Dangerous Cities You Should Never Tour Alone

Traveling comes with a lot of risks. From dangerous airports to roads and theme parks, vacation destinations boast thrilling adventure opportunities but hide precarious personal safety conditions.The following list, in no particular order, is based on the most recent study by the Igarape Institute, a Brazilian think-tank, of the world's most dangerous cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

San Salvador, El Salvador

In both 2015 and 2016, El Salvador was the world′s most violent country, and its capital, San Salvador, was the most murderous city. There is some improvement, however: The city's rate from 190 to 137 killings per 100,000. The State Department has issued a warning against traveling to the country due to gang's crime and violence.

Acapulco, Mexico

Personal travel to the state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, a beach resort on Mexico′s Pacific coast, is prohibited for U.S. government personnel because it's the most violent state in Mexico for several years in a row, according to the State Department. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas. Drug violence is also a big problem. The city recorded 108 homicides per 100,000 people last year.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

San Pedro Sula has been the world′s most homicidal city for years, but is now ranks third. The city was ranked the most violence city on Earth with 169 murders per 100,000 people, according to a Mexican study. This is more than three per day. Instances where people just don't say a word and start shooting at police, who are everywhere patrolling the streets, have been reported. Illegal arms trafficking is a major cause of concern.

Manaus, Brazil

Rio is dangerous but it's not even in the Top 4 of most dangerous cities in Brazil. Manaus, known for its beaches and adventure tours, is because it has the highest number of homicides in 2016. The danger zones are located mainly in the eastern part of the city. Visitors are advised not to accept any offers for any tours from people at the airport because most are scammers and con artists.   

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America, according to the UK government. Theft and armed robbery in the city are the most common security threats for tourists, especially at night. No area is immune to daytime assaults, according to OSAC. The crime rating is "critical." The number of sexual assaults and rapes significantly increased since 2009 and women are not advised to travel alone at any time. Tourists should not wear anything that is or looks valuable. Police are said to be not very effective, and even filling out a crime report may be meaningless, according to Smarter Travel.

Cape Town, South Africa

The key to safely experiencing the genuine Cape Town city culture is to know which specific areas to avoid. In many cases, one section will be well policed and monitored while one city block away drug dealers, prostitutes and petty thieves await, according to Cape Town Safety. Poverty and social unrest are the major reasons for the high crime rates, which have increased over the past three years.

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, which has more than 684,000 residents, saw a decrease in every violent crime category according to FBI data, but not enough to keep it off the list. The city has the highest poverty rate – 58.51 per 1,000 residents, according to Neighborhood Scout. Locals tend to have lower credit scores compared to many other U.S. cities, a reason why the city was also ranked among the most stressed in the country, and the crime rate is extremely high.

Cali, Colombia

Colombia is a major transit land route for cocaine being trafficked to major markets. Locals in Cali, the third largest city in the country, can tell if someone is from out of town and that can be an easy target for them to attack, according to Smarter Travel. Drivers of unmarked taxis have been known to demand money and even threaten tourists. Fighting between cartels and local gangs also contributes to the city's status as among the most violent.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Even though it has fallen, FBA data shows, the level of crime is still very high – 83.93 out of 100 – and has increased over the last several years, according to Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global database. Problem with corruption, bribery and using or dealing drugs are among the biggest issues. The safety level of walking alone at night is very low – 17.13 out of 100. The La Perla district in Old San Juan should be avoided.

Kingston, Jamaica

The post crime rating, according to OSAC, is critical. Crime is a result of many factors – poverty, retribution, drugs, gangs, and politics. Organized crime elements are widespread and very active. Most criminal activity is gang-related. Notoriously high-crime areas of Kingston include Mountain View, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Standpipe, Cassava Piece, Grants Pen, and Arnett Gardens.

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore also made our list of the most dangerous cities in America. The violent crime rate in Baltimore, the third most populated city on the list with just over 623,000 people, has increased from 3,989 to 4,224 per 10,000 people. The biggest difference is in the number of murders – from 99 between January and June 2014 to 144 a year later. There were more robberies as well, but slightly fewer aggravated assaults.

St. Louis, Missouri

This iconic city in Missouri has more than 318,500 residents. There was a significant increase in every category of violent crime, except rape, which was down from 144 to 127 reported cases, according to FBI data. However, there were 34 more murders, 238 more robberies, and 267 more aggravated assaults. St. Louis is also in the top 15 most stressed cities in the country.

Porto Alegre, Brazil

Porto Alegre has been on various lists of the most dangerous cities in the world for years because of very high rates of violent and drug related crimes. Biggest problems for tourists are robberies, muggings, vandalism, theft, assault, and armed robbery, according to Numbeo. The safety level of walking alone at night is 4.83 out of 100.

Tijuana, Mexico

Exercise caution in Tijuana, and other cities in the state of Baja California, particularly at night, the State Department says. There was an increase in homicide rates from January to July 2016 compared to the same period in the previous year. Turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime everywhere. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours. As of Sept. 30, 2016 there have been 636 homicides in Tijuana, compared to 670 in all of 2015. 

Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa

This is a new city added to the list, mainly because data collection is improving in the country. Gang shootings are not uncommon. The crime rate is around 53 murders per 100,000 people. Violence has significantly increased over the last few years, according to Numbeo. It rates the safety level of walking alone at night as very low – 17.93 out of 100.