When you think about it there can be so much more to a weekend away than ambling through the streets of Florence or maybe grabbing one of those ‘hilarious’ charcoal sketches in Paris. If you’re feeling adventurous and aren’t that bothered about where you’re relationship is heading, then why not try the path less trodden, welcome to the most dangerous city breaks in the world.
With industrial levels of drug trading and one of the highest murder rates in the world, Caracas wouldn’t immediately jump out of the page for those looking for a little weekend R&R, especially when you consider that a lot of reported kidnappings and robberies unfortunately involve the Police. However, there are stacks of great bars; Suka Bar, Las Mercedes, Samoa and San Ignacio being among the pick. And you must check out the La Union street party. There are several well organised tours too.
St Louis, Missouri, USA
America isn’t all apple pie and shooting baskets, sometimes there’s an awful lot of shooting people as well. In 2011 St Louis topped the national rankings for murder, rape, robbery and assault with rates nearly five times the national average. Be sure to check out the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour, the Cathedral Basilica and Contemporary Art Museum. In the evening give the Broadway Oyster bar a spin and Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood is apparently the stuff of legend.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Yep, bit of a shocker this one if you were expecting it to be all flip flops and ‘keepy uppy’on the beach. Violent murders are the order of the day with a bit of wholesale corruption thrown in to the mix as well. Between 1978 and 2000 there were almost 50,000 murders in the city alone and in 2007 Police killed 1,330 people. Bracarense, Jobi and Bar Lagoa are the places to be and La Suite the place to stay.
Grozny, Chechnya, Russia
Chechen rebel and Russian Mafia are both very active in the city but if you can dodge them make your way to Cafe Oasis for reasonably priced grub and bear in mind that beer is only available from 8am to 10am. Sleep at the Hotel Arena City but you’re asked not to make yourself look suspicious because Rebels keep a keen eye on it and Human Rights Watch have stated ‘if you are detained in Chechnya you face a real and immediate risk of torture’. So no mucking about.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
A city or around 1.3 million people which rarely drops below 28°C and sees around 3000 murders a year. Drug gangs run this place and it regularly competes with Caracas for the title of Murder Capital of the World. Anyway, head down to Salon Mexico for a spot of dancing, Hotel Lucerna for something quieter and Hotel Villa Manport for a more local vibe.
It does have some genuine appeal as a tourist destination despite half the city being a drug trade no go zone. Spend the afternoon lazily shopping at the Centro Andino shopping Mall or take a trip to the Bogota Botanical Garden. In the evening probably the best way to shrug off the dangers is to have a little drink courtesy of an organised Bogota bar crawl which cost around $50,000 Colombian Pesos and gets you a free shot at every bar.
Always going to be in anyone’s top 10 most Dangerous City Breaks. Very little cohesive infrastructure and organisation makes it rated as critical for threats of terrorism and political violence. But if you fancy snatching a weekend away there you might want to head down to the Green Zone Cafe, which despite being bombed in 2005 is still in action albeit with ramped up security. Stay in the Masbah Plaza Hotel which has been described as brilliant despite having electricity for only 4 hours a day.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Riddled with corruption and violence from the top down it’s an exceptionally risky place to notch up on your travels, but that’s not to say it’s without its merits. 4 Grados Norte is the district you should be socialising in with all the groovy bars, ONE restaurant is a cool place to eat and you can get luxury hotel suites from $100. The advice from those that know is just stay inside after sunset.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Considered more dangerous than some parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, this should have you shaking with fear in the departure lounge. Everyone carries a weapon and walking the street isn’t recommended but if you fancy padding around there are plenty of shopping malls, the Wonderland Water Park and Astronomy Museum. Grab some Plato Tipico, the national lunch and wash it down with the national beer Salva Vida. For the best of the nighttime fun make for the Zone Vida. Just make sure you take a taxi.
Mogadishu has got it all to prove as independent travel is considered suicidal. That being said if your plane crashes and you find yourself in need of a drink pop in to Abdille Nuradin’s Bar for some well deserved Dutch courage, however, it does shut at 6pm. The Sahafi Hotel counts itself as the best in Mogadishu although two French citizens were abducted there in 2009.