Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

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It's a wild world out there -- one that can be as dangerous as it is breathtaking. Taking in some natural wonders are as safe as your own backyard (touring the California Redwoods, for example), while others, such as the incredibly scenic helicopter tours offered on Kauai, can prove to be deadly. That doesn't stop hundreds of people from boarding whirly birds to ogle some of the world's most awe-inspiring scenery, however, or driving or biking along a Bolivian highway that's so perilous it is literally known as "Death Road."
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Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

It's a wild world out there-one that can be as dangerous as it is breathtaking. Some natural wonders are as safe as your own backyard (the California Redwoods, for example), while others, such as Smyrna Beach, can be deadly. That doesn't stop hundreds of people from swimming in Smyrna's shark-infested waters, however, or driving or biking along a route so perilous that it is literally known as "Death Road."

Unfortunately, adrenaline junkies aren't the only ones who occasionally find themselves in trouble-as Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts proves, sometimes danger lurks behind an innocent façade.

From the most hazardous beach to the most treacherous mountain hiking trail, we name five of the world's most dangerous tourist attractions.

As you're reading, keep this question in mind-do you think individuals who tackle challenges like Death Road are crazy? When you're finished, email us or tweet us and let us know.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

More than a million people sun, swim, and surf at this Atlantic Ocean beach every year, in spite of the fact that it is the leading spot for shark attacks. There were 21 incidents in 2008, almost half of the total number of shark attacks in the world. Swimmers flock to the 13-mile white sand beach for its warm waters which, unfortunately, also draw black tip and spinner sharks. The majority of attacks are against surfers, which sharks occasionally mistake for turtles, but that doesn't mean swimmers and waders are immune from danger-they account for 36 percent of attacks. The Florida Program for Shark Research supports the punch-the-shark-in-the-nose method of escape, but if that fails, recommends that victims claw at its eyes and gills.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

One of China's Five Sacred Daoist Mountains, Mount Huashan has a history of religious significance that dates back to the second century BC. The trail that encircles the mountain has a different reputation-one for danger. Many exposed, narrow pathways zigzag up the 7,085-foot rock-face-there's even a section that is no more than a series of chains and planks bolted into the side of a cliff. Tourism boomed when a cable car that connects the city of Huayin, China to the base of the mountain was introduced (at the same time the local government took action and cut deeper, safer pathways, built stone steps, and even closed off some of the most death-defying tracks). Unfortunately, in spite of all of these precautions, fatalities still occur-according to a Chinese television report, as many as 100 people die per year on the trail.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

The official name of this stretch is North Yungas Road, but it's better known as El Camino de la Muerte or "The Road of Death." Located northeast of the capital city of La Paz in Bolivia, it is officially the most dangerous road in the world with as many as 300 people losing their lives each year while driving its length. We're not just talking about crashes either, many cars simply go over the edge. On Death Road, guardrails are not prevalent and at places it narrows to a single lane of just about 10 feet, which is especially disturbing considering that the drop off is almost 2,000 feet. Still, thousands of tourists come each year for the views and the right to say they survived the world's most terrifying drive. The hilly rainforest road also attracts mountain bikers looking for an adrenaline rush (at least 15 of them have died along the route in the past decade).

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

With a history of avalanches, falling rocks, and bad weather, Mount Blanc is the world's deadliest mountain. Known by the French as "La Dame Blanche," or the White Lady, climbers face destabilizing gusts of wind over 60mph at the summit as well as temperature drops of 6 to 7 degrees every 3,280 feet. The pike claimed 58 lives in 2008, with 10 more missing and presumed dead. In the summer of 2007 alone, 30 climbers perished trying to reach the summit-the highest in the Alps at 15,781 feet. Straddling the border between Italy and France, the mountain is a hot spot for climbers who come to show off their skills and earn bragging rights. Despite the fact that rescue helicopters swoop in to bail out climbers at least a dozen times during peak weekends, over 20,000 people conquer the mountain every year.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

Bash Bish Falls may appear innocuous, but beware-it's one of the most deadly waterfalls in the world. At 60-feet it's the highest waterfall in Massachusetts, but that's not what makes this picture-perfect cascade so dangerous-it's the crumbling ledges, treacherous rocks and unexpectedly shallow pools that end up claiming lives here. Other falls, like Howick Falls in South Africa, may have seen more deaths over the course of its years as a tourist attraction (40 deaths have been recorded at Howick as opposed to 25 at Bash Bish), but the Massachusetts waterfall tops the list for having the most accidental deaths. According to legend, the falls are named after a young Indian woman who plunged to her death here.

Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions

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