Whether it’s a creepy-crawly encounter or a ghastly bout of gastro, travelling can sometimes be truly terrifying. But for the offbeat explorer, a deliberately freaky destination may be just the ticket. Read on (if you dare) for some truly horrifying holiday hotspots from the team at Comparetravelinsurance.com.au.
The Island of the Dolls
Chucky’s got nothing on the spooky homage to dolls that is La Isla de le Munecas. Just south of Mexico City, the small, offbeat island is home to thousands of decrepit, blank-eyed dolls strung up every which way. Legend has it that the morbid tradition began after loner Don Julian Santana discovered a drowned child on the island, hanging up the child’s doll only to continue the tradition year after year. Some say that the toys are possessed by a dead child’s spirit and if you’re very silent, you can hear them whispering to one another. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
The Death Road
Situated in the hilly terrain of Bolivia, this terrifying trail is strictly for daredevils only. Once responsible for up to 300 fatalities per year, the North Yungas Road is about as wide as a single vehicle and looks out onto a nauseatingly deep abyss. With no safety barrier to speak of, drivers must somehow negotiate hairpin turns, extreme drop-offs, loose rocks and a constant, thick, misty fog. Despite the risks, riding the frightening track is fast becoming one of the most popular activities for backpackers in Bolivia.
Located about 200km south of Sao Paulo lies Ilha da Queimada, a small island overrun by roughly 4,000 golden lancehead vipers. Known for their flesh-melting venom, the species are said to be responsible for 90% of Brazilian snakebite-related fatalities. Not surprisingly, you’d be hard pressed to find a warm-blooded creature on Ilha da Queimada. With one snake per square meter, the island has been deemed so dangerous that authorities have declared it a ‘no-go’ zone.
The Door to Hell
Located in the middle of the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan lies the ‘Door to Hell,’ a 230-foot wide crater of fire that burns constantly. The frightening vision was triggered when scientists dug into a methane reserve, triggering the collapse and formation of a dangerous gas-spewing crater. Scientists set the site on fire to burn off the gases 40 years ago- and it hasn’t stopped burning since. The creepy attraction draws in hundreds of tourists each year eager to catch a glimpse of the closest thing to ‘hell on earth.’
Welcome to the island of Miyake-jima, where gas-masks are a requirement upon entry. Located just south of Tokyo, the remote island is subject to volcanic gas eruptions so toxic, merely a whiff can cause major respiratory problems forcing residents to carry gas masks at all times. Although the last volcanic eruption occurred back in the year 2000 (forcing the island’s inhabitants to evacuate for five years) sulphurous fumes and post-apocalyptic scenes remind one that disaster can strike at any moment.