Hi friends! No matter where you decide to travel, it’s important to do research ahead of time, and not just about where to find the best street food! Any time you step into a new country with its own culture, norms, and politics, you’ve got to have an idea of what you’re entering into—for your sake and for that of the locals.
This is the case for anywhere you go, from America to today’s subject, the Caribbean Islands. If you’re ready for a sunny beach vacation on a gorgeous island with diving, shopping, and eating galore, then read on! Don’t just take my word for it, either: links to the appropriate government websites are all included below.
Here are my favorites among the safest Caribbean Islands!
In Aruba, floating off the coast of Venezuela, you can expect great weather, beautiful beaches, and plenty of fun activities. Go scuba diving, explore an ostrich farm, and enjoy the weekly local folk event, the Bon Bini Festival. Opt for an all-inclusive resort for a luxurious stay, or a local hotel if you’d like to save your money for other activities.
According to the U.S. Department of State, crime against tourists mostly consists of petty theft, so be smart about where you keep your belongings. Any violent crime is rare and typically happens in zones that don’t see tourists, but you should still steer clear of any solo midnight strolls.
An independent British Commonwealth nation, Barbados is home to plenty of family-friendly beaches and resorts, and the island itself boasts great food, a rich history, and plenty of adventures. There’s lively nightlife as well, best for group outings, as well as historic Bridgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you decide to rent a car, be careful on the smaller unmarked roads!
The U.S. Department of State reports that American citizens aren’t typically targeted for crime here, but use common sense with your valuables and with going out at night, as you would in any big metropolitan area. Be aware of your surroundings in less populated, non-touristy areas.
3. St. Barts
As one of the most expensive islands on this list, Saint-Barthélemy is the luxury option for tourists looking to explore a Caribbean Island with a French flair. The official language is French, but you can get around with English if necessary, and crime is so low that some locals leave their homes unlocked.
According to the U.S. Department of State, petty crime can be an issue on any island in the French West Indies (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French St Martin, St. Barths), but violent crime rarely affects tourists.
4. Turks and Caicos
A British Overseas Territory, Turks, and Caicos are made up of 40 islands and cays, some of which are totally uninhabited! Of course, you’ve got sandy beaches, including the 12-mile long Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales. You can also go whale watching, check out the weekly fish fry, and go snorkeling. There’s little to no general public transportation, so your best way to get from place to place is via a rental car.
Once again, the U.S. Dept. of State recommends keeping an eye on your valuables, and reports that violent crime and crimes of opportunity do occur, though rarely.
Another British Overseas Territory, Anguilla, is located roughly 12 miles north of St. Maarten and is another great spot for luxury resorts and white sand beaches. Come here for water sports, with natural coves perfect for boat racing, kayaking, snorkeling, tubing, and plenty more. Rent a car or take taxis (by confirming your price before the ride!) in order to get around.
This is another spot that the U.S. Department of State doesn’t appear particularly worried about, given an appropriate degree of common sense around pickpocketing and petty theft.
Bonaire is a desert island so small that you won’t find a single traffic light! Coupled with St Eustatius and Saba, this is a part of the Caribbean Netherlands, with friendly locals and plenty of things to do. In addition to lounging on the beach, you can enjoy a number of eco-activities, like birdwatching, biking, caving, hiking, horseback riding, and kayaking.
According to the U.S. Dept of State, there are no known areas of instability on this island, with a crime level between low and medium. Just keep your valuables at home—including your passport—and make sure your car rental policy includes theft, just in case!
The Dutch island of Curaçao is full of colorful buildings, local charm, lovely beaches, and tons of outdoor activities. Stroll around Handelskade to marvel at the cute pastel buildings, then visit local bars and casinos to enjoy a bit of nightlife, wake up to go on scuba diving, and do it all over again! Don’t forget to support some local art and culture as well.
Similar to the other ABC islands, the U.S. Dept. of State warns you to be wary of pickpocketing and other petty theft, while violent crime occurs only rarely.
8. The Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands comprise another upscale option for all you luxurious travelers. Once again, this is where you’ll find some stunning beaches, clear water, lush national parks, and plenty of relaxation. True to its luxurious reputation, tourists also stop by on cruises or other boating excursions.
The roads can be a bit treacherous, especially at night, so be extra careful if you’ve rented a car, or hail a taxi so a more experienced local can take care of it for you!
So here’s the deal: Some Caribbean countries and islands like Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas don’t get the same positive report from the U.S. Department State that other islands on this list have, but that doesn’t mean you should discount them completely!
No country is 100% safe, and there are plenty of locations within the United States that its own department of State wouldn’t recommend visiting. Reports of violence and high murder rates can come with a smidge of prejudice, so do your research on where to go, and how to visit responsibly.
Your tourist dollars go a long way, so use them to boost local businesses as much as possible. Finally, of course, have fun!