Among the things most people wish they could do more is travelling. A break from one’s usual habitat and routine is sometimes all it takes to snap out of a funk. Sadly, travel is, in many cases, obscenely expensive, with plane ticket prices forever rising, and hotel and food expenses inflating in similar fashion. Moving back to our original statement, while getting out of one’s usual routine and habitat may be an amazing rush, it can never be done without some consideration and can be dangerous, and in extreme cases; deadly.
We all hear the stories, people go away on vacation and end up getting robbed, beaten up or in extreme cases, killed. In some cases it is sheer bad luck that causes their demise but other times, a lapse in judgement leads to tragedy. While some locales are forgiving, there are plenty that simply don’t leave any room for error. Those are the ones we are speaking of here; the most dangerous destinations in the world. Whether it is violence and crime relating to poverty, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), or even drug related conflict, there are some beautiful, interesting parts of the world that can be hazardous for travelers.
This is our list of the ten most dangerous tourist destinations in the world. There has been some attention paid to make sure this list includes only those areas that actually attract tourists, rather than just dangerous areas. While Baghdad, Mogadishu and Kabul are probably some of the most dangerous places on Earth, you don’t see Hawaiian shirt wearing, camera-toting, rest-and-relaxation-seekers lined up to visit these places. These are the dream vacation destinations most likely to leave you hurt, broke or dead.
We start our list off with the South American country known for one of the most beautiful attractions in the world; Machu Picchu. Peru’s most popular tourist attraction is also one of the only parts of the country that is actually safe. Machu Micchu is secured, for the most part, but only because of the massive money it brings in year after year. With regard to the rest of the country, especially travel routes and rural areas, there are both terrorist groups and drug trafficking cartels that threaten tourist safety.
9. Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand itself is somewhat of a volatile place these days, given the ongoing political situation that has been rocking the country for the past year. With that said however, political and social strife aside, Bangkok can either be an amazing party or a complete nightmare. Organized crime is rampant throughout the city and plenty of criminals, both of the organised and petty variety, target tourists. While it may not be the place that will get a traveler killed, rest assured that it is one of those places where it can take just five minutes for a tourist to go from an enthusiastic visitor to a confused, terrified, penniless victim, frantically searching for his or her wallet and passport. Adding to the travel hazards of the city, Thai police are notorious for simply not caring about the woes of tourists.
8. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Don’t misread this as “Rio is a death trap”, because it is not. The city used to be a complete hazard across the board, but police presence and police competence have both increased vastly since the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Unfortunately, Rio De Janeiro is still a place in which plenty of people are robbed every year. On top of robbery, those who are brave/ curious/silly enough to try exploring Rio’s slums (favelas) may be opening themselves up to robbery, mugging and even threats of kidnapping and murder. Going to these areas is still considered a tourist attraction, and while it is generally much safer to do so with a trained guide in a group, favela tours can present risks to foreigners. In short, Rio is a beautiful place with lots to do, but keep your wits about you and practice caution and common sense at all times.
Israel is one of those travel destinations that can actually change a person’s life. The culture along with the history, both recent and ancient, are known to be among the most popular in the world. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but the reason for Israel’s presence on this list is of course, the extreme volatility that is synonymous with the area. It’s nothing new, rocket and improvised bomb attacks are not jaw-dropping events in the Holy Land, and while terrorist activity is generally directed at locals as much as tourists, terrorism and even full-blown war are both concerns in Israel. We had mentioned that other war-torn and volatile areas such as Somalia and Iraq would not see membership on this list, but Israel is a special case given its significance in terms of world history, and the high level of tourist activity in the country.
6. Bogota, Colombia
Admittedly, Colombia’s capital has become much safer in recent years, as have most of the places on this list. Political leaders, as well as police leadership have taken steps to foster tourist friendly environments given the amounts of money available to local economies. With that said, the rural areas remain the most dangerous in Colombia, and occasionally their influence reaches the big cities. Travel between these cities is dangerous, given that the narcotics interests are prevalent on rural roadways. With regard to issues specific to urban areas, tourists continue to face the threat of kidnapping, even though such instances have decreased vastly over the last decade.
5. Mumbai, India
Most tourists who visit India, and Mumbai in particular, face obvious threats of a developing country; pick pockets are a threat, and possessions should not be left unattended. Don’t get us wrong, there is plenty to do and see in Mumbai and millions do so every year, with few incidents, but practice caution. Women should not travel alone in the city (and throughout much of India), as sexual crimes are common and police are notoriously inactive in the fight against them (although the times are gradually changing in India). Tourists also face threats from burglary and scammers in Mumbai. Those who encounter trouble in this city seldom have their lives endangered, but not using one’s head in Mumbai can lead to being bruised and broke.
4. Haiti and the Dominican Republic
“Stay on the resort and you should be fine”. This is actually a great way to ensure a safe trip to an exotic locale, but everybody knows the best travel experiences can come from exploring a new area. Unfortunately, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are fairly dangerous places when you step foot off the resort. Credit card fraud is rampant, bank machines are notoriously tampered with and kidnapping, thievery and even assault and murder are not unheard of. While overall homicide numbers have decreased in the past few years, muggings and assaults have stayed steady. Going back to the first sentence about staying in resorts, robbery and even sexual crimes are threats to tourists in The Dominican Republic and Haiti, even on resort grounds.
Why are they listed together? Well, first off they share an island, but while the poverty and political problems in Haiti are more prevalent, the same threats are present in the large cities of both countries. Haiti is unquestionably the more dangerous of the two, but common sense is essential in the Dominican Republic as well.
3. Kingston, Jamaica
If you’re looking for Bob Marley music, some “herbal medicine” and a relaxing time, Jamaica is a decent choice, but outside of resorts, it can be a dangerous place. Drug related crime is through the roof in spite of increased police and military activity, and foreigners occasionally get caught in the midst of this conflict. While cities like Montego Bay and Spanish Town are somewhat safer, they too see frequent instances of assault and robbery against tourists. With that said, Kingston is by far the worst, with just over 40 homicides per 100,000 people. Almost all of said victims are locals, but when it comes to being beaten up or robbed at gun/knife-point, Kingston is a destination in which it is always advisable to exercise as much caution as possible.
2. Cape Town, South Africa
With over 60 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, Cape Town is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Because of South Africa’s beautiful landscape, it is also a popular tourist destination. Because of its “interesting” history in the last couple of decades, the country lacks stability, with Cape Town being one of the most hazardous places that is still considered an area for tourism. Again, most have great experiences, but given the dangers ranging from muggings, carjackings and of course murder, it can be an absolute nightmare. Massive corruption in the government has made local police ineffective and incapable of providing order throughout the area, so if something does go wrong, you’re on your own. Obviously there are good and bad neighborhoods, but there is a reason South Africa and Cape Town especially, have the reputation that they do. It is dangerous and travelers must remain alert at all times.
1. Acapulco, Mexico
It is hard to say whether Acapulco (along with a few cities in Mexico) can still be considered a tourist attraction given the high rates of everything bad that exist in the country today. While it was once one of the most prosperous parts of Mexico, Acapulco has earned itself a nasty reputation as a place in which locals and visitors alike are under constant threat. While it is still one of the country’s major tourist towns, Acapulco is listed by Business Insider to be the third most violent city in the world, with a homicide rate of just over 104 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Obviously the drug interests in and around the city are more interested in getting their product to tourists, the crime epidemic in the city often affects them, as can be said of many Mexican cities. But again, if it were a complete death trap, nobody would be going anymore, and people still show up, see the city, and leave with positive memories. Common sense and an alert demeanor will see you through, no matter where you go.
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