They say that danger lurks around every corner, but for some places in the world, this is more true than others.
Unfortunately, the places referred to are often some of the most beautiful and tourist-worthy — ironic, right? Just like some of the most dangerous cities in the world are the ones that beckon travelers the most.
But some of the most dangerous places on earth mentioned here can be potentially deadly, so these aren’t warnings you should ignore lightly.
Instead, take all precautions when visiting the most dangerous places in the world.
31 Most Dangerous Places in the World
Table of Contents
- 31 Most Dangerous Places in the World
- 1. Death Valley National Park (USA)
- 2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)
- 3. Valley of Death (Russia)
- 4. Skeleton Coast (Africa)
- 5. Gates of Hell (Turkmenistan)
- 6. Danakil Desert (Ethiopia)
- 7. Snake Island (Brazil)
- 8. Death Road (Bolivia)
- 9. Lake Natron (Tanzania)
- 10. Oymyakon (Russia)
- 11. Mariana Trench (Atlantic Ocean)
- 12. North Sentinel Island (India)
- 13. Madidi National Park (Bolivia)
- 14. Fraser Island (Australia)
- 15. Skellig Michael Mountain (Ireland)
- 16. Mount Washington (USA)
- 17. K2 (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir)
- 18. Zone Rouge (France)
- 19. Runit Island (Marshall Islands)
- 20. Mount Sinabung (Indonesia)
- 21. Blue Hole Dahab (Egypt)
- 22. Lake Nyos (Cameroon)
- 23. Cave of Crystals (Mexico)
- 24. Saltstraumen Strait (Norway)
- 25. Australian Outback (Australia)
- 26. Gouffre Berger Cave (France)
- 27. Praia de Boa Viagem (Brazil)
- 28. Wittenoom (Australia)
- 29. Boiling Lake (Dominica)
- 30. Fukushima (Japan)
- 31. Haiti (Haiti)
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Most Dangerous Places on Earth
- What is the most dangerous place in the World?
- What is the deadliest to humans?
- What is danger tourist?
- Final Thoughts | The Most Dangerous Places in the World
Let’s jump in and look at the most thrilling (and dangerous) places to visit globally.
1. Death Valley National Park (USA)
Sitting between California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park is a land of extreme heat. With the highest recorded temperature of 56.6ºC, it’s officially the hottest place on Earth. And the valley’s name is well deserved, with some hikers losing their lives to the extreme conditions in the past.
The sun’s concentrated energy here is deadly and downright uncomfortable, even though over one million visitors head to the park every year to see the Badwater Basin. The Sailing Stones on Racetrack Playa are also a big pull, thanks to their mystery.
But the extremes switch during winter when the temperatures plunge and occasionally reach freezing during the nights. The rainy seasons in the surrounding mountains also bring the dangers of flash floods to the Valley.
Image by Steve Adcock from Pixabay
You might enjoy reading my articles on:
–The Most Dangerous Cities in Canada
–The Most Dangerous Cities in the World
–The Most Dangerous Countries in the World
–Dangerous Cities in the United States
–The Most Dangerous Airports in the World
–The Most Dangerous Roads in the World
–Safest Places to Vacation in the USA
2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)
Getting up close and personal to lava oozing in bright orange bursts of color from the barren black-rock landscape of an active volcano is a thrill, that’s for sure. And there are boat tours and guided lava hikes that specialise in just this. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is actually a World Heritage Site and home to Mount Kilauea, which hasn’t stopped erupting since 1983.
But these tours have an element of danger to them. The splashing sea water is often scalding from the constant outpouring of molten rock into its waves. And other hazards like flying rocks and sulphurous fumes have caused casualties and even deaths over the years. So you have to weigh up the risk versus the benefit.
Image by Douglas Perkins from Pixabay
3. Valley of Death (Russia)
The valley at the base of Kikhpinych is picture-perfect, but the volcano’s fumes will kill you quickly if you dare to enter.
The concentrated hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide, amongst other gases, can kill small animals instantly, so use your zoom lens and don’t try to get close.
