Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca

Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca (Morocco) | There are quite a some movies, poems and songs out there that might leave you under the impression, Casablanca is worth the money. If you follow your manipulated inner voice and visit Casablanca, you will soon realize that it is by far the least-interesting place in an otherwise interesting country. Casablanca is nothing but a dumpy business district on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Other than an obscenely expensive mosque that the previous king had built, there’s literally nothing to visit. And this is actually quite surprising because Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco (5 million people).

Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca Bergman
Casablanca – famous movie starring H. Bogart and I. Bergman

Only outstanding point of interest: the Hassan II Mosque. It was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau. Situated right on the coast this mosque can host up to 25,000 worshippers. A further 80,000 can be accommodated in the attached courtyard. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres (690 feet). Hassan II Mosque is the largest in Africa, and the third-largest in the world. Work on the mosque started in 1980, and was intended to be completed in 1989 – for the 60th birthday of former Moroccan king, Hassan II. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. Authorities spent an estimated $800 million in the construction of this site.

What else: Casablanca owns the first skyscraper ever built in Africa – Immeuble Liberté – erected in 1949; a rather ugly building, not worth a picture.

The Moroccan Jewish Museum is the only museum devoted to Judaism in the entire Arab world. Not sure what exactly tranquilized the governing body in charge. Muslim authorities usually turn blue and throw stuff at you when it comes in other religions in general and Judaism in particular. It must have historic roots. Prior to World War II the Jewish population in Morocco was approximately 225,000. During World War II, King Mohammed V protected Moroccan Jews from being sent to concentration camps. Hitler demanded King Mohammed V to hand over the Jews of Morocco. But the King state: “In Morocco we don’t have Jews, we only have Moroccan citizens!”

Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca Jewish Museum in Casablanca
Jewish Museum in Casablanca

After the war, a steady stream of immigration of Moroccan Jews to Israel turned into a flood after Morocco’s independence in 1956. Today’s population of Moroccan Jews is considered to number around 10,000 at the most. Since Moroccan independence in 1956, the ruling Alaouite dynasty has continued a tradition of tolerance and support toward the country’s Jewish minority. Hassan II was particularly active in the 1980s in trying to bring peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Prime Minister Shimon Peres was the first Israeli government minister to be invited to an Arab country: Morocco.

Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca Hassan-II-Mosque
Casablanca, Hassan-II-Mosque

Click here to book accomodation in Morocco.
Click here to book accomodation in Morocco.

Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here. Header image by Brio-En – Casablanca Port (wikipedia CC 4.0)

Disappointing travel destination Male, Maldives

Disappointing travel destination Male, Maldives | For half a century the tourist industry on the Maldives was building a reputation as a destination close to paradise. And it’s true if you remain in your resort. Just don’t visit the capital Male. Approx. 133,000 people live in Male. But the city only has 5.8 sqkm of space to offer. It is #11 in the list of places with the highest density of people per sqkm in the world. Since there is no surrounding countryside, all infrastructure has to be located in Male itself. Water is provided from desalinated ground water. The waterworks pumps up brackish water from 60 m deep wells and desalinates that. Sewage is pumped unprocessed into the ocean. Solid waste is transported to nearby islands, where it fills in lagoons. The airport was built in this way. Electricity is produced by using diesel generators.

Why does an ugly place like Male actually exist in the first place? Blame the Portuguese. They founded Male as a trading post in the 16th century.

Disappointing travel destination Male Maldives skyline
Disappointing travel destination Male: What a depressing skyline.

Disappointing travel destination Male Maldives streetview
Male street view

Disappointing travel destination Male Maldives airport island.
Island of Male seen from the airport island.

Disappointing travel destination Male Maldives
Click here to book accomodation on Maldives islands

Disappointing travel destination Male Maldives. By Chili & Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here. Header image by Shahee Ilyas – Male total (wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Countries to avoid in Africa

Countries to Avoid in Africa | The list of Travel Warnings for countries in Africa is endless. From Libya in the north to Lesotho in the south almost every country fills a chapter. But two countries in particular stand out from the crowd:

Countries to Avoid in Africa: Somalia

Countries to Avoid in Africa: Somalia
Countries to Avoid in Africa: Somalia.

Countries to Avoid in Africa: Somalia | The so-called Federal Republic of Somalia does not exist as a country in the modern sense of politics and economics. Technically speaking what is described as Somalia has been in an ungoverned region of civil war since 1991 – the year that saw Mohamed Siad Barre and his Somali Democratic Republic fall into a political vacuum. The influence of the current government on Somalia’s 10 million people is at about zero. Somalis employ themselves. The informal economy is in an okayish state. For tourists Somalia would be very very dangerous. Fortunately there are none.

