People considering a trip to the Caribbean often wonder about their safety. Though the region conjures up thoughts of beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and luxury, bad press has tainted many would-be tourists’ perceptions for years.
In fact, safety is one of the first questions many tourists wonder to themselves before booking their vacation. But once they arrive at their island of choice, visitors never want to leave.
This brief guide will answer some of the most common questions and let you know the safest islands in the Caribbean.
Do Caribbean Islands Have High Crime Rates?
Don’t let the prominent news stories fool you, it’s a widely known fact that tourists’ long-held fears about crime in the Caribbean are typically overblown.
The nearly 30 million annual tourists in the region rarely come in contact with violent crime, with reports of violent crimes heavily confined to impoverished areas that attract few tourists.
Places advised by the US State Department included exercising caution are the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Mexico. While these places come with a warning, their violent crime rates are lower than those in the United States.
Just like any other top vacation destination, petty crimes do occur, but common-sense precautions, such as traveling without larger amounts of money/jewelry, sticking to tourist-friendly areas and not leaving valuables unattended, are enough to keep tourists from a negative experience.
How Much Should You Worry About Hurricanes?
It is no secret that the Caribbean is prone to heavy storms and rain, but that’s not nearly a reason to think visiting is unsafe.
June to November is hurricane season in the Caribbean, when most of the bad weather occurs, with storm risks typically occurring from August to October.
The ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are the best-known locations well outside of the Caribbean’s hurricane belt, but other islands see little action during hurricane season, such as Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico.
In Turks and Caicos, hurricanes are few and far between and rainfall levels are much lower. You can enjoy the Provo’s beautiful beaches, boating tours in North Caicos’ or South Caicos’ private villas at any time of year due to its consistently warm temperatures.
What happens if you get sick in the Caribbean?
There’s always a chance you can get sick while on vacation, but fortunately, very few tourists experience any serious health issues while traveling in the Caribbean. As long as your vaccines are up to date, there is nothing to fear.
Sometimes people do get sick, but that isn’t a problem in the Caribbean, as you will be surrounded by some of the best healthcare facilities, not only in your vacation home, rental, or resort but usually in the city as well.
The Safest Islands in the Caribbean
There is no such thing as the safest island in the Caribbean, but there are islands with higher crime rates than others, and it’s always a good idea to check for government-issued advisories and follow standard safety precautions when visiting any unfamiliar place.
That being said, the safest islands in the Caribbean tend to be the ones that have the calmest waters, most beautiful beaches, and family-friendly amenities and activities.
Turks and Caicos
A dizzying amount of child-focused activities has made this one of the most popular Caribbean destinations as well as one of the safest. Though the archipelago sees 500,000 visitors a year, only a handful of the 40 cays and islands are inhabited by its 30,000 residents.
Safe, beautiful, and lively, you can explore the cays on a solo snorkeling adventure or live it up in affordable luxury beachfront properties. Turks and Caicos is being developed further, making it one of the top Caribbean islands with something for every kind of traveler.
Another family hotspot, Barbados welcomes close to 1 million travelers every year. Tourism is a huge industry here, and that industry comes with the friendliest faces you’ll ever meet.
From condos and sprawling mansions to family-friendly hotels, you’ll be staying in the safest areas. Just be careful when driving; smaller roads may be marked with informal signs so use extra caution.
Consistently one of the safest Caribbean islands, Anguilla’s laid-back pace can truly be enjoyed. It’s luxury tourism, local charm, and spirit of relaxed genuineness appeal to a wide range of visitors.
The British Virgin Islands
A very low violent crime rate for a variety of reasons, including severe penalties for crime, the British Virgin Islands are a great place to hike, shop or relax. Extremely safe, it is not at all considered risky to wander through the streets alone at night when visiting this British overseas territory.
Antigua and Barbuda
It’s especially great that the Land of 363 Beaches is ranked lowest in violent crimes; you’ll get to enjoy as many as you can stress-free.
A French overseas collectivity, St. Barts is one of the most exclusive Caribbean islands, only accessible by ferry, yacht or plane. As one of the playgrounds of the rich and famous, it should come as no surprise that St. Barts is one of the safest islands to visit.
Lauded for its gorgeous terrain and cultural heritage, the biggest threats to worry about facing on this island are its active volcano, Soufriere Hills, and hurricane season.
Sitting just west of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands have some of the best scuba diving, beaches, and nature. Thanks to its strong and strict gun laws, wealth, stable economy and strong government leadership, it also has one of the lowest homicide rates in the entire world and is one of the safest Caribbean nations to travel to.
Martinique is another French overseas collectivity and is one of the most cosmopolitan locations you’ll find in the Caribbean. Beautiful beaches with white sand, tropical rainforests, and an active volcano are just a taste of all that Martinique has to offer.
With a fraction of the United States’ violent crime rate, tourists are merely advised to keep track of their belongings, never leaving them unattended, to avoid robbery.
A strong middle class and high quality of life make this stunning location one of the safest in the Caribbean. Striking nature, secluded hotels, and breathtaking beaches – all free from potentially devastating hurricanes – are easy to enjoy.
As if being located outside of Hurricane Alley wasn’t enough, this Dutch municipality doesn’t have much crime at all. Petty crimes are the only noted incidents, with violent crime being nearly nonexistent and extremely shocking when it does occur, which is rarely.
For your first vacation, dip your toes in the waters of the safest islands in the Caribbean. You won’t regret the trip.