Which Caribbean Islands Are The Most Dangerous?

The Caribbean’s vibrant allure, marked by pristine beaches and rich cultures, draws countless visitors yearly. However, the safety of various islands can vary considerably. Knowing which places to approach cautiously can help ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Exploring the Caribbean reveals a spectrum of experiences, from idyllic beach getaways to areas with significant safety concerns. While the Caribbean is predominantly safe and welcoming, some destinations have higher crime rates that can affect tourist experiences. 

This blog aims to guide travelers by highlighting the top 10 most dangerous Caribbean islands with notable safety concerns.

1. Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash

Nassau experiences a higher crime rate compared to other areas in the Bahamas, with a focus on theft and petty crime. The U.S. Department of State has issued travel advisories due to these concerns.

A significant portion of crimes occur in tourist-heavy areas on the most dangerous Caribbean islands, with reports indicating that around 20% of tourists have experienced some form of theft. The ‘Over the Hill’ area particularly reports around 30% higher crime rates than other parts of Nassau.

Overview: Despite being one of the safer Caribbean countries, Nassau has seen a rise in crime, especially in less developed areas and outskirts.

Risks: Pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in nightclubs and restaurants.

No-go Zone: ‘Over the Hill’ area, known for being one of the most dangerous neighborhoods.

2. San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Photo by Wei Zeng on Unsplash

San Juan, one of the most dangerous Caribbean islands, has seen a 15% increase in violent crimes related to drugs and gangs over the past year. Tourism has declined by approximately 10% due to safety concerns. Areas like Old San Juan report significantly lower crime rates, typically 40-50% lower than troubled spots such as La Perla.

Overview: Struggles with crime and political corruption, with an increase in organized crime and drug trade-related violence.

Risks: Daytime violence linked to the drug trade; tourists are particularly cautious.

Safer Areas: Old San Juan, Miramar, Isla Verde.

Areas to Avoid: La Perla, Piñones, Puerta de Tierra.

3. Laventille, Trinidad & Tobago

Laventille, Trinidad & Tobago

Photo by Kenrick Baksh on Unsplash

Trinidad and Tobago have one of the highest per capita murder rates globally, making it one of the most dangerous Caribbean islands, with Laventille accounting for a substantial percentage of these crimes. Over 50% of the violent crimes in Laventille are linked to the drug trade.

Reports suggest that tourist-targeted crimes at isolated beaches have doubled in the past two years.

Overview: High murder rates are linked to gang violence and drug trades, particularly in areas outside Port of Spain.

Risks: Increased incidents of sexual assault and homicide during peak travel periods.

Beach Safety: Advised against visiting isolated beaches; stick to tourist-frequented ones.

4. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Photo by Ruddy Corporan on Unsplash

There has been a 20% increase in reported violent crimes in the past year, particularly in areas outside tourist zones, highlighting concerns about the most dangerous Caribbean islands. Approximately 35% of residents report having to pay bribes to receive basic police services. The U.S. State Department frequently updates travel advisories for Santo Domingo due to these issues.

Overview: Increasing crime rates with reports of tourists encountering issues.

Risks: High chances of assault, vandalism, theft.

Safer Cities: Puerto Plata, Juana Dolio, Las Terrenas, Punta Cana.

5. San Pedro Sula, Honduras

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Photo by Angie Aguilar on Unsplash

San Pedro Sula is infamously labeled as one of the “murder capitals” of the world, bearing a staggering homicide rate of approximately 85 per 100,000 residents. A significant portion of these homicides, about 60%, is attributed to gang-related violence, underscoring the pervasive influence of organized crime in the area. 

The city’s reputation for violence has profound implications for tourism; nearly a quarter of tourists reportedly alter their travel plans due to safety concerns and security warnings, particularly when considering destinations known as the most dangerous Caribbean islands.

This level of crime not only affects the local population but also poses considerable risks for visitors, making it crucial for potential tourists to carefully consider and prepare for the security conditions they might encounter.

Overview: High levels of violence and criminality, particularly linked to drug trafficking and gang affiliation.

Risks: One of the highest homicide rates globally.

Alternative Destination: Roatan.

6. Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis

Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis


Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts & Nevis, has seen a significant transformation in recent years with regards to safety. A reported 60% decrease in violent crimes has been achieved through increased police patrols and the implementation of community programs aimed at crime prevention. 

Despite these improvements, 40% of the remaining criminal activity in the area is still tied to gangs and drug-related offenses, indicating ongoing challenges. However, these efforts have not gone unnoticed by the international community; the improved safety conditions have contributed to a 15% increase in tourist arrivals over the past three years. 

