Due to the beautiful weather, laid-back ocean vibes, and great activities, the Caribbean is a region that I find myself returning to time and time again. However, not all Caribbean islands are created equal in terms of safety, and it definitely pays to know the particular risks of each island and take precautions.
That said, no matter where you travel in the Caribbean, common sense security practices will go a long way in making sure you stay safe. Remember to plan your trip around hurricane season, be cautious when flashing around valuables, don’t leave your personal items unattended, stay near well-lit and populated areas at night, purchase travel insurance (we use World Nomads), and know the local emergency numbers to call in case of any issues.
Chances are, you’ll have a great time in the Caribbean if you stay aware of the possible dangers. These are the safest islands in the Caribbean (which are perfect for families, couples, and solo travelers) and the best places to stay on each island!
10 of the Safest Caribbean Islands (And Where to Stay!)
Located outside the hurricane belt just off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is an extremely safe destination that pretty much guarantees excellent weather no matter when you visit. Getting around Aruba is simple in that the island is compact and modern. Plus, between the beaches, adventure activities, and cultural experiences you won’t run out of things to do!
In regards to safety, use common sense in Aruba and don’t leave your belongings unattended or flash around valuables. Other than that, be sure to stock up on sunscreen, as those UV rays are pretty intense.
Where to Stay in Aruba
Read more: 10 Best Things To Do In Aruba
Turks & Caicos
In terms of both overall crime and crime against tourists, Turks & Caicos ranks as one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. Made up of an archipelago of 40 islands, you can expect a wide range of activities on Turks & Caicos including whale watching, kiteboarding, snorkeling, sailing, having a barbecue, and checking out the local history.
It’s important to note that the majority of people reside on the main island of Providenciales, and as such most of the crime does happen there, although it’s still very safe. South Caicos, North and Middle Caicos, and Salt Cay report very little crime against tourists.
Also, be aware that Turks & Caicos doesn’t have any widespread public transportation, so take caution when getting around. Although there are taxi’s, always be sure to confirm the price of the ride before you get in the vehicle as the drivers might try to hike up the fare once you get to your destination. In addition to the taxi’s, you’ll also spot minibuses, or “jitney’s”, although they’re mostly for local workers and are best avoided. I find the easiest way to get around is by renting a car.
Where to Stay in Turks & Caicos
Located in the western Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands are made up of Grand Cayman (the largest, main island), Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, and has everything from luxury villas to secluded beaches. You’ll find relaxing resorts and awesome scuba diving On Grand Cayman, great fishing on Cayman Brac, and diverse wildlife such as Iguanas and Red-footed Boobies on Little Cayman.
While crime against tourists in the Cayman Islands is rare, watch out for large cruise-ship crowds, as they’re rather busy and pickpocketing can happen. Additionally, if you plan on spending time in the water, watch out for Scorpionfish and Jellyfish, which will give a painful sting if you touch them and tend to disguise themselves quite well.
Where to Stay in the Cayman Islands
A beautiful Caribbean Island governed by both the French and the Dutch, St. Maarten is a luxurious destination where you’ll find excellent shopping, nightlife, beaches, lagoons, and mountains. While it may be a very small island, what it lacks in land mass it makes up for in beauty and activities.
St. Maarten is also a very safe island to visit, with crimes against tourists relatively low. Nevertheless, passport theft, petty theft, and car break-ins have been reported, so be sure to keep your eye on your valuables, lock up what you’re not using in a safe, and don’t leave anything of value in cars.
Where to Stay in St. Maarten
A Caribbean cultural mecca, Barbados has incredible food, history, music, great surf, and lush nature. Whether you’re into discovering the UNESCO-affiliated capital of Bridgetown, lounging on the beaches, or dancing the night away, Barbados has a scene for you. Plus, the people here are notoriously friendly.
While violent crimes against tourists are rare, have your guard up against petty theft, especially when in crowded areas, and if you want to enjoy some nightlife, plan on going with a group to avoid potential theft.