Image by Игорь Шпиленок from Wikicommons
4. Skeleton Coast (Africa)
From the south of Angola to the northern areas of Namibia, the Skeleton Coast is a barren stretch of coastline with a harsh climate. It also offers almost no chance of survival should you find yourself unlucky enough to be marooned here.
There’s no food or fresh water to be had, and the dry desert winds would dehydrate you pretty fast, combined with the open dunes offering no shade for relief from the sun.
The sands are also littered with the bones of whales, seals, and even elephants along the shores, either washed up already dead or driven to the sea by thirst and dying later on.
Image by juls26 from Pixabay
5. Gates of Hell (Turkmenistan)
The Gates of Hell sounds like a terrifying place to see, but its geological origins are innocent enough. It’s a natural gas field inside an underground cave which geologists set on fire in 1971 to prevent methane from spilling into the atmosphere.
The result is Turkmenistan Darvaza Gas Crater, 230 feet wide with burning hotspots of orange flames and boiling mud spreading 200 feet long and 66 feet deep. It’s located in the middle of the Karakum Desert near the village of Derweze and makes for quite the sight in the desert landscape at night.
Image by Tormod Sandtrov from Wikicommons
6. Danakil Desert (Ethiopia)
With temperatures that usually exceed 50ºC, the Danakil Desert in northeastern Ethiopia is as uninhabitable as it gets. Three tectonic plates are slowly diverging in this geological depression, so volcanoes abound geysers belch toxic fumes, making both the ground and the air a safety hazard.
Even a short visit would dramatically impact your health thanks to the likelihood of poisoning from concentrated sulphuric vapours. There’s always the possibility of eruptions, too, with the area being consistently volcanically active.
The huge salt pans and hydrothermal fields in bright sulphur yellows and deep blues are mesmerizing, though it’s so remote and dangerous not many tourists venture here.
Image by Marco Torrazzina from Pixabay
7. Snake Island (Brazil)
Sitting snuggly 25 miles off the coast of Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean, Snake Island, or Ilha da Queimada Grande, is fairly small, covering only 106 acres in total. But it has a deadly reputation, to the point that it’s illegal to visit it.
The biggest threat the island poses is its colonies of golden lancehead snakes, which are a variety of pit viper species. One bite will kill a grown man within a few hours, the venom burning through flesh and causing the victim to bleed to death.
Luckily, Snake Island is the only place you’ll find this particular snake, with a population of between 2,000 to 4,000 of them living on this small island.
Image by Gerry Thomasen from Wikicommons
8. Death Road (Bolivia)
Its real name is North Yungas Road and it connects La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia. Driving either way on this 43-mile switchback road means taking your life in your hands, though.
Thick fog, cliffs plummeting 2,000 feet by the road’s edge, landslides, and waterfalls make navigating downright dangerous (and frankly terrifying). Until 1995, 200 – 300 drivers died on this road every year, giving it the nickname “Death Road.”
Many of the people who died were on trucks and buses attempting to negotiate the hairpin turns that weren’t wide enough to accommodate their vehicles.
Image by PsamatheM from Wikicommons
9. Lake Natron (Tanzania)
There may be a ring of pretty salt marshes around the edges of Lake Natron, but don’t let them fool you. This inhospitable lake in North Tanzania is more like a lake of fire, with temperatures that range from 120ºF to 140ºF.
If that wasn’t enough to scare you off, the waters have high levels of Natron, i.e. the acidic sodium carbonate decahydrate, which is corrosive to human flesh and eyes. The pH level of the lake can reach over 12 depending on rainfall or lack thereof.
Despite this, red-hued cyanobacteria call the lake their home and turn the water pretty colours of pink-red and orange. The lake is also the breeding ground of 2.5 million Lesser Flamingos, amazingly.
Image by Richard Mortel from Wikicommons
10. Oymyakon (Russia)
In the heart of Siberia is the tiny Russian village of Oymyakon. Although it’s a permanently inhabited place, only about 500 people dare to live here due to it being one of the coldest places on Earth.
