US State Department warns against traveling to Jamaica
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory for Jamaica, warning about crime and limited health care.
Are you getting ready to travel for spring break or a summer getaway?
If so, the United States Department of State has some warnings for travelers.
The Department of State has issued travel advisories for Americans traveling to three popular vacation destinations: the Bahamas, Colombia and Jamaica.
And here’s why:
What is the travel advisory for Bahamas?
A Level 2 travel advisory was issued for travelers going to the Bahamas after crime increased at the popular destination. The warning suggests travelers “exercise increased caution and practice increased vigilance” in areas such as New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands where a majority of crimes occur.
“Travelers need to be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence. Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas,” the State Department said in the advisory.
A security alert from the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas provided this information: 18 murders have occurred at all hours on the streets of Nassau since the beginning of 2024. “Retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 affecting the local community,” it said.
Additionally, the advisory includes water safety. activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours.
“Watercraft are not consistently regulated and may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications. Never swim alone, keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities, heed local warnings and be aware of sharks while engaging in all water activities,” accordng to the advisory.
Recent fatal and non-fatal incidents involving sharks have been reported.
What is the travel advisory for Colombia?
A level 3 travel advisory was issued for travelers planning a trip to Colombia, South America. The advisory urged travelers to “reconsider travel due to crime and terrorism and to exercise increased caution due to civil unrest and kidnapping.” Some areas have increased risk, such as Arauca, Cauca, and Norte de Santander and the border of Colombia and Venezuela where a Do Not Travel level 4 advisory has been issued.
Even using a dating app while visiting Colombia has a warning. According to the U.S. Embassy Bogota, there have been eight suspicious deaths of private U.S. citizens between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2023, in Medellin. The notice said, “Criminals use dating apps to lure victims to meet in public places such as hotels, restaurants, and bars, and then later assault and rob them.”
What is the travel advisory for Jamaica?
A level 3 travel advisory was issued for travelers going go to Jamaica. The advisory urges travelers “to reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime and medical services.” The advisory stated, “Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common.” Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.
Additional issues stated in the advisory explained how local police response time is not effective for serious criminal incidents, and “health care may not be available across the island nation,” and hospitals are under-resourced. The Department of State strongly encourages travelers to obtain traveler’s insurance and medical evacuation insurance, before traveling to Jamaica.
How to prepare for my vacation?
If you decide to go despite the advisories, here are some tips and actions to take for travelers when vacationing, according to the State Department.
- Keep a low profile.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Learn about the country, including visa requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care in the countries where you will be.
- Keep the contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate with you. They are available for emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, overseas and in Washington, D.C. (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier for loved ones to locate you in an emergency
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.