Skeleton Coast – Namibia
The Skeleton Coast is a 40 km wide and 500 km long coastal stretch in Namibia, a hostile destination that Portuguese explorers once named ‘The Gates of Hell’. Take our word for it, it’s an apt nickname. Boasting golden sands and superb surf, the beaches are beautiful. But the hazards here mean that this is no place to kick back, relax and top up your tan.
The Skeleton Coast’s sea is really rough, with roaring winds and strong currents responsible for countless shipwrecks littering the landscape here. Many of the wrecks have been completely destroyed by natural elements over the years, but a few remain, their ruined and rusting hulls reminding visitors that this is a dangerous destination. But the perils don’t end there.
Eleven different shark species patrol Namibia’s Atlantic waters, whilst things are not much safer on land. Lions, hyenas and other fearsome predators often wander onto the sands, whilst other creatures lurk in the bushes, watching from a place that is sometimes referred to as ‘the land God created in anger’. Looking for a destination for your next beach holiday? Taking everything into account, the Skeleton Coast is certainly a place to avoid.
Cape Tribulation – Australia
Having struggled to navigate Queensland’s jagged reefs in 1770, Captain Cook gave Cape Tribulation a name that summed up his troubles. Some 250 years later it remains fitting. These days, the main dangers come not from the reefs that hampered Cook’s approach, but the hazards that await holidaymakers. Thinking about paying a visit? With warm waters, golden sands and rainforest vistas, we don’t blame you. But please don’t underestimate the perils.
Deadly jellyfish lurk in the ocean here, meaning a stinger suit is a must. Thousands of crystal clear Box Jellyfish live in Cape Tribulation warm waters from October to early June. This jellyfish specie is very dangerous as their venom attacks the cardiovascular system which can cause swimmers to drown before reaching land for help.
If that wasn’t enough, Cape Tribulation beach is infested with saltwater crocodiles, so it might be best to avoid the water altogether. That the crocs sometimes head onto the beach means the sands are not safe either, whilst in the forest, dangerous cassowaries stalk amongst trees that themselves pose dangers. Look out for jagged leaves and poisonous plants, or follow Captain Cook’s example and head elsewhere.
New Smyrna Beach – Florida
The surf is epic at New Smyrna Beach. But those taking to their boards are also taking a chance. This is a place that has been dubbed the world’s ‘shark bite capital’. It’s always tempting to take a dip. But you should think twice. New Syrma beach is one of these places you should never ever swim.
It’s such a shame as the shimmering waters are warm, the sands golden and the sun always shining. But the risks outweigh the rewards, and anyone entering the water here stands to be bitten. Blacktip sharks are very common in New Smyrna Beach, so common that it gave New Smyrna Beach the nickname ‘shark attack capital of the world’.
It is estimated that you’re always within 10 feet of a shark in New Smyrna’s Atlantic waters, and even if attacks aren’t frequent, they happen, so take our advice and head elsewhere. Florida’s sun-kissed coast boasts surf spots galore and a safer alternative is never far away. Shark attacks here don’t often prove fatal, it’s true. But anyone thinking about entering the infested ocean should always ask themselves the question, is it really worth the risk?
Uttakleiv Beach – Norway
Norway is famed for its dramatic landscapes and Northern lights. Every year, visitors flock to the stunning Uttakleiv Beach to see the Northern Lights in winter months and the Midnight Sun during summer. The surrounding landscape is breathtaking, for sure. But this is a spot that has hidden hazards, and those paying a trip should always exercise caution.
Uttakleiv is perhaps Norway’s most photographed beach, and for as long as you’re snapping away, you’re safe enough. But put down the camera and head for a refreshing dip and this becomes a perilous place.
The problem here is the water temperature. Uttakleiv is located on the Lofoten Islands in Norway’s northernmost reaches. This puts it in the Arctic Circle – far north of Iceland – and means the frigid seas with temperatures going as low as 8 degrees Celsius in winter are a hazard to life. It’s a stunning place, but please don’t underestimate the dangers here and stay away from the water. Falls happen after all, and can easily lead to hypothermia.
