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Most people think of relaxing and taking it easy on a holiday. But, there is a growing trend for high-risk adventure trips in countries not suitable for the faint hearted. These brave adventurers are not put off by political instability. The threat of kidnapping is music to their ears; gunshots equal adrenaline; near-death experiences are a story to tell. For these hardened voyagers, a hot cup of milk and a cookie is something for their grandparents only. This year, for something different we present the alternative holiday list for 2017.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

This is a city that will challenge even the bravest souls. With the highest homicide rate in the world and a serious arms trafficking trade, those that visit will spend their trip on a constant knife-edge. Tourists tend to avoid the city, but for brazen adventurers, the fewer tourists, the better. Far from the madding crowd, a trip spent in the northern corner of the Sula Valley will be anything but prosaic. Those who make the trip have an easily accessible international airport to fly to and any visit to the Parque Natural Campisa is a perfect photo opportunity.

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

This South African city scores number two on global crime indexes, a statistic that anti-Christmas aficionados will boast about to their friends. In Pietermaritzburg, you won’t have to stand in line to enter tourist-crammed hotspots; it will mostly be you and the friendly locals. The forested hills and beautiful valley is the home of numerous indigenous plants and flowers; a botanist’s treasure trove. Those that go out off the beaten track to visit the city will have numerous forests and grasslands to explore. History buffs can visit the location of Nelson Mandela’s final speech in Imbali, before his capture in 1962.

Fortaleza, Brazil

The safe bet holiday maker might consider Brazil off limits; at a push, they may decide to fly to Rio but will stay well within the safe parts of the city. Brave tourists come for the golden beaches and the non-stop party atmosphere. The city’s rolling dunes and small local shops will warm the heart. Regarding where to stay, Meireles, a middle-class suburb with a lot of upmarket hotels and places to dine might work for those that want to take a risk but still appreciate their creature comforts.

San Salvador, El Salvador

El Salvador desperately needs a PR campaign to get itself back on the tourist trail. The country has a bad reputation. People picture gang violence and no go areas, but less risk-averse travelers will be rewarded with: world-class surfing; coffee plantations on volcanoes; vibrant colonial towns; and lush national parks.

Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos is the biggest city in Africa; it’s all go here so if you are hoping to have a relaxing Christmas break maybe look elsewhere in Africa. The unreasonable influx of oil money has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has funded the incredible arts and music scene but has also raised the crime level of the city to among the highest in the world according to Numbeo. Visitors brave enough to visit should go to the Jankara Market where everything from trade beads to juju potions and powders can be purchased. Surely a trip you won’t forget.

Maybe this year it’s time to exchange the humdrum for high-adrenaline adventures.

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