The lowest temperature ever recorded was -96.2ºF. Barely any crops can grow so lack of food availability is an issue, and it’s mostly not safe to be outside for periods of time due to the high risk of hypothermia and death.
It’s even too cold for mobile phones to work here. Nonetheless, the few hundred who remain tough it out.
Image by Maarten Takens from Wikicommons
11. Mariana Trench (Atlantic Ocean)
The Mariana Trench is the deepest place on Earth, reaching almost seven miles below the surface of the Atlantic. It’s pitch dark and freezing cold, but the extreme pressure is the real killer — a bone-crushing eight tons per square inch.
Because it’s the collision site of two massive tectonic plates, volcanic activity in the form of hydrothermal vents exist in places along the rift. Temperatures directly near the vents can reach 572ºF. The fluids that come from the vents are highly acidic, too.
Nonetheless, there are bacteria, crustaceans, octopi, and fish that have evolved and adapted to the harsh conditions.
Image by OAR/NURP from Wikicommons
12. North Sentinel Island (India)
North Sentinel Island is a strictly prohibited piece of land thanks to the locals. There are mysterious tribes that live on the island, and they refuse any connection to the outside world.
Many people have attempted to reach out to the people living there, if only to take a census of their population numbers, and many have died as a result.
Even if you reach out warmly, the only likely response is to have their arrows aimed at you. As a result, attempting an excursion to the island is prohibited to avoid any more fatal encounters.
Image by Medici82 from Wikicommons
13. Madidi National Park (Bolivia)
Most national parks are places of wonder, and Madidi is no different. But there’s a sharp element of danger here. Not only do a high number of dangerous predators lurk in its lush greenery, but the plants themselves can be severely poisonous.
Severe itching, dizziness, and rashes aren’t uncommon from contact with the flora, and any tiny scratch or cut could be assailed by tropical parasites. The only way you are allowed to experience this place is with an experienced guide.
Image by Arthur Chapman from Wikicommons
14. Fraser Island (Australia)
From rainforests to beaches, danger can be found just about anywhere. Fraser Island looks like a perfect piece of paradise with its inviting turquoise waters and smooth pale sands, but this remote island is home to many deadly creatures.
Poisonous spiders and wild dingos that prove to be truly aggressive lay claim to this piece of land, and the waters belong to sharks and deadly jellyfish. So stick to climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge for your thrills, rather.
Image by stanbalik from Pixabay
15. Skellig Michael Mountain (Ireland)
Although tourism to this spot is on the rise since its appearance in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” it’s still a pretty dangerous place to go to Skellig Michael Mountain. It’s a rocky, rugged island with wild waves surrounding it and 600 uneven stone steps to navigate if you want to reach the ancient monasteries.
Oftentimes the seas are too rough or tides are too high for boats to dock, and rock falls and challenging weather make the uphill hike even more treacherous. As a result, the government only grants four boat licences for this location each year, and the number of tourists allowed to visit has been limited.
Image by Stinglehammer from Wikicommons
16. Mount Washington (USA)
You wouldn’t imagine it, but Mount Washington holds the record for the fastest winds recorded on Earth, with peak speeds of 203 mph. Not only that, but the temperatures can drop to the minus 40s, making hypothermia a risk.
It’s known to be the most dangerous small mountain you can attempt; even seasoned hikers have found themselves blown off-course by the powerful westerly winds. And not by a few feet — they’ve been pushed a number of miles from trails and safety. Never underestimate the power of nature.
Image by Dan Meyers from Unsplash
17. K2 (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir)
You’d think Everest would be a dangerous mountain, but it turns out that K2 (also called Mount Godwin Austen) holds that title. It’s the second-highest peak the world over, and the foul weather it experiences plus the greater height from base camp to summit makes it that much more challenging.
Storms on K2 tend to last several days, leading to more deaths. It’s also very steep with fewer flat expanses during the climb. At the 24,000 feet mark, the path flattens out a bit — but thanks to the high likelihood of rockfalls and avalanches and unpredictable weather, you’re not out of the red yet. Especially with the lower oxygen level at those altitudes.
