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Old 10-19-2011
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Economic situation in the Caribbean

I am considering cruising in the Caribbean. Leaving aside Haiti, does anyone have any input on the social and economic conditions on the various islands? Has the world wide recession had an effect on safety?
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Old 10-19-2011
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It's been a year or more since we were last there, but we've cruised the eastern chain from Grenada to St Maarten over the past 6 years prior. Reports are varied but generally we never felt unsafe. The French islands are well supported by France and have good facilities at reasonable prices. Saba is a gem, stable but difficult to land with no real good anchorage.. but worth it if the weather cooperates (for the cab ride alone!)

St Vincent has become a bit of a hotbed (certain areas anyhow) in the drug trade and I believe parts of that island are being avoided. Sporadic reports of some vandalism in Rodney Bay on St Lucia generally kept our hosts from spending much time there, but we stopped at the Grand Pitons regularly.

The Grenadines are amazing, try to avoid the cruise ship stops, and as you head down into Union, Carriacou etc it's all very laid back and there seems little crime.

Antigua and Barbuda seemed fine, lots going on in Antigua and our host are based there in winter.. Barbuda (swell dependant) is a deserted paradise for the most part...

As to whether or not the most recent economic trends have changed things, hopefully someone with more recent experience can chime in (although most who winter there will just be getting ready to return about now)
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Old 10-19-2011
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depends on what you call safety. Growing up in the DC area, all of the islands are quite safe. Aside from the drug smugglers, arrogance of Americans, and the ongoing fiasco(s) in Aruba...you should be fine...that was my experience last winter through March this year..

does not mean you leave things unlocked and valuables (what we take for granted can be quite valuable) out in the open, nor flash and shock, or ask around for drugs...

For the most part they are driven by tourist dollars, and will bend over backwards to help that along.

You may want to check a few island sites and the state dept, or island embassies for specific...
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Old 10-19-2011
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caribbean

Faster is right on the money. We made landfall last Nov after crossing from Las palmas Grand Canaria at Rodney Bay St. Lucia. It was great there and we will return this summer but the drug war is real.
We spent a year in the Caribbean before heading to the Med., (2008-9). Between then and now there have been about 4 or 5 violent attacks on boats or crew. One in St. Maarten, two in Antigua, one in Tabago, one St. Vincent. Adjusted for number of cruising boats and island populations the incidence of attack in very low.

The economics mirror the US for the most part. What you spend varies widely on where in the chain you spend most your time. The Leewards cost more than the windwards, but there are more facilities. Most expensive, are BVI, St. Maarten, St. Barts, Nevis, and Antigua. I would say cost for normal things such as provisions and shore activities are about 15-20% more then say Miami.

The range of costs from cruiser to cruiser is great. Our costs including repairs, maintenance, insurance (health and boat), food,entertainment, and misc. has averaged $5,000/mo. Now mind you we have been in the Med. for two years and it is much more expensive there. We have cruising friends on a smaller simpler boat that average (all things) about $1,000/mo in the Caribbean.
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Old 10-19-2011
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My wife is from the islands (Trinidad)...and despite the rosy picture portrayed above, we have *DEFINITELY* seen a decline in safety and overall increase in lawessness in the islands we've visited. The youth that grew up idolizing the fast money culture has come of age and with few avenues to obtain it has resorted to graft. Nearly every island is battling drugs and the gang crime that comes with it. In fact, Trinidad is under a near nationwide curfew right now. Seems like its going to get worse before it gets better as the tourist trade is still pretty off this season with Europe going through their financial crisis now...its keeping many folks from Europe away which is a lot of the Caribbean tourist season.
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caribbean

The number of boats in the E. Caribbean has not decreased in any real way. Boats to Trinidad have however decreased significantly because, well, it's Trinidad. 2010 over 2,500 boats departed Canary Islands for Caribbean, similar to 2009
I agree there has been (and is) a steady decline in youth behavior. Have no workable answer for that. But as of 2011 cruising in the Caribbean is still as safe as most destinations on the Atlantic side with the odds of a violent encounter on your boat about 1 in 1000. Take steps to include some security and that number improves dramatically as most are attacks of opportunity.
Very safe areas are far Bahamas, south coast Puerto Rico, Spanish-US-and British Virgins (city of St Thomas can be dangerous at night in some areas but anchorage has been safe). Do not let fear stop you from cruising If it does you should probably stop driving your car
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Old 10-20-2011
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Status quo in the Domincan Republic. I'd rather be here than in North American in these economic times. A 3rd world country doesn't seem to feel the effects as much cause they already live with less. Sail away, don't worry about it. Just keep your wits up like you would anywhere else.
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Old 10-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
My wife is from the islands (Trinidad)...and despite the rosy picture portrayed above, we have *DEFINITELY* seen a decline in safety and overall increase in lawessness in the islands we've visited. The youth that grew up idolizing the fast money culture has come of age and with few avenues to obtain it has resorted to graft. Nearly every island is battling drugs and the gang crime that comes with it. In fact, Trinidad is under a near nationwide curfew right now. Seems like its going to get worse before it gets better as the tourist trade is still pretty off this season with Europe going through their financial crisis now...its keeping many folks from Europe away which is a lot of the Caribbean tourist season.
I am sorry to hear this, have not been to the Caribbean for over 25 years, I guess a lot has changed. Never understand as economic times get bad, the drug trade gets better. Where do people get the money to buy the drugs. Seems like drug trafficting would go down with the economy.
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Old 10-28-2011
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Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
I am sorry to hear this, have not been to the Caribbean for over 25 years, I guess a lot has changed. Never understand as economic times get bad, the drug trade gets better. Where do people get the money to buy the drugs. Seems like drug trafficting would go down with the economy.
When times get bad, coupled with a gov't crackdown on drug trafficking....drug wars break out. And thats when real crazy violence starts happening. Case & point is Mexico.

Here's whats going on in Trinidad right now. After a series of drug raids, the lords in Trinidad started going for retribution. 11 people murdered in the course of a few days...mostly drug and gang related. You think 11 people dead, no big deal. Remember, the population is only 1 million on the entire island. Imagine if Chicago had 11 murders in a short span. (and thats 10 million people metro area).

Gov't absolutely freaked out and called a state of emergency locking down major metro areas of the country.

So far, I hear the people are big fans of the state of emergency with the curfew and enhanced powers to do crime interdiction. But still...scary times

Not to mention Turks & Caicos are currently under custodial gov't by their colonial power due to abject corruption. I'm sure drugs played a part there as well. St Vincent is falling apart at the seams and Haiti is always a disaster.
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Old 10-28-2011
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Turks and Caicos is perfectly safe, at least on Provo. Very laid back - very low crime rates and high employment on Provo at least. I spend winters there because of that.
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