Travel warnings for Barbados, Jamaica and Bahamas | World | News

Travel warnings for Barbados, Jamaica and Bahamas | World | News

Holidaymakers are being warned about travelling to Barbados, Jamaica and the Bahamas for various reasons including crime, health and even terrorism.

While most Britons will be vacationing closer to home and across Europe, thousands of holidaymakers will travel further afield to former commonwealth countries in the Caribbean. 

Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas are all popular destinations for Brits, but the Foreign Office has released warnings for each of these destinations. 

Here’s a look at the travel advice for some of the most popular Caribbean destinations. 

The Foreign Office says that “most visits are trouble-free”, but there have been incidents of violent crime including armed robbery, sexual assaults and gang-related shootings. There has been an increase in gang-related murders involving guns, with some having taken place in populated areas.

Local attitudes towards the LGBT+ community are “mostly conservative”. Public displays of affection between all couples are uncommon and may attract negative attention.

Ocean currents can be deceptively strong, including on some of the popular beaches on the south and west coasts with some beaches not having lifeguards or warning flags. Swimming is not recommended on many of the east coast beaches where currents are particularly strong. 

The hurricane season normally runs from June to November and earthquakes are a potential threat with tremors felt occasionally.

It is also an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.

Barbados has a risk of Zika virus transmission, according to UK health authorities. Dengue fever is endemic to the region and cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Barbados.

The UK Foreign Office warned Jamaican government can impose curfews with little notice and have military stationed on the streets in response to violence and shootings. Any event with large crowds, such as festivals and protests, has the potential to turn violent. They can also be used by criminals as cover for robbery and theft.

Crime rates are high in and around Kingston and Montego Bay. Gang violence and shootings are common in inner city areas. Most attacks on tourists are robbery. Visitors are advised to “not walk in isolated areas or deserted beaches even during the day, be careful when withdrawing money from ATMs and avoid using buses at night”.

British nationals have been tracked and robbed when travelling from the airport to their private accommodation. Be cautious when driving and getting out of the car. There have been incidents where tourists and visitors have been targets for rape and sexual assault sometimes using dating apps, especially those used by the LGBT+ community.

Male same-sex sexual activity is illegal, but the law is “not always strictly enforced”. The attitude of many Jamaicans towards same-sex relationships is “hostile”. Showing affection in public may receive unwanted attention.

Many roads are badly maintained with poor signage, so road accidents and fatalities are common. Speeding and drink-driving are also common.

Hurricane season is normally from June to November.

Attacks on tourists can be “indiscriminate”, according to the Foreign Office. There have been violent crimes and armed robberies, some fatal, in residential and tourist areas.

To reduce risk, do not go outside the main tourist areas and beaches on foot, especially if you are alone. Tourists are advised to “stay where there are regular police patrols, avoid unlit areas, travel in groups after dusk and take care if travelling on local bus services at night away from the main tourist areas”. 

The risk of petty theft and pickpocketing goes up during festivals and visitors should lock doors and windows when staying at short-term vacation rental properties, especially if there are no security guards.  

The risk of sexual assault also increases during festivals. There have been reports of sexual assaults on foreign nationals by jet ski operators. 

Local attitudes towards the LGBT+ community are “mostly conservative”. Same-sex relations are legal but LGBT+ travellers should be aware that “showing affection in public may attract negative attention”. 

The water sports industry in the Bahamas is poorly regulated. Tourists are warned to “be careful when renting jet skis and other equipment”, as many companies and individuals are unregistered or use poor-quality equipment. People have been killed and seriously injured or killed others when using watercraft recklessly.  

Fatal shark attacks happen without warning. Night and dusk swimming in shallow waters and paddleboarding in deeper waters put you at a higher risk.

Some organisers of day excursions use bait to attract marine life, which can also increase the risk of sharks attacking. Never go into water that has been baited – several attacks have been linked to shark encounters taking place too close to where fishermen have been gutting fish.  

The hurricane season in the Bahamas normally runs from 1 June to 30 November. Hurricanes and resulting floods in the Bahamas can be deadly. 

It’s estimated that at least 7,600 adults aged 15 or over in the Bahamas are living with HIV – around 3.2 percent of the adult population. This compares to around 0.3 percent in the UK. Take normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV. 

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