This uptick in tourism highlights the positive impact that enhanced security measures and community engagement can have on a destination once known for higher crime rates.

Overview: Decreasing crime rates but still notable for past high murder rates.

Risks: Crimes mainly linked to gangs and illegal drug trades.

Tourist Favorites: Kittian Village, Cockleshell Bay.

7. Kingston, Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica

Photo by Rock Staar on Unsplash

Kingston, Jamaica, continues to face significant safety challenges, underscored by its high murder rate which exceeds 50 murders per 100,000 inhabitants each year. This startling statistic is a major concern not just for residents but also for visitors, as the city has seen a 10% increase in crimes against tourists, including robberies and assaults, over the past year. 

Despite these troubling figures, there has been a concerted effort by local law enforcement to bolster safety, particularly in areas frequented by tourists. These targeted police measures have begun to show some positive effects, with a slight reduction in the rate of incidents in recent years, providing a glimmer of hope amidst the city’s ongoing struggle with violent crime.

Overview: High murder rates and significant drug trade issues.

Risks: Violent crimes across the city, including tourist areas.

Safer Alternatives: Negril, Ocho Rios.

8. Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Photo by Heather Suggitt on Unsplash

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, grapples with severe safety concerns that significantly impact its residents and visitors. The city reports that over 70% of its crimes are violent, reflecting deep-seated issues exacerbated by widespread economic instability. 

This economic distress is stark, with more than 80% of the population living below the poverty line, a factor that directly contributes to the high crime rate. Moreover, Haiti faces an alarming level of kidnappings, boasting one of the highest per capita kidnapping rates globally. 

This combination of economic hardship, prevalent violence, and frequent kidnappings creates a perilous environment in Port-au-Prince, marking it as a particularly hazardous destination within the Caribbean.

Overview: Political instability leading to frequent violent protests and high crime rates.

Risks: Armed robberies, kidnappings, and assaults are common.

General Caution: Extreme poverty and economic disparities heighten security risks.

9. Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela


Caracas, Venezuela, has experienced a dramatic escalation in crime, with violent crime rates surging over 200% in the past decade. This spike in crime is intertwined with severe economic hardships that have enveloped the nation, plunging 90% of its population into poverty. 

The dire economic situation has fueled not only the crime rate but also the intensity and frequency of violent incidents. As a result, numerous countries have issued continuous travel advisories, warning of the extreme risks associated with visiting the capital due to its high levels of violence and instability. 

These advisories reflect the ongoing and escalating dangers that characterize Caracas today.

Overview: High crime rates and political unrest making it unsafe for tourists.

Risks: Violent crimes prevalent across the city.

Travel Advisory: Most governments advise against travel to Venezuela.

10. Colon, Panama

Colon, Panama

Image by williams Povarchik from Pixabay

Colon, Panama, is known for its high crime rates, which are about 80% higher than the national average. This significant disparity is largely attributed to its role as a major port city, where the bustling activity can often be a magnet for criminal behavior. 

In Colon, incidents of mugging, pick-pocketing, and robbery are especially common, and tourists are frequently targeted due to their perceived wealth. In response to the persistent safety concerns, the Panamanian government has taken proactive measures by increasing police patrols and establishing a special tourist police unit dedicated to protecting visitors. 

However, despite these efforts, the level of risk remains considerable, and tourists are strongly advised to exercise heightened caution, particularly in areas that are less monitored and might present higher dangers.

Overview: High crime rates due to its status as a port city.

Risks: Muggings, pick-pocketing, and robbery.

Caution Areas: Darien Gap; visit only with professional guides.

Safest Caribbean Destinations

While certain areas in the Caribbean have higher risks, making them some of the most dangerous Caribbean islands in 2023, many islands are known for their safety and are excellent choices for travelers seeking peace of mind. If you’re wondering which Caribbean islands are the safest, here are eight of the safest Caribbean destinations:

1. Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands

Photo by Marc Babin on Unsplash

The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, are among the top choices for safety in the Caribbean. Known for their sophisticated financial services and luxury tourism, these islands also maintain one of the lowest crime rates in the region. 

The local government enforces strict law and order, contributing to a secure environment for both residents and tourists. The islands are famous for their diving sites, including the Grand Cayman’s Stingray City and the USS Kittiwake shipwreck. 

The combination of high living standards, professional police services, and community engagement ensures a tranquil visit for those seeking both adventure and relaxation in pristine settings.

2. Aruba


Photo by Vera Wijermars | Feathering on Unsplash

Aruba is celebrated for its consistent safety record and is part of the Dutch Caribbean. This island attracts tourists with its reliable sunny weather, stunning white-sand beaches, and the friendly nature of its people. 

