15 of the riskiest vacation hot spots in the world

alarico/ShutterstockThe US State Department warns of ‘violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault’ in the Bahamas, particularly in Nassau.

The US State Department regularly warns American travellers of dangers they may face abroad. Among its list of countries Americans are urged not to travel to are those with regular conflicts, like Yemen and Sudan. But those aching to get out of the States and travel might be surprised to find that some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations are under the department’s list of countries to “exercise increased caution” in.

That said, because a country isn’t on this list doesn’t mean you’re safe, and vice versa. Travellers should always be mindful of their surroundings while abroad.

Here are 15 popular tourist destinations the US State Department recommends Americans be wary of.

In the Dominican Republic, the State Department warns of crime. The country has also recently been in the news for several American deaths.

Flickr/Ben KucinskiDominican Republic.

In the last few months, six American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic of various causes, and three claim to have been poisoned. One woman also claimed she was attacked at a Punta Cana resort in January.

According to the State Department, “armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault” are all a cause for concern in the Dominican Republic. However, resort areas, it says, tend to be better policed than urban areas like Santo Domingo.

The State Department warns of various crimes in the Bahamas, too.

shalamov/iStock/Getty Images PlusThe Bahamas.

According to the State Department, most crimes happen on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands, and US government personnel are prohibited from travelling to the Sand Trap area in the capital of Nassau.

The State Department warns of “violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault,” warning that it occurs even during the day and in tourist areas. Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists, it warns.

The State Department warns of crime in Turks & Caicos.

Turks & Caicos was ranked the No. 3 best cheap vacation spot in the Caribbean by US News, with various levels of caution recommended for the islands in the region. According to the State Department, the vast majority of crime occurs on the island of Providenciales, and tourists should avoid walking alone at night, answering their hotel doors at night, and physically resisting armed robberies.

Travellers should beware of kidnapping and crime in Mexico.

ShutterstockGuanajuato, Mexico.

Cancun, Mexico, was ranked the best spring break destination by US News, but the State Department warns that homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery are widespread throughout Mexico. It lists Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas states as places to avoid due to crime and kidnapping.

The State Department recommends increased caution in the UK due to possible terrorist attacks.

s4svisual/ShutterstockLondon, UK.

Though London is a popular tourist destination for Americans, the State Department warns that terrorist groups “continue plotting possible attacks in the United Kingdom.”

Among its locations to potentially avoid, the State Department lists “tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets or shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.”

In France, the State Department warns of possible terrorist attacks and civil unrest.

anshar/ShutterstockParis, France.

With Bastille Day approaching and many planning summer trips to France, the State Department warns that terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks on the country, including at hotels, clubs, and restaurants.

As demonstrations in the capital of Paris continue, the State Department also warns of property damage, looting, and arson in popular tourist areas.

The State Department warns of possible terrorist attacks in Spain.

JeniFoto/ShutterstockBarcelona, Spain.

The State Department warns of possible terrorist attacks in Spain in places like sporting events, hotels, government facilities, clubs, restaurants, etc.

Travellers should exercise increased caution in Italy due to potential terrorism.

efired / iStockFlorence, Italy.

Rome is one of the top 20 most popular cities to travel to in the world, according to CNN. Like some of its European counterparts, the State Department warns of possible terrorist activity in Italy, including possible attacks in places like cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Germany, too, is on the State Department’s list of places to exercise increased caution due to possible terrorism.

anyaivanova/ShutterstockBerlin, Germany.

The State Department recommends travellers to Germany be aware of their surroundings when “travelling to tourist locations and crowded public venues,” follow the instructions of authorities, and monitor local media for events that might influence travel plans.

The State Department warns of possible terrorist activity in the Netherlands.

NaughtyNut/ShutterstockAmsterdam, the Netherlands.

When planning your trip to Amsterdam to visit one of the city’s world-famous museums or to try its popular food, note that the State Department warns of possible terrorist activity in the Netherlands. Attacks may come with “little or no warning,” says the State Department, in popular tourist destinations and public areas.

The State Department urges travellers to exercise caution in Jamaica due to crime.


Among its reasons for cautioning travellers about vacationing in Jamaica, the State Department lists “violent crimes such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides.”

Violent shootings occur regularly in some areas of the capital of Kingston, it says, and also warns of sexual assaults, which it says occur frequently and at all-inclusive resorts.

In Indonesia, the State Department warns of terrorism and natural disasters.

Shutterstock/Yavuz SariyildizUbud, Bali, Indonesia.

Despite Indonesia’s popular tourist destinations like the island of Bali, the State Department warns of possible, unpredictable terrorist attacks in places like police stations, places of worship, hotels, and bars.

It also warns that “natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcano eruptions may result in disruptions to transportation, infrastructure, sanitation, and the availability of health services.”

In the Philippines, the State Department warns of “crime, terrorism, civil unrest, a measles outbreak, and kidnapping.”

upslim / ShuttestockPalawan province, Philippines.

Though ISIS is known for its cells throughout the Middle East, the terrorist group has a presence in the Philippines, too.According to the State Department, “terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines,” and the Philippine government has declared a “State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao.”

The State Department lists Sulu Archipelago and Marawi City in Mindanao as places not to travel to due to terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

Additionally, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warns of a measles outbreak in the Philippines.

India is on the State Department’s list for crime and terrorism.

nicolemoraira/iStockTaj Mahal, Agra, India.

Among India’s fastest-growing crimes is rape, according to the State Department, which has issued warnings to women travelling to the country. Sexual assaults have occurred at tourist sites and other locations.

The State Department also cautions that terrorist attacks may occur with no warning at tourist attractions, transportation hubs, and government facilities, and travellers are urged not to travel to the state of Jammu and Kashmir due to both terrorism and civil unrest.

Tourists should beware of certain areas in Brazil due to crime.

Tupungato/ShutterstockParaty, Brazil.

According to the State Department, violent crime “such as murder, armed robbery, and carjacking is common in urban areas, day and night” in Brazil. Gang activity and organised crime is also widespread. In May, 11 people were reportedly killed in a shooting at a bar in Brazil’s northern Pará state.

The State Department lists areas within 93 miles of Brazil’s land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay as ones to avoid.

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