What exactly is a tourist trap?
I think a tourist trap is something that looked incredible in pictures but was mediocre at best in person. Also, the cost of admission did not justify the experience and once there, there were hoakey and gimmicky ways for the establishment to further profit off of you and deplete you of your funds. There was something tacky about the way the gift shop and other amenities were developed.
A tourist trap also has a de facto meaning of a place that is popular for tourists to go to it and focal point of travels. It is so full of tourists that it feels inorganic and unauthentic.
Tourism creates that feeling in many many people. Once you have elevated yourself above the legions of couch potatoes who sit at home watching the world pass them by, and you have entered an exciting phase of travel, you will quickly discover that all of the good places have been found out and are swarming with fanny packs, digital cameras and sweat pants. How is that everyone you know never leaves their couch and yet at the same time, everyone has discovered that place you have always dreamed of and thought you were the only one who wanted to go there?
The truth hurts. You are not original by traveling and many many people wanted to go to exactly the same place you wanted to go to. There is no such thing as blending in and trying to act like a local. You are a tourist, with sweat pants and a camera!
Yes, all of the good places have been discovered and it is highly unlikely some ancient ruin will be uncovered somewhere that has significant value. Macchu Picchu, the Pyramids of Egypt, Borobudur and many others were modern discoveries that were all but lost to their original inhabitants. We no longer live in an age of such discoveries. We now live in an age of finding out how to finance trips to such places. I do not believe places such as these are tourist traps. They are wonders of the world and have generated fame and attention because of their importance and magnificence in the world. Popularity and over-saturation alone do not denote a tourist trap.
Tourist traps are supposed to be overrated, inflated and disappointing somehow. Tourist traps appeal to unsophisticated people who are too inept to realize they are being duped out of their money and are not getting value for what they are forking over. Tourist trap has a negative and hostile connotation to it and a connotation that the sucker either does not know he is being duped or knows when it is already too late.
You can never be duped be viewing a great work of art, a masterpiece of architecture, a peaceful and humble piece of nature, or eating in a wonderful part of the world. These are not tourist traps.
These are the places worth traveling to.