The world’s most dangerous places to take a swim

Some incredible outdoor swimming spots are protected areas while others are open year-round for people to dive off docks, swim, go on boat tours, and enjoy any way they can. Many are totally safe-- but some that appear to be, arent'.

Open-water swimming can be dangerous, even if you know what you’re doing. No one is immune to sudden thunderstorms that can lead to overturned boats, stranded passengers, sudden encounters with wildlife and dangerous swimming conditions.

Some locations are so hazardous and shark-infested that government officials have stepped in and initiated special safety programs that rely on nets, drum lines, or a combination of both to remove high-risk sharks from a particular location. Other locations are perilous because of unseen but powerful rip currents.

Here's what to expect if you dare to take on some of the world's most dangerous swimming locales.

1. West End, Grand Bahama Island

A large tiger shark side view taken off Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas.

A large tiger shark side view taken off Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas. (iStock)

West End has some of the most shark-infested beaches in the world. Aptly named, Tiger Beach off of Grand Bahama is one of the world’s top spots for seeing tiger sharks. Most diving expeditions guarantee an up-close sighting of these toothy creatures, which can grow to be about 16 feet long. Tiger Beach is on the bucket list of many underwater photographers and adventurers-- steer clear if you're not a pro.

2. The Boiling Lake, Dominica

The Boiling Lake on Dominica which is heated by a dormant volcano. Note: there is a lot of rising steam making visibility difficult.See related:

The Boiling Lake on Dominica which is heated by a dormant volcano. Note: there is a lot of rising steam making visibility difficult.See related: (iStock)

The name says it all here. Some people, however, may not take the risks into account and fall victim to the allure of the steam. The boiling is believed to be caused by heat from a magma chamber beneath the lake but the water temperature can reach a scalding 194 degrees.

3. East and North Coasts of Barbados

Nice hot sunset over sea.

Nice hot sunset over sea. (iStock)

The South and West coasts of Barbados are the best areas for swimming and snorkeling, while but proceed with caution along the East and North coasts which both have large waves and strong tides. Swimming here is not recommended, according to Terra Caribbean. Crashing waves and cool winds make this part of the island very relaxing and a favorite spot for locals to vacation along the coastline. Just avoid going too deep in the water.

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4. Condado Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico

"FortA-n de San GerAnimo del BoquerAn at Condado Lagoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico."

"FortA-n de San GerAnimo del BoquerAn at Condado Lagoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico." (iStock)

On Trip Advisor, reviewers have noted that Condado Beach is “very nice but very dangerous.” Big waves, strong underflow, and rip currents scare people away. There are also big rocks on both sides of the beach, which only increase the danger of you getting hurt while swimming in less-than-ideal conditions.

5. New Smyrna Beach, Florida

The fin of a great white shark cuts through the water, Gansbaai, South Africa

The fin of a great white shark cuts through the water, Gansbaai, South Africa (iStock)

New Smyrna is known as the shark attack capital of the world. Be careful when surfing out in the Atlantic since Florida sharks may attack humans. Common sharks in New Smyrna beach include blacktip, spinner and tiger sharks.

Check out more of the world's most dangerous places to go swimming.