Boa Viagem Beach – Brazil
Brazil is renowned for its beaches — and Boa Viagem is one of the best. Located in sprawling Recife, this is one of the most visited stretches of sand on the country’s picturesque northeastern coast.
Offshore, there’s a vast reef that calms the waves and helps to keep the shimmering waters warm. But those taking a dip are also exposing themselves to great danger. The trouble here is the Tiger Sharks. These haven’t always posed a problem, but’attacks have become commonplace since the super-sized Suape Port was built just along the coast in 1990.
Construction disturbed the natural balance beneath the waves – causing the local shark population to head elsewhere. Nowadays, these great predators patrol the inviting waters off Boa Viagem – and those splashing about are in constant danger. In fact, the tiger shark is reported to be responsible for a large share of fatal shark-bite incidents, and is therefore considered one of the most dangerous shark species*. Unlike great white sharks, considered highly dangerous, tiger sharks are not likely to swim away after biting a human, so watch out!
Bikini Atoll – U.S. Marshall Islands
Beautiful Bikini Atoll is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It boasts golden sands, warm Pacific waters and exotic landscapes fringed with palm trees that rustle in the breeze. But this magical spot in the Marshall Islands is no place to lie back and relax.
Radiation is a significant risk for all who travel here. And this has made Bikini Atoll a place to avoid. It was here that the United States conducted nuclear tests and experiments in the 1940s and 1950s. Hydrogen and Atomic Bombs were exploded, forcing local people from their homes. Most have never returned. Scientists declared Bikini Atoll ‘safe’ in 1997 but the beaches are still polluted and the risks remain. If you ever go there, avoid to eat anything locally grown!
Furthermore, what makes Bikini Atoll an ‘idyllic’ location is that the lack of offshore fishing in the last century particularly helped the marine life to flourish. Consequently, there are many sharks patrolling the area. Seeking paradise? The Bikini Atoll seem a tad perilous, you may want to look elsewhere.
Fraser Island – Australia
Heading to Fraser Island? Be aware that beaches don’t get more dangerous. Located off Queensland’s picturesque southern coast, this is a stunning spot. The sands are pristine and the ocean waters glisten in the sun. But those treading these spectacular shores face perils and hazards galore.
Forget about the aggressive Dingoes that often wander onto the sands and the Great White Sharks that patrol the ocean waters. It’s all about the jellyfish, and the stingers that are most common here rank amongst the deadliest around. Beware Blue Bottles and always look out for the infamous Irukandji. This species is small, for sure. But it’s also extremely venomous.
One of the most poisonous jellyfish on the planet, the consequences can be dire for anyone stung by an Irukandji. Urgent medical attention is required. But with none available on Fraser Island, whether help arrives on time or not can be a matter of life or death. Fraser Island also hosts not less than 18 species of snakes, with one third of them considered dangerous, including the extremely venomous eastern brown snake. The eastern brown is responsible for more than half of all serious snake bites in Australia and over 60 per cent of the country’s snakebite-related deaths*. Will you pay a visit to the gorgeous Fraser island?
*University of Melbourne
Reunion Island is a tropical haven. The pristine sands are white, and coconut trees fringe the beautiful beaches surrounded by dramatic volcanoes and lush rainforests. But danger lurks in the warm Indian Ocean – and those taking a dip are also dicing with death.
This might sound a little theatrical, but the hazards here must not be underestimated. Sharks patrol Reunion Island’s waters in great numbers, and fatal attacks are far from uncommon. Indeed, in the five-year period between 2011 and 2016, more than 16% of all shark-related deaths on Earth occurred here.