Where to Stay in Barbados
No matter how many times I visit St. Lucia, it never fails to wow me. Not only does the island have a picture-perfect coastline, it’s filled with lush nature and mountains that tower over the sea. When in St. Lucia, I recommend visiting Pigeon Island National Park, Castries Market, Tet Paul Nature Trail, and the luxurious Sulfur Springs.
In terms of safety measures to take on St. Lucia, try to avoid walking alone in isolated areas or at night, take taxi precautions, and if you rent a car, don’t go offroading unless you have a 4×4 as roads tend to be narrow and rough at times. Also be aware that wearing camouflage in St. Lucia is banned, as it’s thought of as imitating military personnel.
Where to Stay in St. Lucia
Read more: St. Lucia Travel Guide & Packing Tips
One of the most idyllic, laid-back islands in the Caribbean, Anguilla is about 12 miles north of St. Maarten and is mostly a luxury destination where water-sports reign. Expect a lot of snorkeling, scuba diving, glass-bottomed kayaking, water-skiing, and sailing on your visit. The island is also known for its live music – whether you’re into reggae or something a little softer, you’ll find a nightlife spot.
Due to the high standards and precautions taken by locals, crime against tourists is very low. On your trip to Anguilla, your biggest concerns will be to not travel there during hurricane season and to confirm the price with taxi drivers before you get in the car, as there is no public transportation.
Where to Stay in Anguilla
A beautiful, natural island that’s part of the Lesser Antilles, Martinique is a heavily French-influenced destination with azure waters, palm trees, and rugged volcanic regions. However, while the island is definitely known for its beauty, it also has amazing cultural experiences and dining. When in Martinique, hike to Mount Pelee, a volcano that will give you awesome views of the ocean, scuba dive at Diamond Rock, and laze around on Les Salines beach.
Fun fact, in 2016 Martinique was designated the safest destination in the Caribbean by the Caribbean Tourism Quality Index. Yet, while Martinique is fairly safe, be sure to exercise normal precautions. Also, as a note to keep in the back of your mind, it’s best not to be alone in areas such as Fort-de-France after dark, as muggings have happened in the past.
Where to Stay in Martinique
Only 18 miles off the shore of St. Maarten, St. Barts is a high-end destination known for its designer boutiques and picturesque beaches. On the island do some designer shopping, head to a beach club, laze around on beautiful Colombier Beach, head into the capital city of Gustavia, or try out some water sports.
While there are no specific precautions to take against violent crime or petty theft, exercise normal precautions in protecting yourself from any incidents. Honestly, besides potential one-off occurrences, the biggest things to look out for on St. Barts is protecting yourself from bug bites and the harsh rays of the tropical sun.
Where to Stay in St. Barts
While Bonaire is well-known for its sustainable tourism efforts and laid-back vibe, it’s also known for being a very safe island. The island is pristine and offers so many awesome activities such as caving, horseback riding, sailing, hiking, and of course, diving. In fact, Bonaire is world-renowned as being a top diving spot!
To keep yourself safe on Bonaire, be aware that break-ins and robberies have been reported, so always make sure to lock your doors and keep valuables safely stowed away. Additionally, when you’re in the water beware of the fire coral and sea urchins as they’re super painful to step on and will put a damper on your trip.
Where to Stay in Bonaire
Ocean View Villas, Kas Hamaka, and Bridanda Apartments Bonaire are all great apartment options in Bonaire. If you’re looking for a great dive resort, then check out Courtyard by Marriott Bonaire Dive Resort.
Read more: Bonaire Travel Guide + Packing Tips
Caribbean Packing Essentials
Water Gear: I never go to the Caribbean without a swimsuit, quick-drying towel, rash guard, snorkel set, and a cover-up. Also, because of the stinging fish and urchin hazards, you’ll want a pair of rubber-soled water shoes.
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