Allowing for “Common” sense, Is Cuba the safest place in the Caribbean to wander off the resorts. I get the feeling it’s safer than Mexico and would love to hear what others have to say.
Spunky, I would take it one step further and not restrict the statement to just the Caribbean or Mexico, but include all of Central/South America too. In fact, include the entire world and see what people can come up with.
In my opinion I think you would be hard pressed to find another destination, 1.) In a developing country, and 2.) Receives the number of tourists that Cuba does that is, 3.) Anywhere nearly as safe as Cuba is.
That’s obviously a very sweeping statement and I’m certainly no “Cuba is the best place on earth” type of traveller, but honestly, I think the stats - or more accurately the lack of stats - puts Cuba in a pretty unique situation.
And I’m of course only referring to “normal” tourists who are exhibiting the usual common sense that most visitors do… if you’re using poor judgment and being involved with drugs, prostitution or other illegal activities then obviously that’s another discussion…
Thanks Terry, I’d love to hear about other destinations but our budget is pretty well Caribbean bound. We’ve had great luck with Cayo Largo but our carrier doesn’t sell our favourite hotel any more. May be time to try a new spot so I’ve been trolling around Holguin and Jibacoa; both, very safe by all reports.
Look at it this way Spunky… since 1992 (that’s as far back as their records go) the Canadian Embassy hasn’t recorded a single case of violent crime against a Canadian tourist that has resulted in death. I have no clue how many Canadian tourists have visited Cuba since '92, but it’s millions and millions and millions of travellers.
That said, I know two foreigners who’ve been murdered in Cuba (one a friend and one an acquaintance) but they were both being dumb, doing things that a normal tourist would never consider. (One death was sex and money, the other death was drugs and money… same story as anywhere.)
Lastly, just because it’s almost impossible for a normal tourist to get murdered, stabbed, shot, car jacked, etc. doesn’t mean that there isn’t low violence crime happening in certain places… you can still get mugged, pick-pocketed, etc. if you’re not being careful…
I have a friend that was recently in Varadero and he got his pocket picked for his iphone, apparently on this phone were some very revealing pictures :o :o :o. He said the phone was locked but I don’t imagine it takes much of a genius to hack an iphone. He was at the big disco/bar in Varadero when it happened and admitted that he’d had too much to drink. This kind of crime, although frustrating, is common no matter where you go in the world though.
I personally got the pleasure of spending a little time in the back streets of Havana, with a guide though, and I was quite nervous, not the kind of place I would normally hang out, but by the looks of things, not too many tourists hang out there, so I kind of stood out like a sore thumb
I get pick-pocket attempts fairly regularly in Havana. It happens anywhere there’s a big crowd of people - if I’m tightly packed in with other people an attempt is always made. Attempts out on the street are far less common.
Fortunately pick-pocketing (like money exchange scams) is easily avoidable. Pick-pockets don’t have super human powers to magically teleport your belongings from you - they have to actually get their hands on your stuff. Zippers, velco, inside pockets, etc. are all ways to make pick-pocketing impossible.
[quote=@martian]I get pick-pocket attempts fairly regularly in Havana. It happens anywhere there’s a big crowd of people - if I’m tightly packed in with other people an attempt is always made. Attempts out on the street are far less common.
Fortunately pick-pocketing (like money exchange scams) is easily avoidable. Pick-pockets don’t have super human powers to magically teleport your belongings from you - they have to actually get their hands on your stuff. Zippers, velco, inside pockets, etc. are all ways to make pick-pocketing impossible.[/quote]
or hands in your pockets
I’ve had my heart stolen a few times… but who hasn’t?
That, definitely requires a separate thread. ;D :’(
We’ve never been to Mexico and I doubt we ever will but here’s the places I didn’t feel safe: Nassau, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Caracas & Kingston. Only two places I felt totally safe: Cuba (including Havana) and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos.
I felt safe in Mexico but we were in tourist places - you see armed guards. Let’s just hope the armed guards don’t flip out!
We felt pretty safe in downtown Puerto Plata in DR but we had an excellent guide and a driver nearby. I’m not sure we’d go back by ourselves or at night. Varadero was as seedy a place as we’d ever been.
Never felt unsafe anywhere except when in Jamaica. Had people approaching us constantly once outside the resort for drugs, even following us to the bus and banging on the windows…
But anywhere else, have gone to disco’s, shopping, clubs etc and never had a issue or an encounter.
Varadero was great, jumped in cabs at nite by myself and visited different disco’s, no issues at all and had my phone out in plain view etc. Didn’t treat it any differently than going to a bar at home.
Being a very tightly controlled tourist enclave puts Varadero in a unique situation regarding safety. There are lots of places outside the resorts where most (not all) tourists have no business being and where your iPhone would be gone in a heartbeat if you weren’t careful…
I will not go to a place that we do not feel safe. Granted , Cayo Largo is unique but still,
Cayo Largo. A poor place for crooks. How much can you hide in your hat, anyway?
Safest place on the planet, I say.
If it means anything to you, the Canadian government considers Cuba to be in its “safest” category.
Exercise normal security precautions”
The DR gets a more cautious assessment:
Exercise high degree of caution”
As does Mexico:
I could go on, but the point is that Cuba is considered very safe, unlike many (most?) other travel destinations…
Even though I’ve stated that I feel safe in Cuba, I still exercise caution. For instance, I’m not a night owl but my husband is so I head off to bed before he’s ready to call it a night. He always escorts me back to our room. As a woman, I would never walk down secluded pathways, at night, unescorted. I wouldn’t do it at home so why would I do it on vacation! It’s not the Cuban employees I’m leery of, it’s other guests. Not only nice people take vacations! Sun glasses, on vacation, are good; rose coloured glasses, not so much
I’m laughing because I do it all the time! Since I travel solo, I seldom have an escort…at least, not one I want…to accompany me to my room at night, and I am not about to lock myself in before it gets dark.
I can remember many, many times I zipped back and forth between Melia and Sol Cayo Santa Maria at night, hurrying between piano bars to listen to my two favourite piano players. I did so much “road work” one week there, it was probably equivalent to a substantial daily morning jog.
So far, no problemo at any resort I have visited. But then, I guess the predators aren’t looking for old ladies. Or maybe they are smart enough to stay away from the ones who attend kickboxing classes.