- Reviewed: 30 January 2015, 11:35 NZDT
- Still current at: 4 December 2023
Security and Crime
Most Caribbean countries have stable security environments. However, violent criminal activity, often drug-related and involving firearms, is a serious problem in a number of Caribbean countries. Foreigners are unlikely to be specifically targeted but local advice should be sought on areas to avoid and sensible precautions taken such as avoiding travel by foot at night and particularly to isolated areas. Petty crime such as pickpocketing or bag-snatching occurs in some areas, with tourists often a target due to their perceived wealth. It is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as jewellery and mobile electronic devices. No resistance should be given if you are a victim of robbery as this can often lead to an escalation in violence.
There are severe penalties for drug-related crimes throughout the Caribbean and prison sentences are handed down for possession of even the smallest quantity of illegal drugs.
It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing of any description in most Caribbean countries.
The Caribbean sits within the Atlantic hurricane zone. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November and the hurricane risk varies between countries, as well as from season to season.
New Zealanders are advised to monitor local and international weather reports to keep up to date with developments. If you are staying in a hotel, you should follow the guidance of hotel management or your tour operator. Otherwise, heed any instructions issued by the local authorities and seek suitable shelter. Do not go outdoors during a hurricane and remain well away from the sea and rivers. You should also keep your family and friends in New Zealand informed of your safety and well-being, including after the hurricane has passed. For further information, including on the likely path of a hurricane, visit the US National Hurricane Center website.
New Zealanders travelling or resident in the Caribbean should hold a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. In some Caribbean countries, medical facilities can be limited and may not be up to New Zealand standards. There may be a need for medical evacuation to the United States or elsewhere in cases of serious accident or illness. Check that your insurance policy covers you for all eventualities, including for any pre-existing conditions and all the activities you intend undertaking – scuba diving, sailing etc.
Cases of Dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika virus have been reported across the Caribbean, all of which are mosquito-borne illnesses. Travellers are advised to use insect repellent, wear protective clothing, and stay in lodgings where there are mosquito screens on windows and doors. See our Health and Travel advice for further information.
Do not travel
Destinations in Caribbean where we advise against all travel.
Do not travel to Haiti due to the high level of kidnapping, violent crime and civil unrest (level 4 of 4).
Exercise increased caution
Destinations in Caribbean where we advise caution.
We advise that New Zealanders exercise increased caution in Cuba (level 2 of 4).
Exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to violent crime (level 2 of 4).
Exercise increased caution in Trinidad and Tobago due to violent crime (level 2 of 4).
Travel Advisories in CaribbeanAnguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos
Virgin Islands, US