Leading a stressful life that we are, every now and then we all like to change things up a bit by travelling, usually someplace exotic. When you want to take a vacation, you usually plan it for weeks, even months ahead of time, to make sure everything will work out the way you want to. We all take into consideration location, hotel reviews, cost and other things. However, there are some places in the world you should avoid, violent cities or be very careful upon reserving your tickets. When it comes to these fifteen cities, take notes, as these are the most dangerous places in the world.
1. San Pedro Sula, Honduras
The city is located in the northwest corner of the country, in the Valle de Sula (Sula Valley), about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Puerto Cortés on the Caribbean Sea. It has a lovely, tropical climate and high temperatures throughout the year. The city has great sights, such as The Museum of Anthropology and History, The Child Planetarium, The Central park where stands a little gazebo marking a place where the city was founded, and Avenida Circunvalación (The Ring Avenue) a popular zone containing hotels, malls, banks and fast food chains.
However, San Pedro Sula is one of the most dangerous places in the world. According to statistics, in 2011, the city had 159 homicides per 100,000 residents, which surpassed the previous most dangerous place on Earth for three consecutive years, Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico. These numbers and statistics translated into ordinary English mean that San Pedro Sula is the murder capital of the world with approximately 3 murders a day. What makes it even worse is that murders are not the only thing you should be worried about, for in this city the gang activity is so high that they’ve taken over the businesses of illegal drug trade and arms trafficking. No wonder there are so many murders in a city with so much firearms.
2. Acapulco, Mexico
Tourism is the main economic activity of the municipality and Acapulco’s main attraction is its nightlife, as it has been for many decades. Nightclubs change names and owners frequently. Informal lobby or poolside cocktail bars often offer free live entertainment. In addition, there is the beach bar zone, where younger crowds go. These are located along the Costera road, face the ocean and feature techno music or alternative rock. These places tend to open earlier and have a more informal dress code. Here, those adventurous enough can try bungee jumping as well.
Acapulco is one of Mexico’s oldest coastal tourist destinations, reaching prominence in the 1950s as the place where Hollywood stars and millionaires vacationed on the beach in an exotic locale. But in modern times, tourists in Acapulco have been facing problems with the local corrupt police who steal money by extortion and intimidate visitors with threats of jail. Other than that, Acapulco is also known as a city with a lot of drug cartel problems. There have been reports of dead bodies everywhere, and if you are at the wrong place at a wrong time, no one can guarantee you won’t end up the same. It may sound fun, all the parties and wild fun, but be advised and be safe if you still want to travel there.
3. Caracas, Venezuela
While Caracas is within the tropics, due to its altitude temperatures are generally not nearly as high as other tropical locations at sea level. Caracas is not nearly as popular as Acapulco, nonetheless it has its beauties and could be a very desirable place to go on vacation. For religious people, this city could be very interesting, since it has many religious buildings such as The Iglesia de San Francisco which is of historical value and retains much of its original colonial interior, despite being given a treatment in the 19th century.
Then, Caracas Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Caracas and the Mosque of Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim is the second largest mosque in Latin America. For many years it was the biggest. But, don’t be fooled by this city’s apparent religious status, because Venezuela and its capital, Caracas, are reported to both have among the highest per capita murder rates in the world. Most murders and other violent crimes go unsolved. The poor neighborhoods that cover the hills around Caracas are dangerous at all times, and tourists are advised not to go alone, especially at night. Among murders, other violent crimes include street fighting and armed robberies. If you still want to go on a pilgrimage there, it may not be a bad idea to bring an extra Bible.
4. Tegusigalpa, Honduras
Situated in a valley and surrounded by mountain ranges, Tegucigalpa is hilly with several elevations and few flat areas. Some of the popular landmarks include the Metropolitan Cathedral, the former Presidential Palace (now a museum), the National University, the Basilica of the Virgin of Suyapa, La Merced Church, and the Manuel Bonilla Theater. Tegucigalpa is a colonial city with a history spanning for more than 400 years. There are 14 museums in Tegucigalpa. Most of the popular museums are located around the historic center of the city. Don’t let these sights deceive you, because Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate.
Honduras has been experiencing record-high violence in recent years. In 2010, the homicide rate in Francisco Morazán was 83.2 (per 100,000 inhabitants) compared to the national average of 86. In 2009, there were 246 motor vehicle-related deaths where pedestrians and bicyclists were the most common victims. Other than that, extreme poverty withdraws extreme violence among citizens. The fact that there is corruption and mafia present does not help the situation. This place is not only very inhospitable towards tourists, but very dangerous as well. My advice is, cancel your flight and make other plans, some that don’t lead you into mortal danger.
