Danger Zones: Five Most Dangerous Vacation Destinations

Your in-laws are not on this list. Also excluded are the obvious places where Americans just aren’t welcome, like Iraq and North Korea. And the potential for an accidental faceplant while body boarding on Nauset Beach doesn’t count either. But if a vacation is not a vacation unless you’ve had a few Fear Factor moments, and living to tell the tale is half the fun of coming home, you might want to keep reading. The following is a short list of the some of the most dangerous places in the world to take a vacation.

Columbia
The tourism department of Columbia will tell you about beautiful Caribbean coastlines and the shining Latin spirit of the Columbian people. Perhaps they are referring to the shining reflection of the weapons people routinely carry in broad daylight. Columbia’s violent crime rate is the highest in the world, drug cartels have on-staff assassins and little discrimination about who gets killed, and there are more than 2,300 reported kidnappings of tourists there each year. In an average Colombian day there are 2 bank robberies, 8 highway robberies, 87 murders and 204 assaults or muggings. Of course, the surfing in Columbia is not bad on the Pacific side of the country, so you may want let your defenses down a little bit.

Map of Columbia - from Globalsurfers.com

Sudan
While traveling to different parts of the world will usually carry some level of risk for illness, few places carry the distinction of being described as a “hotbed” of exotic disease. Sudan, located in Northeast Africa, is one of the poorest and most neglected places in the world. The non-existent health care (three hospitals to 6 million people) and indescribably wretched living conditions make it not only especially dangerous for diseases like Ebola, Malaria, and Guinea Worms – which grow as larvae inside the body and then bore their way out as adults – but also breeds fun new diseases unique to this isolated area. Needless to say, the Sudan is the world’s most likely place to catch your death, and you will probably reach for antibacterial hand wipes after simply reading the guide book.

Taiwan
It may be the home of thriving international city Taipei and the world’s largest collection of Chinese artifacts, but you should probably check the weather forecast before booking those non-refundable plane tickets. Over 70 percent of this small island off the coast of mainland china is susceptible to three or more major types of disaster. The most damaging disasters include earthquakes, floods, landslides, typhoons, and windstorms, making Taiwan the world’s most likely place to be rocked by Mother Nature.

DanShui - Lover Bridge

Australia
It’s not a place of civil unrest, and you probably won’t lack clean food and water, but Australia is the home of the nastiest creatures on Earth, including all ten of the world’s most poisonous snakes, a large number of deadly spiders, and a whole mess of sea creatures who don’t like to share. From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef, it would be a little-disputed opinion that Australia is the world’s most likely place to be bit, stung, or otherwise attacked by the wildlife.

New Zealand
People flock to New Zealand in droves to experience the wonder of the Great Outdoors. Over a third of the country is designated as nature conservation land, leaving it an open playground for outdoorsy type and a magnet for extreme sports and adventure vacationers. But the number of tourist deaths each year in New Zealand is quickly becoming a headache for the country’s tourism board. The very nature of extreme sports increases your risk of death, and tourists are constantly underestimating the raw power of the land and sea. So whether you eat it while trying to whitewater raft over a cliff or get sucked under thinking you can out-swim a rip tide, New Zealand wins the award for being the world’s easiest place to die from your own stupidity.

White Water Rafting

Conclusions
This list is far from comprehensive. If one looks closely enough, danger can be found in even the most seemingly tame landscapes and, with the right magnification, even in Canada. Some risks are silly to take, while others can be mitigated with the right research and preparedness. Travel wisely and safely, and you just might come home in one piece after all.


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