Somalia – What will you miss out on? Nothing. There are neither natural nor cultural sites worth visiting in Somalia.

Countries to Avoid in Africa: Madagascar

Countries to Avoid: Madagaskar
Countries to Avoid in Africa: Madagascar.

Countries to Avoid in Africa: Madagascar | Known for some super gorgeous, unique and diverse landscape, Madagascar provides travelers the opportunity to visit thick jungles, swamps, deserts, and miles of just stunning coast lines. As a tourist you’d be able to view wildlife and nature that you cannot encounter anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately here the story already ends, because Madagascar is politically very unstable, and there are many potential dangers, scams, and annoyances going on in this otherwise beautiful country. You can’t drink water from the tap, you can’t dring local milk or creamer, you can’t eat local meat, you will most likely get either Malaria, Dengue or Chikungunya, or all three diseases at once. There is no functioning public transport, and traffic rules do not exist. The many stray dogs on this island carry rabies. Theft is a wide spread profession. The police will put you in jail if you do not carry your passport. Last not least, in case you have no choice but to travel to Madagascar: Under no circumstances never ever fly Air Mad. You have been warned.

Madagascar – What will you miss out on? For example Ifaty = on the coast of southwest Madagascar. Offshore, a 60-mile long coral reef. And you will miss out on The Avenue of the Baobabs = a group of truly astonishing big baobab trees lining the road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina. Ile Sainte Marie = an island off the east coast of Madagascar with protected bays and inlets that already drew the attention of pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries. The wrecks of several pirate ships can still be viewed from the shallow waters of the Baie des Forbans.

Countries avoid Africa Madagascar
Out of this world: Baobab trees in Madagascar

Read more:
Countries to Avoid in Africa
Countries to Avoid in Asia
Countries to Avoid in Latin America

Countries avoid Africa. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Countries to avoid in Latin America

Countries to avoid in Latin America | With terrorism spreading across Europe, and continued unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa, travelers start to see Latin America as an alternative likely safer destination. According to the IATA (International Air Transit Association), Latin American carriers experienced an almost 10% increase in traffic in 2016 and 2017. We agreed that Chile and Costa Rica will back this peaceful image for sure. But the rest of region is not as peaceful as one might think. Three latin american countries in particular stand out to be very unsafe for international tourists:

Countries to Avoid: Venezuela

Countries avoid Latin America Venezuela
Countries to avoid in Latin America: Venezuela.

Countries to Avoid: Venezuela | Rich in oil and gas, but heavily violent and dangerous. Venezuela finds itself at number 164 out of 178 in the Corruption Perceptions Index. It ranks dead last at 99 out of 99 in the Rule of Law Index. Venezuela is among the most violent places on Earth. A person gets murdered every 21 minutes. Violent crimes have been so prevalent in Venezuela that the government no longer publishes crime data. The homicide rate was 80 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013 = the world’s highest. It quadrupled in the past 15 years with over 200,000 people murdered. Venezuela is especially dangerous toward foreign travelers and investors. In 1989 29 kidnappings had been counted. In 2011 it was 1150 – not even including so-called “express kidnappings”.

This you miss: Angel Falls -> the highest uninterrupted waterfalls in the world (978 meters) and Los Llanos -> the last stronghold for the Orinoco Crocodile, home to anacondas, capybaras, jaguars and caimans. Also worth mentioning: Los Roques Archipelago NP -> largest marine park in the Caribbean Sea with plenty of almost untouched coral reefs.

Countries to Avoid: Colombia

Countries avoid Latin America Colombia
Countries to avoid in Latin America: Colombia.

Countries to Avoid: Colombia | Drugs,  cartels, violence,  murders, gangs, kidnappings – it will be a long hard walk for Colombia down from the top spot in the list of the Worlds most dangerous countries. Outdated rumors have not yet been cleared up in tourist seeding countries. International travelers still seem convinced: if you go to Colombia you may not return. Violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect rural and urban areas in Colombia. But it’s slowly getting better. The first backpackers already arrived :)

This you miss: Cartagena – old colonial town. Rosario Islands – with water so bright and clear, you will not believe your eyes. The Rock of Guatape and El Peñol – with the best views in entire Colombia.

Countries to Avoid: Mexico

Countries avoid Latin America Mexico
Countries to avoid in Latin America: Mexico.

Countries to Avoid: Mexico | Make no mistake. Mexico is a dangerous country. But it’s also a hot vacation destination for US tourists. For the most part, drug-related violence and crime is limited to drug cartel areas and drug trafficking routes. The level of crime in resorts and tourist cities isn’t nearly as high. But that doesn’t mean tourists are safe. In 2014 100 US citizens were murdered in Mexico. 130 were kidnapped. Besides that, carjackings and robberies by organized criminal groups take place every minute.

