Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

by AOL Travel Staff Subscribe to AOL Travel Staff's posts Posted Apr 14th 2010 01:46 PM


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Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

It's a wild world out there-one that can be as dangerous as it is breathtaking. Some natural wonders are as safe as your own backyard (the California Redwoods, for example), while others, such as Smyrna Beach, can be deadly. That doesn't stop hundreds of people from swimming in Smyrna's shark-infested waters, however, or driving or biking along a route so perilous that it is literally known as "Death Road."

Unfortunately, adrenaline junkies aren't the only ones who occasionally find themselves in trouble-as Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts proves, sometimes danger lurks behind an innocent façade.

From the most hazardous beach to the most treacherous mountain hiking trail, we name five of the world's most dangerous tourist attractions.

As you're reading, keep this question in mind-do you think individuals who tackle challenges like Death Road are crazy? When you're finished, email us or tweet us and let us know.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

More than a million people sun, swim, and surf at this Atlantic Ocean beach every year, in spite of the fact that it is the leading spot for shark attacks. There were 21 incidents in 2008, almost half of the total number of shark attacks in the world. Swimmers flock to the 13-mile white sand beach for its warm waters which, unfortunately, also draw black tip and spinner sharks. The majority of attacks are against surfers, which sharks occasionally mistake for turtles, but that doesn't mean swimmers and waders are immune from danger-they account for 36 percent of attacks. The Florida Program for Shark Research supports the punch-the-shark-in-the-nose method of escape, but if that fails, recommends that victims claw at its eyes and gills.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

One of China's Five Sacred Daoist Mountains, Mount Huashan has a history of religious significance that dates back to the second century BC. The trail that encircles the mountain has a different reputation-one for danger. Many exposed, narrow pathways zigzag up the 7,085-foot rock-face-there's even a section that is no more than a series of chains and planks bolted into the side of a cliff. Tourism boomed when a cable car that connects the city of Huayin, China to the base of the mountain was introduced (at the same time the local government took action and cut deeper, safer pathways, built stone steps, and even closed off some of the most death-defying tracks). Unfortunately, in spite of all of these precautions, fatalities still occur-according to a Chinese television report, as many as 100 people die per year on the trail.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

The official name of this stretch is North Yungas Road, but it's better known as El Camino de la Muerte or "The Road of Death." Located northeast of the capital city of La Paz in Bolivia, it is officially the most dangerous road in the world with as many as 300 people losing their lives each year while driving its length. We're not just talking about crashes either, many cars simply go over the edge. On Death Road, guardrails are not prevalent and at places it narrows to a single lane of just about 10 feet, which is especially disturbing considering that the drop off is almost 2,000 feet. Still, thousands of tourists come each year for the views and the right to say they survived the world's most terrifying drive. The hilly rainforest road also attracts mountain bikers looking for an adrenaline rush (at least 15 of them have died along the route in the past decade).

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

With a history of avalanches, falling rocks, and bad weather, Mount Blanc is the world's deadliest mountain. Known by the French as "La Dame Blanche," or the White Lady, climbers face destabilizing gusts of wind over 60mph at the summit as well as temperature drops of 6 to 7 degrees every 3,280 feet. The pike claimed 58 lives in 2008, with 10 more missing and presumed dead. In the summer of 2007 alone, 30 climbers perished trying to reach the summit-the highest in the Alps at 15,781 feet. Straddling the border between Italy and France, the mountain is a hot spot for climbers who come to show off their skills and earn bragging rights. Despite the fact that rescue helicopters swoop in to bail out climbers at least a dozen times during peak weekends, over 20,000 people conquer the mountain every year.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

Bash Bish Falls may appear innocuous, but beware-it's one of the most deadly waterfalls in the world. At 60-feet it's the highest waterfall in Massachusetts, but that's not what makes this picture-perfect cascade so dangerous-it's the crumbling ledges, treacherous rocks and unexpectedly shallow pools that end up claiming lives here. Other falls, like Howick Falls in South Africa, may have seen more deaths over the course of its years as a tourist attraction (40 deaths have been recorded at Howick as opposed to 25 at Bash Bish), but the Massachusetts waterfall tops the list for having the most accidental deaths. According to legend, the falls are named after a young Indian woman who plunged to her death here.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

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Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

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I am surprised the article did not make mention of the Road to Hana on the Island of Maui and bicycling down from Haleakala National Park. I think both deserve mention of the danger level.

