Planning next year’s vacation can start with the process of elimination, namely eliminating the most dangerous cities to travel to off your list. We here at Swift compared notes from Culture Cheat Sheet with Travel Warnings issued by the US Department of State to compile a list of the top five cities you’ll want to avoid for travel in 2016.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Known as the murder capital of the world for the past five years, the northern Honduras city of San Pedro Sula continues to be a madhouse of violence. Kidnapping and disappearances, armed robberies, theft, assaults, rapes and murders are all par for the course, with travelers typically exposed to the same levels of violence as the locals. Violence erupting from gang wars and the drug trade is common, as is political corruption.
Turkey’s addition to the Travel Warning list is a fairly recent one, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. The southern city of Adana is especially prone to violence, with even peaceful gatherings or demonstrations erupting into mayhem. Local terrorists have been known to attack popular tourist destinations, and US citizens have become particularly prime targets.
Terrorists are a big threat throughout all of Pakistan, with 200 terror-related incidents throughout the country during the first nine months of 2015. The country’s largest city of Karachi serves as the region’s cultural, economic, political and educational hub, although it’s not exempt from the terrorism that plagues the entire nation. Kidnappings for ransom, suicide bombings, armed assaults and gunpoint robberies are commonplace, as are abductions where the victims were sold to terrorists and held hostage for years.
Once a hot tourist destination, Acapulco has since become a hotbed of violence. The Mexican military was even called into the city in March 2015 to help get things under control. Much of the violence throughout Mexico can be attributed to drug trafficking and organized criminal groups, although acts of violence and crime can occur anywhere and target anyone. Gun battles, carjacking, highway robbery and murder are not uncommon, nor are various forms of kidnapping for ransom.
As the country continues to suffer from economic strife, gang violence continues to rule the streets. The violence is particularly heavy in Caracas, the nation’s capital and largest city. More than 24,700 homicides were reported throughout the country in 2013, which calculates to 79 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
Caracas homicide rates were even higher, at 134 per 100,000 inhabitants. Kidnappings are on the list of dangers, as are carjacking, robberies at red lights targeting motorists in unlocked vehicles, and crimes related to drug trafficking and smuggling.
Even if you’re still not sure where your vacation will take you, at least you know where it shouldn’t take you based on this list of the most dangerous cities to travel to in 2016. Wherever you go, make sure you have a current passport and any required visa. Also feel free to contact us with any travel questions; we’re always happy to help.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.