Much of South America- at least Chile and Argentina- felt first world to us. We could drink tap water, find clean public toilets, use our smartphones and generally not worry about creature comforts. That said, two travel apps I use everyday absolutely failed in South America. I’m curious to hear if it was just our bad luck or if the same has happened to any of you.
Travel Apps Fail: Google Maps
Google Maps didn’t just fail us in Chile- it failed in spectacular fashion. Even in modern cities like Vina del Mar Google Maps couldn’t distinguish between a paved road and a mud track. It defaulted to the “fastest” route: not taking into account the difference between a main road and streets going off in 45 degree angles.
Once we left the main cities it was even worse. Our favorite fail occurred when we got lost (thanks to Google Maps) in Zapillar, a coastal town about an hour north of Vina. We were facing the Pacific Ocean in this spot:
Google Maps’ helpful direction?
Ok…Thanks, Google Maps!
Travel App Fail: Weather
Every single Weather app and website we tried was useless in South America. “Sunny” forecasts would end up pouring rain, “foggy” days became sunny by 8AM and so on. I can’t think of a single day in five weeks that a weather prediction matched the actual weather. Most days it wasn’t even close.
Part of this may be geography: mountain ranges stopped rain clouds in their tracks and the Pacific breezes came and went by the minute. However, most modern weather forecasts in the northern hemisphere can predict hourly weather down to the zip code. In Chile and Argentina we stopped trusting the forecasts by week 2 and planned our days by looking up.
Have you had similar travel apps failures either in South America or anywhere else? I’m curious to hear about your experiences.
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