For all the wonderful things going on in Latin America -- the weather, the cuisine, and the often-friendly people -- one major sticking point detracts from everything wonderful. Namely, violence. In fact, of the 50 most violent cities in the world, 41 are in the region -- including nine of the top 10, and 2016's new No. 1.
According to the latest ranking of the most violent cities in the world, published by the Citizens' Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a Mexican think tank, Caracas, Venezuela, is the most violent city in the world, with a murder rate of 119.87 intentional homicide per 100,000 people. Last year's No. 1, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, dropped to No. 2, with a murder rate of 111.03 homicides per 100,000 residents -- down from 187 murders per 100,000 people the previous year, and unseated as the undisputed worst place for murder for three years running. San Salvador, El Salvador, rounded out the top three, with a murder rate of 108.54 per 100,000.
The US made four harrowing appearances on the list, with St. Louis coming in at No. 15; Baltimore at 19; Detroit at 28; and New Orleans at 32. As for the rest of the top 10, Mexico, Colombia, and South Africa comprise the rest of the most murderous places. Brazil had the most cities in the top 50, with 21 altogether -- though it should be noted the data did not include war-torn countries such as Syria.
For one positive note from the whole study: Mexico saw marked improvement, with only five cities in the top 50, down from a high of 12 cities back in 2011.
Check out the 10 most violent cities below. And for the full top 50, read the release from the Citizens' Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice here.
10. Cali, Colombia
9. Cape Town, South Africa
8. Palmira, Colombia
7. Valencia, Venezuela
6. Distrito Central, Honduras
5. Maturín, Venezuela
4. Acapulco, Mexico
3. San Salvador, El Salvador
2. San Pedro Sula, Honduras
1. Caracas, Venezuela
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Ryan Craggs is Thrillist's Senior News Editor. He loves Latin America, and wishes more people could enjoy how terrific it really can be. Follow him @ryanrcraggs.