Latin America and the Caribbean

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on July 10, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Jessica Labrencis and RaeJean Stokes, vacation package, women's travel.

Latin America and the Caribbean

American women traveling south of the border, whether to the Caribbean, Mexico, or other Latin American countries, should prepare themselves for attention. Cat-calling, groping, and staring are all common complaints.

Occasionally however, it's not all so benign. One traveler, who preferred not be identified, found the attention she got in Jamaica to be relentless. While exploring the island, she was continuously propositioned and asked if she wanted to buy drugs. "Nearly every time I went into a shop and drifted from my companion to browse, some man would try to corner and harass me."


Her advice for women traveling south? "Go out and do excursions with a group from your resort and stick together. If you are going on an independent excursion, like a horseback ride or snorkeling trip, ask the company if anyone else signed up for it. And never assume that women in groups means power. Being by yourself is definitely the worst, but traveling with another woman or two still attracts attention in terms of harassment."

However, you can have a safe visit to the Caribbean or Latin America by being aware of the issues and using some common sense. Ignoring aggressive men and moving on, preferably into a well-lit area with lots of other people, is a good idea. Do your best to avoid compromising situations in the first place. At the very least, travel in pairs, don't wander around unknown areas at night, and avoid excessive drinking. It goes without saying that alcohol impairs judgment.

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