Welcome to my next trip report, a recount of my recent journey to exotic Algeria. Algeria was one of the most difficult countries I have ever traveled to, but looking back was a superb trip.
Exotic Algeria Trip Report
The first challenge was securing a visa, which I will discuss in my next post. I traveled to New York to apply in person at the Algerian consulate (Algeria has a consulate in New York and its embassy in Washington, DC and California is assigned to New York). That was cumbersome (it took two in-person trips…) but that paled in comparison to the main challenge I faced once in Algiers.
I was in Germany prior to my trip and spent some time there before traveling to Algiers in Lufthansa economy class, a flight I will not review because there was no service onboard and I slept through it anyway.
Once on the ground, the challenge began. Algeria is a well-developed country in Northern Africa with excellent infrastructure (including a metro system) and a handful of nice hotels. Even so, the country is far more closed off than its neighbors in Tunisia and Morocco. Visas must be arranged in advance and the country was closed off for the first half of the pandemic.
I really struggled with the language barrier. I speak English and German. Most in Algeria speak Arabic and French. Even at the Hyatt Regency, where I spent my two nights, there was a real struggle in communicating with many of the staff members.
I call Algeria “exotic” because from my western perspective it was quite exotic (different, unusual), though in a good way. On my second day, I found a wonderful driver named Hecham who had a strong command of English. We had a great day driving around and I will share his contact information in case you find yourself in need of a driver and English speaker while in Algeria.
Sadly, I did not have time to go beyond Algiers. Were I to return to Algeria (and I hope to), I would visit the St Augustin Basilica in Annaba. Saint Augustine of Hippo lived and ministered in present-day Algeria and it would have been interesting to retrace his path.
Here’s what the trip report will look like:
- How To Obtain A Visa To Algeria
- My Arrival Into Algiers (ALG)
- Great Coffee In Algiers, Algeria
- A Remarkable 24 Hours In Algiers, Algeria
- Hyatt Regency Algeria
- Air Algérie Lounge Algiers (ALG)
- Air Algérie A330-200 Business Class ALG-DOH
- Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge (DOH)
- American Airlines 777-200 Business Class DOH-JFK
- American Airlines A321T Economy Class JFK-LAX
- AA Flagship Lounge Los Angeles (LAX)
The one-way Algiers – Doha ticket was $601 in business class and I purchased it on Priceline. My American Airlines ticket from Doha – New York – Los Angeles was $1079. I upgraded the Doha – New York segment to business class for 25,000 AA miles plus a $350 co-pay (I was so sad that my SWU upgrades expired a couple of months ago…). Sadly, with only Gold status on AA, my upgrade from JFK-LAX did not clear.
I look forward to sharing more details about my time in Algeria and my surprisingly excellent flight on Air Algérie and American Airlines. Thanks for reading!
image: Memorial du Martyr in Algiers (taken by me)
What is this? A joke? You’re a travel blogger and this one was a reach for you? C’mon man. In all seriousness, though, this impeaches your credibility in anything beyond points/miles. I guess you’d be in the same bucket as TPG. You don’t need to post this comment, I just wanted to tell you to get out there a little more!
Are you new around here? I’ve been to 141 countries, including some in central Africa and the Middle East that most would never attempt. I found the language barrier in Algeria difficult…and you want to “impeach” me for that? I also found the country quite unique, a subjective assessment I am certainly permitted to make. Overall, it was a great trip. Maybe stay tuned for the trip report and check out some of my old ones before making such a broad and demeaning comment?
“I’ve been to 141 countries”. If your travels were like the one to Algeria, do you really count them? 24 hours at a Hyatt in Algiers isn’t at all reflective of the actual experience of Algeria or any other country in the Magreb. I know you have thin skin… but come on.
Again, wait for the report. I ventured out…
A post with 5 favorite countries and 5 least favorite ones maybe?
Hey, there are probably parts of LA that Matthew finds “exotic”…
Thanks Matthew. Long tempted Algeria given 20+ trips to neighbor Morocco but never found much from other fellow frequent flyers. Looking for the rest of your trip report to tip me in that direction. QQ: did Tunisia not interest you?
Hi Randy, You can find my Tunisia report here:
Haha easy there champ, 141 is extremely impressive, I didn’t mean to offend you personally! I’ve just found North Africa to be pretty accessible as a destination, so when you say it’s exotic, it does raise questions about your appetite for interesting and less popular destinations. For what it’s worth, I also had a hard time as a western tourist there, but my travel resume isn’t nearly as decorated, which is why I tune in.
If/when you return to Algeria, you have to go to Constantine too. Seriously. It’s one of the most interesting and beautiful settings for a city I’ve ever seen. There are also several good sites to see Roman ruins across the country, if you’re into that sort of thing (I am).
My question is about the taste of coffee in Algeria.
Did you ever drink a cup of coffee better than the one in Algeria???
I had some lovely coffee, which I look forward to sharing about.
Algeria is considered exotic because it’s not known as a tourist destination to any degree. Morocco and Egypt are and Tunisia used to be. It is not inaccessible as much as North Korea but it is a unique trip. Moroccans probably are the only people who travel there for tourism and it’s still a small percentage who do. Relations aren’t ideal if I remember what I read correctly. Any spot in Algeria is probably safer than any big Dem cities in the U.S. The bigger crime regarding Algerians is actually done in France and to a lesser extent in Spain and the Netherlands where non-European* Algerians commit a disproportionate amount of criminal activity and violence.
*Algeria is like Morocco in that it was ethnically European and Berber for thousands of years before the Arab conquest. There are Berbers, Arabs, and some who are essentially White people, and etc. The French and Spanish influence in both still exists.
Who the .. you think you are to lecture on Algerian crime in France,spain and netherlands.where did you get this B.S do you have facts and evidence,did you ask every criminal his nationality?? Moroccans are the only people traveling there???? Go to YouTube a type Algeria you’ll see tons of American, French, Europeans vlogging on their experiences in Algeria…
“I call Algeria “exotic” because from my western perspective it was quite exotic (different, unusual),”
If this is your rationale for using the word “exotic”, isn’t every non-EU/NATO country “exotic”?
I appreciate that you are using the term to describe a place, and not people/women.