I'm a Professional Travel Writer — and These Are the Places I'd Never Go Back to
I've dedicated most of my adult life to traveling, checking off over 40 countries and territories (five of which I've lived in). Most of my experiences have been overwhelmingly magical, mostly because there is always something wonderful about every place on Earth ... well, almost every place.
Though I firmly believe in going back to destinations again and again and again, there are a few places that I wouldn't visit more than once. Sure, they all have good qualities but, overall, the experience is just not worth it.
Here's my controversial but honest list of places I'd recommend people skip.
Morocco is an undeniable cool place where I had some of the best travel experiences of my life. But while the medinas and souks and arid hills are wonderful, I would never again find myself alone in the country.
I was with friends on my two-week trip here, but spent my last day in Tangier alone and the level of harassment was overwhelming. It was probably the only time I have felt that I couldn't wait for a trip to be over. While harassment sadly happens everywhere, Morocco is the worst I've ever experienced. If you're a female traveler, think twice about visiting solo.
Copenhagen is a worthy destination ... for a single visit. There isn't anything really bad that I can say about it. On the contrary, the waterfront Nyhavn district, the palaces and the museums were all great. It's just that once you've done them, there isn't much to bring you back to the city.
That and the food is expensive and not very good — despite what the Michelin Guide wants us to believe.
Let me clarify that I absolutely think Ghana is an incredible destination. The food is amazing, the people are some of the friendliest I've ever encountered and the colonial castles and palaces that were used to hold enslaved people are an invaluable reminder of one of the darkest chapters of human history.
But despite all of this, pollution in the capital is worse than almost anywhere I've been. It's not just air pollution, but also street and water pollution. I saw cows graze on a field of plastic and the sand in the Jamestown fishing harbor covered in waste. Though there are great spots to visit in Accra, pollution is a huge issue that affects locals and, to a lesser extent, travelers.
The Yucatan Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on Earth — and also one of the worst examples of overtourism. Blessed with corals, clear blue water, jungles, underground sinkholes and Maya ruins, the area is a gem. But its many charms have attracted too much development and now the road that connects Cancun to Tulum is lined with endless hotels and luxury apartment complexes.
Cancun is the worst place in the area (especially its hotel zone). I would recommend everyone visit Yucatan but stay as far away from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum as possible.
Spain is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The landscapes are breathtaking, the food is delicious, the wine is cheap, the museums are world-class and the architecture unique.
So, what's the problem? Racism and xenophobia have ruined the country for me. I've been four times and each time, whenever people hear my Colombian accent, they treat me like a dog. I've had several people in multiple cities yell at me for no good reason. Things were even worse when I traveled with a Korean friend. As we walked down the road, people would yell "china!" at her. We were often ignored by waiters and bartenders and just felt overall unwelcome.
The only time I've been treated like a full human being in Spain was when I was with a British friend and we were speaking in English. That's when I decided that I'd never go out of my way to visit this otherwise wonderful country again.
Phuket City, Thailand
Thailand and I just don't click too much. It's not the country and it's not me, we just don't vibe that well. But while Bangkok wasn't my favorite place on Earth, I'd pick it over Phuket City anytime.
I'm not talking about the entire island of Phuket, just the large city that my friends and I made the mistake of choosing as our base. It's overdeveloped and crowded. As a result, all the public beaches are littered with plastic waste and the private beaches that are cleaned often try to emulate the Miami Beach feel, which is not my thing.
I did enjoy Koh Lanta and there are many, many places in this large country that I didn't get to see in the two times I've visited. Maybe the less touristy parts of the country are much better. Go there instead of Phuket.
Monaco is the definition of gilded ... except any gold you see here is definitely real. The city-state is all shine and no substance. Everything is beautiful yet soulless. I guess that's what happens when your entire personality is based on having a crap ton of money and no purpose in life except to spend it.
If you're in Nice and want to do an easy day trip to kill the curiosity, go for it. But don't make a huge effort to come here.
Downtown Dallas is ... ok, I guess. There are bars, restaurants and cool museums. But you could say the same about pretty much any other large city in the states. Outside of Downtown, Dallas is basically a giant Walmart parking lot where there is so much beige it'll make you nauseous.
Yes, the BBQ is amazing, but you can get that anywhere in Texas.
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
I originally planned to spend two weeks at this beach on the northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. But I left after a week because this was the ugliest beach of all the ones I saw on either coast during my two-month trip to the country.
It was the only beach I saw that had trash. And since there are so many boats right off the shore, the water isn't very clean. To make matters worse, instead of the typical natural surroundings that Costa Rican beaches are known for, this one had a loud and rowdy promenade lined with bars.
If this is your vibe, you'll love it. But you could also find that atmosphere at beaches with soft, white sand and clear water, so why come here?
The way I see it, if I'm in Costa Rica, it's to enjoy nature as much as possible. And the country has too many gorgeous beaches to waste time on a dirty, loud one.
The last time I crossed the North Carolina-South Carolina border, I was greeted by a giant Confederate flag. That's a big enough reason to say "nope" to visiting this state ever again.
I'm not saying there aren't many nice places here or denying that the Southern food you'll find is heavenly. But is it worth feeling like you've been transported back to the deep South in the 1950s? I don't think so.