Skip these vacation destinations in 2020, Fodor's Travel says
They are dangerous, overcrowded or overpriced.
Traveling can open a person's life to new cultures, help them escape the winter doldrums or provide a chance to appreciate nature and history.
But there are some places you might want to skip.
Fodor’s Travel recently unveiled its annual "No List," a group of 13 destinations that, for various reasons, travelers may want to skip in the next year. The list is now in its fourth year.
"Every year, we use the No List to highlight issues that we’re thinking about before, during and long after we travel," said Jeremy Tarr, editorial director of Fodors.com.
Here's a look at Fodor's No List and the reasons why its travel experts say to pass on these places in 2020:
Barcelona, Big Sur, Angkor Wat, Bali and Hanoi Train Street
These common tourist destinations have grown a little too popular — so popular that they don't really want you anymore, according to Fodor's. In the case of Barcelona, an influx of tourists has contributed to the city's overcrowding and skyrocketing rents.
Big Sur has seen an increase in visitors thanks to a tourism marketing campaign and the popularity of HBO's "Big Little Lies," but the scenic California coastal region doesn’t really have the infrastructure — like public bathrooms — to handle all the guests, according to Fodor's. That's left locals dealing with some unpleasant roadside discoveries and illegal camping.
Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex is the country's most popular attraction. But the large number of visitors is causing wear on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, with steps becoming slippery and bas-reliefs becoming worn down by tourists touching them, according to Fodor's. The group in charge of the site has begun limiting the number of visitors who are allowed in at any given time.
On Bali, Indonesia's most-visited island, officials declared a "garbage emergency" in 2017 due to the amount of plastic on beaches and in waters, according to Fodor's. Local farmers have also suffered from water shortages as a result of tourist-focused development. Bali legislators have considered imposing a $10 per person tourist tax to help deal with the issues.
The railroad that passes through a narrow street in Hanoi's Old Quarter has become a popular tourist stop because it's so "Instagrammable." But all the visitors trying to get pictures of the scene have caused delays for the train, and in one recent case, the train had to make an emergency stop in order to avoid hitting selfie-shooting tourists, Fodor's reported.
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This infamous Swiss mountain, known for its distinctive peak, is nice to look at but dangerous to climb. Seven climbers have died there this year, and 11 died on the mountain last year, according to Fodor’s. Like Mount Everest, which Fodor’s put on its No List last year, the Matterhorn's stability has declined due to the overwhelming number of climbers.
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Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel
These coral reefs are sick and in need of healing, and a line of tourists riding gas-powered motorboats, dropping anchors and washing off their sunscreen in the water isn't going to help, according to Fodor’s. Their travel experts suggest visitors enjoy the ocean from the shoreline in 2020.
Galapagos National Park and Komodo Island
These exotic islands are on opposite sides of the world, but they have something in common: unique ecosystems being threatened by large numbers of visitors. In the Galapagos, local officials are considering increasing the international visitors' fee from $100 per visit to $200 for those spending at least three nights in mainland Ecuador or $400 for those spending less time in the country, according to Fodor's. And on Komodo, Indonesian authorities considered closing the UNESCO World Heritage Site island for a full year to protect its namesake lizards and are still looking at tourist caps or taxes.
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Certain Mexican and Central American resorts
Tourists need to be cautious about where they go and what they drink when visiting parts of Central America, Fodor’s warned. Dozens of tourist deaths and illnesses are under investigation with tainted alcohol being considered a possible cause, and the Costa Rica Ministry of Health has released a warning about alcohol brands tainted with methanol, which can increase the volume and potency of alcoholic drinks but is harmful in high concentrations.
While not limited to one location, Fodor's said elephant riding as a tourist attraction "needs to stop." A recent study found more than 1,300 elephants at 118 venues "suffering in terrible conditions": separated from their families, hurt with sharp tools, chained up at night and not fed nutritious meals.
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This South African city is "safe for tourists [but] deadly for residents," according to Fodor's. A crime wave has brought a high homicide rate to parts of the city. Issues like corruption and unemployment have driven gang warfare.