Walking around Caribbean nations safe?

thenix

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Hi everyone. I've done a disney cruise to the Bahamas and we did a bus ride to Atlantis. I wasn't quite sure how safe the country felt around the port. Near the port was crowded with a lot of locals trying to sell stuff but around the island seemed a bit more sparse and run down. Anyways with my upcoming cruise I'll be going the Grand Cayman and Jamaica and I'll have some time to hang around the island if that isn't a bad idea. Has anyone just disembarked and walked around? Is it safe enough to do? I'm looking for any experiences others have had. Thanks.
 

Tallis

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Grand Cayman reminds me a lot of the United States. I would feel completely comfortable there. Jamaica has good and bad areas, so really it depends on what part. I have explored Jamaica at one port, but another port felt completely unsafe to leave the "secured" shopping area for cruise patrons.
 
  • MausFan

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2019
    All of those ports are fine. The stop in Jamaica is particularly beautiful and the port facilities are new. The people there are also very friendly. The whole area is very, very clean and very inviting. Google it...you'll see what I mean.

    Cozumel was fine both times we were there. We walked around a lot and I stopped in a local mercado a few blocks away that is similar in size and goods to Target. Again, very nice people...my Spanish is ok...not great, but as in most countries, people appreciate it if you at least try to speak in their language.
     

    iZon

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2012
    The port shopping area in Falmouth is a gated area purpose made for the cruise ships. So it’s fine. Not sure about outside the gate. The main strip of Cozumel was teeming with tourists and again seemed fine. The only troubles you ever hear about is when tourists travel off the beaten path too far.
     

    MrsInsG

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2017
    It depends on the country. My husband checks InterPol before we go anywhere (he's a cop - he can't help himself!) and gets a general feel for the amount and type of crime. If violent crime is the norm, with little done to stop it, we don't get off the ship or visit the country. Jamaica was a hard "no" in 2018 from him based on some crime trends taking place not so far from the port. It also depends on what you want to do and who is traveling. We have three daughters who are tween to older teen; this impacts our decisions to a great degree. The bottom line is if you don't feel safe for some reason, don't do it.
     
  • Birdie dog

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2015
    We travel frequently. We love Grand Cayman and have stayed on island several times for dive trips. We have no concerns there. We also love Cozumel, we've stayed there, walked around and taken cabs.

    However, Jamaica is a completely different animal. Not only am I not up for walking around there, I stay on the ship.
     

    Pooh93

    <font color=blue>Proud mom of 2 dd's<br><font colo
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2000
    I believe GC would be fine. Jamaica not so much to just go wandering around. Our server had his day off in Jamaica. I told him to be careful and be aware of his surroundings. (the mom in me! Lol) That evening at dinner, I asked him how his day was and he said he went out of the gated port area and as he walked down the street, people started coming up to him saying "I get you drugs, women etc" He turned right around and came back to the ship. I felt bad for him as I know their days off are precious.

    Jamaica is the one port I would definitely do an organized excursion. We chose to stay within the gated port area and went to Margaritaville and just had a low key day.
     

    MausFan

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2019
    We did a fantastic excursion in Jamaica, and had a street experience there. Also, got a Starbucks mug from there to add to our growing collection, but that's a different issue...

    The Jamaican Bobsled, "Hike the Waterfall" excursion was a blast. "Someone" skipped over the fact that the was hike "in" the waterfall and not looking at it from the shore (that would be me). You get drenched, but it is so, so fun. We laughed very hard the whole time. Our family likes to hike and are active, so it fit well with what we like to do, but my family still makes fun of me about missing the important details. By the time we were half way up the ski lift headed up to the Bobsled, we were dry. Just try to book in the morning as the park with the waterfall fills up and gets more crowded over time. (By the way, we had older teens with us.)
     
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    sunmoon620

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2009
    Grand Cayman was perfectly safe. We felt very comfortable there walking in the shopping areas etc. With everything that is going on in Jamaica we opted to stay inside the port controlled areas. We didn't even do excursions in Jamaica because of the crime rate that is currently being reported. However, to each his own. I think is is just dependent upon the port. Nassau is very run down outside of the port area. I have never felt unsafe in the immediate shopping area, but would not dare venture beyond that. St. Thomas, St. John, St. Marteen were awesome, never felt unsafe.
     
  • AquaDame

    Disney Cruise Line
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2010
    We were in Grand Cayman and Jamaica this last December - Grand Cayman was very nice. We rented a car and went all over on our own without any issues. There were a ton of foreigners on holiday running around on their own and the restaurant we ate at was reasonable, tasty, and very clean. We did have to walk to get to the shuttle for our car and we felt very safe.

