Top 10 Most Dangerous Vacation Destinations in the World

Spring Break is the perfect time to visit popular tourist destinations worldwide. If you’re thinking about going away this spring, some common factors will usually help you land on the perfect vacation spot: weather, sightseeing, history, and food

But what about safety? 

Many of the most famous tourist locations around the world are also some of the most dangerous. While some travelers seek out danger, you might be looking for a more relaxing vacation that allows you to return home safely in one piece. 

Below, we’ve compiled the most dangerous vacation destinations based on three hazards:

  • Extreme Climates
  • Treacherous Hiking Trails 
  • Crime 

Top 10 Most Dangerous Vacation Destinations Due To Natural Disasters, Climate, and Extreme Weather

Traveling to an exotic destination can be the perfect way to spend your spring break. Whether you are searching for adventure, beautiful sights, or a relaxing getaway, there are endless locations around the world that offer exactly what you’re looking for. 

However, some popular destinations are incredibly dangerous due to extreme climate conditions, active volcanoes, and poisonous native animals. See the top ten most dangerous vacation spots below in terms of extreme weather conditions, and decide for yourself if you’re an adventurous thrill-seeker or someone who’d prefer a trip that doesn’t put your life at risk. 

1. Mount Everest, Nepal

Mount Everest, Nepal

For many avid hikers, Mount Everest is a bucket list destination spot. Being the tallest mountain above sea level on Earth, hundreds of people travel to Nepal every year in the hopes of making it to the summit. However, more than 300 people have died from avalanches, hypothermia, and lack of oxygen. There are at least 200 visible bodies of deceased hikers frozen along the trail.

2. Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley National Park, California

As the name suggests, Death Valley is one of the most dangerous U.S. National Parks. The 130°F temperatures in the summer can lead to dehydration and heat stroke, but that isn’t the only risk. Poisonous animals like rattlesnakes and scorpions, flash flooding, and even car accidents make Death Valley a dangerous place to visit. 

3. Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Mount Washington, New Hampshire

While Mount Everest may be the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Washington’s smaller size doesn’t make it any less deadly. Known as “the world’s most dangerous small mountain,” its harsh weather conditions and steep incline have led to more than 150 deaths. 

4. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

The active volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are the only ones in the United States, making this an intriguing vacation spot for adventurers and laid-back travelers. However, volcanic eruptions can lead to sinkholes, lava flows, and exposure to toxic gases like sulfur dioxide. 

5. Lake Natron, Tanzania

 Lake Natron, Tanzania

Lake Natron is located in Tanzania, at the border of Kenya. The algae and bacteria that thrive in this lake create a unique and captivating red color like nothing else in the world. You can look, but don’t touch, as the lake’s highly alkaline pH and cyanobacteria are deadly for animals to ingest or swim in, causing their bodies to become petrified and appear to turn to stone. 

6. Anak Krakatoa, Indonesia

Anak Krakatoa, Indonesia

Anak Krakatoa is an island and national park in Indonesia. Tourists can travel to it by boat, and its history and popular diving spots attract hundreds of people each year. 

Krakatoa is also one of the most deadly active volcanoes, having erupted over 13,000 times in recorded history, including most recently in February 2022. The volcanic eruptions and subsequent tsunamis have claimed over 30,000 lives.

7. Danakil Desert, Ethiopia

Danakil Desert, Ethiopia

This Ethiopian desert is popular among daredevils thanks to its almost complete absence of breathable oxygen. Nearby volcanic eruptions have created a wasteland of sulfuric lakes and poisonous air, only allowing people to be in the desert for short periods of time without risking their lives. 

8. Madidi National Park, Bolivia

Madidi National Park, Bolivia

When seeing a photograph of Madidi National Park, you may think it’s the perfect vacation destination for exploring the world’s rainforests. However, everything in the photo you’re looking at could probably kill you! Coming into contact with many of this park’s insects, animals, and plants can lead to severe rashes, paralysis, and even death. 

