There are some places in the world that few dare to explore, but not because they’re unsightly. Quite the contrary. Many of these places are stunning, but are so dangerous that few brave the trip, and even fewer return to tell of the tale. Let’s examine some of the most beautiful, but dangerous places on earth.
Death Road in Bolivia is aptly named. This narrow dirt road juts from the side of a dark green cliff. There are no guardrails or other safety measures on this road’s treacherous edge, over which many daredevil bikers have plummeted to their deaths. Drivers and bikers have to contend with oncoming traffic, slippery road conditions and unpredictable weather. There are also large rocks along the path that can cause drivers to veer suddenly and fall off the edge. So why have so many ventured the risks of Death Road? The views are absolutely beautiful. One wonder how beautiful they are on the way down?
Looking for sunsets full of purple, pink, and orange? Death Valley boasts some of the most fantastic views of dawn and dusk. Even after sundown, you can get lost in the infinite starry sky. That is, of course, if you survive the day, when temperatures can reach 134 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s right, Death Valley, plunk in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert, is one of the hottest places on earth, and few living things can survive in such an extreme climate. Do you have what it takes?
Off the coast of Brazil, there’s a deserted island called Ilha da Queimada Grande, but to many it’s “Snake Island.” It gets its nickname from its most toxic resident, the Golden Lancehead, a deadly pit viper. A single bite from this poisonous reptile will have you dead in an hour, and on Snake Island, there’s about one viper per square mile. While the island is off-limits to almost all visitors, the Brazilian navy occasionally checks up on a lighthouse there, where its most recent resident died after a snake slithered into his quarters.
North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel is one of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean between Thailand and India. From above, you can see pristine beaches, a lush jungle and coral reefs surrounding the island. But it’s not exactly open to visitors. For centuries, the island’s indigenous people, the Sentinelese, have violently opposed any individual who has set foot on their home, showing equal hostility to oblivious tourists, shipwrecked travelers and archeologists. The last American who attempted to visit was shot to death with an arrow.
While the bright magenta colors of Lake Natron make for a perfect Instagram picture, don’t even think about going for a swim. This lake in Tanzania has a pH of 12 and contains high levels of natron and trona, corrosive alkalis that sting and burn human skin and eyes. The only living things that thrive here are cyanobacteria and the flamingos that eat them. Unless you have inch-thick skin and scales on your feet, it’s best to stay away from this red lake.