The Most Dangerous Locations That People Have Actually Tried To Visit

Many people may go to Disneyland or a national park for a vacation, but only the most adventurous will take a chance going to one of the world's most dangerous places to visit. While plenty of areas in the world are notoriously dangerous due to crime and war, other locations are known for their natural dangers, including volcanoes, deserts, and jungles filled with toxic insects. Visiting these places may not top most people's bucket lists, and for good reason, because some of these "extreme tourism" vacation spots have claimed many lives. Some are so hazardous, countries have banned people from entering them.

Found in Russia, Africa, South America, and all around the world, dangerous locations are often as beautiful as they are deadly. Everyone knows places like the top of Mount Everest and the middle of Australia's Outback can be perilous, but plenty of other dangerous locations are not as obvious. Although tour companies often take advantage of a location's reputation to attract tourists, it's probably better for people to stay away. When considering an active volcano or freezing mountaintop as a vacation spot, sometimes it's better to choose Disneyland. 

  • An abandoned bus located around Alaska's Denali National Park might be considered a strange tourist destination, but because the vehicle once served as Chris McCandless's home, many hikers and people who consider him an inspiration trek there every year. Local hunters often used the bus as shelter, and McCandless found it in 1992 while adventuring through the Alaskan wilderness. After he was trapped in the area due to rising water in a nearby river, the bus also became the place where he perished. 

    Jon Krakauer turned McCandless's story into the 1996 book Into the Wild, and Hollywood adapted it into a movie in 2007. Since then, many people have ventured into the wilderness to find the bus and subsequently find themselves in the same dangerous situation as McCandless. Crossing the rapid, cold waters of the river is difficult, and several hikers have lost their lives during their attempts. Making the journey to find McCandless's bus can be so perilous, members of the Denali Borough Assembly voted to remove it in March 2020. By June, the bus was gone. 

    Commissioner Corri Feige of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources said, "After studying the issue closely, prioritizing public safety and considering a variety of alternatives, we decided it was best to remove the bus from its location on the Stampede Trail."

  • Russia's Valley Of Death Is A Toxic Wasteland

    Russia's Valley Of Death Is A Toxic Wasteland
    Photo: Pxfuel / Pxfuel / Public Domain

    According to stories, two hunters came across a plantless area filled with animal remains while walking through the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia. They ran away after beginning to feel sick, and though other people entered the area attempting to discover the reason for the animals' deaths, no one found an answer. Worse yet, legends claim as many as 80 people never returned.

    In 1975, volcanologist Vladimir Leonov began studying the area because although the region suffers from cold, harsh winters, it is also filled with active volcanoes. Both Leonov and ranger Vladimir Kalyaev encountered numerous animal remains, including a single ravine that held five bear carcasses. Testing revealed the animals suffocated, and researchers have since reasoned carbon dioxide leaking from the volcanoes is what ended them. They named the remote location the "Valley of Death."

  • Snake Island Is Exactly What It Sounds Like
    Photo: Prefeitura Municipal de Itanhaém / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

    Ilha da Queimada Grande lies around 25 miles from the coast of Brazil and, due to its amount of slithery residents, is nicknamed Snake Island. Researchers estimated there are as many as 4,000 snakes living there, meaning anyone visiting could potentially encounter one every square meter they traveled. Luckily, this isn't a problem since Brazil bans people from setting foot on the island because of the danger posed by the snakes. The country will even send their navy after anyone who tries.

    Golden lanceheads, an extremely toxic kind of pit viper, are the primary dangerous serpents on Snake Island, and their venom can end a person within minutes. Although legends claim pirates set the snakes free on the island to dissuade anyone from stealing their buried treasure, science proves rising water created the island as it separated it from the mainland. Because this trapped the snakes, they evolved to grow bigger and create more powerful venom in order to capture birds before they could fly away. People lived on the island up until the 1920s, but after snakes allegedly ended a lighthouse operator and his family, residents wisely decided to move elsewhere.

  • Madidi National Park Is Filled With Beautiful (And Highly Poisonous) Fauna
    Photo: Dirk Embert / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

    According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bolivia's Madidi National Park may be the Earth's most biologically diverse location. Unfortunately, that means there are also a lot of things there that can harm people. Located in the upper basin of the Amazon River, Madidi spans 7,335 square miles and is home to 12,000 species of plants, over 200 mammals species, and 1,088 species of birds. While there are plenty of potentially dangerous jaguars, snakes, and spiders in its jungles, even creatures like wild pigs can be life-threatening.

    Fungi in Madidi can cause welts if someone happens to come into contact with it, and there are a variety of toxic insects like moths which can make visitors extremely ill. A variety of poisonous plants also call Madidi home and can cause severe rashes and itching if touched. The flora and fauna of Madidi can be so dangerous, even if one survives a rash or bite, flesh-eating parasites living in the jungle could potentially enter the wound and cause even more damage. Despite these dangers, the ecological diversity and beauty of the park attract visitors every year.