Dangerous Cities for Tourists

Your checklist for planning a vacation likely involves looking for visa information, booking flights, looking at the weather, and more. However, one item that needs to be considered for some places is the safety of where you are going.

While most popular tourist destinations tend to be safe, it’s essential to research the safety situation if you’re considering a less conventional location. Below, we’ll highlight some cities that can have a higher than average risk for travelers.

Although labeled as dangerous, some of these cities can still be visited with caution and common sense. However, there are a few cities on this list that many may want to avoid altogether.

Kingston, Jamaica

New Kingston Jamaica
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Carmela Soto

White sand beaches, Caribbean cuisine, legendary reggae music… These are some of the amazing things Jamaica is known for. Unfortunately, a high crime rate is also on that list.

In 2022 the violence was so bad that the government declared a state of emergency. Gang violence, drug trafficking and high poverty rates are some of the reasons Kingston is so dangerous.

But, despite these statistics, Kingston is still a popular holiday destination. If you are looking to visit, make sure you stay in a reputable hotel with good security. Plan your activities in the daytime and stay in well-lit areas.

New Orleans, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana
Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

New Orleans is a popular holiday spot that is well-known for its Creole culture and iconic music scene. But, this city has a dark side.

The main tourist areas of the French Quarter and the Garden District are pretty safe. But travelers should be cautious when it comes to venturing outside of these areas. In a city of just under 400,000 people, the homicide rate was 52 per 100,000 in 2022, putting it in the top 10 most dangerous cities that year in the USA.

Cali, Colombia

Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
Image Credit: Shutterstock / oscar garces

Cali is the salsa capital of the world. But, unfortunately, it is also one of the crime capitals of Colombia.

Whilst much of Colombia has calmed down in recent years, Cali is still one of the more dangerous areas. This city struggles with drug trafficking and gang-related crime. It also has a high rate of kidnapping and human trafficking.

However, it’s not completely out of bounds. Crime is concentrated in a few areas, so as long as travelers stay in tourist areas and take safety precautions, it is possible to visit Cali on vacation.

Tijuana, Mexico

Tijuana Mexico
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Robert Briggs

Tijuana used to be a fun place to party. A few years ago it was perfectly normal for Californians to flock across the border, seeking something different and a cheap night out.

However, an increase in gang crime and cartel control has put a stop to this in recent years. In 2022, the homicide rate was 105 murders per 100,000 people. Combine this with an alarming rate of kidnapping and human trafficking and you’ll quickly understand why this is no longer a weekend drinking destination.

Unlike some of the destinations on our list, Tijuana is pretty out of bounds. Most governments suggest avoiding this city as it is too dangerous to visit.

Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexcpt_photography

Cape Town is one of the more beautiful cities on this list. But, like the others, it struggles with high crime rates and gang-related activity.

Over 100 gangs are operating in Cape Town and estimates suggest as many as 100,000 residents are gang members.

But, despite this, Cape Town attracts a fair amount of tourism. As a rough rule, avoid areas such as Cape Flats, Langa and Nyanga or Kraaifontein. Instead, Bakoven, Sea Point and Garden are safer areas for tourists to visit.

Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Photo Spirit

Caracas, in Venezuela, is another no-go city on this list.

Many years of political and economic unrest have led to Caracas becoming one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Combine this unrest with corrupt law enforcement, gang violence and organized crime groups, and it’s easy to see why Caracas is a red zone.

Even if you’re a frequent traveler who’s clued up on personal safety, Caracas should be struck off your visit list until things calm down.

St. Louis, USA

St. Louis Missorui
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

St. Louis is the home of Blues music and a city that offers a unique combination of Midwest and Southern culture.

But, it’s another U.S. city with high crime rates. With a homicide rate of about 87.83 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, it is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

That being said, about half of the assaults and almost 70% of the murders happen in a small area in the northern part of the city. So, if you stick to the busy, touristy areas it is still a relatively safe city to visit.

Fiera de Santana, Brazil

Feira de Santana, Brazil
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ines Sacramento

Feira de Santana is one of the most dangerous cities in the world and the most dangerous city in Brazil. In 2022, 67.5 per 100,000 residents of Feira de Santana were victims of homicide. The city also has high assault, robbery and theft rates.

As beautiful as this Southern American city is, it’s one to avoid at all costs.

Acapulco, Mexico

Acapulco Mexico
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rafal Kubiak

Mexico takes another spot on the list with the city of Acapulco.

In the 70s/80s Acapulco was a popular tourist spot full of high-end resorts and glamorous restaurants. However, today the situation is a little different. Mexico’s infamous drug cartels have led to a spike in crime. Acapulco is also a known human trafficking hub.

That being said, many tourists still travel to this seaside city. It’s by no means the safest city in the world, but with common sense and precautions, it is possible to vacation here. Stay in a resort with good security and be careful if you venture out into the city.

Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore Pakistan
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pav-Pro Photography Ltd

Our last city is a little different. It doesn’t have a huge amount of violent crime, but Lahore in Pakistan consistently ranks amongst the worst cities in the world for air quality.

Burning fossil fuels for transportation, manufacturing and waste incineration has led to huge air pollution problems. It is thought that this level of air pollution cuts residents’ life expectancy by 7 years.

So, in terms of health impact, Lahore is a pretty dangerous city to visit.

Ready for Your Next Vacation?

Jamaica City Streets
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Travelbee Photography

Traveling offers so many amazing and exciting experiences, giving you the chance to create memories that you’ll keep for life.

But, if you want these memories to be happy ones, don’t visit some of the cities on this list!

And, for the other, safer cities, make sure you keep your wits about you and exercise caution at all times.

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