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25 Most Dangerous Countries in the World (2023) Revealed

Determining the most dangerous countries in the world isn’t as straightforward as one might first expect. For one thing, it’s obvious that war zones are especially dangerous, and most people wouldn’t venture there if they had a choice in the matter. 

When you try to mitigate that factor, though, some interesting names pop up. For this list, we’re looking at countries that are not technically at war. So regions like Ukraine, Afghanistan, and other conflict zones are largely omitted. 

However, taking into account the civilian gun death rate seems like a fair metric to consider. This affects locals and tourists alike, and non-military personnel specifically. On those terms, here are the 25 most dangerous countries in the world (and their gun death stats), in no particular order. 

city-twilight Mexico
Mexico

What Makes a Country Dangerous?

Bear in mind that depending on how you wish to measure such a list, your result may vary greatly. You might even find odd connections between this list and what most consider the most dangerous cities in the world

In some cases, insurgent activity, gang activity, and poor policing have much to do with it. Overall, though, it does seem like abject levels of poverty and wealth inequality are common factors in all of the below. 

25 Most Dangerous Countries in the World

1. United States Virgin Islands

Gun death rate: 19.29 per 100k

Petty crime is rife in the Virgin Islands, and the US and Canadian advisory service regularly issues travel warnings. Visitors are advised never to travel alone around the cities at night. They are also advised to never isolate themselves for being at risk of mugging, robbery, assault, or worse.

us virgin islands
US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands have a seriously high gun death rate per 100 000 people, given its size. 

2. The Bahamas

Gun death rate: 19.72 per 100k

Freeport and Nassau are regularly cited as crime hotspots in the Bahamas. Violent crime is common, with robbery, armed robbery and kidnappings frighteningly common. While more severe crimes like kidnapping and murder affect residents more, it is unwise to assume they will not happen to tourists. 

The Bahamas has a strong gang culture, affecting general safety in impoverished and urban areas. Visiting tourists are frequently advised to keep to the resorts and certified safe zones, if possible. 

city-buildings Nassau
Bahamas Image by schliff from Pixabay

3. Puerto Rico

Gun death rate: 19.72 per 100k

Although Puerto Rico is considered one of the safer islands in the Caribbean, it is economically challenged, which invites criminal activity. Gang and drug activity is common, though it primarily affects locals. 

san juan puerto rico
san juan puerto rico

Another factor to remember about Puerto Rico is that it is still in the grips of the devastation of Hurricane Fiona. This has left several facilities, locations, and establishments in poorer condition than they might have wished. That said, situations like these usually increase petty crime and assault. Be sure not to be alone after dark, especially in isolated areas of the cities. 

4. Brazil

Gun death rate: 20.8 per 100k

Alarmingly, one statistical study comparing Brazil and the US ranked Brazil the most dangerous country in terms of the murder rate. This is despite the US rates being top in terms of violent gun crime. 

christ the redeemer in rio brazil
christ the redeemer in rio brazil

Most experts agree that the vast gap in income inequality contributes to the country’s high crime rates. The violent crime rates are also exacerbated by the gang culture present in the country, stemming from the prison system. Drug trafficking, amongst other things, is prevalent in impoverished areas. 

brazilian congress building
brazilian congress building

5. Honduras

Gun death rate: 21.22 per 100k

Honduras has an alarming homicide rate partly because of the strong gun culture. Violent crime against women is of particular concern here, with femicide rates at one point measuring one every 36 hours. As with most such situations, tourism authorities argue that most violent crime does not directly affect tourists. 

