There are so many exciting places to visit in the world, its hard to decide where to go but why not stop for a moment and consider where you shouldn’t go? Even the most uninviting places can spike your curiosity so take a look at this list and think carefully before you make your travel plans!
Off the shore of Brazil, almost due south of the heart of São Paulo, is a Ilha de Queimada Grande (Snake Island). The island is untouched by human developers, and for very good reason. Researchers estimate that on the island live between one and five snakes per square yard. That figure might not be so terrible if the snakes were, say, 2 inches long and nonvenomous. The snakes on Queimada Grande, however, are a unique species of pit viper, the golden lancehead. The lancehead genus of snakes is responsible for 90% of Brazilian snakebite-related fatalities. The golden lanceheads that occupy Snake Island grow to well over half a yard long, and they possess a powerful fast-acting poison that melts the flesh around their bites. This place is so dangerous that a permit is required to visit.
The North Yungas Road is a 38-mile road leading from La Paz to Coroico, 35 miles northeast of La Paz in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It is legendary for its extreme danger with estimates stating that 200 to 300 travelers are killed yearly along it. The road includes crosses marking many of the spots where vehicles have fallen. The road was built in the 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan prisoners. It is one of the few routes that connects the Amazon rainforest region of northern Bolivia, or Yungas, to its capital city. Because of the extreme drop offs of at least 2,000 ft, single-lane width – most of the road no wider than 10 ft and lack of guard rails, the road is extremely dangerous. Further still, rain, fog and dust can make visibility precarious. In many places the road surface is muddy and can loosen rocks from the road.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N. Most current estimates state that it is larger than the U.S. state of Texas, with some estimates claiming that it is larger than the continental United States, however the exact size is not known for sure. The Patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The patch is not easily visible because it consists of small pieces, almost invisible to the naked eye, most of its contents are suspended beneath the surface of the ocean.
Inspired by the Botanical Gardens in Padua, Italy, the first botanical garden which was created to grow medicinal and poisonous plants in the 1500s, the Alnwick Poison Garden is a garden devoted entirely to plants that can kill. It features many plants grown unwittingly in back gardens, and those that grow in the British countryside, as well as many more unusual varieties. Flame-shaped beds contain belladonna, tobacco and mandrake. The Alnwick Garden has a UK Home Office license to grow some very special plants; namely, cannabis and coca which are found behind bars in giant cages.
Ramree Island is located right off the coast of the Rakhine State, Myanmar and its white beaches and swaying palms are the perfect slice of heaven that every island should be. However, its infamous place in the history books comes from eyewitness reports of an animals-gone-wild style massacre during World War II. According to historical interviews, anywhere between 500 to 1,000 retreating Japanese soldiers were devoured by a large infestation of saltwater crocodiles as the troops entered the marshes and mangroves that surround Ramree. Only around 20 of the men emerged to be captured by the pursuing forces. The survivors immediately began telling tales of reptilian monsters, horrible screams, and agonizing death. Due to a fair amount of press corroboration of the military tragedy, Ramree has the distinct honor of being host to the “Greatest Disaster Suffered by Humans Due to Animals” in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The Izu Islands are a group of volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honsh, Japan. Administratively, they form two towns and six villages, all part of Tokyo. The largest is Izu shima, usually called simply, shima. Because of their volcanic nature, the islands are constantly filled with the stench of sulfur. Residents were evacuated from the islands in 1953 and 2000 due to volcanic activity and dangerously high levels of gas. The people returned in 2005 but are now required to carry gas masks with them at all times in case gas levels rise unexpectedly.
While drilling in Derweze in Turkmenistan in 1971, geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 50-100 yards. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, scientists decided to set fire to the hole. Geologists had hoped the fire would go out in a few days, but it has been burning ever since. Locals have named the cavern The Door to Hell. It is one hell of an amazing place, but certainly one you wouldn’t want to visit.
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals highly prized for their resistance to fire and sound absorption abilities. On the downside, exposure to this stuff causes cancer and a variety of other diseases. It is so dangerous that the European Union has banned all mining and use of asbestos in Europe. But, for those curious enough to want to get close to the stuff, all is not lost. The area around Thetford mines was once one of the most productive mining areas for asbestos in the world. Though the mines are now closed, you can still peek down into one. In 2012, Canada shut down all its asbestos mines, and today turquoise water fills all the old mines.
In the Spring of 2001, volcanic activity under the Caspian Sea off the Azeri coast created a whole new island. In October 2001 there was an impressive volcanic eruption in Azerbaijan at Lokbatan, but there were no casualties or evacuation warnings. But Azerbaijan does not have a single active volcano, at least not in the usual sense of the word. What Azerbaijan does have is mud volcanoes – hundreds of them. Mud volcanoes are the little-known relatives of the more common magmatic variety. They do erupt occasionally with spectacular results but are generally not considered to be dangerous – unless you happen to be there at the wrong time: every twenty years or so, a mud volcano explodes with great force, shooting flames hundreds of feet into the sky, and depositing tons of mud on the surrounding area.
The Zone of Alienation is the 19-mile exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster and is administrated by a special administration under the Ukrainian Ministry of Extraordinary Situations. Thousands of residents refused to be evacuated from the zone or illegally returned there later but over the decades this primarily elderly population has dwindled. Approximately half of these resettlers live in the town of Chernobyl; others are spread in villages across the zone. After recurrent attempts at expulsion, the authorities became reconciled to their presence and even allowed limited supporting services for them. Because of looting, there is a strong police presence – so be warned, if you visit, you may be arrested.