May 28, 2024 | Sarah Ng

12 Of The World's Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations


Would You Take The Risk?

Are you a thrill seeker or an adventurer—a skilled hiker or mountaineer? Do you love feeling the rush of adrenaline? If so, I wouldn't be surprised if some of these dangerous attractions are on your bucket list.

But though these fascinating destinations might seem worth the risk for some—the hard truth is that they're not for everybody. In fact, some might even say, "Absolutely not. No way."

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Mount Everest

Location: Nepal/Tibet

For the avid mountaineer, the ultimate achievement might be climbing Mount Everest. However, the trek to its infamous peak is unbelievably dangerous. Deadly weather conditions and high altitudes can easily become a recipe for disaster.

Sunrise at Gigantic Mount EverestHendrik Terbeck, Flickr

Mount Everest: The "Death Zone"

Standing at 29,032 feet above sea level, Mount Everest is not a tourist adventure to be taken lightly. At a certain height, climbers will enter what is known as the "Death Zone"—and sadly, many have suffered its chilling consequences.

people Getting close to the South Summit.Mário Simoes, Flickr

Mount Everest: Not Enough Oxygen

In Everest's "Death Zone"—at around 26,000 feetthe human body struggles to adapt to the oxygen pressure. Basically, it uses oxygen too quickly, which can't be replenished in time. This results in altitude sickness.

Mt. Everest seen from DrukClaude Florin, Flickr

Mount Everest: Altitude Sickness

There are varying degrees of altitude sickness. Some may experience symptoms like dizziness or nausea, but others are doomed. Altitude sickness can be fatal. However, the dangers of Mount Everest don't end there.

Mount Everest from base camp oneGlobal Panorama, Flickr

Mount Everest: Avalanches And Exposure

Mountaineers also have to be wary of avalanches, and horrifyingly, they can be difficult to predict. Many Everest enthusiasts have been blindsided by avalanches, as well as catastrophic falls, frostbite, and health issues related to exposure.

Mount EverestGunther Hagleitner, Flickr

Death Road

Location: Bolivia

Have you ever heard of Death Road? Located in Bolivia, traveling along Death Road—or Yungas Road—will give tourists access to the most stunning vistas imaginable. You'll be able to see the Andes in all their glory. But you'll also have to ask yourself, "Is this really worth it?"

The Bolivian Death RoadMatthew Straubmuller, Flickr

Death Road: Too Narrow

Yungas Road is called Death Road for a reason. It is wildly dangerous because it is far too narrow. Even a single car has difficulty comfortably fitting on it. At some points, the road's width is just three metersObviously, this makes traffic a downright nightmare.

Death Road view from the carSzymon Kochański, Flickr

Death Road: No Guardrails

In addition to the narrow roads, you have to take into account that there are no guardrails. Yungas Road is steep and has no safety precautions. Falling off of it leads to a chilling drop of 2,000 feet. Of course, it's even more dangerous when the weather is bad.

Death Road Boliviawanderlasss, Flickr

Death Road: Dangerous Conditions

If you're traveling along Yungas Road while its raining or foggy, then you're really risking it all. The slippery mud and loosened ground would make driving all the more difficult. One wrong move, and it's all over.

Considering the risk, it's no wonder the road has such a tragic reputation.

Death roadAHLN, Flickr

Death Road: Hundreds Of Fatalities

Hundreds of drivers have steered their vehicles off the cliff by accident. For instance, one of the worst tragedies the road ever saw was when a bus carrying over 100 people fell into the canyon in July 1983.

The Matthew Straubmuller, Flickr

Death Road: A Magnet For Mountain Bikers

Yet, somehow—despite it's absolutely brutal history—Yungas Road is still a tourist attraction. It manages to attract about 25,000 tourists on an annual basis. What's more? It's a very popular destination for downhill mountain bikers.

Since 1988, 18 cyclists have lost their lives while adventuring on Death Road.

Death Road - Boliviawanderlasss, Flickr

The Devil’s Pool

Location: Zambia

Victoria Falls can be found on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. As one of the world's natural wonders, the stunning waterfall is major tourist destination. However, it also happens to boast a very attractive but terrifying attraction: The Devil's Pool.

Devil's PoolCharles Haynes, Flickr

The Devil’s Pool: Right On The Edge

The Devil's Pool is an infinity pool set right on the edge of the falls—and it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. Following a guide's instructions, the brief swim to the pool is considered safe. But there are other dangers to consider.

Zambian edge of Victoria FallsBoundless Southern Africa, Flickr

The Devil’s Pool: Threatening Animals

One must really trust their guide in order to enjoy The Devil's Pool. The Zambezi river that you have to navigate to reach the pool is home to hippos and crocodiles. It's the guide's job to ensure the waters are clear of these potential dangers before visitors can venture forth.

