10 Most Dangerous Places to Travel

Posted on August 15, 2012 by

When travelling, danger comes packaged in a myriad of ways: copious amounts of poisonous snakes, an unfriendly militia, or sky-high crime rates. Maybe you’re looking for an adrenaline rush – or maybe you just want to know which places to avoid when booking your next vacation. Either way, we’ve put together a list of the 10 of the most dangerous places to visit.


While travelling to Brazil gives you the chance to gaze over the 250 mesmerizing Iguacu Falls and kayak the Amazon, cities like Sao Paulo unfortunately have high rates of gang violence, and even tourist-ridden Rio de Janeiro has scary levels of murder, rape and theft. If you’re leaning towards that Amazon kayaking adventure, watch out for piranhas, Black Caimans, army ants and jaguars.

Rio de Janeiro by night
Flickr photo by jackhynes


Colombia has paramilitary groups prone to kidnapping people, and it exports 75% of the world’s cocaine. While Medellín may no longer boast the title of murder capital of the world, narco-terrorist groups are still active in several rural areas and firearms are common.

Cartagena, Colombia

Flickr photo by szeke


Antarctica’s wilderness is breathtaking, and if you’re on a cruise or travelling with an experienced guide, it can be a safe place to visit. But if you wander off, be prepared for weather that could kill you in little less than an hour thanks to temperatures that drop beyond –60 degrees Celsius and powerful winds.

Antarctica - Neko Harbour

Flickr photo by Rita Willaert

4Mount Everest

Everest’s peak is one that not many people can claim to have conquered, and rightly so: many experienced climbers die attempting to reach it. Nature is unkind on Everest, and if you climb into trouble, it’s incredibly difficult to get help.

Mount Everest and the Roof of the world, Himalaya, seen from Mountain Flight

Flickr photo by eriktorner


The 2010 earthquake that destroyed Port au Prince launched the already-impoverished nation into devastation. Haiti is recovering, but still suffers from outbreaks of cholera, malaria, and violent crime.


Flickr photo by uusc4all


The world’s top supplier of opium, Afghanistan is home to landmines, political unrest, and frequent bombings. There are continual terrorist attacks, high risk to foreigners of kidnapping, and even if you leave its cities, millions of landmines pepper the countryside.

Afghanistan 2

Flickr photo by jankie


Unlike the friendly Disney version portrayed by Johnny Depp, Somalia has real pirates, and the nation is famous for its rocky government, poverty rates, and frequent crime.


Flickr photo by frankkeillor


Since 2003, nearly a quarter million Sudanese refugees have left for Chad, spurred on by terrorism, military regimes, and insurgent groups. Don’t look for safety away from urban areas, either – Sudan has a desert-like terrain that is especially unforgiving.

sudan - the black pharaohs

Flickr photo by Retlaw Snellac

9Izu Islands

High levels of gas on these volcanic Japanese islands have led to evacuation twice before. If you decide to visit, make sure to bring a gas mask – all residents are required to carry them in case of sudden gas level hikes.

Misty island

Flickr photo by ippei + janine

10Ilha de Queimada Grande

Just off Brazil, this island boasts 1 – 5 snakes per square metre, and not just any snakes: the golden lancehead, whose bite will melt your flesh, has caused 90% of snakebite fatalities in Brazil. If that’s not enough to turn you off the island, maybe the paperwork will – all visitors require permits due to the island’s danger.

Ilha Queimada Grande - Itanhaém

Flickr photo by Prefeitura Municipal de Itanhaém


About Kenza Moller

Kenza is WildJunket's editor. She is originally from the Dominican Republic and currently wrapping up a writing degree in Victoria, BC. She ran a non-profit foundation for animals and also interned at Canadian Geographic, and is happiest when traveling, scuba diving, writing or running. Check out her blog at www.kenzamoller.com.

14 Responses to “10 Most Dangerous Places to Travel”

  1. Just One Boomer August 16, 2012 11:41 am #

    I hope no one would set off to climb Mt. Everest or visit Antarctica or any place crawling with poisonous snakes without taking reasonable precautions. And I think it's fair to generalize and say that it's a good idea to avoid areas with active civil wars—or any kind of wars for that matter, and failed nation states. I'm kind of surprised that Iraq and Syria didn't make the ten most dangerous list. Having said that, I would remove Brazil and Colombia from the list unless you want to add parts of every large United States city. I kind of wouldn't hang out just over the border in Mexico either, but I had a lovely trip to the Bajio region of Mexico earlier this year. The key is to not be dumb. Do your homework and find out where not to go when you are visiting somewhere. (If you visit Philadelphia, you can ask me, but do come to Philly–the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.) But, of course, the Number One most dangerous place in the world to go is "The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time"—like, for example, a certain movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the night the new Batman movie came out or at a gathering of liberal party youth on an island in Norway.

