“You’re going where?!” my father asked when I told him of my plans to go to Colombia. The Colombia he knows of, the one from the 1980′s, is filled with cocaine, street violence, and Pablo Escobar’s thugs. The country’s days as a dangerous destination are gone, but its stigma still remains.
Colombia isn’t the only now-safe country still considered by the masses to be too dangerous to visit. Forbes Traveler has put together a list of other destinations that aren’t as dangerous as you might assume.
Along with Colombia, the list includes places many experienced travelers wouldn’t think twice about visiting – Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Ethiopia are all included – plus a few a little farther off the beaten path, like Haiti and Tajikistan. The list also includes two spots that become a lot more dangerous if you travel there illegally: Cuba and North Korea.
There’s no such thing as a completely safe destination, but still most of these spots have earned their reputations. At one point, they were lands of famine, war, and strife. Now they’ve become safer, though in some (like Haiti and certain parts of Colombia, for example) problems continue and there are still areas you should not venture.
If you plan on visiting one of these “not-so-dangerous places”, do your research and be sure you know what you are getting into. The bad reputation in some of these places can mean lower travel costs and few tourists, but there may still be an element of risk.