9. Devil’s Pool, Zambia

Devil’s Pool, Zambia

This natural pool in the Queensland Rainforest is a popular location for Australian tourists. While beautiful, the exceptionally fast currents create a whirlpool effect that has drowned at least 17 people. 

10. Oymyakon, Siberia

Oymyakon, Siberia

Temperatures in Oymyakon can plummet below 88°F, making it nearly incompatible with all life. Many thrill-seeking tourists still travel to this destination each year with the help of a guide, crossing frozen rivers and staying with one of the very few locals who reside in this remote village.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Hiking Trails

If you are an avid hiker, you may be looking to use your spring break to conquer a world-famous hiking trail. Some of the most popular trails are often the most deadly, which is why we’ve put together the top trails you should avoid if you value your life.

1. Mount Huashan, China

Mount Huashan, China

Home to the famously treacherous “plank walk,” Mount Huashan is the most deadly hiking trail in the world. You must be an experienced hiker in peak physical condition to take this trail that has caused over 100 people to plummet to their deaths. 

2. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

If you are looking for beautiful views on your vacation, Canyonlands National Park in Utah offers some of the most unique rock formations in the world. However, if you’re looking for safety, you may want to steer clear of this park. Sixteen people have died attempting to hike the dangerous trails, including “The Maze,” which is known to be nearly impossible even for seasoned climbers.

3. El Caminito del Rey, Spain

El Caminito del Rey, Spain

El Caminito del Rey, or “The Little King’s Path’, is a series of wooden planks pinned to the side of a narrow gorge in Spain’s village of El Chorro. It was originally created to help workers deliver materials to a hydroelectric power plant. However, the path closed following five deaths in 1999 and 2000. This deadly walkway reopened in 2015 after nearly a decade. 

4. Skellig Michael Mountain, Ireland

Skellig Michael Mountain, Ireland

There are over 600 carved-out stone steps on Ireland’s Skellig Michael Mountain trail. While this is a challenging adventure for many tourists, the foggy Irish weather and lack of handrails have caused a few visitors to lose footing on the slippery stairs and fall to their deaths.

5. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

The 400 vertical feet up to the summit of Yosemite’s Half Dome is so steep that the national park’s staff has placed cables for you to cling to as you scale the side of the formation. A permit is needed to attempt this climb, as are hiking gloves and your grippiest shoes. 

6. Cascade Saddle, New Zealand

Cascade Saddle, New Zealand

If visiting New Zealand, you must relish the breathtaking views of Cascade Saddle. However, a lengthy and treacherous four-day hike is required to get there. Much of the trail, nicknamed “the Path to Nowhere,” is slippery and unstable, and 112 people have died over the years attempting this climb.

7. Huayna Picchu, Peru

Huayna Picchu, Peru

While the Huayna Picchu trail is a relatively short hour-long trek to the summit, you’ll have to scale 750 stone steps to get there. While no tourist has ever died on this trail, the dizzyingly steep stairs make it easy to see why this location is on the list. 

8. Aonach Eagach, Scotland

Aonach Eagach, Scotland

With a knife-sharp ridge that puts your life in danger both on the climb up and the descent, this six-mile Scottish trail is not for the faint of heart. Several people have died attempting to conquer this walk, either from slipping or after the unsteady terrain gives way under them.

9. Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

At least 17 deaths have been confirmed at Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park following failed attempts at crossing the incredibly narrow land bridge on this trail. An over 1,000-foot high plateau looms below you on this path, with only a metal chain to hold onto as you cross. 

10. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

Steep dropoffs, raging water currents, and falling rocks are just a few of the dangers you’ll face on the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii. It is strongly advised that you travel in a group when hiking this trail, as the lack of cell reception and difficult paths are too risky for even the most experienced hikers to take on alone. 

Top 10 Most Dangerous Vacation Destinations Due To Crime

If you aren’t much of an adventurer or hiker, there are still plenty of risks you’ll need to consider when choosing a vacation destination this spring break. Some popular tourist attractions are located in areas where theft, assault, and petty crime run rampant, so keep the cities below in mind before booking your flight. 

