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Barbados Crime, Scams & Annoyances: What to Avoid
Barbados is a lovely island nation home to Rihanna, coconuts and pleasant weather. It's an overall nice vacation spot, but it's not without its dangers, especially at night. This country generally has a lower rate of violence than many of its Caribbean neighbors.
In addition, police are heavily stationed around residential and tourist areas in Barbados. You can let yourself breathe a sigh of relief at that fact, but still keep your guard up.
The Usual Suspects
Trip Advisor reports that tourists are most likely to befall robbery, petty theft, taxi fraud and getting incorrect change back on purpose. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom reports that 38 passports belonging to British nationals were stolen between April 2009 and March 2010. People posting in a Frommer's travel forum reported incidents of robbery at gunpoint and incessant hagglers.
It doesn't seem pedlars on the island are much worse than those in other Caribbean destinations or Mexico, but prepare yourself for the possibility of some intense hassling.
Travellers on TripAdvisor who'd been to Barbados said St. Lawrence Gap on the southern coast of the island is one place in which to watch your back. Recent visitors there recommend older people only going out during the day, as this part of the island can seem seedy at night.
Women should stay in groups and avoiding walking home at night alone. A recent traveler to the Dover beach area of St. Lawrence portion of the island said she was chronically hissed at and called "Baby" while strolling the streets. Other travellers said the southern coast as a whole is more of the "party" area of the island. Anyone traveling with children or who just isn't into a heavy nightlife scene should probably stay at the northern end of the island.
You may be offered drugs or prostitutes, and locals will try to sell you other items like souvenirs in certain areas of Barbados. The hustlers can be relentless in their offers, and beggars will often pester you for money.
Taxi drivers may also be aggressive. Other travellers say the nightlife is good in this area due to the high amount of pubs and dancehalls. Travellers on Virtual Tourist said to take cabs back after a night of bar-hopping or clubbing to avoid run-ins with panhandlers, pimps and drug dealers.
Elsewhere in Barbados, tourist groups traveling on guided tours have been held at gunpoint at least twice. On one of the occasions, the perpetrator fired his gun, but did not injure anyone.
One traveler got robbed on the beach at gunpoint after a booze cruise, but didn't specify the area. It was after having "made friends" with a local who he suspects may have been in on the crime. The U.S. State Department reports that rapes have also occurred at Long Beach, Christ Church and Maycocks Beach, St. Lucy, during the day. Walkers and Pie Corner beaches were other sites of assaults.
Holetown on Barbados' west coast also attracted some attacks such as rapes and robberies during the day in late 2010. Most travellers and residents maintain that the island is very safe, but tourists should avoid empty beaches at night and other desolate areas.
If you are in a dangerous situation or fall victim to a crime, the emergency number in Barbados is 211, and of course you can always call your emergency assistance number on your travel insurance policy.
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