20 of the Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in the World

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By Darryl Henderson

When you’re planning to travel, there is often some element of danger involved. It’s one thing to plan a trip to an active volcano, but another entirely to travel to a city known for its high crime rate. Here are the 20 most unsafe tourist destinations around the world.

Death Valley, USA

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The clue’s very much in the name of this particular tourist spot, as Death Valley will see you up against extreme temperatures reaching over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also be faced with dangerous wildlife, which includes venomous snakes and scorpions – not to mention limited water sources.

Mount Everest, Nepal

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Mount Everest has to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world – but it’s also one that requires vast planning to avoid death! Climbing Kilimanjaro reports that an estimated 300 people have died attempting to climb Everest. Altitude sickness and overcrowding are just some of the threats you can face.

Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

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The Danakil Depression is known as one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on earth. This is due to the many toxic gases found near the volcanic vents. The remote location also emphasizes the very small chance of being rescued in a place like this.

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

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The site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster has long since garnered interest from tourists due to the tragedy of the past. However, visiting the exclusion zone puts you at risk of radiation exposure. Therefore, all visits must be highly regulated, and protective measures put in place by experienced guides.

Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands

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Bikini Atoll can be very difficult to gain access to, with good reason. You need a special permit and a personal guide to venture into this place. Previously, it was the site of nuclear testing, which means there’s still some radiation present. Not only that, there is still artillery that could go off.

Snake Island, Brazil

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The aptly named Snake Island is home to between 2,000 and 4,000 highly venomous snakes, according to the BBC. Due to the extreme danger of this location, you can only visit legally if you have a permit. To add to the danger, there is limited access to medical help for bites.

El Caminito del Rey, Spain

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The El Caminito del Rey walkway in Spain is known for being dangerously narrow. It is located along steep cliffs, and a fall would be fatal. The walkway has undergone upgrades in recent years to make it safer, but it is still incredibly challenging—especially in wet weather.

The Darien Gap, Panama/Colombia

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The Darien Gap is the name given to an extremely hazardous region known for being used by drug traffickers. The Darien Gap will also see you exposed to dangerous wildlife, as well as natural threats such as the disease malaria. Expert guides are required to traverse this area thanks to the absence of any overland roads.

Mount Washington, USA

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Mount Washington, located in New Hampshire, is known for having some of the world’s severest weather storms. Tourists can be hit by 200-mile-per-hour winds. Even the warmer months offer no reprieve, as you’re still at risk of hypothermia or frostbite if you don’t have the proper equipment.

North Sentinel Island, Andaman Islands

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This location is particularly dangerous due to the indigenous tribe who live there. They are known to be hostile to any outsiders attempting to gain access. It’s illegal to try and approach the island. Forbes reports that the death of a tourist who illegally traveled there brought widespread attention to the island.

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

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The Skeleton Coast of Namibia is found in the northern part of the Atlantic. Here, you can be faced with harsh desert environments and strong ocean currents, which will drag you out to sea. Its name comes from the various shipwrecks and bones found along the beach – enough to warn anyone away.

Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

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Kilauea Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Any tourist in its vicinity is at risk of a sudden eruption and subsequent lava flow. The volcano can also spew toxic gas and ash clouds that can negatively impact your health.

Lake Natron, Tanzania

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Not all lakes are tranquil places to swim, as Lake Natron proves. This lake’s alkaline water levels can burn your skin clean off. The water is so hostile that only very few life forms can survive within it, namely algae and flamingos. The reflective, salt-covered surface can also result in disorientation.

Madidi National Park, Bolivia

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The most poisonous flora and fauna in the world can be found in Madidi National Park. The park is known for its dense conditions, making it a jungle where you can easily lose your bearings. If you don’t get lost first, you’ll be at risk of leishmaniasis – a type of infection from sandfly bites.

Aokigahara Forest, Japan

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Also known as the Suicide Forest, owing to many who choose to take their lives there, Aokigahara in Japan is a dense forest with a tragic and morbid history. Its main threat is the high risk of losing your way, yet many people are also unnerved by its spiritual associations.

Acapulco, Mexico

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Acapulco is one of the world’s most dangerous cities, known for its high crime rates. The Washington Post informs us how “organized criminal groups have made the city a battleground.” Exploring at night as a tourist can be particularly dangerous, and even visits to the idyllic beaches can be met with danger.

The Amazon Rainforest

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The world-famous Amazon Rainforest is home to many dangerous creatures and threats to human life. Many hostile animals, such as snakes, spiders, and even jaguars, live within it. Tourists are also at risk of insect-borne diseases, such as yellow fever.

Papua New Guinea

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Papua New Guinea is a dangerous place to visit and a dangerous place to live. People residing there are at risk of dangers brought about by tribal warfare and cultural fallouts. Certain areas, such as Port Moresby, have high crime rates. The lack of infrastructure makes it an ominous place for visitors.

Sana’a, Yemen

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The capital of Yemen, Sana’a, is the site of ongoing conflict and civil unrest, making it a risky place for tourists. There are very real threats of terrorism as well as kidnapping. Limited access to medical services means that emergency assistance is few and far between.

Mount Merapi, Indonesia

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Finally, number 20 on our list of most dangerous tourist destinations is Mount Merapi, the most dangerous active volcano in Indonesia. Thanks to limited evacuation routes in the area, tourists may have no hope of evacuating in time as they face high temperatures, rock fragments, and ash.