities have occurred,” notes the advisory. Due to safety concerns, U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.

Lastly, the advisory alerts travelers to be cautious of sharks while swimming, referencing recent incidents involving fatal and non-fatal encounters with sharks.

Safety Tips When Traveling to The Bahamas

According to the State Department, here are some tips if you are traveling to the Bahamas:

Any U.S. citizen who needs assistance while in the Bahamas can contact the U.S. Embassy in Nassau. The embassy can be reached by phone at 242-322-1181 or by email at ACSnassau@state.gov. You can find the embassy’s website here.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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