    Jamaica has had ongoing issues with violent crime so I had been hesitant to even take a Disney excursion there. The port area is secure and safe, but we ended up booking a rum distillery visit while we were there. I don't regret going at all, but it definitely was reminiscent of the islands further south that are more on the poor side.... a lot of the houses and roads are in disrepair and there is a fair amount of garbage around. Even the "bus" that the Disney tour used was the same older van that the locals use - I remember being worried we were going to get stranded as the engine didn't sound happy! If you or anyone in your party are sensitive I might stick within the compound at Freeport.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    I felt safe in Grand Cayman. You couldn’t pay me enough to walk around Jamaica on my own.
    When I was at Beaches Ocho Rios we hired a driver to take us into town. In terms of food there was no issue at the two takeaway places we went to. But for shopping the driver refused to take us anywhere but the various gated plazas.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    If you've lived in or spent any kind of time in a good-sized American city, you won't be uncomfortable. The same rules of engagement apply. If you're a small-town person, you might feel anxious.
    I've lived in multiple large American cities for and definitely felt uncomfortable there too--have been threatened with weapons, witnessed violent attacks, been sexually assaulted, had accidental needle sticks from discarded needles. I was stuck living there so it is what it is, but I can't say I highly endorse seeking out that experience on a vacation.
     

    kiford

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    I would not go out on my own in Jamaica and would certainly not leave the enclosed port area to just wander about. Taking an excursion, either through Disney or one you find on your own should be fine. We went to Jamaica for my niece's wedding a few years back and a colleague, who was Jamaican, told me to leave my valuables at home and not to leave the resort unless it was with a tour guide who the resort could recommend. On our 2016 cruise, we did the Dunn's River Falls and Bobsled excursion (through DCL) and it was great. We then did our shopping (I was looking for a particular rum that isn't available at home) in the Falmouth port area.
     

    Bonnie1222

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2016
    DH and I have done 11 Western cruises. We wander on our own every time.

    Cozumel - we always walk to Mega (the target/walmart of Mexico) first to pick up local craft beers, snacks and any necessities we might have forgotten. It's about a 2 block walk - just stick to the main road. Then after returning what we bought to the room we head back out again and do the main strip of shops. We might venture back off the main road near Palmeras where they have an open square with stores around it but we don't usually venture too more the 1-2 blocks back.

    Grand Cayman to me personally is where I am most at ease. We have wandered several blocks into town and walked up and down the road every trip. A lot of people head out to beaches and excursions so the streets never seem that busy to me. They have a great brewery on the island, Caybrew, and DH and I hop a taxi there first to have some drinks and stock up on cans to bring home, then grab a taxi back to shop. They have public transportation right at the port as well and if you search it online, you can find their bus schedules and they are relatively inexpensive. I have thought about trying it to get to the brewery, but we usually just ask them to hail a taxi and pay the extra.

    Jamaica's port in Falmouth is open and inviting. There is plenty of jewelry stores and souvenir shops to visit and the duty free shop. There is also a Margaritaville to hang out at. I have never gone past the gates unless it was on a Disney excursion. Last trip we noticed that they had security keeping the local people away from the port side of the street, where on other trips I had seen locals at the fence calling in to the tourists to try and entice them out. I have heard good and bad about going past the gates, but for me personally, there is nothing I need outside of the port itself so I don't bother. Friends on our last cruise grabbed a taxi to a local beach and had a fabulous time. I don't recall the name of the beach, but one of the crew on the ship was local to the area and told them exactly what to ask for and where to go.

    One thing to keep in is be aware of your surroundings no matter where you go (when traveling and even at home) and pay attention to thing happening around you.

    Have a great trip and enjoy exploring.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    Hi everyone. I've done a disney cruise to the Bahamas and we did a bus ride to Atlantis. I wasn't quite sure how safe the country felt around the port. Near the port was crowded with a lot of locals trying to sell stuff but around the island seemed a bit more sparse and run down. Anyways with my upcoming cruise I'll be going the Grand Cayman and Jamaica and I'll have some time to hang around the island if that isn't a bad idea. Has anyone just disembarked and walked around? Is it safe enough to do? I'm looking for any experiences others have had. Thanks.
    Yes for Grand Cayman, NO for Jamaica (Been to Ocho Rios. It's completely another world. I've traveled in a few countries and big towns in the US and ... Honestly, I felt safer walking alone with my friend at 2:00 AM in an industrial park in Queens than I felt during those 3 minutes between the ship and Margaritaville).
     
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