The Bahamas has more than 700 islands, about 30 of which are inhabited, so it's hard to generalize about safety from one place to the next. However, there are various precautions travelers should take to ensure a safe trip and avoid violent crime. The most dangerous places in the Bahamas are Nassau—the country's biggest city, located on the island of New Providence—and Grand Bahama. These two islands are where most Bahamians live and the vast majority of tourists visit.
- The U.S. Department of State suggests tourists reconsider travel to the Bahamas "due to health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions."
- Canada urges travelers to always be aware of their surroundings and be prepared for a COVID curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on most of the islands .
- Anyone (except children 10 and under) traveling to the Bahamas is required to present a negative COVID test taken no more than five days before arrival, and then obtain a Bahamas Travel Health Visa.
Is the Bahamas Dangerous?
While safety has improved in the Bahamas, there is still violent crime, mainly in Nassau and the island of Grand Bahama, which includes the city of Freeport. Armed robberies, burglaries, sexual assault, and other violent crimes take place, along with purse snatchings. Cruise ship terminals and popular resort areas have robberies, even during the day. Visitors to New Providence Island should avoid "over the hill" neighborhoods south of downtown Nassau (south of Shirley Street), particularly at night. Criminal activity is much less common in the Out Islands but has included burglaries and thefts, particularly of boats and/or outboard motors. Police generally respond quickly and effectively to reports of travelers being victimized by crime, and tourist areas have frequent police foot patrols.
Commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not properly regulated or maintained, and many tourists have had serious injuries.
Beware of credit card and ATM fraud, especially in Nassau. When anyone else is using your cards, pay close attention. Use well-lit ATMs in public areas or inside a bank or business, and keep your PIN private by covering the keypad.
Is the Bahamas Safe for Solo Travelers?
Traveling solo in the Bahamas can be done without issues, but it is best to play it safe and take some precautions. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in Nassau. Have your wallet and bag near you all the time and keep belongings—especially passports and other forms of identification—in a hotel safe if possible. Secure valuables in your hotel room and do not leave important items on the beach or by the pool while swimming. Only open your hotel or residence door for expected guests.
Is the Bahamas Safe for Female Travelers?
Women exploring the Bahamas on their own often have no problems with dangerous or aggressive men. However, sexual assaults are frequent and have been reported in clubs and casinos, outside hotels, and on cruise ships. Some jet ski operators (even licensed) are known to commit sexual assaults. Stay away from drugs and excessive alcohol, and keep an eye on your drinks and food to avoid being drugged. It is best to not accept snacks, beverages, gum, or cigarettes from people you don't know.
Dress conservatively and cover up your bathing suit when you go into town. Some local men figure women traveling alone are seeking male companionship. Also, be careful not to accept rides from strangers or unlicensed taxi drivers.
Safety Tips for LGBTQ+ Travelers
The Bahamas has plenty of gay tourists and locals and is transforming into a more LGBTQ+ friendly place. However, there is no legal protection against discrimination yet in this country where strict anti-homosexuality laws used to exist. Travelers are encouraged to play it safe by using discretion and avoiding public displays of affection. In general, most large resorts and hotels are welcoming, but there are no gay clubs or hotels.
Safety Tips for BIPOC Travelers
Most Bahamians are welcoming, friendly, and hospitable, and BIPOC travelers typically have a pleasant experience, perhaps due to the unique ethnic history of the islands. A great majority of the local people in the Bahamas are Black, with roots tracing back to Africa, while a small percentage are Whites with European ancestry or Asians. Before the Europeans arrived, the indigenous Lucayans lived in the Bahamas in the early 1500s. Colorism and racial profiling are said to exist in the country.
Safety Tips for Travelers
To avoid becoming a victim of crime, visitors to the Bahamas are advised to follow some additional tips:
- Seek adequate medical care, which is available on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands but more limited elsewhere. General emergency numbers are 911 or 919 for police/fire/ambulance.
- Travel in groups and use licensed taxi cabs during the night, especially in high crime areas.
- Check the proper direction for oncoming traffic. In the Bahamas, drivers use the left side of the road. Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up when driving. Watch out for aggressive or reckless drivers as well as traffic laws that are sometimes ignored by locals. Be wary of flooding on roads after storms.
- Visitors should exercise appropriate caution when renting vehicles, including motorcycles, jet skis, and mopeds. Travel by moped or bicycle can be hazardous, especially in Nassau, so wear a helmet and drive defensively.
- Avoid confronting or provoking criminals, most of whom carry guns or knives.
- Hurricanes and tropical storms can hit the Bahamas, sometimes causing significant damage.
- Use insect repellent and protect yourself from mosquitoes, which transmit the Chikungunya virus in the Bahamas.