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5 Popular Digital Nomad Locations That Aren’t As Safe As You Think

Digital Nomad Locations

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect beach destination, shield your eyes! These 5 digital nomad destinations are popular but may not be as safe as you think. From the soaring altitudes of the Peruvian Andes to the ancient home of the pharaohs — you might want to think twice before booking a long-term stay in one of these digital nomad destinations.

#1. Cuzco, Peru

Cuzco’s tourism market has blossomed into the city’s primary industry due to its proximity to Macchu Pichu. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit this ancient town hard.

Now, you can expect a rather hostile experience with market traders, tour guides, and scammers. Street beggars are often part of organized “begging rings” that exploit local children for your money.

Peru also ranks 86th on the Global Cybersecurity Index due to widespread cybercrime and online scams throughout the country.

Things to avoid:

  • Petty theft, like pickpocketing in public spaces like Plaza de Armas and markets;
  • “Photo opportunities” with locals who will then hassle you for money;
  • Using public Wi-Fi without a VPN that encrypts and protects your data. If you’re not sure “what is a VPN?”, it’s time to learn now.

#2. Bali, Indonesia

Now this one might ruffle quite a few feathers — the digital nomad mecca of Bali isn’t as safe as influencers make it out to be. Over-tourism has also stripped the island’s hotspots of much of its authenticity and culture.

Bali has always had a dangerous and lawless aspect, which was only exacerbated by the pandemic. Additionally, Bali’s dependence on tourism caused massive financial losses during COVID-19.

Other than petty theft, corruption, and frequent drug use, Bali has also seen 11 deaths due to rabies in the first half of 2023.

Things to avoid:

  • Bali’s island dogs are renowned for their aggressiveness and rabies;
  • Theft is rather common, so be careful near roads and busy streets;
  • Crowded places like Kuta are packed with reckless tourists on scooters.

#3. Cape Town, South Africa

The oldest city in South Africa attracts adventure and nature lovers of all kinds. With so much on offer in a single city, many digital nomads disregard travel and safety warnings. However, your safety in Cape Town is a huge concern, especially if you’re traveling with family.

WiFi speeds are mediocre at best, and public transport systems are unreliable. Even locals will advise against using public transport for your own safety.

Many visitors leave Cape Town with a sense of having lived in a bubble, as visiting many of the urban and suburban areas is too risky.

Things to avoid:

  • Crime rates in townships like Cape Flats and Nyanga are astonishingly high;
  • Cape Town is considered one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world;
  • The safest areas in Cape Town are often racially exclusive, and bigoted views are considered “normal.”

#4. Cairo

Jumping over to the north of the African continent, Egypt has been a tourist icon for decades but shows increasing signs of destabilization. The homeland of the Ancient Egyptian civilization is rife with scam artists, pickpockets, and harassment around popular landmarks.

Terrorist attacks like the 2019 Cairo Bombing and the civil unrest in neighboring Libya present a real threat to visitors’ safety. According to the NGO RAINN, as much as 90% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

While female tourists are more protected, crime rates and sexual violence is much too prevalent.

Things to avoid:

  • Packed tourist hotspots like the Pyramids of Giza are full of pickpockets;
  • Fake tour guides and other harassment scams are common;
  • Areas like Haram, Ezbet El Haggana, and Imbaba are dangerous for tourists.

#5. Los Angeles

Let’s stir up the pot a bit, shall we — the once glittering spiritual home of American cinema is hardly a “City of Angels” anymore. Rent prices in gentrified neighborhoods are sky-high, and the glitz and glamor have long since disappeared.

What’s left is a metropolis in need of some care. Large areas of the city have become homeless districts, fueled by an extreme cost of living and the looming opioid epidemic. The state also saw $2 billion in losses due to cybercrime in 2022.

Areas like Downtown LA, Skid Row, and Encino show crime statistics that dwarf the rest of the city.

Things to avoid:

  • Homeless districts in dilapidated areas are dangerous at night;
  • Drug use is very common, and addiction is prevalent;
  • Cybercrime is rampant, so come equipped with the right tools;
  • Muggings and theft due to high unemployment rates.

Beware of the hidden traps and dangers of some of the most popular cities among digital nomads.

While you can still enjoy the places we listed above, it’s recommended to do your research and be prepared for any kinds of threats.