A week ago, a popular cruise line blogger wrote a glowing review of the port of Roatan, Honduras as a wonderful place that cruise passengers should consider. But nowhere in the review was there any mention of the high crime rate there. The murder rate in Honduras is the highest of any country that a cruise line could choose.
The blogger posted the review on Twitter. I thought that he was out of his mind.
So I questioned on Twitter why he didn't mention Honduras' high crime and murder rate? I posted the the U.S. Department of State's warning.
Today I read a message which had been posted by a Carnival cruise ship passenger, traveling with his wife and three girls, on a Facebook page of a friend called the "Missing America's Project:"
"ROATAN WARNING! 02 JANUARY 2014. SHOTS FIRED AT MY FAMILY. RENTAL CAR HIT BY BULLET, ROBBED AT GUNPOINT. Please use extreme caution if traveling to Roatan, an island cruise destination off the coast of Honduras."
You can read the rest of the message below.
One of the problems is that travel agents and cruise line do not warn cruise passengers of the dangers of crime in the Caribbean ports of call where crime is a real problem. Some cruise lines provide luke-warm warnings in publications provided to the passengers on the cruise ship, but only after the families have already purchased their tickets and are sailing to the port.
The U.S. Department of State warning is accessible here. It is ominous. Since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world. In addition, "The vast majority of serious crimes in Honduras, including those against U.S. citizens, are never solved; of the 50 murders committed against U.S. citizens since 2008, police have only solved two."
The family robbed stated that another family sailing with Carnival had a shotgun pointed at them on a van during a sight-seeing excursion.
Here's the message posted on the Facebook Page:
"This past Thursday, during our Carnival Cruise port call, while driving on a beach access road on the northeast side of the island, a masked gunman sprung from the bushes about 30 feet in front of our car. With no warning he aimed and fired his semi-automatic weapon, striking the front hood of our rental vehicle. My wife and our three daughters, ages 8, 14, and 15, were with me. My immediate reaction was to put the car in reverse and try to back down the gravel/dirt access road to distance my family from the gunman. I wrecked the rental after driving approximately 75 yards in high speed reverse. The gunman pursued us on foot with pistol drawn. I got out of the car and when the gunman arrived he proceeded to rob us of cash, iPhones and camera. The encounter lasted approximately three minutes, and for most of that time he had his gun pointed either at me or at my daughters.
The gunman was 20-25 years old (best guess), brown native skin, black hair, about 5'8" tall, and weighed approximately 200 lbs. He spoke almost perfect "Island English".
Carnival has responded by providing comfort to my family, and has handled this incident in a caring and professional manner. The local police are investigating.
Roatan has only one major east/west running paved road. Many of the beaches and tourist destinations are located away from this paved road, and must be accessed by driving on un-paved secondary roads through rural "jungle" areas. Use extreme caution when off the main path, especially when in a highly noticeable rental car.
Also on the same day, another cruise guest had a shotgun pointed at his family while on a sight-seeing guided van tour. They were also on a remote un-paved side road."
March 20 2014 Update: Travel Crime Warning: Tourists Assaulted, Robbed & Terrorized in Roatan, Honduras.
Thinking of visiting Roatan Honduras? Read the Missing Americans Project first.
Photo Credit: Sven Manguard / Wikimedia