5. Maceio, Brazil
Maceio is the capital and the largest city of the coastal state Alagoas, in Brazil. Maceió has a typical tropical climate, specifically a tropical monsoon climate, with warm to hot temperatures and high relative humidity all throughout the year. However, these conditions are relieved by a near absence of extreme temperatures and trade winds blowing from the ocean.
This city sure sounds perfect to go to for your vacation since it has sandy beaches, the color of sea varies from emerald green to blue and the water is always clear. The sand is white and there are many coconut plantations. But, a not so widely known fact is that the state of Brazil is a home of 14 most violent cities in the world. Maceio is one of them. Statistics show that it has 135 murders per 100,000 residents, which succeeded to top Rio de Janeiro.
6. Havana, Cuba
Havana is the capital city of Cuba and it is the largest city in the area, the most populous city, and the third largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region. Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana (Vedado) and the newer suburban districts. The city is the center of the Cuban Government, and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices.
Also, it attracts more than one million international tourists annually, which makes it a very popular destination. However, crime is ever present in various forms in Cuba, though the government does not release official crime statistics. Crime reports are on the rise, with below-average crisis intervention from police. On the plus side, gun crime is virtually nonexistent and murder rates are below those of most Latin American countries.
However, drug trafficking is very present, with United States being the destination where most of the drugs are being transported to. Since Cuba is a former socialist country, the whole state is plagued with poverty. Bribery is widespread, even in healthcare. Musicians regularly pay bribes in order to be allowed to perform in tourist areas, where they can earn convertible currency. Prostitution, fueled by the increase of tourism, has increased immensely, but it is not illegal in Cuba. Havana, being the main attraction in Cuba is not so dangerous, as long as you stay in the advised areas for tourists.
7. Detroit, USA
If you plan on going to a one day picnic close to your hometown, Detroit is definitely not a good choice. Detroit has the sixth highest total rate of violent crime and the highest per capita rate of violent crime among the 25 largest U.S. cities in 2007. Nearly two-thirds of all murders in Michigan in 2011 occurred in Detroit.
Although the rate of violent crime dropped 11 percent in 2008, in Detroit it has not declined as much as the national average from 2007 to 2011 and is one of the highest in the United States. Crime is unevenly distributed throughout the city, with much of the violent crime emanating from selected neighborhoods in the upper east and central west. It is not a secret that those who go to Detroit have to be careful, and even though the crime rate is said to be decreasing, we still would not recommend you going there, especially not alone.
8. Cairo, Egypt
Egypt is situated in the north part of the African continent and the most part of it is in the desert. Throughout the years, Cairo was the most desirable destination for vacation, especially during the winter, since the temperatures there are very high all year around, and it is near the ocean which enables tourists to enjoy beaches and warm sunlight on their skin. Of course, the Pyramids are unavoidable if you travelled all the way to Egypt, and there are excursions with a guide offered to tourists who want to see them, both from outside and from the inside.
Sadly, Cairo has found itself on the list of most dangerous cities in the world to go to. With such internal unrest this past year, the trouble in the capital has affected travel countrywide. Protests are a common thing these days, governmental issues are making things harder and terrorist bombings had already killed several tourists. Not only is it not recommendable, but Cairo is blacklisted in some countries, which means that no safety is guaranteed.
9. Kiev, Ukraine
Kiev is the 8th largest city in Europe, it is the largest city and the capital of Ukraine. Kiev is an important industrial, scientific, educational, and cultural centre of Eastern Europe. It is home to many high-tech industries, higher education institutions and world-famous historical landmarks. The city has an extensive infrastructure and highly developed system of public transport, including the Kiev Metro. Kiev is not a very popular vacation place since it is not near the seaside, but since introducing a visa-free regime for EU-member states and Switzerland in 2005, Ukraine has seen a steady increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting the country.
This country has not even seen its peak in tourism and it has already entered the list of dangerous places. This past year, the growing unrest of the citizens and the constant protests over the uncertainty of the Kiev’s future are not good news for tourists. Ukrainian president wants ties with Russia, and citizens want to enter the European Union, so violent excesses are ever present on the streets of Kiev. We do not recommend you going there on vacation, however cheap the trip may be, because it may not cost a lot of money, but it may cost you your life.
10. Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
The city is connected to Laredo, Texas, across the Rio Grande River by three international bridges and a rail bridge. The city is both larger and younger than its U.S. counterpart. It is the largest inland port in Mexico. As a border town, Nuevo Laredo is known for its territorial war in which drug cartels compete for control of the drug trade into United States. Nuevo Laredo is a lucrative drug corridor because of the large volume of trucks that pass through the area, and the multiple exploitable ports of entry.