1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio is a popular vacation spot for its beaches and yearly Carnival festival, but tourists should be mindful of their belongings while exploring the Brazillian city. Pickpocketing and mugging are relatively common, as it’s easy to get distracted by the local sights and fall victim to a scammer or thief. 

2. Acapulco, Mexico

Acapulco, Mexico

Acapulco has a high crime rate, but it is safer for tourists than many expect. Most of the crime is gang or drug-related, so as long as you use your common sense and avoid dangerous situations, you should be able to enjoy your vacation without a hitch. 

3. Kingston, Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica

Jamaica is a beautiful country where tourists can enjoy gorgeous tropical beaches and paradise resorts. However, the town of Kingston is not the safest for visitors, as theft and assault are common. Be aware of your surroundings and stick to the more popular locations, as these areas have more security measures in place for the safety of tourists.

4. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Petty theft and minor scams are the most common crimes that tourists in Bangkok will face. For visitors, crime is less of an issue than learning the country’s unique social guidelines, including removing your shoes before entering buildings and using your right hand when handing something to someone. 

5. Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India

In terms of population, Mumbai is the largest city in the entire world. With that many inhabitants, it isn’t uncommon for crime to be higher than in other areas. To avoid assault or theft, it’s recommended that you travel in groups and leave important belongings in your hotel room. 

6. Tijuana, Mexico

Tijuana, Mexico

Tijuana has a high homicide rate, making it statistically one of the most dangerous cities. However, these crimes are likely to occur only in non-tourist areas, so don’t let this stop you from enjoying all of the nightlife, art, and culture that Tiujana offers.

7. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a beautiful destination known for its safari destinations, beaches, and Winelands. As with any tourist city, it is best to stick to popular areas, guard your valuables, and avoid walking at night to protect yourself against crime. 

8. Buenaventura, Colombia

Buenaventura, Colombia

Buenaventura was, until recently, run by gangs that terrorized the local inhabitants. Since the civil war ended in 2016, this city and the rest of Colombia have made strides in rebuilding their communities, making it safer than ever to visit and go backpacking in this beautiful South American country.

9. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is home to a beautiful art museum, zoo, science center, and more. Unfortunately, it is also home to some of the highest crime rates in the United States. Petty theft, aggravated assault, and carjackings are some of the common crimes that tourists may face. Like any city, you should be safe to enjoy St. Louis so long as you keep your wits about you and remain vigilant. 

10. Zamora, Mexico

Zamora, Mexico

Zamora is located within the Michoacan state of Mexico and offers artful gastronomy, berry vineyards, and even a beautiful palace owned by the Mexican government. If you want to travel here, remember that it was considered the world’s most violent city in 2021. Gang and drug violence are common, so stay safe and avoid walking alone late at night.

Does Your Life Insurance Policy Cover Overseas Death?

No one wants to think about the possibility of death while planning their dream vacation, but whether you’re a thrill-seeking traveler or are looking for a relaxing vacation this spring break, anything can happen. Many people neglect an important step when booking an overseas trip: making sure your life insurance policy covers death overseas. 

Many insurance companies will process claims the same way if you die in a foreign country, but there will often be exceptions: passing away while scaling Mount Everest might lead your insurance company to deny a payout, claiming self-inflicted death or incomplete documentation related to a foreign death certificate. 

When you need a life insurance attorney who will fight for the rights of your beneficiaries, contact Boonswang Law. We’ll fight on your behalf against the dishonest practices of many insurance companies, protecting your family and ensuring that your beneficiaries receive the payout they deserve in the event of untimely death. 

Written By: Chad Boonswang
Chad G. Boonswang, Esquire is a litigation lawyer based in Philadelphia, PA. Selected as an ASLA 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top 100 Litigation Lawyer, Mr. Boonswang plays to win. As a lawyer, athlete, and scholar, he has always put in the energy, time, and commitment to be the best. After working for several prominent law firms in Philadelphia, including Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP, he founded his own practice in 2002.  Since then Chad has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients from life insurance claims and catastrophic injury cases.  Year after year, he has earned a 10.00 Superb rating on Avvo.

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