Devil's Pooljoepyrek, Flickr

The Devil’s Pool: A Risky Lookout Point

The Devil's Pool itself is not made for those who fear heights as the currents will move you right to the edge. You'll be able to experience the falls at the point where all the water goes crashing over the cliff. Of course, this particular attraction is only open during specific times of the year.

Devil's Pooljoepyrek, Flickr

El Caminito del Rey

Location: Spain

Would you ever visit what was once called the "the world's most dangerous walkway?" In 1999 and 2000 there were five deaths at El Caminito del Rey, which is located near Andalusia.

People on The King Little PathHans Verhulst, Pexels

El Caminito del Rey: Unbelievable Heights

El Caminito del Rey is a popular tourist attraction for a good reason. For thrill seekers, it's the perfect combination of terrifying heights and jaw-dropping views.

Caminito Del ReyMatthew Karsten, Flickr

El Caminito del Rey: A Need For Repairs

Originally built in the early 20th century, this walkway deteriorated over time, becoming incredibly dangerous during the 21st century. After multiple people lost their lives, the government finally took action and shut it down for repairs.

walk through the gorge on the Caminito del ReyArthur Harrow, Flickr

El Caminito del Rey: Vertigo Central

Strung up at a height of 330 feet, this eight-kilometre aerial path might be too intimidating for some tourists. If you suffer from vertigo or are terrified of heights, you should definitely steer clear of this attraction.

people on Caminito del Rey pathGabi, Flickr

Komodo Island

Location: Indonesia

Komodo dragons aren't exactly the most cuddly of beasts—they're massive lizards and their bites are venomous. And yet, some people still want to visit Komodo Island in Indonesia.

Komodo National Park in IndonesiaDimitri Dim, Pexels

Komodo Island: For Reptile Enthusiasts

Around 6,000 Komodo dragons can be found on the island, which is also a popular destination for divers. If you just so happens to be a reptile enthusiast then this island might be on your bucket list—but be warned...

Komodo DragonStephen Bugno, Flickr

Komodo Island: Fatal Attacks

Komodo dragons are not to be messed with. Keep in mind that from 1974 to 2012, there were 24 reported attacks—and five people lost their lives.

Hall of Reptiles and AmphibiansWally Gobetz, Flickr

Komodo Island: Stay Together

Park rangers help upkeep Komodo National Park—and they do tell visitors to take safety precautions. For instance, if you spot a Komodo dragon don't maintain eye contact with them. It's even recommended that people buddy up when going to the restroom. 

Komodo dragon on komodo IslandCristinaPessini, Flickr

Komodo Island: The Can Smell Blood

Komodo dragons also have a keen sense of smell. That's why women on their period have to be extra careful, because their blood is likely to attract these venomous lizards.

Pink Beach komodo Dragon National ParkAnton Diaz, Flickr

Mount Huashan Plank Walk

Location: China

The Mount Huashan Plank walk is considered "the most dangerous hiking trail in the world"—and for good reason. Constructed over 700 years ago, visitors scale the mountain by walking along a path made of very narrow wooden planks. But that's not all.

Mount Huashan Plank WalkClint, Flickr

Mount Huashan Plank Walk: Don't Slip

While walking this trail, there is only one safety rope between you and 7,000 feet of open air. If your rope is not properly secured, and you slip, or take a wrong step—you're a guaranteed goner.

mount hua shan chinachensiyuan, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Mount Huashan Plank Walk: Gorgeous Views

However, there are many people who seek the rush of adrenaline that comes with braving this perilous walk. As well, the views are breathtaking (if you're not already busy hyperventilating from fear).

Huashan MountainNeo, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Mount Huashan Plank Walk: An Easy Start

The Plank Walk is just 130 meters, but its three sections offer up varying degrees of horror. The first section might give you a bit of a confidence boost because of the iron guardrails. However, the second section is enough to make anyone sweat.

View of the cable cars on Mount HuaMediaNation, Shutterstock

Mount Huashan Plank Walk: A Vertical Descent

The middle section is almost vertical. Those who have committed to this walk have to descend a wildly steep set of "stairs," which are actually metal bars set into the side of the mountain. They will also have to cling to a metal chain for support.

people climbing on Mount HuashanClint, Flickr

Mount Huashan Plank Walk: Watch Your Step

The final, lower section is the most anxiety-inducing part of the walk. This is where you'd encounter the narrow planks. However, in some areas, there are no planks, requiring tourists to step in stone holes instead.

