To kick-off this post without any misunderstandings, the following cities within the countdown are not hated for being the worst cities in the world – as a mater of fact, a couple of them are ranked as the most livable – it’s because they’re the most bugging and annoying cities to visitors according to a survey underwent by CNNgo. These cities prompt plenty of critical conversation, meant in the most positive light. In other words, this post can be named “10 cities travelers most love to hate”, so here’s the countdown:
10. Belize City, Belize
(Belize City, Belize – image source)
A diving and cruise ship magnet that has been dubbed “Central America Lite,” “the other Caribbean” and “the gateway to the world’s second largest barrier reef.”
Crime. Drugs. Dilapidation. Welcoming committees of bored, desperate touts. A vibe that screams avoid-being-out-after-dark-and-wait-for-your-real-itinerary-to-begin. Belize City has it all.
9. Cairo, Egypt
(Abd El Moneim Riad Square in Cairo – image source)
Crippled with air pollution, maniacal driving, ridiculous traffic, overpopulation and post-revolution stress.
Cairo is a city that impels tourists to come anyway, it is home of the world’s last remaining ancient Wonder and an incomparable wealth of history and antiquities that rank high on any serious globetrotter’s bucket list, visitors these days are forced to turn more than just a blind lung to a recent World Health Organization report that equates breathing in this city with smoking a pack a day.
8. New Delhi, India
(Delhi’s old sector – image source)
Travel scams happen everywhere. But few cities fuel as much controversial discussions about them as India’s capital. Travel forums are always paranoid about one topic when it comes to visiting Delhi: How to avoid getting plundered outside the airport, at the train station, at your hotel and everywhere in between.
“There are plenty of cons to be aware of,” blogs TravBuddy in a post entitled “Scam City: Delhi’s Tourist Hustles and How To Avoid Them,” which lists several popular ones by name: The “Government Tourist Office” scam; The “Hotel Commission” scam; The “Fake Train Station” scam; The “Airport Transfer” scam, etc.
Chances are really high that you will be scammed anyway.
7. Jakarta, Indonesia
(Jakarta, Indonesia – image source)
“It is a very demanding city from a traveler’s perspective, full of surprises and awaiting difficulties,” notes of one TripAdvisor expat who came to love Jakarta after six months. “Once you get to know it, you can’t have enough of it.”
It’s quite surprising to know that Indonesia’s 8 million annual tourists are arriving at Bali, Yogyakarta, Sumatra- anywhere but the capital – according to a 2011 study by the country’s Central Bureau for Statistics. The sprawling city choked with traffic, pollution, poverty and tourist “draws” largely revolving around random street adventures and an epidemic of malls
6. Lima, Peru
(Lima, Peru – image source)
Latin America’s fifth-largest metropolis may be relativelycleaner than Mexico City, safer than Sao Paulo and beach-friendly than La Paz, yet Lima continues to quietly suffer from the worst curse in travel circles: being constantly described as a place that’s not nearly as dull as everyone else keeps saying it is.
Yet, for much of the year, a smog hangs over Lima. The city looks washed out and monochrome. When you combine this with years of news (and rumors) about Lima being unsafe, shabby or just plain boring, it’s no wonder people overlook one of Latin America’s secret jewels.
5. Los Angeles, California – United States
(Downtown Los Angeles – image source)
A center-less megalopolis sloppily carved into about 90 sub-cities, over 20 ailing freeways, countless area codes and a half-million strip malls with mediocre Thai food. How did a semi-arid desert without a decent water supply get so huge – and so hugely disliked?
“When you get there, there is no there, there,” says one of many underwhelmed L.A. bashers on quora.com, who adds that tourist traps like Hollywood are a total bummer. So are earthquakes, race riots, traffic pileups, smog reports, constant sirens and the logic of people who live here are okay with all of that because the weather’s nicer than wherever they moved from.
4. Timbuktu, Mali
(Timbuktu, Mali – image source)
Nice weather for camels. A century ago, the world’s most tenacious travelers may have been awarded a brief thrill upon reaching this legendary trans-Saharan trading center hiding in the middle of nowhere.But even then, Timbuktu was nearly half-a-millennium past its golden years and largely relying on the travel industry’s most dubious selling point: being so ridiculously remote and unspectacular that even the dictionary references you as “any extremely distant place.”
Today, according to a recent British survey, a third of the public doesn’t believe that Timbuktu actually exists. Among the remaining two-thirds are those romantic, off-the-beaten-path travelers who’ve fought tooth and claw to get all the way out here only to find a stifling, sand-strewn cluster of shabby buildings staving off desertification.
3. Paris, France
(La defense district, Paris – image source)
A handful of people might deeply disagree with Paris appearing on this list, but Paris inspires a certain love-hate relationship.
Pretty much everyone is familiar with what people already love about Paris. In the meantime, what do people not love about it, aside from the usual rude waiter stereotypes and crazy lines at the Louvre.
“I was wondering what was so special about the ‘French Breakfast’ that I saw advertised everywhere we went,” comments a frequent Paris traveler on VirtualTourist, who sat down and ordered one during his first visit to the city. “For 20 euros you get a croissant, butter, three ounces of hot chocolate, three ounces of orange juice and a small baguette. Are you kidding??”
“Don’t be too easily flattered as you approach the Place du Tertre in Montmartre,” another visitor warns about platoons of starving artists bombarding first-timers to have their portrait done. “I’ve now lost count of the number of times we’ve been told that [my husband] has ‘interesting hair.’”
“I just read of someone’s four-hour wait to ascend the Eiffel Tower and recalled the coldest I had ever been – the day I waited atop the platform on the Eiffel Tower, waiting to go to the next level.”
“We made our way to the catacombs hoping to find an extraordinary sight,” says another. “Unfortunately, it was nothing but rooms and rooms and rooms full of bones.”
Every legendary city suffers some degree of over-hype. About the gastronomy, the views, the charming street scene, music, and culture. But the dreamy expectations reserved for Paris – propagated by generations of writers who haven’t been here in awhile – are definitely over-rated.
2. Sydney & Melbourne, Australia
Australia’s top two cities would be nowhere near this list if it weren’t for the 177 straight years of utter hatred they’ve reserved for each other.
Since the founding of Melbourne in 1835 , Sydneysiders and Melburnians have been loathingly distinguishing themselves from each other in ways that would make Toronto and Montreal blush.
“Sydney and Melbourne have much, much more in common than either of them ever care to admit.” In fact, “Melbourne is the city in the world most similar to Sydney.”
About 4 million multicultural residents spread across a trendy downtown area with sprawling suburbs, high home prices, a vibrant food and arts scene, Australian TV and radio stations, the occasional bushfire and an intense repugnance for a certain unspeakable place 720 kilometers away. Which city are we talking about here? Either Melbourne or Sydney, perhaps?
But wait. There is a startling difference. Last year, The Economist ranked Melbourne the “World’s Most Livable City” with 97.5 points. Sydney came in sixth in this same survey with 96.1 points. Do the math. These places are like fire and ice.
1. Tijuana, Mexico
(Tijuana, Mexico – image source)
According to a recent World focus report, Tijuana’s annual tourism numbers have plummeted by as much as 90 percent in less than 10 years, and other research estimates that visitor-related revenue has declined by almost as much over a similar period. Drug cartel violence. The recession. Recent swine flu outbreaks.
On another side what’s not helping the tourism status to recover is the Southern California marketing firms campaigning: “Come to San Diego and be in a foreign country in 20 minutes” giving Tijuana a fierce competition to deal with.