The reason? Located east of Madagascar, Reunion Island lies on the so-called ‘Shark Highway’ that runs between Australia and South Africa. Passing sharks often settle in the waters here, attracted by the diverse ecosystem and abundant coral reefs. This makes the island – an overseas French department – a perilous place. Given its clear waters and tropical climate, Reunion Island beckons those keen to snorkel and explore the marvelous exotic marine environment. Tempted to take a dip? Take our advice and stick to hiking instead.
Chowpatty Beach – India
Chowpatty is one of India’s most famous beaches. Revellers gather here in great number to celebrate the Hindu festival of Garesha Chaturthi each September. This is an occasion to savour. But for those seeking a place to kick back and relax, our best advice is to look elsewhere.
Located on Mumbai’s glittering ‘Queen’s Necklace’ promenade, Chowpatty’s sands are filthy. It might be famous, but the unprecedented pollution here makes this an unpleasant place to take a vacation. It used to be even worse, but efforts have been made to clear up the litter that once blighted the Mumbai coastline.
In 2017, 5.3 million kilogrammes of garbage were removed from a 2.5 kilometre stretch of sand. The beach is now cleaner than ever, but still hazards to health remain. The water here is not fit to swim in, with raw sewage and the waste from storm drains often discharged straight into the sea. Perilous and unpleasant, you could seriously get a disease here or step on something dangerous. We seriously advice you to not wander on Chowpatty beach.
Kilauea Beaches – Hawaii
Hawaii beckons sun-seekers with its exotic black-sand beaches. Planning a visit? Pick your spot carefully. Kick back too close to Kilauea and the consequences could be dire.
There’s no question that this is a picturesque place. But the dangers are obvious and all too real. Kilauea is a sight to behold, it’s true. But it’s also a volcano that ranks amongst the most active on Earth.
How active? Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983 and not even the experts can predict when it next might blow its top. Sending molten lava flowing into the ocean, you don’t want to be in the firing line when it goes off. Those who underestimate the dangers tend to come off worst. Factor in the prowling sharks that patrol the warm waters here — with attacks often fatal — and it’s clear that these are not the best beaches to visit. Our advice? Head elsewhere in Hawaii and don’t take any chances.
Staithes Beach – UK
Seeking the perfect spot to swim? There are better options than Staithes. For one thing, the waters on the North Yorkshire coast are far from warm. But for those taking a dip here, there’s much more to worry about than the temperatures.
Staithes Beach enjoys a scenic setting, but don’t be fooled. The North Sea waters here are far from clean. Considered amongst the most polluted coastal stretches in Europe, this is a spot that has failed to meet minimum standards time and time again.
The problem here is agricultural waste, with farm sewage from neighbouring fields prone to drain into the sea during periods of bad weather. Offshore breakwaters exacerbate the issue, trapping pollutants in the harbour and preventing dilution. Seeking the perfect spot to swim? With ecoli, meningitis, typhoid fever and hepatitis A all a risk to those who ignore the warnings, there are better options than Staithes.
Playa Zipolite – Mexico
Playa Zipolite might look like paradise, but this is a resort that has a darker side. It is known in these parts as the ‘Beach of the Dead’. This is a fitting nickname.
Located on Mexico’s picturesque Pacific Coast, Zipolite proves popular with surfers, backpackers and nudists. But those entering the warm waters here are taking their lives in their hands. So great are the dangers, drownings are not uncommon, especially if you swim on the west end of Zipolite, the rip tide that runs along the rocks could very much drawn you.
Zipolite’s big waves beckon surfers and those keen to catch a swell. But dangerous rip currents present constant hazards, whilst powerful undertows often sweep the unsuspecting far out into the ocean. If you are drawn out to sea, it may be difficult to swim directly back to shore since you will be swimming against the current that pulled you out. Still the surfers come – and still the accidents occur. Don’t want to be the next victim of the Beach of the Dead? Head elsewhere along the Oaxaca coast, where the water conditions are more favourable, and the risk to life not so great.
Gansbaai – South Africa
Gansbaai ranks amongst South Africa’s top tourist spots. But the main attraction is the thing that makes this place so dangerous. Thinking about taking a dip in the cool Atlantic waters? Be aware that the ocean here is teeming with Great White Sharks, one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet.
These are fearsome predators indeed, but it is possible to get up close and personal. Local operators offer cage diving experiences for those keen to come face to face with a real-life Jaws. This does minimise the risks. But still, it’s a pursuit that we’re reluctant to recommend.
Despite the obvious dangers, some swimmers still take to the waters here. But this is a perilous pastime and a risk that is not to be taken lightly. Make no mistake: get it wrong and you could pay the ultimate price. If you really must enter the ocean, a protective cage is a sensible precaution. But our best advice is to find something else to do — with whale watching a much safer alternative for marine life lovers.
Hanakapiai Beach – Hawaii
Hawaii is renowned for its world-class surf and island living. The beaches here are stunning and the shimmering waters warm. But there’s trouble in paradise. Heading to Hanakapiai? Please do take care. The ocean conditions here could not be more hazardous, and drowning is not an uncommon occurrence.
The sand is golden and the sun always seems to shine at Hanakapiai which continues to prove popular, but the strong rip currents, high surf and dangerous shore breaks should never be underestimated. There are no major reefs to hinder the ocean currents here and those unaware risk being swept out to sea. Indeed, even those who know what they’re doing are risking their lives.
Yet some people snorkel around Hanakapiai beach, an activity in Hawai that is most commonly leading to visitor drownings. State health department records of the last 10 years show that Hawaii’s visitor-drowning rate is 13 times the national average and 10 times the rate of Hawaii residents. Fifteen bodies remain missing, whilst a warning sign on the sands keeps a grim tally. Don’t want to end up another statistic? Take our advice and give the snorkel a miss.
Dumas Beach – India
Feeling brave? You’ll need to be. Dumas Beach is not one for the faint of heart. Once a burial ground and cremation site, this is an eerie place that has long been rumoured to be haunted. You might not believe in such things, but spirits are said to wander the sands here. People claim that they heard strange voices coming from the beach, even when its desert. Think it’s all poppycock? Perhaps. But people do disappear from Dumas and this is not a spot to spend time alone.
Located close to sprawling Surat in India’s Gujarat state, Dumas enjoys a picturesque position on the sparkling Arabian Sea. But locals tend to give it a wide berth and tourists are often advised to find somewhere else to lie back and relax in the sun.
The ghosts might be little more than a myth, but the giant wild and deadly king cobras that often slither onto the warm sands here are all too real. Whether it’s the spooks or whether it’s the snakes, you should weigh up all the potential dangers before deciding to spend the day at Dumas.
The Red Triangle – California, USA
Stretching for 200 miles, this slice of Californian coastline is far removed from the glamour and sass that Cali is famous for. The Red Triangle Beach runs from Bodega Bay (to the North of San Francisco) to the Big Sur (to the South of Monterey), and is famous for something really quite deadly.. sharks.
It’s thought that just short of 40% of the great white shark attacks reported in the whole of America happen here. And that equates to 11% of the total attacks the world over. So if you’re looking for a safe swim, perhaps the waters off the Red Triangle Beach aren’t for you.
Hungry sharks are kept well fed by the large populations of unsuspecting sea lions, elephant seals and sea otters. But like us, sharks like to mix things up a bit and are fond of a ‘nibble’ of human flesh. Although we are reliably informed that they do in fact prefer sea creatures to sea faring humans. When they do attack humans, it’s thought to be out of curiosity. So that’s ok then. Despite this, these waters are popular with thrill seeking surfers, windsurfers, divers and swimmers looking for what could possibly be the experience of a lifetime. We wouldn’t recommend it unless you know exactly what you’re doing!
Mindanao Island – Philippines
Situated in the Southern Philippines, the Mindanao group of islands has beautifully sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, ideal for exploring and snorkelling. The second largest in the Philippines, it’s known as the Land of Promise, since it’s also known as the ‘breadbasket’ of the Philippines due to its large agriculture based export industry. Mother Nature truly did create a paradise island with plentiful supplies.
But what makes these islands appear on our deadly beaches list isn’t to do with Mother Nature, it’s a man made problem ‘ terrorism. In recent years, the main city of Mindanao, Marawi, became overrun by fighters from Isis as tension grew between the government and pro Islamic State militant groups. Fighters declared a caliphate leading to these idyllic beaches becoming the scene of a bloody, five month long battle between the caliphate and the army.
Since the siege ended, groups of fighters have been forming again on the island, and there have been kidnappings and executions of foreign holidaymakers. The advice from the Foreign Office (FCO) is that on the whole, travel to the Philippines is safe, but to avoid travelling to Mindanao.
Juhu Beach – India
Situated on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, sits Juhu Beach. This beach is popular with the rich and famous including the high earners from Mumbai’s mega metropolis and stars from Bollywood movies. This vast beach in one of the wealthiest areas of Mumbai attracts a vibrant tribe and it’s certainly not the most quiet of beaches to visit.
Whilst you’ll get a glimpse of life in one of the busiest cities on earth, it’s difficult to find peace and quiet, so it’s best not visited if you love a relaxing sunbathe on a beach. That said, the sunsets are a must see and the vast array of food stalls offering delicious food and snacks make this place a buzzing one.
But what makes this beach deadly is what beach goers, revellers and joggers leave behind ‘ mountains of waste. Juhu Beach is the most polluted beach in Mumbai and there’s hardly a square inch of beach that doesn’t have some kind of debris left on it. If plastic pollution upsets you, then avoid Juhu Beach at all costs. Another factor is that this beach is situated under the flight path for the bustling Mumbai airport, with planes regularly, and loudly, flying low overhead.
Volusia County – Florida
Florida has the well earned nickname of the Sunshine State, due to its endless days of year round sunshine. So its beaches must be places of paradise, right? Well, most of them are. Two famous bays in this area include Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach but all of Volusia County Beaches are somewhat different to the chilled Florida vibe you might expect.
These beaches are visually stunning, but they harbour a dark secret ‘ they happen to be known as the shark attach capital of the world. In 2017 alone, there were nine reported cases of shark bites in these beautiful waters. Not only do visitors to Volusia County Beaches have to be hyper vigilant of nearby hungry sharks, they also need to be aware of two other dangers. Jellyfish stings (even for beachgoers staying in the dry, as they often get washed up, beach side) and lightning strikes are also relatively common here.
Popular with sun worshippers and surfers (the surf is exceptionally good, as long as it doesn’t have sharks looking for dinner in it), Volusia County Beaches come with an avid warning ‘ enter the water at your own risk. (But it is comforting to know that nearby hospitals have plenty of shark bite specialists on hand).
Tamarama Beach – Australia
Sydney is known the world over for its stunning, city side beaches and Tamarama Beach is certainly no exception. Tamarama Beach is small, but has a huge reputation as being a place where the beautiful people hang out. So much so, that it’s known locally as Glamarama Beach and has been since the (arguably not very glamorous) 1980s. But don’t let the prospect of beautiful people put you off. Let the danger of rip tides and huge, crashing waves put you off!
Situated between Bondi Beach and Bronte Beach, Tamarama/Glamarama Beach is actually a tiny cove. In fact, it only has 80 metres of coastline. But that doesn’t make it any less deadly. Renowned for its glamour, it’s also renowned for being one of the deadliest beaches in Sydney. The beach here is very narrow, and the might of the regular riptides will scoop up whatever they like, drag it all out to sea and throw it against the rocks. For this reason, swimming and paddling on Tamarama Beach is often prohibited.
Surfing usually falls under the no-go rules too, but that doesn’t stop adventurous thrill seekers from venturing out on their surfboards. Since Sydney has so many stunning beaches, if a dangerous (but we’re sure, thrilling) surf isn’t your thing, maybe stick to another, safer beach!
Second Beach, Port St Johns – South Africa
Second Beach in South Africa is more than just a beach. Known as the Wild Coast, it’s part of a stunning landscape of the mountains, rivers, forests and beaches of Port St Johns. Situated on the South East coast of South Africa, Second Beach is served by the Umzimvubu River and is close to the Indian Ocean.
But amongst all this natural beauty and mix of dramatic landscapes, is a deadly problem. Second Beach holds the (almost certainly unwanted) title of the most deadly area for shark attacks on humans in South Africa.
The majority of shark attacks here are caused by bull sharks (also known as Zambezi sharks) and in one recent five year period, there were eight shark attacks where people have lost their lives. One even occurred after a man was attached by a shark in water that was only waist deep.
Despite this, this area of coastline is popular with swimmers and surfers. But anyone entering these waters does so at their own risk. As its not only shark attacks that make it dangerous, but strong currents too, that make these very dangerous waters indeed, especially for anyone who isn’t a strong swimmer. So take heed!
Lamu Archipelago – Kenya
In the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Kenya, sits the archipelago of islands known as Lamu. Perfectly pristine and stunning, they’re truly the stuff of dreams (and tales of desert islands). With powdery soft sand and crystal clear waters, they’ve long attracted those seeking to switch off.
Not content with beautiful beaches, the Old Town of Lamu has a beautiful 14th Century collection of stone houses, earning it UNESCO World Heritage status. Inspired by both Arabic and Swahili cultures, it’s most certainly an interesting place to visit. But all that changed in 2011 when two separate occasions saw Western tourists kidnapped and killed. Somali gangs were behind these and other attacks since then on tourists staying on the Lamu Archipelago, with terrified and unsuspecting holidaymakers bundled into speedboats and smuggled into neighbouring Somalia.
The UK government advise that attacks on tourists can still occur at any time on Lamu and suggest that travel should only be essential. With the threat of terrorist kidnappings very real in this part of the world, we’re inclined to avoid visiting Lamu, despite its beauty.
Camber Sands, East Sussex – England
Most wouldn’t expect a UK beach to appear on a list of deadly beaches, since most beaches in the UK belong to quaint seaside towns. The most deadly thing we might think of is the ghost train in the nearby funfair!
Camber Sands Beach in East Sussex stretches for three miles along the popular East Sussex coast. It’s dotted with sand dunes making it ideal for private sunbathing, playing hide and seek and enjoying a picnic. It can get quite breezy on this part of the coast, making it perfect for flying kites. However, it’s these conditions that make Camber Sands far from friendly when the winds and tides get whipped up into a frenzy. This beach is known for a hidden but deadly danger ‘ rip tides. These are powerful, fast flowing bodies of water caused by strong winds and even stronger tides.
They result in large volumes of water being pushed towards the shore and then dragged back out to sea again. And they’re no match for children, animals and weak swimmers, who can get caught up in their might. Even the strongest of swimmers would struggle against a rip tide. Officials advise against swimming and the use of inflatables on the worst days. But like all aspects of Mother Nature, they can be unpredictable and entering the water at Camber Sands should be done with caution.
Adelaide City Beaches – Australia
Adelaide has many small beach suburbs, among the most popular are Glenelg, Henley, Brighton and Semaphore beaches. They’re all only a short distance from the centre of the city, and provide the perfect, relaxed respite from city life. These beaches attract holiday makers from home and abroad and day trippers alike, all attracted to their chilled out vibe, shopping malls and places to eat and chill with friends. If you’re a fan of an old fashioned wooden pier and feel of the British seaside, then Glenelg even has that, too!
But it turns out, that another, non human being, wants in on the act. These beautiful beaches were full of alarmed swimmers, paddlers and top dippers in December of 2019, when the warm waters saw in influx of the blue-ringed octopus. This sea creature is beautiful, with, as its name suggests, stunning blue-ringed colouring. But it’s equally as deadly. They hide in the rocky shore of the waters along the Adelaide City Beaches, surprising the toes of unsuspecting beach goers.
