If you’ve been searching for your next holiday destination, here are 17 spots you may want to avoid. Each of these destinations is known for its unique risks and challenges, making it particularly dangerous for tourists.
Death Valley, USA
Death Valley in California is known as one of the hottest places on Earth. According to Science, it can reach temperatures of over 113°F (45°C) in the summer and once hit a high of 134.1°F (56.7°C). The heat, combined with the limited availability of shade and water, poses severe health risks to those who decide to visit.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast fascinates tourists with its extraordinary sand formations and vast desert landscape. Unfortunately, it can be extremely dangerous with its harsh climate and scarcity of available food, water, and shelter. The area along the coast is known for shipwrecks and can be engulfed in a dense fog. Combined with the difficult terrain and limited access, it’s a risky trip to take.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is known for its stunning ocean vistas and iconic mountain ranges, but unfortunately, it suffers from high crime rates, especially in its township areas. Robbery and gang violence are prevalent, and it’s recommended that you don’t walk the streets after dark and stay in tourist areas.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Tourists flock here for the breathtaking views, but all too many have fallen victim to the dangerous sheer drops after getting too close to the edge. There’s a heightened risk of falls due to the unstable surfaces and high winds. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to stay within marked paths.
Yosemite National Park, USA
Though beautiful, Yosemite National Park in California has some extremely challenging terrain, especially on hikes to the Half Dome peak. Roberts & Spiegel Injury Lawyers state, “There have been about 1,300 deaths at Yosemite since the park was established in 1890,” mainly due to slips and falls. Tourists should only visit if they’re experienced hikers and have the proper equipment.
Snake Island, Brazil
Otherwise known as Ilha da Queimada Grande, the infamous island has a high concentration of extremely venomous snakes—one of the deadliest snake populations in the world. The golden lancehead viper is among the most dangerous there, with between 2,000 and 4,000 on the island, according to Discover Magazine. (Un)fortunately, the Brazilian government has closed it to the public.
The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion turned the nearby (now abandoned) city of Pripyat into a popular destination for dark tourism, despite the ongoing radiation risks and decaying structures. As stated by The Independent, the site has been open to the public since 2011, but only if you visit with a specialist tour guide.
Death Road, Bolivia
The infamous Death Road in Bolivia attracts thrill-seeking tourists despite its dangers. The world’s most famous gravel track, 22.61 miles (36.4 km) long, is known for its narrow, winding paths and steep drops, which create a high risk of accidents and fatalities. An estimated 200 to 300 people die traveling on the road each year, according to dangerousroads.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala, is known for its Mayan history, nearby volcanoes, and interesting culture. Unfortunately, the city has high rates of violent crime and drug trafficking. Risks to tourists include robberies, carjackings, and bus holdups. Tourists are advised to stay in safer regions of the country.
The cultural capital of Venezuela, Caracas, is alluring for tourists but has a high crime index (83.1 in 2023—the highest in the world) and increasing crime rates in recent years. Visitors face risks like pickpocketing, scams, and armed attacks. On top of that, gangs are growing in power, leading to a corrupt and underdeveloped system where crime flourishes.
Mount Everest, Nepal
According to The Explorer’s Passage, around 800 tourists attempt to climb Mount Everest each year to reach the famous peak. Sadly, only half make it to the top, and many suffer injuries or even die trying. Why? Freezing temperatures, dangerous climbing conditions, and low oxygen levels. If you aren’t an experienced climber, we’d recommend skipping this one.
Mount Washington, USA
Mt. Washington beckons adventurous tourists with its ski resorts and nature trails, ideal for hikers and climbers. Unfortunately, its 6,000-foot peak is notorious for lethal weather conditions, including extreme winds reaching 203 mph and temperatures plunging to -40°F. Renowned as the world’s deadliest small mountain, it poses risks such as hypothermia and poor visibility.
Once a popular tourist destination, Acapulco is now troubled by gang violence and drug-related murders. The city is known as Mexico’s “murder capital” with a high murder rate—111 per 100,000, according to the World Population Review. It’s advised that tourists stay within the safety of resorts and avoid surrounding areas.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
San Pedro Sula is a beautiful city in Honduras but has been rated relatively unsafe for tourists. It is known for having a high homicide rate and issues with arms trafficking and violent crime, making the city a risk for both tourists and residents alike.
The Danakil Desert, Ethiopia
Straddling the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, the Danakil Desert is a stunning yet perilous landscape of volcanoes, hydrothermal fields, and salt pans. Though it doesn’t reach Death Valley’s extreme temperatures, it still soars to around 131°F due to geothermal activity causing acid lakes and toxic gas. Tourists flock here, but it’s essential to have a guide for safety.
Madidi National Park, Bolivia
Madidi National Park is an Amazonian wonder, with lush rainforests and diverse wildlife. Sadly, tourists face inherent risks when they visit, such as venomous snakes and spiders lurking amidst the greenery. While guided tours do offer some level of safety, the park’s untamed wilderness means visitors must be cautious at all times.
The Devil’s Pool, Zambia
Straddling Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Devil’s Pool is a part of Victoria Falls. It’s located right on the falls’ edge and tempts visitors with up-close views. However, the Zambezi River’s strong currents pose a risk of sweeping visitors over the edge. Accessing the pool also involves navigating treacherous, slippery rocks and powerful waters, so the utmost care is essential.
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