    • Diana August 16, 2012 8:25 pm #

      totally agree with you Just One Boomer, especially in the "the wrong place at the wrong time".
      I am Brazilian, I live in Rio, and nothing has ever happened to me or my visitors. But I have been robbed twice in Paris. I am no silly though to say Paris is a dangerous place, not at all. I was careless in a big city, that was all.
      In the name of Brazilians, I feel so sorry to read such article…

  2. Diana August 16, 2012 7:23 am #

    Seriously??? Have you ever been to Brazil to dare to say that?????
    I could go on and on about it, but before I really want to know if you have ever spent a week here for saying such things.
    Putting Brazil in the rank of one of the 10 most dangerous places in the world, together with Afghanistan, is really irresponsible, to say the least…
    so disappointed…


    • Kenza August 17, 2012 6:43 am #

      I've never visited Brazil, but it's 2nd on my list after Australia! These are meant to be places that have been reported as dangerous but that are definitely worth visiting. :) So yes, they're not as dangerous as places with civil wars going on where you are actually in absolute danger if you visit, but I didn't intend for them to be. I'm sorry you weren't happy with the article & thanks for commenting!

      • Just One Boomer August 17, 2012 9:19 am #

        Kenza, I think it was the title of the article that was troubling given that Brazil and Colombia were then listed as numbers one and two of the most dangerous places in the world to visit. By all means, go to Brazil and Colombia, but as you should anywhere in the world, take sensible precautions. Safe travels and enjoy!

  3. Barbara August 17, 2012 5:11 am #

    I would unfortunately add Caracass and/or all of Venezuela much before Brazil. I'm trying to get there and have so many people giving me warnings. Real or imagined? This is certainly an interesting list, though!!!

  4. @wayanyway August 18, 2012 4:27 pm #

    Interesting post : )

    Liked the one about the snake island.

    Regarding Colombia – we've been there and it does feel unpleasant to walk on the streets. We've never seen tourists walking with cameras. When we try to walk on some small streets, locals start telling us not to go there and symbolically showing knifes at our throats and etc… not fun.


  5. thebrianhealy August 20, 2012 2:26 pm #

    Sorry but I have to laugh at the stupidity of this list. How on earth is Brazil the number ONE most dangerous place to travel? It is a thriving place for tourism and constantly has positive reviews. If it was the number one most dangerous place to travel why on earth would the Olympics be held there?

    Why isn't Iraq on this list?

    And why is Mount Everest in this list? I guess you don't have a clue about trekking? K2 in Pakistan is the most dangerous mountain in the world to climb. It has a significantly higher number of deaths than Mount Everest.

  6. Luca in Japan August 21, 2012 8:21 pm #

    Hahahaha, Izu Islands??? You gotta be kidding. Only a very small area of just one island of Izu is affected by the volcanic gas. This list is a joke.

  7. Rupesh August 22, 2012 2:58 pm #

    Being inside Nepal, I would agree that the weather at or near Everest is never at a same level. Not only near Everest, in almost all of the high mountains of Nepal, the weather is Never fixed, in some minutes, you will pass through sunny day, which changes the cloudy afternoon in moments. Better be prepared for all kinds of weathers, and thats why may be people are more interested to visit here…

  8. jastin artar October 28, 2012 7:26 am #

    i guess pakistak is also in high risk country. hard n scary to travel there.

  9. Dianna December 3, 2012 1:39 am #

    Ok. Mount Everest, Izu Islands, Ilha de Queimada Grande… Brazil first … really ???
    It's like you are that kind of people who have been influenced by hollywood movies or BBC news…

    Sorry, but this list is just ridiculous.
    If you have never visit some of these places before, it's stupid you make a list like that based in clichês & stereotypes!

  10. antarctic animals adaptations May 28, 2013 10:42 pm #

    Meanwhile, penguin’s feet are web-shaped and very short, which help them move in the water very quickly.
    The residents of Antarctica boast that they
    are members of the “300 Degree Club,” which is a very exclusive club.
    It is quite important that this step is taken to prevent the ice from breaking and are not contaminated by the present
    day climate.


  1. The Radar: San Fran Street Food, Beautiful Burma, Dangerous Destinations – Intelligent Travel - August 17, 2012

    […] This list is either a primer on places to avoid — or an adrenaline junkie’s travel checklist. Find out which destinations are noted for their danger. [Wild Junket] […]

Leave a Reply


Wildlife Photography ebook|Sign for our monthly newsletter to download for free!