The mighty Mount Huashan`s plank walkNicholas Billington, Shutterstock

Mount Huashan Plank Walk: It Isn't 100% Safe

People who suffer from acrophobia—a fear of heights—are not allowed to attempt this insane walk. Reportedly, a rumored 100 people per year lose their life while visiting this so-called attraction.

The Mount Huashan in Xi'anDarren On The Road, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Danakil Depression

Location: Ethiopia

The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia looks like it's straight out of your favorite science fiction or fantasy novel. It's been referred to as a "a gateway to hell" and "land of death." But despite these terrifying labels, it's still one of the country's most popular attractions.

Danakil Depression FordorsAraştırmacı Ekanrın, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Danakil Depression: A Sweltering Experience

Though the Danakil Depression is over 400 feet below sea level, it also one of the world's most sweltering destinations. On a day-to-day basis, the temperature often hovers around 94 F. However, it can also climb to an unbearable 122 F. 

And, of course, it barely rains.

Dallol volcano zoneGusjer, Flicker

Danakil Depression: Stinky Springs

But though it's too toasty for comfort, the depression boasts a colorful display of yellow and green sulfur springs. Sure they may smell absolutely disgusting, but nevertheless, tourists are fascinated by the sight of them.

Ethiopia, Dallol, Danakil DepressionAchilli Family | Journeys, Flickr

Danakil Depression: No Match For Wildlife

The stunning hot springs have been called "killer lakes" and are no match for wildlife. Birds and insects often fall victim to them, as well as the content of carbon dioxide in the air. It's not unusual to see animals that have perished close to the springs. 

Therefore, they also pose a hazard to humans.

Ethiopia, Dallol, Danakil DepressionAchilli Family | Journeys, Flickr

Danakil Depression: No Swimming Here

The springs in the Danakil Depression have a very low pH of 0.2—and should not be touched. Just think: battery acid has a pH of 1.0.

Dallol volcano zone Danakil depressionGusjer, Flickr

Danakil Depression: Don't Go Alone

As an inexperienced tourist, having a guide is essential. The terrain can be perilous as the salt crust makes for a rocky adventure. It's also important to note that armed guards will likely accompany you during some parts of your journey.

Ethiopia, Dallol, Danakil DepressionAchilli Family | Journeys, Flickr

Danakil Depression: Plan Ahead

If you do decide to make the trip to the Danakil Depression, the best time to visit would be from November to March as the temperatures are the most comfortable you're going to get.

Ethiopia, Dallol, Danakil DepressionAchilli Family | Journeys, Flickr

Aletsch Glacier

Location: Switzerland

As the most formidable glacier in the Alps, Aletsch Glacier is an undeniable real-life masterpiece to behold. But though the glacier may seem serene and peaceful, there are hidden dangers everywhere.

Switzerland - Aletsch GlacierDidier Baertschiger, Flickr

Aletsch Glacier: Hidden Chasms

The glacier mainly attracts climbers and hikers in search of their next great adventure. But a good time can quickly turn tragic if there's a concealed crevasse or chasm that isn't spotted in time.

Aletsch Glacier in SwitzerlandJean-Paul Wettstein, Pexels

Aletsch Glacier: Shifting Ice

The glacier's shifting ice means uncertainty is guaranteed. Even the most skilled professionals can easily make the wrong move—and fall down a crevasse. This can lead to a severe injury, or even death.

Jungfraujoch and the Aletsch GlacierEd Coyle, Flickr

Aletsch Glacier: Proper Preparation

Those who explore Aletsch Glacier have to be prepared in every way. They must have the right training and equipment. There's no going in blind. Hikers should always have an educated guide.

Switzerland Aletsch GlacierDidier Baertschiger, Flickr

New Smyrna Beach

Locaton: Florida

A beautiful beach in Florida? Sounds like the ultimate getaway, right? Well, think again. If you're the type to always envision the worst case scenario, swimming at New Smyrna Beach might not be for you.

The new fishing pier at Smyrna Dunes ParkJill Bazeley, Flickr

New Smyrna Beach: Shark-Bite Capital

With the unfortunate reputation of being the "shark bite capital of the world," New Smyrna Beach has a dark history. 

New Smyrna Beach reflectionsJoe Flood, Flickr

New Smyrna Beach: Hundreds Of Incidents

Overall, there has been a 250 shark attacks reported—and tragically, the years 2007 and 2008 were the worst in regard to the frequency of shark bites. Over the last three decades, sharks have been responsible for 40 fatalities.

8196248643 118417300F C

New Smyrna Beach: Take A Risk?

On the surface, however, New Smyrna Beach is undoubtedly enticing. There's a seaside boardwalk, as well as excellent boutique shopping and delightful restaurants... But is swimming in the water worth the risk? 