September 26 2010 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Every dark night is followed by a bright sunny day. So, patience and
attention is required and things will be fruitful in near future.




August 07 2010 at 7:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brazil is a beautiful country, with sunny beaches, clear waters, lush rainforests, incredible culture and many other attributes that make it a lovely travel destination. Unfortunately there is also a down side, a dark side of Brazil you’re bound to experience if you ever go. Despite the accelerated economic growth of recent years, poverty is still a serious issue here and people will do just about anything when their survival instincts kick-in.

You could end up with a switchblade pressing hard on your throat and be forced to surrender your wallet and valuables in order to keep your life. Kidnappings aren’t unusual in large cities like Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo; you just get pulled into a car and taken to the closest ATM in order to pay your own ransom. If you can’t do that, well, you better hope your family can or you’re in serious trouble.

Drug cartels have a firm grip over the slums of many of Brazil’s large cities and the police simply don’t have the power to bring them to their knees, so you might be unlucky enough to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and become a victim of their crossfire.

May 10 2010 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I took a helecopter tour of Kauai over 2 years ago. I never realized that it had that kind of history. I'm no daredevil, but it was terrific and I would do it again! :)

April 27 2010 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the worst event is flying over water from Canada to Europe nonstop! Never forget the turbulence and then seeing hyjackers killing some soldiers from Kuwait. Never forgot that and dont ever want to see such again. To me that is more life threatening to see a hijacker and being threatened by one than seeing any falls! Butw as itten by a deer tick and I think that can casue mroe sickness than any fly in the world. But where ever you go there is aprasiets whcih acsue cancer. I find that most undesirable and more threatening than any water fall in the world!

April 25 2010 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Helmet Vanga

For those who dont know about this road. This road was built by Paraguayan prisioners of war. Bolivia and Paraguay waged a war in 1932. There were about 5,000 paraguayan prisoners and they built if not all most of this dangerous road. Bolivia has traditions and believes in Andean Gods like Virococha, or the Inti (sun God) or Pachamama (mother earth) so forth, one thing a tourist should not do near this deadly road is mock the Andean Gods, the results can be desastrous.

April 25 2010 at 4:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOL! We have our own "most dangerous attractions" right here in Northern Virginia. If you are a woman, try walking, jogging or biking on the W.O & D trail or in Rock Creek Park by yourself. See if you can get from A to B without being assulted or murdered by an illegial! Sad but true. Is this a great country or what?

April 25 2010 at 3:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff Arnold

Try a year in Vietnam. Beautiful country with death at every corner. Some of you jerks think that pushing the limit shows your willingness to experience "life". So many fools with so many dreams. Try a bullet in the chest and then brag about it today. I don't and never will.

April 25 2010 at 3:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scot P

Amazing- people that do not know, or just ignore -FACT
Last crash was 1995 ? Let's go ahead for those unable to do the math- It is now 2010.
The last crash was 15 years ago. 5,400 days ago-
One of the most fantastic things that you can do in your life,(legally) is riding a helicopter over ANY Hawaiian island- I reccomend the "Big-Island" but you will not be disappointend checking out the other Islands.
SO JUMP ABOARD that Helicopter- it will be something that you will never forget.
There is not 1 Helicopter service that endanger your life- Do you think the pilot wants to die that day, well look him in the eye, and ask while you board.

April 25 2010 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We visited La Paz Bolivia and drove El Camino de la Muerte, (death road). In my life, never have I been so terrified! Anyone fearing heights should absolutely stay away. We talked to locals in La Paz who stated they were on the road and actually witnessed people plunging off, and to their deaths. I can't imagine witnessing something so horrific.
The scenery is breath taking, however, nothing in heaven or on earth could get me on that road again! I'm surprised to read the annual death toll is only 300 or so, it could easily be much higher.

April 25 2010 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply