Oaxaca Travel: iPhone Apps = The Bad and the Ugly

We are preparing for the next trip to Oaxaca in early March.  Over the last year, I have migrated most of my travel information from paper to e-information.  My resolution for 2011 was to adapt to my iPhone calendar which syncs with my computer — reluctantly giving up the handwritten word which I deeply love.

My quest this morning was to research the App Store and get a good Oaxaca map and travel information loaded up to my iPhone — on the ready.  (Although I know Oaxaca like the back of my hand.) Last March, I navigated my way independently through the narrow, cobbled backstreets of London relying solely on my iPhone.  I did not get lost and managed to find everything I wanted, needed, and much more!  My London iPhone folder had six apps filed there and I’m waiting to go back to this fantastic city.

On to Oaxaca!  There are ONLY TWO iPhone Apps for Oaxaca.  Both reference the CITY of Oaxaca, not the STATE of Oaxaca.  Looks like we still need to rely on Moon’s Oaxaca Handbook to get solid information.

Here are my reviews, ranked in order of preference.  You’ll notice there is no “Good.”

  1. The Bad:      Oaxaca Travel World.  Cost: $0.99.  Developer: Tan Feng.  Posted March 4, 2010.  I give it a 2 Star (out of 5) This App is decent but has skimpy information, much of it outdated.  It looks like they did online research based on 2007 information and made up a travel site.  Mexicana airlines is out of business., which they cite as the best way to get to Oaxaca.  Today, January 15, 2011, the only service to Oaxaca is via ADO bus or AeroMexico from Mexico City or Continental from Houston.  Shopping recommendations are poor and only feature large commercial shopping mall department stores.  There are no galleries or boutiques listed.  Choices for lodging name one or two locations.  Fewer than 5 restaurants are recommended, although they are good ones!  This site could benefit from more content and a good editor.  Oaxaca is filled with great lodging and restaurant choices.
  2. The Ugly–Thumbs Down: Oaxaca Genius Map.  Cost: $0.99.  Developer:  Cui Gang, NiceTrip 2010.  This was posted on May 17, 2010. Don’t bother with this App.  This is a total waste of money and it is deceptive.  I have asked for my money back on principal of being sucked in.  This is just a map, and a poor one at that.  It denotes landmarks and historical sites by color on the map but there are no written references.  Two restaurants are named on the map; these are obscure and out of the tourist area.   The App Store indicates there are no ratings for this App, so I bought without tapping the ratings button.

I have to fault iPhone and Apple for not screening content for quality, but I guess it’s  caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware.”  Apple has also not kept up with posting the ratings for Apps as they get written and posted.  I hope the environment improves.


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