This you miss: Chichen Itza – the largest of the Maya cities in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of Mexico’s most visited tourist destinations. Metropolis of Teotihuacán – its huge Pyramid of the Sun was built around 100 AD and is the largest pyramid in Mexico.

Read more:
Countries to Avoid in Asia
Countries to Avoid in Latin America
Countries to Avoid in Africa

Countries avoid Latin America. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here. Header image from Venuelust.com – Cartagena, Colombia: What it’s really like to go inside the Walled city.

Countries to avoid in Asia

Countries to avoid in Asia | Today we start a mini series of three blog posts about countries to avoid as a tourist. Starting with Asia we will hop to Latin America tomorrow and finish in Africa on Tuesday. Discouraging you from traveling to certain countries does not mean the locals are generally hostile to tourists. We rather blame the men in power for not stepping up.

Countries to Avoid: North Korea

Countries avoid Asia North Korea
Countries to Avoid: North Korea.

Countries to avoid in Asia: North Korea | Why? because of an unimaginably crazy government. People grown up in East Germany might be the only ones, being able to understand the horrific situation in North Korea. Just don’t go there. You would support the current rulers with your tourist spendings.

This is what you will miss out on: the Paekdusan Volcano and Mount Kumgang, both locations are actually very nice. Maybe in another life.

Countries to Avoid: Afghanistan

Countries avoid Asia Afghanistan
Countries to avoid in Asia: Afghanistan.

Countries to Avoid: Afghanistan | No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence. Economically, Afghanistan is considered very poor. In the last 30 years the country has been in chaos due to major wars – from the Soviet invasion of 1979 to warlordism and the U.S. American invasion. Russians, Americans, Mujahideen, Taliban, Al-Qaida and IS-terrorists made this country a no-go for tourists.

This you miss: Panjshir Mountains – They are located in North East of Afghanistan. Very rough but beautiful landscapes.

Countries to Avoid: Pakistan

Countries to Avoid: Pakistan
Countries to avoid in Asia: Pakistan.

Countries avoid Asia | Open the roof of a house, throw in some kalashnikovs, some radical thoughts, a dash of togetherness, close the roof and wait for what’s coming out the door. You will produce the most dangerous people on earth, because Pakistan people are behind in virtually every index. Pakistan features along with 17 countries from Africa and India. Give an uneducated person a gun, and you generate suicidal Al-Qaida-Taliban-IS-men-slaughtering terrorists.  Don’t risk your life. Avoid these people.

This you miss: Neelam Valley, Hunza Valley, Swat Valley, Kaghan Valley, Kalash Valley.

 Countries to Avoid: Saudi-Arabia

Countries avoid Asia Saudi-Arabia
Countries to avoid in Asia: Saudi-Arabia.

Countries to Avoid: Saudi-Arabia | Due to the price decline for a barrel of crude oil over the last years from $92 to $42 the government of Saudi Arabia lost 50% of it’s future income. The country currently lives from its reserves, which might be gone within the next four years, if oil and gas prices do not go back up soon. In other words: it’s boiling under the hood already. Apart from this – for all those of you still going to Saudi Arabia: traveling into the desert is extremely dangerous for foreigners – especially women – due to the ultra conservative culture of armed Bedouins. Tourists in Saudi-Arabia have no access to hospitals, not even in emergency situations and with possession of a health insurance.

This you miss: Masjid an-Nabi in Medina, Grand Mosque in Mecca, Black Stone in Mecca, Kingdom Centre Tower in Riyadh

Countries to Avoid: Yemen

Countries to Avoid: Yemen
Countries to Avoid: Yemen.

Countries to Avoid: Yemen | Last in this list a heavy one. Don’t under estimate the dangers waiting for you in Yemen. Foreign Ministries of most countries worldwide advise against all travel to Yemen. Nobody will give any support or assistance to its citizens when in trouble in Yemen. Most embassies are closed. There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen and specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication. Avoid this country. Throughout the Old City of Sanaa spray painted slogans stain a labyrinth of ancient passages: “Death to America.” Tribal kidnappings are on the rise and foreigners were becoming lucrative commodities for al-Qaeda, which is headquartered in the country. Expats were whisked away at gunpoint from bustling commercial districts in broad daylight.

This you miss: Old City of Sanaa – one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites on earth. Socotra Island – contains some of the world’s most astonishing and unique plant forms. More than a third of the 800 or so species on Socotra Island are found nowhere else on this planet. Shoab Beach – crystal clear water, dolphins, wonderful landscape.

Countries avoid Asia. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here. Header image by Boris Khvostichenko – Dracaena cinnabari (Dragon’s Blood Tree). Wikipedia GFDL