However, muggings, armed robberies and assaults do happen and cannot be predicted. Crime indeed occurs at all times of the day and year in Honduras. Reports about tourist ferries and public transport being targeted have also made headlines. Travel after dark, in general, is discouraged. 

road-clouds honduras
Image by david diaz from Pixaba

6. Colombia

Gun death rate: 24.8 per 100k

One of the significant concerns about Colombia is its prevalence of armed militia groups and gangs. Gang activity related to the drug trade is well-known, but these operations expand to violent crimes against citizens and tourists alike. Regular flarings of civil unrest do not help the situation. 

trip-colombia
View over Medellin

Aside from the physical threat from violent offenders, Colombia also poses a few health risks for visitors. Zika virus and Yellow Fever are present and widespread. In some areas, Malaria may be a risk factor, too. Be aware that medical services in Colombia require upfront payments, so it is best advised to make sure your travel insurance is comprehensive. 

things-to-do-in-bogota
The streets of Bogota

7. Guatemala

Gun death rate: 28.23 per 100k

Regular demonstrations, police and military roadblocks, and violent crime mark Guatemala’s civilian life. Police seem ill-equipped to manage the very high levels of homicide and gang-related violence.

Reports of armed robberies at tourist destinations and public transport are commonplace, while kidnappings are alarmingly regular. 

cobbles-street Guatamela
Guatemala Image by Otto Garcia from Pixabay

8. Venezuela

Gun death rate: 32.75 per 100k

Sadly, Venezuela is suffering from political upheaval, contributing to a potentially volatile and dangerous social situation. Political instability, violent clashes, poverty, and high crime rates make Venezuela a problematic country to enjoy peacefully at this time. Poor citizens may resort to petty and severe crime to get by, as prices for essential items are beyond what most can afford. 

As one example of the country’s state, visitors are advised not to use public transport. More than that, travel anywhere outside designated safe zones will be difficult. Currently, US currency is highly coveted, as it is the only currency accepted as tender by many. To make matters worse, environmental threats like hurricanes and flash floods present even more challenges for tourists.

city-cathedral Venezuala
Guatamala image by David Mark from Pixabay

9. Ecuador

Gun death rate: 5.5 per 100k

Like Venezuela, Ecuador experiences regular political protests and high crime rates due to poor economic factors. Many parts of the country, like the Esmeraldas provinces, are considered dangerous to travel to by the US State Department.

Much of the more traditional crime is perpetrated by what the US calls transnational crime groups. They are said to be responsible for numerous unpredictable attacks, murders, bombings, and assassinations in certain parts of the country. 

sunset crosswalk Ecuador
Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay    

10. Iraq

Gun death rate: 6.57 per 100k

For much of the last three decades, Iraq has seen the dire aftermath of war. Two conflicts with the US have left the country in some state of upheaval, with various militias and insurgent groups operating throughout. They operate especially prominently in the northern part of Iraq. 

US citizens, in particular, are considered at risk in Iraq, which is no real surprise. They are advised by the US government that there is a high potential for violence and kidnapping. Unfortunately, the targets aren’t just civilians, as there are regular clashes between security forces and militias. Too often, innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire.

swords-archway Iraq
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

11. Costa Rica

Gun death rate: 6.94 per 100k

Costa Rica is a fascinating country to evaluate when it comes to safety. Firstly, there is a significant wealth gap between the well-off and the poor. Many aspects of Costa Rica – especially for tourists – are considered reasonably safe, but there are some issues to be aware of.

In many cases, more affluent areas do a lot to take security into their own hands via neighbourhood watches, private security, etc. This is different in other more urban and less affluent areas. Petty crime, therefore, has been and remains a big problem for most people there. 

Though it has a relatively low gun crime rate compared to others on this list, it does occur, and good sense will help you avoid it. 

muncipal-building Costa Rica
Image by Manuel de la Fuente from Pixabay

12. Paraguay

Gun death rate: 7.11 per 100k

Paraguay has a healthy tourism sector, though several warnings are regularly issued for safety reasons. The biggest problem in Paraguay, according to reports, appears to be corruption at various levels of authority. This has opened the door for organized crime and, along with it, some violent crime.

According to recent statistics, armed and petty crimes are on the rise in Paraguay, notably around the big cities. Exacerbating the situation is the economic factor. Unfortunately, Paraguay is among the very poorest of South American republics. 

rainy city street Paraguay
Image by Andi from Pixabay

13. Philippines

Gun death rate: 8.28 per 100k

For the most part, The Philippines also boasts a healthy travel and tourism industry, with a focus on solo travellers. Condé Nast Traveler even voted it as one of the friendliest countries in the world in 2022.

