The holidays are over ad we're back to reality with a bang. It's always difficult to deal with the fall-out of having to go back to the office and face the daily commute. But for next year why not beat the back-to-work blues by visiting one of the most dangerous holiday destinations possible?
Two weeks in one of these hell-holes will make getting back to work seem like the best thing ever, assuming you survive, of course, or don't end up in prison, or worse....
The all out -war of the nineties is, on the surface, over and reconstruction has begun. All the violence has gone underground and the Russian Mafia is highly active in the city and there are still active militias. In 2003 the UN labled Grozny the 'most dangerous city on Earth'. Although the city is being transformed appearntly there is a significant danger of kidnapping if you are a non-Russian tourist. For maximum exhillerating experience why not go roller-blading around downtown Grozny, especially after dark. Stay in Hotel Grozny City
Rio de Janiero
Forget about the beautiful beaches, the even more beautiful people, the wrmth, the music and the fun. If it's adrenhalin pumping fear and an experience that makes you never so happy to be alive then try visiting the favelas. The murder rate for Rio is 37 in every 100,000 making it a very dangerous place indeed. The police are just as dangerous killing three-times more on average than in the US. There are many daily tourist excursions into the favelas where you can veiw the shanty town from behind the bullet-proof glass of a 4x4 but for a genuine experience you can stay in one of the fevela hotels that have opened their doors in recent years. Stay at the Pousada Favelinha
The British Forgein and Commonwealth office advices against all but essential travel to Kabul. The city sits about 5000m above sea level. There is a strong risk of terrorist attack eith some of the major Hotels for Westerns particularly targeted for bomb attacks. kidnapping is widespread. IN 2008 two men strapped heavily with explosives and carrying rifles walked into the Serena Hotel six people were killed and six wounded so why not stay there?
Once among the cultural and learning centres of the world the Iraq/Iran War and the more recent second Gulf War have devastated this city. Bahgdad is emphatically NOT a holiday destination, and all but essential travel to it is discouraged. The 'Green Zone' is a heavily guarded area of the city, but if it's thrills you're really after then the anarchic 'Red Zone' still has some of the worst violent crime around including; bombing, kidnapping, shooting. Usually foreign dignitaries and embassy staff travel in heavily armed convoys. We suggest ditching the bullet-proof vest and using a 'normal', 'soft-skinned' car. With more 'freedom' to do things that would have been dangerous under an oppressive muslim regime you can see men sitting out until almost as late as midnight, drinking beer openly and playing dominoes.... drinking and gambling! So why not join them? Stay at The Baghdad Hotel.
Once the city with the highest murder rate in the world, Caracas is also a vibrant, loud mix of culture and customs. Noehere else will you see such a diverse mix in such a beautiful setting. However, much as this place could be Paradise, the experience of traveling in Caracas is on of 'Paradise Lost'. Much has been made of the deteriorating conditions in the last decade under a government that appears indifferent to policing issues, much as the city abounds with glamour and money, the situation of having such poverty at close quarters makes for an edgy, exhillerating experience. Stay at Hotel Caracas
Often sited as the most dangerous city in the world, Mogadishu has the highest number of weapons per capita and to make matters worse, the intense poverty makes for a dangerous mix. Since 2011 a technocratic governmet was elected and they have set about intense reconstruction spear-headed by the Somali diaspora in conjuction with much investment from Turkey a traditional ally. You would have to be a serious thrill -seeker to go here on holiday however. Probably the most famous Mogadishan is Iman, wife of Mr. Bowie and the first Somali woman to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1979. The Muna hotel was a scene of a terrorist attack that killed more than 30 people in 2010, so probably best not to stay there.
Ciudad Juraez, Mexico
As the mafia and drug cartels continue to slaughter each other the living conditions of ordinary people deteriorates day by day. The border town of Juraez has one of the highest murder rates in the world wth 2,600 killed due to drug-related violence in 2009 alone. The town is full of great restaurants and bars and you can enjoy the music and nightlife here, but getting home from a night out is an achievement in itself! The Quality Inn is located very near to te US consulate in Ciudad Juraez, but we're not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
It's got a lot going for it with colonial architecture and a local people that seem to be determined to have a good time since the end of the civil war. But don't go walking at night, take taxis everywhere. Hotel Amahoro looks nice.
Once a no-go area, Bogota has recently emerged as a surprise 'in' holiday destination. The FARC are more active outside the city, so don't under any circumstances leave the city, especially at night. That said though, there's plenty to keep you occupied in Bogota itself especially in the Candelaria area with plenty of cafés and bars and of course the local cuisine is legendary. You may as well stay at the JJ Marriot Hotel.
It's hard to find a place that has so much natural beauty and yet with such turbulent history. With cosmopolitan vibrancy and modern glamour sitting cheek-by-jowel with heady reminders of the country's painful birth and apartheid history, serious poverty abounds. The population is seriously affected by an HIV/AIDS epidemic and crime and kidnappings are always a threat. Visit the Townships for a wake-up call and witness the poverty, but also get a lesson in the tenacity and ingenuity of the locals. The Mount Nelson Hotel could be just the ticket for your stay in ape Town.