Not everything is nice and beautiful: travel deceptions

Thanks to my trips around the world I’ve seen many beautiful places. But sometimes there are places that just don’t meet your expectations. Everything everything just looks different. The stories you’ve heard are nicer, the photos looked much better online or the vibe is just not it. Edith from the travelblog Travelcreaterepeat.nl asked me to make a list of three places I’m not a fan of, the travel deception tag. This tag was originally created by Traveljunks.nl.

Travel deception 1: the Forbidden City in Beijing, China

The Chinese capital Beijing is, without the smog, a great place to discover! One of the highlights is, at least according to many people, the Forbidden City. But if it was up to me you can just skip this place. It’s freaking busy here. Always. You have to run into a wall of Chinese people and other tourists to see at least something. I was also a bit bored because all the buildings looked kind of the same.

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I will recommend to visit the Summer Palace in Beijing instead. This place has much more to offer in terms of architecture, activities and atmosphere.

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Travel deception 2: Pacaya volcano in Guatemala

If you’re in Guatemala, the land of volcanoes, you HAVE TO climb a volcano. I really wanted to visit the Acatenango volcano in Antigua, mostly because the amazing view at the active Fuego volcano. However, my sister and I were both sick for a few days and we thought it wasn’t the best idea to hike a volcano for two days. So instead we went to the Pacaya volcano, a trip of just half a day. On pictures I saw an amazing moonscape, people roasting marshmallows by the lava and of course the summit of the volcano.

My experience was a little bit different. When we started to walk it was already clouded and rainy. For almost one and a half hour we walked in the fog. We hoped that the fog would disappear, but on the contrary: four hundred meters higher the fog was even more horrible. People who were walking ten meters in front of me were only a shadow in the fog and the people behind me were disappearing in the fog as well. It was cold, everything was wet and everyone was shivering. I have to admit the landscape in the fog had something mysterious, but we came here to see the summit of the Pacaya volcano! When we finally arrived at the viewpoint we didn’t see anything, nog even a glimpse. I was hoping for some delicious roasted marshmallows. But life’s a bitch sometimes: the lava was too “cold” that day so the guide didn’t brought any marshmallows. Out of frustration my sister and I just ran the whole route back to the entrance and it turned out to be the most fun part of the trip. I felt like playing Mario Kart in real life and run down with full speed. I’m sure the Pacaya volcano is beautiful with good weather, but when it’s foggy and rainy it’s better to go somewhere else.

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Travel deception 3: the country El Salvador

There were only a few people speaking enthusiastically about El Salvador, mostly surfers. I wanted to explore the country a bit by myself before I would judge. But sadly I have to agree with a lot of other travelers. The country is nice, but if you’re in this region I would rather recommend to go to Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua. The surfers walhalla El Tunco is a fun place, but I’ve seen a lot of other fun and good places to surf in Central-America. In the evening I really didn’t feel safe in San Salvador, the capital. At the Los Heroes Boulevard in San Salvador it looked more like I was in the United States rather than in El Salvador with a giant street full of Burger King, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut. Maybe I’ve not been long enough to give El Salvador a chance. Maybe my opinion about the country was influenced by the bus crash I had when I went from Nicaragua to El Salvador. Maybe I was just not at the right places. But in the end there just wasn’t a spark.

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Have you ever been to a place that simply disappointed you? Let me know in a comment!

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