Drug cartels are very common in this city, due to its position of border town. Cartels operate both in the USA and in Mexico, and since 2006, 60,000 people were killed in drug related violence, according to published records. But drug smuggling is not the only thing that they do. Tourists are in constant danger from carjacking, kidnapping and robbery, so the government advises you to avoid this city, but if you have to go there, don’t go alone and be on the alert at all time of the day and night.
11. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. Cape Town is not only the most popular international tourist destination in South Africa, but Africa as a whole. This is due to its good climate, natural setting, and well-developed infrastructure. The city has several well-known natural features that attract tourists, most notably Table Mountain, which forms a large part of the Table Mountain National Park and is the back end of the City Bowl.
However, the high rate of crime in South Africa is a major concern for tourists as it is for expatriates moving to or living in Cape Town. South Africa is known to have one of the highest crime rate per 100,000 residents in the world regarding assault, rape and murder. Also, poverty combined with social unrest gives us the perfect combination for high crime rate. This sounds in fact very intimidating, however we think that if you are prepared to investigate where to move to, where to live and which areas to avoid, you will minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime significantly. It would be a pity to avoid this beautiful place full of natural beauty and resorts, but be advised to always be careful and not travel alone.
12. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s primary tourist attraction and resort. It receives the most visitors per year of any city in South America with almost three million international tourists a year. The city offers world-class hotels, approximately 80 kilometers of beaches, and the famous Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains. Rio is also known for its Carnival in February, which is an annual celebration in the Roman Catholic tradition that allows merry-making and red meat consumption before the more sober 40 days of Lent. At that time, millions of people pour in the city to have fun, get drunk and enjoy.
This kind of tourist recklessness leads to high rate of the street crime, especially during the Carnival. Make no mistakes, this is not the kind of danger like in the other cities that we’ve discussed in this topic, this is more of a petty crime such as robbery and carjacking. Nonetheless, this kind of danger should be brought up for tourists who are going there for the first time. There are, of course, resorts you can reserve online before you go, because these resorts are made for tourists only where you can be as safe as it gets. This is not the best option for people who want to explore different cultures, because they will be isolated, but as far as safety is concerned, they’ll be like polar bears.
13. Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala City or just Guatemala is the capital of Republic of Guatemala, a Central American state. Rates of crime in Guatemala are very high. An average of 25 murders per week was reported in 2009, making the country’s violent crime rate one of the highest in Latin America. The high rate of murder has been blamed on “a highly powerful criminal cartel”, and some high profile murders revealed or suspected to be the work of the cartel, including that of Catholic Bishop Juan José Gerardi Conedera.
Guatemala finds itself located in the middle of the drug supply from South America and drug demand in the United States. Guatemala links Honduras and Mexico along common drug routes between Central America and the United States. Apart from that, Guatemala is a common location of exploitation of women and children from other Latin American countries, particularly sex trafficking, while all ages and sexes suffer from systems of forced labor in the country. Positioned on the Caribbean, it offers many tourist attractions, but since it is plagued with violence, it is highly recommended to avoid this Central American city.
14. Sukhumi, Georgia
Sukhumi is a city in western Georgia and the capital of Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. It is known for its beaches, mineral-water spas and semitropical climate. This city is described in tourist literature as having an untouched landscape, blessed by snow-capped mountains. This part of the world would be a perfect paradise for relaxing and enjoying, if there’s no war going on.
The region to which this city belongs made a declaration of independence in the early 1990’s and ever since then there have been threats of military action and terrorism. The only thing that this region is blessed with is its nature, since Sukhumi is infamous for its massacre that happened on Sept 27, 1993 when a large number of people were burned to death, dismembered while still alive and victims of sadistic rape. Every tour guide you’ll find won’t even mention this city, and many would advise you not to come near it.
15. Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean country of Haiti. Rates of crime in Haiti are generally lower than many of its neighboring countries, though crime is most common in earthquake survivor camps. The illegal drug trade in Haiti has encouraged violent crime. Generally, crimes are committed by Haitians against other Haitians, although occasionally foreigners have been victimized. The main trouble is that of nonexistent real police force. The Haitian police are understaffed, poorly equipped and unable to respond to most calls for assistance. There are continued allegations of police interference in criminal activity.
The slow or nonexistent response and enforcement capabilities of the Haitian national police and the weakness of the judiciary frustrate many victims of crime in Haiti. Of course, we can thus conclude that if the police don’t care about their people, why would they care about some foreigners who came on vacation? Other than that, poverty is a big issue in Haiti, so lack of water and electricity is a daily problem. Because of this, and general discontentment of people, there are many violent outbreaks and demonstrations. Although Haiti seems like a beautiful place, you should be advised to be careful or completely avoid this place when going on a vacation.