Comparatively, more than 5,000 people have scaled Mount Everest, but only 300 or so have conquered K2.
Image by Daniel Born from Unsplash
18. Zone Rouge (France)
A few areas in northeastern France have been deemed uninhabitable thanks to the ravages of World War I and the dangers it left behind there. They’re collectively called Zone Rouge or Zone Red, and they pose a risk from the incredible number of human and animal remains to contaminate the ground and water.
Plenty of unexploded ammunition and weaponry are buried by sand and time in the area, making it dangerous to build on. The area was sealed off after the war ended, and the French government has prohibited any activity in the area, including forestry, agriculture, and settlements.
Image by Robert Murray from Wikicommons
19. Runit Island (Marshall Islands)
Runit Island sits peacefully between Australia and Hawaii in the cosy Pacific Ocean, but what makes it dangerous is that it’s a repository for radioactive waste. Many nuclear tests were carried out here from 1946 to 1958, and a large dome was built on the beautiful island to contain the radioactive waste.
Lately it’s become clear that the Dome’s structure has weakened over time as some of the nuclear waste has begun to seep out. Thus the water and land are being contaminated with dangerous radioactive waste.
Image by US Defence from Wikicommons
20. Mount Sinabung (Indonesia)
Mount Sinabung is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, making living on the island a risky choice. It lay dormant for 400 years before suddenly springing to life in a dramatic eruption in 2010, posing a deadly threat to the communities that had been built up around its base.
Since then, it erupted from September 2013 until August 2018, and then again for four months in 2019. It opened its maw and belched out ash and lava once more from August 2020 until September 2021. Residents continue to return to cultivate their lands despite the risk.
Image by Yosh Ginsu from Unsplash
21. Blue Hole Dahab (Egypt)
In case you’re wondering, a blue hole is a deep underwater sinkhole, and Blue Hole Dahab is one of the largest in the world. It’s safe for the most part but poses a risk to divers who can’t withstand the temptation to dive into this beauty.
It’s claimed more than 200 lives of divers looking for adventure and finding their fate instead. Best to stick to the skies and get an aerial view of this dangerous spot.
Image by Ggerdel from Wikicommons
22. Lake Nyos (Cameroon)
Lake Nyos is what’s known as an “exploding lake,” and it’s one of three in Cameroon. Its danger is thanks to unseen volcanic activity. The lake sits on top of a large magma pocket, and unsafe gases like carbon dioxide leak into the lake’s waters, forming carbonic acid.
The lake itself ends up becoming volatile and likely to erupt. Back in 1986, the eruptions of Lake Nyos killed 1,746 people and 3,500 livestock because of invisible gases leaking from its waters.
Image by ppong.it from Wikicommons
23. Cave of Crystals (Mexico)
The Cueva de los Cristales, or Cave of Crystals, is a wonder that holds possibly the largest crystals in the world. They’re mostly opaque white gypsum crystals and are frankly enormous, large enough to climb at lengths of 36 feet.
However, the cave itself is inhospitable for all its beauty. It’s 984 feet below the Sierra de Naica Mountain sitting on top of a magma intrusion, so the temperatures reach 56.6ºC and the humidity is normally 90% – 99%. If you entered the cave without proper gear, fluid would condense in your lungs, which could end up being fatal.
Image by Alexander van Driessche from Wikicommons
24. Saltstraumen Strait (Norway)
Just outside of Bodø, the small Saltstraumen Strait contains the world’s strongest tidal currents. Every six hours or so, over 105,000 gallons of water rush through the strait at just under 25 mph. This happens as the tide either comes in or empties out of Skjerstad fjord.
Then the difference in sea level between the beginning and end of the strait can be as much as three feet in height, causing strong, speedy currents that swirl and create whirlpools. They can reach as wide as 35 feet, so you’ll need an experienced guide to navigate these waters.
