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The Bahamas are tropical island paradises within easy reach of Florida (day tours of The Bahamas are possible from Miami). Unfortunately, the islands are also somewhat dangerous - but fortunately, not so dangerous that one should avoid them. The Bahamas has many islands, and some islands are more dangerous than others. From Nassau, Bimini, Freeport, and beyond, there may be some spots in the area to steer clear of during a vacation.

When planning a trip to The Bahamas, plan around staying on the safer islands (and certainly avoid the known dangerous places). There are plenty of things that first-time visitors should avoid doing when visiting The Bahamas.

UPDATE: 2023/07/01 19:44 EST BY NOAH STAATS

It Might Be Safer To Stay In A Resort/Hotel While In The Bahamas

This article has been refreshed with new information regarding the safety of the Bahamas, as well as staying in hotels and resorts versus short-term rentals. According to the US State Department, it's suggested to book hotels through trusted brands rather than stay in a home for rent by an unknown party.

How Dangerous Are The Bahamas?

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Harbour Island
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Lone tree in Harbour Island, Bahamas
  • In general, the Bahamas are not considered to be safe.
  • Armed robbery is one of the most reported crimes throughout the islands.

When it comes to destinations, The Bahamas are, unfortunately, not the safest by far. There are considerable risks from general crime on the idyllic islands.

The risks in The Bahamas include crimes like robbery (often armed robbery). Crime has occurred even in the main tourist areas of the island nation. Fortunately, the country maintains police patrols in the main tourist areas.

​​​​​​The United States Department of State has a Level 2 travel warning for visiting The Bahamas, "Exercise Increased Caution." The department urged increased caution due to crime. They note that the majority of crime occurs on the islands of New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport).

  • Emergency Numbers: 911 or 919

One of the most dangerous areas in Nassau is the "Over the Hill" area (south of Shirley Street), where there is gang-on-gang violence. So avoid this area.

Safe Travel Abroad assesses the risks in The Bahamas as the following:

  • Overall Risk: High
  • Transport & Taxis Risk: Medium (Be Careful Not To Be Overcharged)
  • Pickpockets Risk: High (Common On The Islands)
  • Natural Disaster Risk: Medium (Mostly Hurricanes In the Hurricane Season - June through November)
  • Mugging Risk: High (Violent Crime is Extremely Common In The Bahamas)
  • Terrorism Risk: Low (There Hasn't Been A Terrorist Attack In Recent History)
  • Scams Risk: Medium

It should be noted that violent crime (like burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault) occurs in tourist and non-tourist areas.

Related: These Tips Will Help You Stay Safe While Traveling To Dangerous Cities

The Abacos Islands - The Safest In The Bahamas To Visit

Boats around Fowl Cays
Fowl Cays, Abacos, Bahamas

According to the British government, the outlying islands of The Bahamas, called the Family or Out Islands, are known to have lower crime rates. The Out Islands are all the Bahaman islands, excluding the main islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama Island (New Providence is home to around 70% of the population and most of the crime).

  • Safest Islands: The Abacos Islands

Among the Out Islands are the Abaco Islands and Eleuthera Islands. Since the 1970s, the Out Islands have also been called the Family Islands and are made up of around 700 islands (only some of which are inhabited).

The Abacos are considered some of the safest islands in The Bahamas and are known for being family-friendly. The Abaco Islands have only a population of around 17,000 and are made up of Great Abaco, Little Abaco, and several smaller barrier cays. See crime statistics in The Bahamas on the Royal Bahaman Police website.

So to keep safe while in The Bahamas, remain vigilant and plan on visiting the Abaco Islands. Naturally, the safest islands are uninhabited islands that one can rent as a private island. But when planning a vacation on the inhabited islands, plan on visiting the comparatively safe Abaco Islands.

Related: Here's How Far $100 Will Get You In The Bahamas

Are Hotels Safe In The Bahamas?

Aerial view of the Sandals Royal Bahamian hotel and its pool
Aspects and Angles / Shutterstock.com
Sandals Royal Bahamian, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Overall, hotels and resorts in the Bahamas are safe for guests.
  • It is not recommended to stay in a short-term rental in the Bahamas.

Yes, hotels and resorts throughout the Bahamas have been deemed relatively safe. However, when it comes to 'how' safe a person staying in the country is: there is always a possibility of crime. As mentioned before, the Bahamas are known for violent crime, including armed robbery and sexual assault. Understandably, these points can lead to potential tourists shying away from coming at all, nonetheless spending thousands at a resort. However, at these nicer properties on fancier islands, visitors to the Bahamas can expect a heightened level of security.

Many hotels have security and police monitoring them, ensuring nothing happens. This is pretty standard for most countries throughout the world, as tourist hot spots aren't always as safe and relaxing as people would hope. According to the State Department, staying in Airbnbs or other short-term rentals are the most dangerous choices. Compared to a big-name hotel brand like Hilton, staying at a locally-owned property (although nice) is more likely to spell trouble.

There have been reports of armed robbery, assault, sexual crimes, and other petty theft at short-term rentals throughout the islands, especially in larger ones like Nassau, Freeport, and Bimini.

How To Stay Safe In The Bahamas

A scuba diver and a small lemon shark at Tiger Beach, Bahamas
A scuba diver and a small lemon shark at Tiger Beach, Bahamas
  • Be vigilant when staying in the Bahamas. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
  • It's recommended to stay on resort property and not venture into unknown areas.

"Be vigilant at all times and don’t walk alone away from the main hotels, tourist areas, beaches and downtown Nassau, particularly after dark. Take care if traveling on local bus services after dusk on routes away from the main tourist areas. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. Robbers may be armed. Don’t resist in the event of an attempted robbery."

British Government

Additionally, be aware of the health and safety standards and the maintenance of watercraft. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on account of safety concerns on New Providence and Paradise Islands. ​

Never carry all one's money or credit cards in one place. Taxis are also not metered in The Bahamas, so be aware of the price before accepting the ride.

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Bahamas, Paradise Island
Photo by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash
A photo of the Bahamas, Paradise Island

Be aware of walking around at night - especially alone. Never walk around at night alone and drunk.

Visitors should follow the tips for keeping safe while visiting and traveling to dangerous places around the world.

What Is The Safest Country In The World?

Winding pass road between Grimsel Pass and Furka Pass, Switzerland
Winding pass road between Grimsel Pass and Furka Pass, Switzerland
  • Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden are some of the safest countries.
  • Europe is one of the safest continents to travel to in the world.

If it is safety that one is interested in, then one will need to travel out of the Western Hemisphere (except for Canada).

There are various methodologies for measuring how safe a country is. It is very difficult to compare statistics from different countries as different countries report and categorize crimes differently - this can make the comparisons very misleading.

Ways to gauge a country's safety is to see the Peace Index or Safety Ranking of the country. The safest countries in the world are Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden (Canada 7th and the USA 47th) according to the methodology by U.S.News. The 2020 Global Peace Index had a slightly different listing, with the top five peaceful countries being Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, and Austria (Canada was ranked 12th and the USA 129th). These also tend to be the countries with the highest quality of life.

If countries were ranked by homicide, then things could be thrown off as countries with tiny populations may not have any homicides in a given year. With countries with significant populations, Singapore and Japan rank very low (0.16 and 0.32, respectively). Otherwise, New Zealand is 0.74, the USA 4.96, and the Bahamas 31.96 according to data compiled by Index Mundi (note caution should be taken comparing these numbers between countries).

In short, if one would like to go somewhere very safe, go to (much) of Europe, New Zealand, Australia, some East Asian countries, or Canada but not the Bahamas.