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When you hear “tourist,” you typically don’t envision life-threatening situations. Some tourists aren’t content sipping margaritas on the beach or meandering through the Louvre.

Some tourists are seeking adrenaline, and they often find it. Others fail to recognize the danger of a particular tourist destination or take a calculated risk that goes against their favor. If you travel to any of these destinations, you have no right to complain when the trip goes south.

1. Lake Karachay, Russia

Imereti Lakes, Karachay Cherkessia, Russia
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Lake Karachay is beautifully frightening. A former dumping ground for the Soviet Union’s nuclear waste, you’d never know it when gazing at the aqua-blue water of this central Russian lake. Unfortunately, a nearby nuclear processing facility called Mayak has forever polluted Lake Karachay.

Reportedly, even standing near the lake could cause fatal health effects. So, at the very least, let’s hope the Russian government has placed a few “No Swimming” signs around the radioactive wastewater.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro with Christ Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain. Brazil. Latin America, horizontal
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Few world-renowned tourist spots offer world-class beaches so close to open sewers. The divide between Rio de Janeiro’s hillside favelas, downtown restaurants, businesses, and beaches is razor-thin.

More often than Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism would like, tourists become the target of robberies and other crimes on the streets of Rio. While many have made it through their Rio vacation unscathed, crime is a consideration for anyone who travels to Rio de Janeiro.

3. Mount Everest, Nepal

Group of climbers reaching the Everest summit in Nepal.
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Mount Everest was once a prohibitively dangerous travel destination accessible by daredevils alone. Now, rather than expert climbers like Sir Edmund Hillary scaling Everest, novice tourists take “luxury treks” to Everest base camp.

Everest remains one of the most dangerous tourist destinations for those who venture to the summit. Luxury trips in heated tents are hazardous, too. The victims, though, are the Sherpas who must carry the glampers’ gear across deadly crevasses in the ice.

4. Acapulco, Mexico

The rock La Quebrada, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Acapulco, Mexico.
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Few tourist destinations have achieved Acapulco’s level of popularity while having a homicide rate among the highest in the world. There’s no question about what poses a threat to tourists who travel to this destination on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. It’s not shark attacks. It’s not Montezuma’s revenge. It’s criminals.

5. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Aerial birds eye drone view from the world famous cliffs of moher in county clare ireland. Scenic Irish rural countryside nature along the wild atlantic way and European Atlantic Geotourism Route
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There is a reason why The Grand Canyon has fencing at many locations where a sightseer might come close to the Canyon’s edge. Ireland’s iconic Cliffs of Moher remain largely fence-less, preserving its natural beauty.

However, the lack of fences means intoxicated, risk-taking, and selfie-taking visitors have fallen to their demise off the Cliffs of Moher.

6. Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Yosemite National Park
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Travel destinations that involve mountains are inherently dangerous. Yosemite National Park offers serious peaks, which means serious risk.

The Half Dome and El Capitan are the park’s most famous and dangerous peaks. Those who consider climbing anything in Yosemite should have a fresh pair of climbing shoes, a clear mind, and plenty of athletic ability. Otherwise, a trip can turn tragic with one wrong step.

7. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa.
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South Africa was once one of the safer entry points for tourists seeking an African experience. However, crime is a constant in Cape Town. Residents have private security, and nobody can guarantee your safety if you vacation to Cape Town.

8. Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Death Valley National Park, California, USA
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In addition to legendary heat that might just evaporate the water out of your bottle, Death Valley is home to snakes, scorpions, and countless other predators. If you get bit or run out of water, there are few worse places to be than…Death Valley.

9. Kingston, Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica
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Many visitors have an idyllic vision of Jamaica. Palm trees, blue waters, and wafting skunk smoke surely make for good vibes all the time, right?

Not in Kingston, where crime is rampant, tourists may be easy marks for opportunists living in squalid conditions.

10. Angel’s Landing, Utah, United States

Angel's Landing, Utah, United States
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A precariously narrow hiking path reserved only for the sure-footed, Angel’s Landing has claimed the lives of multiple travelers. However, 1,000-foot drops are nothing to mess with, and only experienced, physically fit hikers should venture to Angel’s Landing.

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This article originally appeared on Financially Well Off.


Chris founded FWO, the ultimate destination for those looking to achieve financial independence, explore the world and stay motivated daily.

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