Cables for hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Top 5 Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in the World

When you visit a popular location, you probably don’t consider whether it’s safe. If thousands or even millions of people visit yearly, there can’t be many dangers, right? Although this might be true, it’s crucial to understand the risks of any new location.

However, there are some tourist destinations you may want to avoid altogether. They are so dangerous that they could threaten your life if you don’t use extreme caution. Let’s learn more!

Cables for hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

What Makes a Tourist Destination Dangerous? 

One way tourist destinations can be dangerous is because of the weather. From hurricanes and tornadoes to flash floods and extreme temperatures, it’s always essential to know the best seasons to travel in specific locations.

Natural disasters also make areas hazardous. Whether it’s an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, some areas are more prone to this activity.

The local wildlife can make it dangerous, as well. For example, Snake Island is snake-infested to the point where officials don’t allow most people to visit. Certain times of the year increase the chances of encountering wildlife in different parts of the world.

What Basic Precautions Should You Take in Any Tourist Destination?

Depending on the tourist destination, you’ll want to take certain precautions. For instance, if you’ll be outside, always bring a first aid kit and plenty of water.

Many adventurers pack a survival kit. Although they never hope to use it, it may save their lives.

Always pay attention to the weather. Never go hiking in a valley or canyon if there is a chance of rain or storms. Don’t venture to scorching locations during mid-day. Although it may be more crowded in the morning, it’s also safer.

Gunung Sinabung Volcano erupts in Indonesia.

If you’re going to a city, research and know the neighborhoods you should avoid. Although being a victim of a crime is unlikely, you don’t want to increase your chances by getting in a risky situation.

Finally, understand the local wildlife and what to do should you encounter them. What do you do if you see a black bear or rattlesnake while hiking? What do you do if a rattlesnake or scorpion bites you? Know how to respond should anything happen so you can get help as soon as possible.

Learn how to survive a bear attack (probably).

Top 5 Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in the World

Even though many consider these five locations to be the most dangerous in the world, people still flock to them yearly. Some do so with caution, come prepared, and understand the dangers, while others don’t heed warnings and end up in the hospital or worse.

Let’s examine these five tourist destinations and why you might want to think twice before visiting.

1. Death Valley, California

About: Death Valley National Park is the lowest, driest, and hottest location in the United States. At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America. Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest temperature at 134 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because Death Valley is in the rain shadow of four major mountain ranges and moisture rarely passes over the mountains, it doesn’t see much rain. The area gets a little over two inches of rainfall annually.

Why It’s Considered Dangerous: Death Valley is dangerous because it’s a land of extremes. Travelers must be conscientious about the time of year they visit and even the time of day.

Winter storms can produce flash flooding, and the cold is brutal. The extreme heat of summer has killed people. Do not visit Death Valley in the middle of a summer day when this location is the hottest place on Earth.

Finally, there are a few dangerous creatures like rattlesnakes, scorpions, and black widow spiders. Don’t ever stick your hand where you can’t see it.

2. Snake Island, Brazil

About: A small island off the coast of Brazil, Ilha da Queimada Grande is Snake Island. Its 106 acres are home to rainforests and peaks that reach up to 676 feet above sea level. No one lives on the island anymore, and the lighthouse is now automated.

Thousands of years ago, when the water level rose, the water trapped golden lancehead vipers on the island. Over the centuries, they have thrived with no predators. They also had to evolve since there was no prey on the island by developing highly potent venom to kill migratory birds that stopped to rest.

Why It’s Considered Dangerous: Between 2,000 and 4,000 golden lancehead vipers infest the island. These snakes are one of the deadliest species of snakes in the world.

The venom will kill a human in less than an hour. Once they bite you, the venom can cause kidney failure, necrosis of muscular tissue, brain hemorrhaging, and intestinal bleeding.

This is why the people of Brazil rarely go to Snake Island. In fact, per the Brazilian government, a doctor must be present on any legally sanctioned visits, usually only granted to research teams.

3. Sinabung Volcano, Indonesia

About: Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano in Indonesia. It wasn’t an active volcano until 2010. Before then, there were old lava flows from over a thousand years ago. Although there were some nearby villages, the people there evacuated and were displaced for fear of an enormous eruption.

Why It’s Considered Dangerous: On August 29, 2010, the Sinabung Volcano began erupting. In 2013 and 2014, there were also eruptions. On June 26, 2015, approximately 10,000 people evacuated due to growing fears of a catastrophic eruption.

On August 10, 2020, a significant eruption occurred, leaving two inches of grit on the abandoned villages nearby and sending volcanic matter 16,400 feet into the air. Sitting in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the volcano has threatened a severe eruption for over a decade. It continues to erupt even in 2022.

4. The Danakil Desert, North Africa

About: Sulfurous hot springs, acid pools, steaming fissures, and salt mountains litter the Danakil Desert in Ethiopia. Few people live in the region and work in the salt mines.

Like Death Valley, the Danakil Desert is one of the lowest, driest, and hottest locations in the world. Average high temperatures are over 100 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Less than an inch of rainfall occurs yearly.

The Danakil Depression lies at the junction of three tectonic plates. Regarding year-round temperature, it’s the hottest place on Earth.

Why It’s Considered Dangerous: There are a few reasons the Danakil Desert is dangerous. First, the extreme temperatures and dry conditions make it challenging to visit the area safely. Like Death Valley, visitors must be cautious and prepared with lots of water.

Second, because of the tectonic plates, the region is home to two active volcanoes. After an earthquake, the Gaet’ale Pond formed the saltiest body of water on Earth.

Finally, the hydrothermal system of the area has produced hot springs hotter and more acidic than those of Yellowstone. Proper footwear is essential, and people touring the area must step gently because the salt crust is very unstable.

5. Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

About: Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful places in America. It’s also one of the most sought-after hikes. Hikers must have a permit to hike Half Dome.

The magnificent stone wonder rises almost 5,000 feet above the valley floor. The hike is about 14-16 miles round-trip and is not for the ill-prepared. But once hikers reach the top, they see the Yosemite Valley and surrounding mountains like no other visiting the National Park.

Why It’s Considered Dangerous: The dramatic elevation change is one danger. Some people suffer from altitude sickness, heat exhaustion, dehydration, or hyponatremia. It’s a challenging climb and usually takes all day.

If you can’t get out before sunrise, you won’t make it down. Hikers must have a non-negotiable turnaround time if they haven’t reached the summit to reach the bottom of Half Dome safely.

The weather is also a concern when making a lengthy hike. Always check the weather forecast, but thunderstorms can occasionally pop up. The rock face is extremely slippery when wet, and Half Dome is a dangerous place to be during a lightning storm.

How Do You Know If a Tourist Destination Is Safe?

Before you make vacation plans, do some research. Tourists love to join the scientists in the Danakil Desert for an “otherworldly” encounter, but is it worth it? Death Valley may be on your National Park road trip list, but if you can’t make it out before noon, should you risk it? Consider the severe hazards that some locations present and plan accordingly.

There are many beautiful, exotic, and adventurous locations around the world. Perhaps it’s best to skip a few and enjoy the others. Have you ever visited a tourist destination that people deemed unsafe?

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