Image by Gerd Eichmann from Wikicommons
25. Australian Outback (Australia)
Traversing the Outback, which covers more than 70% of Australia, can be quite the experience, but if you go unprepared, you may lose your life. Not only is the wildlife dangerous (poisonous spiders and snakes included), but the arid, dry conditions make it a place where heatstroke strikes fast if you get lost or stuck.
It’s not unheard of for people to die here, especially when temperatures are at their peak in summer, so take all necessary precautions and then some before attempting a visit.
Image by Wallula from Pixabay
26. Gouffre Berger Cave (France)
It’s also known as the Cave of Death. Pretty dramatic, but it’s earned its nickname by claiming the lives of some intrepid explorers. It’s over 3,000 feet deep with a steep descent, and if the weather suddenly turns to rain, there’s a large risk of flooding in the cave.
Mostly only very skilled climbers tackle this bucket list descent as it can take 15 – 30 hours to return to the surface once you’ve reached the bottom.
Image by Bruno van der Kraan from Unsplash
27. Praia de Boa Viagem (Brazil)
The water is warm, and the sand is splendid between your toes — but heading into the waves at Praia de Boa Viagem might be the last thing you do. The surrounding sea is known for a high volume of aggressive and often fatal shark attacks thanks to its proximity to its migratory route.
Currently, 37% of the attacks that take place here are fatal, compared to a lower worldwide percentage of 16%. The higher fatality rate is attributed to the perpetrators, namely bull sharks and tiger sharks.
Image by Portal da Copa from Wikicommons
28. Wittenoom (Australia)
Wittenoom was built on an asbestos mine and is now officially classified as a contaminated site since many of its former visitors and residents died from asbestos exposure. It’s located on the way to Karijini National Park, and a few daredevils try to sneak in despite warnings.
Don’t be one of them, though. The health risks that asbestos exposure poses to your lungs (and your life) aren’t worth a thrilling Instagram snap.
Image by Five Years from Wikicommons
29. Boiling Lake (Dominica)
Situated in Morne Trois Piton National Park, the Boiling Lake really lives up to its name with blue-grey waters that steam at temperatures from 82ºC to 91.6ºC. Those are the temperatures along the lake’s edges, far from the bubbling, boiling center.
It’s a volcano-hydrothermal feature known for sudden bursts of hot water. It’s even possible for deadly toxic volcanic gases to be released, so be careful if you’re planning a trip.
Image by Bayukjdr from Wikicommons
30. Fukushima (Japan)
A tragedy occurred in Japan in March 2011 when a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit parts of the country. It caused a nuclear power plant to explode in the Fukushima prefecture, causing even more harm and destruction but also presenting danger in the form of radiation.
Even years later, the radiation levels were still extremely high and, therefore, very harmful. Through decontamination processes and clean-up, residents have finally returned to the nearby towns, but the plant is still an exclusion zone.
Image by VOA News from Wikicommons
31. Haiti (Haiti)
Geographically, Haiti sits in the middle of the hurricane belt, so it experiences a lot of intense storms. The fact that houses are built on floodplains and there are no flood defences or warning systems in place makes it all the more dangerous.
Even natural defences like forests have been degraded by past hurricanes, leaving the country even more prone to higher levels of damage and loss of life.
Image by kbmars from Pixabay
Frequently Asked Questions about the Most Dangerous Places on Earth
What is the most dangerous place in the World?
The most unsafe place in the world is seen as being Death Valley National Park in the United States.
What is the deadliest to humans?
Mosquitos are considered to be the deadliest creature in the world because of the amount of deadly diseases they carry, including malaria.
What is danger tourist?
A tourist who seeks to travel to dangerous places (from physically dangerous to cities in conflict) and/or be part of dangerous events like bungee jumping or extreme mountain climbing.
Final Thoughts | The Most Dangerous Places in the World
So what is the most dangerous place on earth? It really depends on which statistics you use to determine the most dangerous places in the world. But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit them at all.
Often an experienced tour guide or viewing from the safe distance of a helicopter ride is all you need to experience these iconic locations. But do your research before you go, just like you should before visiting the most dangerous cities in Europe or other parts of the world