Who doesn’t love a beach vacation? The sun, the sand, the radiation…hang on, what was that last part again? Yes, seems like there are some beaches out there that are less than idyllic. Whether your particular phobia is shark bites, jellyfish or being kidnapped, don’t worry – we can find a beach that’s just wrong for you. Grab an atlas, and a big red pen to mark these Top 10 Most Dangerous Beaches off your list of holiday destinations!
10. Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii
One criticism you can’t throw at this beach is that it covers up how dangerous it is. A sign leading to the beach shows a tally of how many visitors have died there, with space for more. The problem is the currents – with no reef separating the beach from the open ocean, riptides can drag even good swimmers out to sea with no option of returning. The beach is also a hike away from any help, so don’t expect a fully-trained lifeguard on hand if you do get into trouble. A guide to Kaua’i island says that most deaths are out-of-state visitors who don’t understand the tides. The sign seems pretty straightforward, I think.
On the upside, it’s meant to be beautiful. Just don’t go into the water.
9. Gansbaai, South Africa
Another beautiful spot, with miles of white sand and dramatic cliffs. So beautiful in fact, that you’d think working for the Gansbaai Tourist Office would be a breeze. It has all these features, and it’s also the Great White Shark capital of the world. Who wouldn’t want to visit?
Well, people who are afraid of sharks for one. Maybe it’s just me, but selling a beach as being the Shark Capital of the World is a bit like selling a restaurant as being Cockroach HQ. Just look at this terrifying photo of a shark stalking a kayak, taken at Gansbaai – doesn’t it make your blood run a little bit cold? It’s been said that the photo has been faked, but the photographer denies this and also says that sharks don’t attack kayaks. So that’s a bit reassuring, but I’m still not rushing to visit.
8. Southern Mindanao Islands, Philippines
What happens when you venture “off the grid”? Well, book a trip to some of the more remote islands of the Philippines and you might find out. Away from the tourist destinations like Siargao, you might think there are exciting new places to discover and you’d be right, but not exciting in a good way. The southern end of the Mindanao Islands are frequented by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who have been in a state of “All Out War” with President Estrada since 2000. In that time in one province, 45% of residents have reported their homes being destroyed, while 16% have known of witnesses to crimes being killed. So, your survival chances as a Western tourist? Depends whether the MILF are in need of a hostage that week or not…
Oh, and there are pirates about as well. Again, in a tourist-kidnapping sense. Still, lovely beaches…
7. Darwin, Australia
Not one beach in specific, but dipping your toes in the waters anywhere near this Northern Australian city would require a nerve of steel. Delights in and around Darwin Harbor include box jellyfish, crocodiles and …more sharks! The jellyfish tend to only be a problem between October and May, but the salt-water crocodiles are visitors to Darwin all year round. One source reports that 4 crocodiles a week are caught in the harbor.
In case this is all sounding too enticing, bear in mind that a 2011 report into the state of Darwin’s beaches found higher-than-average levels of bacteria in the water. Australia has many beautiful and clean beaches to visit, with less chance of being eaten or stung…visit those instead!
6. Kilauea, Hawaii
One of the chief things you need in a beach vacation is heat. Lying on the beach when it’s chilly is just disappointing, really. So in some ways, visiting a beach on top of an active volcano is perfect. But there’s an obvious downside, in the form of the risk of death. But if you don’t much care about such things, Kilauea beach in Hawaii is worth a visit. The volcano has been constantly erupting since January 3rd 1983, so there’s little chance of catching it on an “off” day and it’s a beautiful natural phenomenon…from a distance.