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The Most Dangerous Locations That People Have Actually Tried To Visit

Updated February 12, 2021 159.8k views12 items

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 a number of 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. 

  • Strong Winds Help Make Mount Washington One Of The Coldest Spots On Earth

    Photo: BenFrantzDale~commonswiki / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Despite standing at only around 6,288 feet, New Hampshire's Mount Washington can be a dangerous place to visit. Colliding weather patterns change weather rapidly and often not for the better. Temperatures can quickly plummet to below freezing, and freak snowstorms often occur. According to the Mount Washington Observatory which sits at the summit, the top of the mountain can be as cold as -36 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of 94 degrees below zero, making it among Earth's coldest places.

    Dangerously strong winds also work against anyone on the mountain, and gusts up to 60 miles per hour can knock people down or push them off trails where they may get lost or enter dangerous areas. In 1934, Mount Washington became famous for its winds as a weather station recorded a wind velocity of 231 miles per hour, higher than any other recorded from Earth's surface not involving a tropical storm. Since nearly 150 people have lost their life on the mountain since 1849, most dying from hypothermia, it's best to travel prepared.

  • Bikini Atoll Still Has Active Radiation

    Photo: Ron Van Oers / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

    In 1945, shortly after the end of WWII, President Harry Truman ordered the US military to continue testing nuclear weapons in case they would be needed in the future. The military chose Bikini in the Marshall Islands to conduct tests since planes and ships traveled on routes far from the area. At the time, 167 islanders lived on Bikini, and the US government asked them to vacate for "the good of mankind and to end all world wars." The islanders accepted, believing the move would be temporary and that they'd eventually be able to return home.

    On March 1, 1954, the military detonated America's most powerful incendiary: Castle Bravo. At 15 megatons, the hydrogen device was equal to 1,000 of those dropped on Hiroshima. The military also dropped 22 more before 1958, creating enough radiation that the island residents couldn't return home until the 1970s. They had to leave a few years later when researchers realized the area wasn't as safe as they thought, and Bikini remains uninhabited today aside from those brave enough to try diving in the surrounding waters.

  • Visiting Danakil Desert Without A Guide Was Once Strictly Forbidden

    Considered by many to be Earth's most inhospitable area, the Danakil desert lies between Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Djibouti in Africa. With temperatures often rising higher than 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the desert is one of the hottest spots on the planet. Because it is also hundreds of feet below sea level and receives very little rainfall, vegetation is sparse. Danakil is located at the intersection of three tectonic plates which create hydrothermal fields in a variety of colors, wide salt flats, and lakes filled with lava.

    Although the temperature alone can cause heat stroke and death in a matter of hours, the Afar people continue to live there. For many years, they were wary of tourists entering their land and occasionally perpetrated acts of aggression against them. This led to rules about visitors being required to travel with armed escorts, although these restrictions may have been relaxed in the past several years. Considering the heat, however, one probably doesn't want to travel alone here regardless.

  • The Caustic Salt Crust On Lake Natron Can Eliminate Almost Any Living Creature

    Like Great Salt Lake in Utah and the Dead Sea, Tanzania's Lake Natron is an enclosed body of water with a high concentration of salt. Anyone who tries to take a swim in its waters, however, will find it to be a painful, potentially life-threatening decision. The waters of Lake Natron are alkaline and with pH levels that sometimes rival the strength of ammonia, it burns any people or animals who enter. 

    Because the water temperature can also be as high as 140 degrees, only algae and one species of fish can survive living there. Not only is entering the water dangerous, but the lake's surface is often so glassy, it can be disorientating. A combination of dense chemicals in the water often causes the surface to be extremely reflective, and many birds accidentally fly into it as well as one helicopter pilot who became disoriented, flew too low to the water, and crashed.