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Some see a holiday as an opportunity to relax, unwind and recharge. Others seek out thrills and adventure.
The right time to travel is always now, but that doesn’t mean jetting off on the first outbound flight is a good idea.
While sunburn, being mocked for one’s accent and pick-pockets are the top sources of risk in many destinations, many are considerably more treacherous.
A report from the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (CCPS) compiled homicide rates for cities around the world.
Express.co.uk has mapped the cities discerning travellers would do best to avoid in the interests of self-preservation.
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Few countries offer such a vibrant combination of beach resorts, culture and cuisine as Mexico.
From the tranquillity of the waterfalls and mineral pools of Hierve el Agua to the heart of Mariachi music on the capital’s Plaza Garibaldi, the country offers something to suit all tastes.
Mexico does, however, have a far darker side. The government has been waging war on the increasingly powerful drug cartels for nearly 20 years, making violent gun battles a semi-regular occurrence.
As a result, in 2023, the top six cities with the highest homicide rates worldwide are all in the southern states of Mexico.
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Celaya, in the central province of Guanajuato northwest of Mexico City, is the most dangerous place of all, with a murder rate of 109 per 100,000.
Clashes between the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel – with a hand in extortion rackets, fuel thefts and kidnappings – rival gangs and security forces often spill out into public spaces with deadly consequences.
On May 23, 2022, 11 people lost their lives in a mass shooting at a hotel and nearby bar as part of the feud.
Tijuana, on the country’s border with the US state of California, came second, with 105 homicides per 100,000 residents. This was followed by Ciudad Juarez (104 per 100,000), Ciudad Obregon (101), Irapuato (95) and Ensenada (91).
The first non-Mexican entry on the list is in its northern neighbour, the US. In the heart of the Midwest on the Mississippi River lies St. Louis, Missouri.
Famous for Blues music, the Gateway Arch and its unique brand of barbecuing the city attracts some 25 million visitors each year.
It is also known for being one of the murder capitals of America. Clocking a rate of 88 per 100,000 according to the CCPS report, it is also the seventh bloodiest city in the world.
Uruapan, again in Mexico, comes eighth with 73 homicides per 100,000 people, followed by Feira de Santana in Brazil (67).
Mostly known for its cattle fairs, this commercial hub in the coastal state of Bahia is also a hotbed of drug trafficking and is thus best avoided by tourists altogether.
Rounding out the top 10 is the South African capital of Cape Town. A destination among the most desirable for its surfing, penguins and sunset views from Table Mountain, the scars from decades of Apartheid remain painfully obvious.
Deep-rooted social tensions are behind the high levels of crime in the city, where muggings, scams and carjackings are rife. The murder rate is also a particularly high 64 per 100,000.
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