But the Philippines has a reputation for being particularly dangerous regarding organized kidnappings, bombings and similar terrorist-related attacks. The violence even happens around the island nation at sea sometimes. US citizens, especially, seem to be preferred as targets, presumably because there is a perception that a more significant ransom can be asked.

sunset-skyscrapers Manila

Image by Kris from Pixabay 

14. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Gun death rate: 9.11 per 100k

Despite being considered relatively safe by most travel authorities, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have a concerning gun crime rate, especially for such a small population. The country is considered the poorest in the eastern Caribbean.

Not surprisingly, high unemployment and poverty invite criminal activity, which sometimes evolves into violent crimes like assault and homicide. 

shipwreck
Image by Yvan Daeleman from Pixabay

15. El Salvador

Gun death rate: 35.5 per 100k

El Salvador, which has seen its share of political violence through the years, remains a potentially dangerous country to visit. The major challenge facing the authorities today is gang-related crime. In March 2022, the government issued a public warning and claimed to have seen a decrease in related crime after a nearly year-long crackdown. 

However, a tense atmosphere persists, especially in public spaces. Authorities advise little to no movement after sunset and expect high security checks. Violent crime rates are relatively high, with armed robberies and attacks taking the lead. Public transport is a fertile ground for such attacks, so visitors are advised to avoid these when possible. 

rusty bus el salvador
Image by Polak Gerhard from Pixabay

16. Saint Lucia

Gun death rate: 9.14 per 100k

The little island of St Lucia has a surprisingly high level of local crime. Specifically, gun-related crimes connected to gang activity and homicides have increased in recent years.

There is also a heightened risk of petty crime – muggings, robberies, and even armed robberies. In this case, tourists are relatively easy targets, as they may carry valuables or large amounts of cash with them. When touring the outer-lying regions or inner cities, you should take caution on these fronts.  

The resort culture is significantly developed here, though, for the most part, tourists can easily avoid situations that may put them at risk. However, it’s a good idea to exercise caution when exploring the island outside the resort areas. Another interesting note: Taxis are not metered on St Lucia. There is a standard rate for most destinations, so it’s a good idea to agree to a fare before departing. 

beach-cove St Lucia
Image by Jolyne D from Pixabay 

17. Haiti

Gun death rate: 9.79 per 100k

Haiti is developing a reputation for being lawless and especially dangerous for anyone not rooted in a secure location. Civil upheaval, kidnapping and violent crime are rampant. In a recent incident, an armed gang blockaded access to the country’s main fuel depo. Incidents like this are becoming more common in Haiti, making it a dangerous place to visit and live. 

No particular area in Haiti is considered safe. 

ferry-full haiti
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

18. Jamaica

Gun death rate: 10.06 per 100k

It’s a shame that a country with a delightful reputation for partying also has an unfortunate nighttime crime problem. When attending Jamaica’s many clubs and dance halls, it’s not advisable to walk around the city at night. Armed robbery, petty crime, and assault are all too prevalent and a real problem for authorities to control.

Sadly, assaults and gender-based offenses are also frequently reported at resorts. This makes Jamaica a potentially unpleasant and dangerous holiday destination for the average tourist. Jamaica has a disproportionately high homicide rate. Several parts of Kingston are under a travel advisory, and visitors are urged to avoid it if at all possible.  

rasta-hut
Image by goeasy from Pixabay

19. Guyana

Gun death rate: 10.22 per 100k

High crime rates prevail in Guyana, in part, because police resources are severely strained. Nighttime armed robberies and murders seem like daily occurrences in certain areas of the country. Guyana sees a fair amount of protest action, much of which has the potential to turn violent. Visitors are advised to keep clear of any such activity. 

In addition to dangers through criminal intent, travel conditions are not ideal in Guyana. Many roads need to be better maintained, and simply getting around can be hazardous to the average traveller. To make matters even worse, large portions of the country are flood-prone during the rainy months. 

statue-chain
Image by Paul Cornec from Pixabay

20. Panama

Gun death rate: 10.6 per 100k

The Canadian government recently issued a rather stern warning about Panama: “You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk.” 