When the weather is warm, they tend to move towards the shore, where rockpools provide the ideal cooling off places. But they’re highly poisonous to humans and one bite can cause swelling of the mouth, face and neck, causing breathing difficulties. They can also prove to be fatal. So don’t be tempted to pick them up for a photo opportunity!
Huntington City Beach, California – USA
Another stunning Californian beach is that of Huntington City. Huntington City Beach sits in the Orange County area of California and is popular with visitors from home and abroad no matter the time of year.
With wall to wall sunshine pretty much guaranteed all year round, locals and tourists alike come to Huntington City Beach to soak up both the sun and the atmosphere. Popular with those who love to lounge, viewing the sunset from a vantage point on the Huntingtin Beach Pier is a must. It’s loved equally by those who love a more active beach experience, the surf here is legendary and attracts surfers from all over the globe.
But lurking beneath the waves, is a danger that’s almost invisible, and certainly unexpected. In the autumn of 2019, hundreds of unsuspecting beach visitors were stung by stingrays as they celebrated Labor Day weekend. These waters are a natural breeding ground for stingrays providing the ideal temperatures for the creatures to hang about and enjoy themselves as much as the beachgoers. But when faced with thousands of people encroaching on their space, they give a nasty nip to legs and feet that get in their way. You’ve been warned!
Shenzhen – China
Shenzhen Beach is situated just across the border separating China from Hong Kong. We’d love to describe the sand and the waters of this beach, but it’s simply too crowded to get any kind of view of it. Popular with locals who visit in an attempt to escape the hustle bustle of life in the city, this beach might cover a long stretch of coastline, but how people can relax here is anyone’s guess.
It gets so crowded during the summer and on bank holidays, that hardly a square inch of space on the sand is available. Which is why this beach makes our deadly beach list ‘ the high risk of getting into trouble in the water. If you were to hazard a guess at the leading cause of death among children aged 1 to 14 years old in China, what would it be? You’ll probably be as surprised as us to learn that it’s drowning.
This sad statistic is most sobering on the beach of Shenzhen, since the possibility of drowning is what makes Shenzhen Beach so deadly. Adults and children alike have lost their lives on Shenzhen Beach, and it’s been given the sad moniker of one of the world’s most dangerous beaches. It really is best avoided, especially if you don’t like crowds or you’re a weak swimmer.
Acapulco, Guerrero – Mexico
If the word ‘Acapulco’ gets you singing Going Loco Down in Acapulco and thinking of the Phil Collins film Buster, you’re not alone. We do too. Acapulco is the beach resort synonymous with fun, palm trees, cocktails, sunshine and freedom. Situated on the Pacific coast of Mexico, it was once the place to see and be seen, attracting the rich and famous from around the world.
But now, these beaches tell a different story. Acapulco is now famed for being one of the most dangerous places in Mexico, earning itself the nickname of the murder capital of Mexico. In 2018 alone, there were 2,316 murders in Acapulco. Most of the murders (and kidnappings) are related to drug violence and many seafront shops and eateries are at the mercy of extortion monies they are forced to pay to drug gangs. So gruesome are some of the crimes here, that bodies and body parts are known to have been dumped on beaches. Certainly not the ideal beach tourist attraction.
Traveller numbers are surprisingly picking up, but whilst you sit on the beach in shorts and flip flops, you won’t be far from an armed guard, dressed in army fatigues and heavy boots, ready to attack like they’re at war. Given this, we think it’ll be a while before Acapulco regains the fame for fun it had in its heyday.
Jurassic Coast, Devon & Dorset – England
Another UK beach featuring in this list of deadly beaches is the Jurassic Coast that stretches from Studland Bay in Dorset to Exmouth in Devon along the South coast of England. This coastline is dramatic and rugged, but also stunningly epic. So much so, that it’s earned itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site listing.