I say, "No way!" But clearly, many tourists aren't dissuaded about taking a dip in shark-infested waters.

New Smyrna Beach from lighthouseSteven Marti, Flickr

The Festival Of San Fermín

Location: Spain

In the city of Pamplona, Spain, the festival of San Fermín goes on for an entire week. Though there are many traditional events to take part in, the main attraction is undoubtedly the treacherous running of the bulls.

San Fermin, Pamplona, SpainNicholas Cole, Flickr

The Festival Of San Fermín: Broadcast To Everyone

The running of the bulls is so popular that it even gets broadcast, but perhaps this adoration is rooted in the adrenaline rush that comes from seeing people put themselves in such obvious danger.

Group of People Walking on StreetSan Fermin Pamplona, Pexels

The Festival Of San Fermín: Thousands Of Participants

The run is 875 meters. Six bulls are let loose. For every running of the bulls, there are around 2,000 eager participants—and they're all willing to pay a very high price if things go south.

SAN FERMIN ZALDIKOCarlos Octavio Uranga, Flickr

The Festival Of San Fermín: Injuries Are Guaranteed

Injuries during the running of the bulls is guaranteed. Overall, there are usually 50 to 100 runners who end up injured. There's also a smaller risk of something called goring, which is when the bull's horns pierce the flesh.

Man Gored by Sculpted BullAdam Jones, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Festival Of San Fermín: Risk Of Being Gored

The horns of the bull can cause serious damage, especially if they impale a runner. For instance, in 2010, nine unfortunate runners were gored by the bulls.

San Fermin Festivalthe.joberg, Flickr

The Festival Of San Fermín: Don't Trip

If people fall during the event, there's a chance others will fall, causing a deadly pile up of runners. This can easily be fatal as victims find themselves crushed and unable to breathe. 

san ferminBatto0, Flickr

The Festival Of San Fermín: Putting Your Life On The Line

Things will take an even darker turn if a bull runs into a pile of people who have fallen down. This particular nightmare has reportedly happened 10 times over the course of history. But overall, there have been 15 known fatalities.

Sanfermines FestivalSan Fermin Pamplona Navarra, CC0, Wikimedia Commons

Machu Picchu

Location: Peru

Machu Picchu is an Inca citdael dating back to the 15th century. It is a glorious tourist attraction, but for those who haven't done their research, they may be in for a sickening surprise... literally.

Machu Picchu and the Urubamba RiverLatin America For Less, Flickr

Machu Picchu: It's Hard To Breathe

The air is very thin at Machu Picchu because of the altitude: 7,972 feet. Those who aren't used to this elevation might suffer altitude sickness. Nausea and headaches aren't unusual, but in some serious situations, it can even be fatal.

Machu Picchu ancient citySC Image, Shutterstock

Machu Picchu: Slippery Stones

Along with altitude sickness, there are some physical dangers. Machu Piccchu is quite steep. Tourists should take extra care when navigating the stones, especially in inclement weather. You have to wear non-slip shoes and always stay on the appropriate path—no wandering off in search of your own adventure. At Machu Picchu, you have to play by the rules.

Machu Picchu a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern PeruPedro Szekely, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Machu Picchu: Natural Disasters

Any fatalities at Machu Picchu have been caused by floods, hiking accidents, and—as already mentioned—altitude sickness. Other risks include potential earthquakes and landslides.

Machu Picchulovelypeace, Shutterstock

Madidi National Park

Location: Bolivia

Tourists who long to experience the Amazon rainforest may choose to visit the Madidi National Park in Bolivia. With no internet or working phones, it is an experience unlike any other. Disconnecting from the rest of the world might give one a sense of freedom, while it might make others feel anxious and untethered.

Madidi National ParkJoe Lazarus, Flickr

Madidi National Park: Watch Out For The Wildlife

The Madidi National Park is a gorgeous lush paradise, but jungles are known for their hidden perils. The dangerous wildlife is the ultimate risk. 

Madidi Nationalpark Amazonas BolivienDirk Embert / WWF, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, Wikimedia Commons

Madidi National Park: Poisonous Enemies

Poisonous spiders, snakes, and frogs call this place their home, as well as larger predators like pumas. Even the fire ants can be a downright nightmare. As hikers work their way through the park they have to be constantly aware of their surroundings. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Profile of a pumaTambako The Jaguar, Flickr

Madidi National Park: Even The Plants Are Dangerous

In addition to the animals, the plants are your enemies as well. That's why having an expert guide is so important, as they will be able to identify the poisonous plants and help hikers avoid them.

Madidi National ParkJoe Lazarus, Flickr


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