State Department Issues Travel Advisory for This Caribbean Island

The Bahamas' travel advisory is currently at a “Level 2," warning Americans to “exercise increased caution” when visiting.

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The U.S. Department of State is warning travelers to be careful when visiting the Bahamas due to crime and safety issues on the water.

The travel advisory, which was updated on Friday, classifies the Bahamas under a “Level 2,” warning Americans to “exercise increased caution” when visiting, according to the department. The U.S. Embassy in Nassau also issued a security alert, urging Americans to “exercise extreme caution in the eastern part of New Providence Island (Nassau)” and to “not physically resist any robbery attempt” after 18 murders have occurred there since the start of this year.

“The majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands,” the State Department wrote in its advisory. “In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population. 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 classifies countries on a 4-level scale, from telling them to “exercise normal precautions” all the way up to “do not travel.”

In addition to crime, the State Department warned travelers about commercial recreational watercraft and water tours, which may not be properly regulated. The caution comes months after a 74-year-old Royal Caribbean cruise passenger died when the boat she was on sank during an excursion, according to NBC 6 South Florida.

“Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications,” the State Department warned.

Still, many trips to the Bahamas are safe and offer the chance to bask on gorgeous beaches, spot wildlife in crystal-clear water, and celebrate its colorful festivals in style. Many cruise lines also call the Bahamas home for their private islands, including Royal Caribbean, which just added an adults-only beach club on its private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

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