Much of this warning is attributed to extremely high levels of crime, with an added warning regarding drugs, human trafficking and violent crime perpetrated by gangs and cartels involved in such. It would seem a better bet to look elsewhere for a holiday destination, as several areas close to the Colombian border are under heavy threat. 

The armed guerilla groups operating towards the Colombian border put several privately owned resorts and reserves at risk.

highway Panama
Image by tvshoppingpty from Pixabay 

21. Saint Kitts and Nevis

Gun death rate: 10.99 per 100k

First, the positive. A general decline in serious crime has been reported as a trend over the last few years in St Kitts and Nevis. However, the homicide rate remains unreasonably high. It currently ranks similarly to Puerto Rico and Panama. 

Tourist-friendly areas can expect petty crime as with most other places. One mitigating factor about the crime rate reports here is the small population. When murders or violent crime occur, it impacts the statistic much more than in countries with larger populations. However, it also means that a person present here is that much more at risk. 

Burglary and street robbery remain a problem, as does discrimination and violence when it comes to LGBTQi+ relationship tolerance. 

hills-beach
Image: Sonya Bobb

22. Dominican Republic

Gun death rate: 11.28 per 100k

Homicide, sexual and violent assault and armed robbery are very common in the Dominican Republic. According to US authorities, these crimes have spelled in recent years. 

La Duarte is often cited as a crime hotspot among the notorious areas of Santo Domingo. However, several such areas exist. 

cable car in dominican republic

There have also been reports of more activity on the drug and human trafficking front. This usually leads to increased gang confrontations and violence, often spilling over into civilian life.

beach in dominican republic

23. Belize

Gun death rate: 15.04 per 100k

Belize has the potential to be a major tourist destination in the Central American region, with a wealth of great locations and natural attractions. Unfortunately, it will have to make concerted efforts to curb the crime rates, especially in the major cities, including the capital, Belmopan.

Most petty crimes occur at night in cities, but some assaults and violent incidents have also been reported at tourist resorts and popular beaches. Gang activity is a factor, especially in the jungles closer to the border with Guatemala.  

flag-belize

24. Trinidad and Tobago

Gun death rate: 15.21 per 100k

The city centre of Port au Spain is experiencing a significant crime increase, and as a result, the reputation for being unsafe has increased in recent years. Most of it can be attributed to increased gang activity.

Most concerning is the rising level of violent crime in Trinidad, which in turn seems to be mostly motivated by robbery. This affects tourists and locals alike. Tobago, for now, seems somewhat safer, though authorities still advise caution. 

cannon-museum
Image by Carme Alex from Pixabay

 

25. Mexico

Gun death rate: 15.55 per 100k

It must be noted that Mexico is indeed one of the most popular holiday destinations on earth, and it is relatively safe in most parts. However, it is also a large country, and some regions may not be as safe as others. 

Mexico City Cathedral
Mexico City Cathedral

In part, this is because Mexican law enforcement lags far behind many countries when it comes to effectiveness. Tourist resorts and areas may be fairly safe (save for some petty crime). Some states have increased the presence of gang and cartel activity, and therefore risk organized crimes like kidnapping, assault and so on. 

coba mexico
coba mexico

Final Thoughts on Most Dangerous Countries in the World

If you’re travelling, consider all of the above when choosing a holiday destination. With all that said, however, remember that many of these countries enjoy healthy tourist industries, and the vast number of visitors to those countries have incident-free experiences. 

Still, it’s best to know and then decide rather than set yourself up for a nasty surprise when you arrive at your dream destination. In most cases, exercising common sense and having your wits about you will keep you from situations where you might be at risk.

Related Posts:

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

Most Dangerous Places in the World

Most Dangerous Roads in the World

Most Dangerous Airports in the World

Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

Most Dangerous Cities in Europe

Related Posts:

Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

Most Dangerous Cities in Europe

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

Most Dangerous Places in the World

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