Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Safest Caribbean Islands to Visit

Turks Caicos safety
Turks and Caicos is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. Credit: Turks and Caicos Tourist Office

Safety should be a factor in any visit to a foreign country, and the Caribbean is no different despite the image of relaxing days on the beach.

The safest Caribbean islands to visit are made more safe by following a few simple rules outlined below. But worrying about whether one island is more safe or dangerous than another may overlook some important considerations.

One of the most famous crimes in the Caribbean—the disappearance and presumed murder of American Natalie Holloway in 2005—took place on Aruba, which is one of the safest islands in the region.

The fact remains that no Caribbean destination wants to be known as a place that is dangerous for tourists.

For that reason, tourism areas are typically quite safe while areas outside of the tourism districts are much more likely to have crimes that include murder, robbery and assault.

Crimes also are more likely to take place at night or in remote areas of an island.

On a cruise visit to Dominica, I left the tourism district and walked nearly a mile through the capital city of Roseau to the far end away from the docks.

I was the only tourist walking through it, I was surrounded by hundreds of locals and not a single one approached me or showed any signs of hostility. I knew I was taking a slight risk, but I was willing to take it for the sake of exploring the area and learning how the locals would react to me.

But I did not feel that same level of safety on Jamaica.

Visiting a Caribbean island is not much different than visiting a big city in the United States. Just follow some simple steps:

  1. Be aware of the surroundings
  2. Don’t venture out of tourism areas as night
  3. When possible, stay together in groups
  4. Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill

One way to gauge the relative safety of each island is the homicide rate per 100,000 people.

Statistics over a 13-year history from 2000 to 2012 gathered by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime shows a wide range of rates from one island to the next.

  1. Jamaica - 49
  2. United States Virgin Islands - 37
  3. Saint Kitts and Nevis - 30
  4. Trinidad and Tobago - 25
  5. Saint Lucia - 22
  6. Puerto Rico - 22
  7. Bahamas - 21
  8. Dominican Republic - 21
  9. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 20
  10. Anguilla - 14
  11. Dominica - 11
  12. Antigua and Barbuda - 10
  13. Grenada - 10
  14. Barbados - 9
  15. Montserrat - 8
  16. British Virgin Islands - 7
  17. Haiti - 7
  18. Cayman Islands - 7
  19. Guadeloupe - 6
  20. Aruba - 6
  21. Martinique - 5
  22. Cuba - 4
  23. Turks and Caicos Islands - 3

Statistics for more frequent crimes such as robbery and assault are spotty and unreliable, but they occur with much more frequency than homicide.

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