The government has invested heavily in tourism security, including the establishment of a dedicated tourist police force, making it one of the safest places for travelers. Aruba’s popular attractions include Eagle Beach, recognized as one of the best beaches in the world, and Arikok National Park, which offers a mix of arid landscapes, caves, and historical sites. 

The island’s commitment to sustainability and safety makes it a top choice for families and eco-conscious travelers alike.

3. Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos

Photo by Paola Galimberti on Unsplash

Turks and Caicos are a group of islands known for their spectacular coral reefs and extensive marine biodiversity that attracts divers from around the world. The islands maintain a low crime rate with a focus on community policing and tourism safety protocols. 

Aside from its underwater allure, Turks and Caicos offers luxury resorts, fine dining, and pristine beaches, such as Grace Bay. The local authorities are proactive in ensuring the safety of visitors, enhancing its reputation as a safe and serene destination for high-end travelers seeking a peaceful getaway.

4. The British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands

Photo by Tomasz Tomal on Unsplash

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), with their stringent security measures and secluded environment, stand out as a beacon of safety. The BVI’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, prompting significant investment in maintaining a secure atmosphere. 

The islands are famous for their sailing opportunities, featuring a cluster of over 50 islands that provide both novice and experienced sailors with idyllic conditions. Tortola, the largest island, offers lush mountainous landscapes, while the smaller islands like Jost Van Dyke are perfect for beach bar hopping and enjoying the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle. 

The community’s close-knit nature and the local police’s friendly approach to law enforcement contribute to the islands’ safe reputation.

5. Bonaire


Photo by Stephen Pedersen on Unsplash

Bonaire is a lesser-known gem in the Caribbean, distinguished by its dedication to environmental protection and sustainable tourism. The island is part of the Dutch Caribbean and maintains strict regulations to protect its natural resources, particularly its marine park, which is a haven for snorkelers and divers. 

Bonaire’s commitment to conservation extends to its onshore activities, with numerous solar-powered facilities and eco-friendly initiatives. The island’s small population and low crime rate make it a perfect destination for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility. 

With its rich biodiversity, both underwater and on land, Bonaire offers a unique, safe, and environmentally conscious travel experience.

6. Anguilla


Photo by Courtney Pickens on Unsplash

Anguilla is renowned for its expansive, unspoiled beaches and high-end resorts, making it a favorite among luxury travelers. The island’s safety record is exemplary, thanks to effective law enforcement and community-based policing. 

Anguilla’s focus on upscale tourism has fostered a secure environment, where visitors can relax and enjoy the natural beauty without concern. The island is known for its vibrant cultural scene, featuring regular music festivals and culinary events that showcase local talents and cuisine. 

Anguilla’s commitment to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere ensures that it remains one of the safest and most enjoyable destinations in the Caribbean.

7. St. Barts

St. Barts

Photo by Rémi METIN on Unsplash

St. Barts (Saint Barthélemy) epitomizes luxury in the Caribbean, attracting celebrities and affluent tourists with its exclusive villas, designer shops, and gourmet restaurants. This French overseas collectivity is well-managed, with a high standard of living and rigorous safety measures. 

The island’s natural beauty, from its pristine beaches to its picturesque hills, complements its sophisticated atmosphere. St. Barts hosts prestigious events such as the St. Barts Music Festival and Les Voiles de St. Barth regatta, which underscore its cultural richness and attract a discerning clientele. 

The local government’s commitment to safety and high-quality services makes St. Barts an exceptionally secure and stylish destination.

8. Martinique


Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Martinique, another region of France in the Caribbean, is known for its blend of French and West Indian cultures, evident in its cuisine, language, and architecture. The island’s safety is supported by stringent French laws and comprehensive public safety measures. 

Martinique offers a diverse landscape that includes lush rainforests, volcanic mountains, and stunning beaches. The island is a haven for adventurers and culture enthusiasts alike, with attractions like the historic ruins of Saint-Pierre and the active volcano Mount Pelée. 

Martinique’s commitment to maintaining a safe environment makes it an attractive destination for tourists seeking both adventure and relaxation.

Final Thoughts

Awareness is key when traveling to the Caribbean, especially when visiting some of the most dangerous islands in the Caribbean. By understanding the landscape of safety across various islands, tourists can enjoy the beautiful and diverse offerings of the region while minimizing risk.

Always consult updated travel advisories and consider security measures when planning your trip to these most dangerous Caribbean islands for tourists. For more travel tips and hacks, visit our website and explore our resources to enhance your next adventure.

Scroll to Top