Now that travel is becoming a thing again, why not go on a big, crazy adventure? While being in a remote location away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives sounds ideal, some of these beautiful dream destinations are just plain dangerous — and these are some of the most dangerous places on earth to visit.
Not buying it? Well, think on this: if you’ve ever considered moving to another country, you might want to rethink your travel plans for that as well depending on the destination. More than exotic animals and unsafe topography, some places are war-torn countries with high crime rates and out-of-this-world radioactivity.
From the depths of the Bermuda Triangle where many have been lost at sea, to the top of Mount Vesuvius where an active volcano has become a home to more than 650,000 people, these are the most dangerous places on earth to visit.
Snake Island, Brazil
We’re kicking off this list with a banger — Snake Island, Brazil or “Ilha da Queimada Grande.” This island located off the coast of Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean is only 106 acres and home to an endangered species of golden lancehead pit vipers.
This island itself is partly covered by rainforest and bare rock with grassy areas. And as you may imagine, tons of snakes. These venomous vipers have made it illegal for the public to visit this mysterious island. Beyond the Brazilian Navy, only scientists and researchers are allowed to step foot on the terrain, but that changed when the Navy let news outlet VICE on the island in 2014 to shoot a documentary. To say the least, these explorers had no idea what they’d be facing.
No one really knows how the snakes got there. While some believe it was the rising sea levels over the years, others believe the snakes may have been introduced by pirates to protect their treasures, but no one can say for sure.
Danakil Desert, East Africa
Located in northeast Ethiopia, southern Eritrea, and northwestern Djibouti, the Danakil Desert is known as one of the most uninhabitable places on the earth. Beyond its volcanoes and geysers pitting toxic gases, the scorching daytime temperatures can reach up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
More than that, the conflicts in Eritrea make it an inhospitable place, with the possibility of getting kidnapped being the biggest risk. The natural and man-made disasters in this region put it at the top of our lists as a “No-go zone.”
Lake Nyos, Cameroon
As beautiful as this lake in the northwest region of Cameroon is, it is even more mysterious.
On August 21, 1986, a rare natural disaster took place in the surrounding villages that killed 1,746 people and 3,500 livestock, making it one of the most dangerous places on earth. In the early hours on the 21st, a large cloud of carbon dioxide burst from Lake Nyos and blanketed the nearby village with deadly fog.
Before the eruption, the lake was a quiet and an iridescent blue that would lure people in… until 1986. From that fateful night, only four survived.
Scientists later discovered that the CO2 comes from the pocket of magma that lies below the surface. Lake Nyos sits in a crater on the edge of an inactive volcano in the Oku Volcanic Field, and the Carbon dioxide from that magma will often become too concentrated, bubble, and then, burst.
Oymyakon, Russia is also called “The Pole of Cold,” and with reason. This small town is located in the Oymyakonsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia.
This village had a record temperature drop in 1933 when the climate plummeted to an outstanding -90 degrees Fahrenheit.
And, on average during the winter months, the temperatures drop to -58 degrees Fahrenheit, but that doesn’t stop the population of 500 who brave the cold climates year-round.
Mailuu Suu, Kyrgyzstan
This small mining town of 23,000 is in Jalal-Abad Region of southern Kyrgyzstan. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been economically depressed, and the USSR left 23 unstable uranium tailings pits behind on the town’s unstable hillside.
In fact, in April 1958, 600,000 cubic meters of radioactive tailings were released into the Mailuu-Suu River. A study published by the Blacksmith Institute in 2006 named the town one of the most polluted places in the world.
Monrovia has many dangers — the risk of rape, mugging, diseases like tuberculosis, corrupt police, and prisoner escapees — which makes it one of the most inhospitable places in the world.
West Point is a slum area in Monrovia. It is also one of the most dangerous places in Liberia. While most crime is centralized there, Mamba Point and Sinkor in Monrovia — where travelers stay — have high levels of crime against foreigners. The police aren’t much help either, bribing people for providing a semblance of protection.
Beyond the illegal trafficking of arms, Manaus is known for having the highest number of homicides in 2016.
Home to 2 million people and located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, Manaus lies on the bank of the Amazon River. The Amazon River hosts a number of dangerous creatures that make swimming or underwater activities a major risk. The waters have piranhas, anacondas, electric eels, and other deadly animals.
When the Korean war ended in 1953, so did our ability to go into North Korea. The Korean Peninsula was divided by a demilitarized zone, separating the North and South. More than that, the totalitarian dictatorship led by Kim Jong-un as of 2011, has coined the country one of the worst in human rights records across the globe.
It is particularly dangerous for American tourists given the US’s strained relationship in Asian countries.
What’s crazier? The restrictions in North Korea are out-of-this-world. With only 15 approved haircuts and 3 television channels, life in North Korea makes it hard to have a unique identity.
Bermuda Triangle, North Atlantic
The mystery behind the Bermuda Triangle has been talked about for years. This region is located in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean and has swallowed ships, planes, and people. Many argue mysterious forces lurk in those waters.
The unexplained disappearances have been explained over the years — aliens taking people and planes, people sinking into the lost city of Atlantis, vortices taking things into other dimensions — but nothing is known for sure.
North Sentinel Island, India
North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands that belong to India. The island is known for its beauty and beaches, and many travelers would love to visit. The problem is, you can’t. Its hostile natives make this place one of the least hospitable places and the most dangerous. Its people are violent towards outsiders and reject contact with people.
In fact, in 2018 American missionary John Allen Chau, 26, was killed by the islanders. Apparently, he was hit by arrows after landing on North Sentinel. Chau’s diary suggests that he knew the risks of going there, but wanted to preach “the word of God.”
Lake Natron, Tanzania
North Tanzania’s Lake Natron may as well be a lake of fire. Beyond its red color, the lake’s high levels of natron (sodium carbonate decahydrate) in the water make it a danger to human skin and eyes.
Sometimes, the pH level will reach a high of over 12 with temperatures of up to 60 °C (140 °F). Needless to say, people never skinny dip in these waters.
According to LiveScience, “The water’s alkalinity comes from the sodium carbonate and other minerals that flow into the lake from the surrounding hills. And deposits of sodium carbonate — which was once used in Egyptian mummification — also acts as a fantastic type of preservative for those animals unlucky enough to die in the waters of Lake Natron.”