Another day, another tourist destination hit with a travel advisory. This time, it’s Jamaica – and unlike the travel advisory for Nassau in The Bahamas, this is a pretty strong recommendation on behalf of the U.S. Department of State… You’re going to want to reconsider travel.
While the warning in the Bahamas was about gang-related violence, the Jamaica travel advisory is because of both crime and health concerns; though the health concerns seem to be related somewhat to the crime and murders. Here’s how the State Department harrowingly breaks it down:
“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”
They continue that, “Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities. The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere.”
Meanwhile, a local paper, the Jamaica Gleaner, has touted that the murder rate fell 20% in the last week of January… To “only” 19 murders, for a total of 65 murders in the last month alone. By contrast, in January 2023, New York City had 30 murders. Just to give you a sense of scale.
As for the health concerns, here’s how the State Department lays it out.
“Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards. Public hospitals are under-resourced and cannot always provide high level or specialized care. Private hospitals require payment up front before admitting patients and may not have the ability to provide specialized care. Ambulance services are not always readily available, especially in rural areas, and are not always staffed by trained personnel.”
Short version: you may be in serious danger if you go to Jamaica right now, and in fact, there are multiple areas of the island completely prohibited to anyone working in the government.
Hotels are still open, and flights are available, but perhaps – for the moment – you might want to postpone that Jamaica vacation.