The US State Department has joined the UK’s Foreign Office in warning tourists about visiting the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Around 30,000 UK tourists normally visit the tropical destination each year.

The UK Foreign Office issued a warning at the end of last week. The US State Department now says: “Reconsider travel to Trinidad and Tobago due to crime. Exercise increased caution in Trinidad and Tobago due to terrorism and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk.

“U.S. government personnel are prohibited from travelling to the following areas in Port of Spain: Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queens’ Park Savannah. After dark, U.S. government personnel are prohibited from travelling to downtown Port of Spain, Fort George overlook, and all beaches. Violence and shootings occur regularly in some areas of Port of Spain.

“Violent crime, such as murder, robbery, assault, sexual assault, home invasion, and kidnapping is common.”

They added: “Gang activity, such as narcotics trafficking, is common. A significant portion of violent crime is gang related.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.”

The UK Foreign Office said: “In Trinidad, there’s a high level of violent crime. Gang-related attacks and shootings are increasing around the city centre of Port of Spain, including Laventille, Morvant and Barataria.

“There is a risk of armed robbery. You can reduce the risk of being targeted when on foot by: avoiding unlit areas at night and using well-populated roads and paths.”

Around taxis the advice is: “Violent criminals often carry out attacks in vehicles, ranging from the threat of violence to sexual assault and robbery, kidnapping for ransom, rape and murder. You can take precautions against being targeted by:

  • using well-established taxi firms, recommended by locals or your hotel
  • being cautious about accepting lifts in a private car or ‘maxi taxi’
  • taking local advice to avoid areas affected by gang violence
  • keeping the windows closed and doors locked while driving”

If you’re staying in a villa, especially in an isolated area, officials warn it should have adequate security, including external security lighting, grills and overnight security guards. They added: “Withdrawing cash from an ATM or changing money can make you a target for pickpockets or muggers. Consider asking hotel or villa staff to take you by car. Keep money, valuables and passports somewhere safe, and never leave anything in an unattended vehicle.”