Travel Fails: some of my not-so- favorite destinations
Planning a trip can be a fun, yet frustrating task. It can be really hard to decide what to include in your itinerary and what to leave out. I love poring through travel blogs, forums, trip advisor, yelp, etc. to see what the coolest things to do are and the best places to go, but as some point I get tired of looking, take it all with a grain of salt and go with my gut.
But, sometimes my gut has been wrong!
Now, my experiences in the following places are singular and if you had a incredible time in any of them, I would love to hear about it!
In no particular order, these are some of my biggest travel “fails.” Don’t get me wrong, I did appreciate many aspects of these places, but will I likely visit them again? No, or at least not with the same approach.
1. Linapacan Island, Palawan, Philippines
Linapacan Island is on many lists for having the clearest water in the world. It was really difficult to find information about getting there from El Nido town, but I think many of the boats to Coron actually stop there. I should have realized it was a mistake when my husband and I were the only ones who got off the boat at Linapacan, and all the other passengers carried on for the additional several hours to Coron. We spent two nights in the only accommodation on Linapacan, and that was two too many.
We were really disappointed with the snorkeling because we didn’t have our own gear and what they had at the homestay was falling apart and didn’t fit us very well. We were also quite surprised and disappointed that the homestay owners didn’t have any information about island hopping. I am not a posh traveler, in fact, quite the opposite, but it was so hot and sticky we couldn’t sleep at all. We would have liked to take another boat to Coron, but we decided against it due to budget and time constraints. So, we decided to go back to Sibaltan, El Nido where there was a breeze to get a good night’s sleep!
2. France: Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Montpelier, Carcassonne
It’s not that these cities in France weren’t lovely, but going to the beach in Antibes in the summer is a horrible idea! There isn’t enough beach to go around. Everyone said Montpelier was so great, but for me it wasn’t very special. Nothing bad, but nothing incredibly memorable. Nice was very pretty but insanely crowded in August. We were only in Cannes briefly, but I didn’t get a great impression of it. I would go back to Nice and Carcassonne, but definitely not in the summer time. It was a zoo of European and American tourists. I’d probably pass on the other three cities and try to see some other regions of France.
3. Mekong Delta: Can Tho, Vietnam
I spent a long time trying to figure out if we were going to do a Mekong Delta tour. I read a mixed bag of reviews, but we decided to go for it. We took the bus to Can Tho from Saigon which was a pretty painless trip. Can Tho itself was an interesting city, and we had some really unique food there, but the Mekong Delta was basically only good for a few photos. It’s sad, because it’s brown and literally filled with garbage. If you are going to do a tour, definitely get a private boat. I found the name of a recommended guide on a trip advisor forum and contacted him directly. Please let me know if you’d like his details.
The problem with the boat ride was that in the places where the water was low, we would get stuck on garbage, and the woman driving the boat would have to get out a big knife and cut the garbage off of her oars. This happened no less than 10 times on a four hour boat ride. The floating market we passed through was a very small portion of the 4 hour ride, and I had a MUCH better time exploring markets on foot in Vietnam. They brought us to a rice paper making facility which was interesting to see, but not something I would go out of my way to do. I guess I was hoping the floating markets would be less of a tourist attraction, and more of a real way people shop, but except for a few house boats filled with watermelons to sell, it was basically a brown river of tourist boats.
4. Alghero, Sardinia, Italy
I absolutely loved Sardinia, but Alghero got us off to a pretty bad start. First of all, there was a heat wave and no AC or fan in our hotel room which we had pre-booked for four nights because we had plans to go to a couch surfer’s house in Sassari on our fifth night. We sweated our asses off in the hotel and the beach wasn’t much better. It reeked of sewage and was full of guys hawking shit. We didn’t rent a car in Sardinia because we were on a tight budget traveling for 8 months, and all of the Sardinians we met were shocked that we were managing without a car. If you have the dough, you should definitely rent a car here. The buses and trains were kind of a pain and not that cheap either. Once we left Alghero we had an amazing time!
5. Puerto Rico, Gran Canary Island, Spain
I searched all of my folders and files for a photo of Puerto Rico and could not find one which definitely tells you someting!
We lived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for one year and loved it, but we were not impressed with our mini-vacation to Puerto Rico! If you want to go to the south of the island just go to the dunes in Maspalomas. They are amazing! Honestly, I’m not sure why Puerto Rico is so popular. The beaches are tiny and crowded and the restaurants and shops are all horrendous tourist traps. It’s a very popular spot for the annoying kind of British tourists. Avoid!
I hope this list has been helpful to you in some way. What have been some of your travel fails? Did I miss something that would have changed my perspective?