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Here at Matador, we’re all about transparent travel.

Photo: mihalorel

We want travelers to blog about their journeys, share their photos and videos, and engage in passionate conversations about your favorite (and least favorite) places and experiences.

We want you to tell us where you are and what you’re doing on Twitter or on Facebook.

But just be sure you’re not giving us too much information.

Our friends over at Wend Magazine blogged earlier this week about an American couple who got caught grilling an iguana (a protected species) and cleaning a less than legal-sized conch in The Bahamas.

It wasn’t because the cops or wildlife protection police happened upon the couple as they fired up the barbie.

No… it was because the couple decided to post photos of their culinary adventure on Facebook. Before you could say “Well done, please,” Bahamian authorities saw the photos and swiftly arrested the couple.

Photo: ZoZ

According to the Bahamian newspaper, The Freeport News, the couple posted bail in the amount of $500 each, and were scheduled to appear in court on February 10. The online version of the newspaper has not yet reported the outcome of the court appearance.


There is such a thing as too much transparency. If you’re doing something stupid on your vacation, think twice before sharing the evidence online.

World Events


About The Author

Julie Schwietert

Julie Schwietert Collazo is a writer, editor, researcher, and translator currently in New York, formerly of Mexico City and San Juan.

  • nate

    See, I disagree with the posit of this kind of thinking. It's not the transparency that's the problem, it's the idiocy. It's pretty simple that saying there's too much transparency is just the band aid to the real problem, that people are doing stupid things in the first place. Don't roast a protected species would be the real fix.

  • soulglider

    Wow the bahamian authorities are that connected on facebook? I'm really curious to how they happened to find out. That is really impressive investigation.

  • Sarah_Menkedick

    I find this somewhat frightening. I'm not justifying the couple's behavior at all, but when social media sites are being used to track people down and monitor them…I don't know, it seems to be wandering into a creepy zone to me. Like in China, where the government monitors private email and decides who is an enemy of the state. I know Facebook is a public service, but it makes me shudder to think of "the authorities" following people's accounts and looking for evidence of wrongdoing.

  • Eva

    When I was in China this summer, content vanished mysteriously from my F-book page, and re-appeared when I left the country. I also got messages with chunks missing, and red-lettered writing saying: "Content has been removed from this message." Pretty creepy to think that my daily procrastination was being filtered. I've got no sympathy for this couple, but agree that the broader trend — of all our thoughts and day-to-day activities being monitored — is decidedly unpleasant.

  • Sarah_Menkedick

    I couldn't access my own blog in China (blogspot was banned at the time–I think it still is, but sometimes the government undoes it for a day or two) and professors at the university where I was teaching warned me not to write anything sensitive in my emails. Another professor sent a letter home and found out that large chunks of it had been censored with black sharpie! His friend received the letter with only the happy, "all is well!" portions in tact. What amazes me is that it is so blatant….and so unabashed. Websites disappear from one moment to the next, and police could show up at one's door any minute. And that's really not an exaggeration.

  • Joshua

    I am in the middle of a very similar dilemma right now. Photos happened upon my photo page of an amethyst mine that was closed and the captions said that an entrance to such old mine was made. I got an email from the United States Forest Service that asked me to call them, so I did. Now I have a court appearance this month or I get to simply pay a fine and plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Guilty? I say no. But this is just another example of how the government(s) monitor online content. Don't be stupid. If you did something questionable, don't talk about it online. Don't post photos either. Don't even kid about it.

  • Julie

    Nate- I absolutely agree with you and in no way condone the iguana grilling episode. It would be wrong (not to mention illegal) regardless of whether the couple made the stupid move to photograph their antics and post them on the Internet. Since there are people who make dumb decisions, though, they'd probably be well-advised to avoid publicizing their stupidity.

  • Julie

    Soulglider, Sarah, and Eva- Important and interesting point regarding the use of Facebook by the Bahamian authorities. I checked several different sources and all of them glossed over the privacy incursion issues. I would argue, however (given recent events–Barack Obama's speechwriter getting caught groping a cardboard cut-out of Hillary Clinton in a photo on Facebook), that anyone using Facebook or any other virtual address book/diary/travel scrapbook should be judicious in their posting of personal information. It's likely that the scanning of Facebook for this type of information will increase, not decrease, particularly as no laws (to my knowledge) prevent authorities from doing so.

  • Andrew

    I think the moral of the story is: Don't do anything illegal. Also, make your facebook pages accessible to FRIENDS only! Check out the Privacy settings on Facebook.

  • VagabonderZ

    I was in China at the same time as my friend who kept a blogspot blog. She was able to blog…that is, until she wrote one about Tibet. Then it was game over for her (in regards to blogging that is, she was never harmed physically) until she left China.

  • VagabonderZ

    All in all, a great reminder to think twice before posting anything that could be potentially construed as questionable! How sad…

  • Andris

    Great thought provoking article. I've _never_ understood why people break the law and then talk to the press about it. I guess it just plays on people's desire to brag about having gotten away with it. Just goes to show, the only way to keep a secret is….big surprise…to not tell anyone! :)

  • Turner

    It can affect your job, too; my contract in Japan wasn't renewed because the company didn't like the way I talked about cultural differences on my blog.

  • Jack travels

    I'm still amazed that people post in a very public manner about the things they do that could be questionable: Whether that's getting too drunk and messing around with someone they shouldn't or committing a crime. Does everyone forget that social media is just that? Social?

  • Craig

    Questionable? How about illegal and damaging to an irreplaceable resource? Freaking idiots. Getting caught is the least of their problems.

  • VagabonderZ

    Allow me to clarify…I wasn't talking about what these idiots did…clearly they're off their tree…it was a general statement…that if you have pics of something that could possibly be interpreted as illegal, better think twice about posting them!

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