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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The "Vacation Safety" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Checking my emails and found one with a listing from Oyster.com.  The email contained copy and photos with an article titled "8 safest travel destinations" and referred to the islands in the Caribbean.  Carol and I have been traveling to the Caribbean since the early 2000s, sometimes with friends and other times by ourselves.  There have been very few times that we didn't feel safe no matter what island we may have been touring.  
A few places we did find unnerving, with one being an island and the other a location within a country.  In Acapulco, Mexico there were armed guards located at every tourist stop we made as well as the cruise dock where the boat docked.  Automatic weapons were held in ready position throughout the day we spent in that location. During a trip to Jamaica we felt safe while staying at our resort, as well as on side trips we took through the concierge at the resort, but while going and coming from a few of the side trips we took, armed guards were visible on many street corners in the towns we passes through or visited.  Every other island we visited felt safe to us, provided we stayed aware of our surroundings at all times.  But, we also do that in Lancaster as we work, shop and visit with friends and relatives.  The article on Oyster.com listed eight islands in the Caribbean and said that crime is more prevalent that some realize, and even though violence rarely touches the nearly 26 million tourists who go there every year, incidents (mostly petty crimes) can happen anywhere and at anytime. A few websites I frequent tell of island crime from time to time, but crime seems to make news, no matter where the locale.  Here are the eight islands and a brief account listed on the island we have been lucky enough to visit.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales
  1. Turks and Caicos - We have visited Providenciales twice and will step on their shores again very soon.  T&C is a British territory which includes 40 islands and cays with only 12 of them inhabited.  Crime is minimal so T&C is considered one of the safest places to live and visit in the Caribbean.  We found that to be true on our previous visits.
    Shoal Beach in Anguilla
  2. Anguilla - This British territory depends on tourism for their livelihood, as so many islands do, so this is another fairly safe location to visit.  As an example: the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime listed Anguilla among the safest Caribbean islands.
    Cayman Island
  3. Cayman Islands - Yet another British territory, the Cayman Islands consist of three islands which have some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean.  It is suggested by the US Department of State that you keep your doors and windows locked due to petty crime.  We were on this island during a cruise stop one year and didn't feel threatened at any time during our visit.
    Long Bay Beach in BVI
  4. British Virgin Islands - I'm beginning to think the British are doing something right to deter crime.  There are more than 60 islands which are part of the BVI.  We spent a bit over a week on Tortola with two visits to Virgin Gorda during that time.  We visited the waterfront as well as took taxi trips through the back streets of Tortola at night and never felt unsafe.  Again, we never put ourselves in a compromising position and kept our wits about us at all times.
  5. Martinique - Ah, a French territory that is a secret gem as stated in this article.  A cosmopolitan destination with luxury resorts, stylish hotels and luxury villas.  Carol and I have never been to this island so I have very little knowledge of the island.  It does state in the article that there may be those who prey on tourists and to not leave your valuables unattended on the beach.
  6. Guadeloupe - Another French territory that has five islands as part of it.  It is rare to see crime, but island-wide strikes can disrupt travel and visitors are urged to avoid the shady side of Point-a-Pitre.  Another island we have never had the chance to visit.
    Orient Beach in St. Martin
  7. St. Martin/Sint Maarten - This dual island is French and Dutch.  I have written many times about our visits to this island.  We have witnessed a few crimes, such as a robbery at a hotel where we were staying and someone breaking into our rental car.  But, with the Dutch Police and the French Gendarmes, crime is kept to the petty variety.  My biggest complaint are the numerous motorcycles and dirt bikes that hug the center line and scare the crap out of you while speeding past you on the roads.
    Flamands Beach in St. Barts
  8. St. Barts - The final listing is a French territory.  Carol and I made a day visit to the island while visiting in St. Martin for vacation.  The island is amazing with many beautiful beaches and great shopping.  But, it is an island for the rich and famous.  The island is considered extremely safe since the government wants to keep their wealthy visitors making return trips.  But, it is still suggested you keep your room and car locked. 

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