The Jurassic Coast is well known for its sheer cliffs, ancient rock formations and variety of bays and coves to explore, as well as its breath taking beaches. Here, the millennia have carved their way into the earth, leaving behind an extraordinary amount of history perfect for exploring. But, as you would expect from such dramatic scenery, it comes with added danger. Even if you’re an experienced hiker, walker or rock climber, it isn’t advised that you walk too close to the edge of the rugged cliff edges here.
Known for rock falls, coastal erosion and landslides, this beach is as dangerous as it is stunning. People have lost their lives here due to rock falls, and with an ever changing geography, things are only set to continue in the same way. If you do visit the beaches of the Jurassic Coast, don’t hang around too long, and certainly don’t risk your life by sitting under the precarious cliffs above.
Maho Beach, St Maartens – the Caribbean
Maho Beach on the tropical island of St Maartens is exactly the kind of idyllic beach that we think of when we dream about whiling away our time on a Caribbean beach. Think tropical blue waters, gently lapping against the softest, most yellow sand, with beach huts selling coconut cocktails dotted along the sand.
Maho is situated on the South West shore of the island and promises everything you need from a Caribbean holiday. Except for one thing ‘ peace and tranquility. This perfect beach also happens to be under the flightpath from the nearby Princess Juliana International Airport. Quite unremarkable, until you appreciate that Maho Beach is quite literally adjacent to the (very short) runway and planes fly less than 30 metres above the sunworshippers and beachgoers heads.
For this reason (and the fact you can probably look straight into the eyes of the pilot), Maho Beach is extremely popular with plane spotters and those who want to witness this multiple-times-daily spectacle. Plane pass by so closely, that the jet blast from planes taking off is capable of knocking people off their feet and into solid objects or the water. You have been warned!
Copacabana Beach – Brazil
Copacabana Beach in Rio is perhaps one of the world’s most famous beaches. Stretching for 2.5 miles along the South Zone of Rio’s city, it’s popular with both locals and tourists from all around the world who flock there for the party vibe, endless water sports, bars and restaurants. The New Year’s Eve celebrations each year are legendary.
But amongst all this fun and excitement, is a dark and dangerous underbelly of crime. Pickpocketing is rife, and armed robberies of tourists are becoming more and more common. A new crimewave has seen groups of Brazilian youths running through crowded parts of the beach, causing a commotion and stealing valuables such as wallets and mobile phones in the chaos.
Roadblocks and stop and search tactics have been put in place, but Copacabana Beach remains a crime hotspot for tourists who may not be on their full guard when on holiday mode. Another danger on this beach is that of raw sewage containing billions of potentially harmful bacteria and viruses spilling out onto areas of the sand and into the water. If Rio is on your bucket list, keep your wits about you on Copacabana Beach or chose to visit somewhere less crowded and less likely to attract criminals.
Cable Beach – Western Australia
Most of the destinations on this list of deadly beaches are deemed deadly due to one dangerous aspect. From sharks to jellyfish to terrorism, each beach has its own unique danger thanks mostly to their natural geography or political climate. But Western Australia’s Cable Beach is an exception to this rule, as it has multiple dangers!
Cable Beach is 22km long and its white sands and blue waters stretch as far as the eye can see. Situated in the city of Broome, the beach is breathtakingly beautiful and relaxing. That is, unless the jellyfish, sea urchins, sandflies, crocodiles and thieves are about! Sun worshippers, beach lovers, swimmers and stunning sunset seekers all flock to Cable Beach, but it can be closed in moments if any of its dangers are set on ruining everyone’s day.
Dangerous box jellyfish and Irukandji jellyfish are common in the waters off Cable Beach, and are most common from November to April when the water is warm. Saltwater crocs are rare but not unheard of in these parts and heart urchins are common at low tide. In the evenings, there are two menaces: annoying sandflies and irritating thieves. So make sure you’ve got both your insect repellent and your wits on you at all times!