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South America’s Top 5 Man Made Wonders

Check out the greatest man made wonders in South America

Here are what we consider to be the top 5 man-made wonders in South America.

Rio Carnival, Brazil

Over 1 million tourists and locals can’t be wrong. The biggest street party in the world isn’t done by halves. The highlight is the Sambodromo parade, a half mile long parade through central Rio containing some of the best, most outrageously dressed people. By the end of the weekend, your mind and soul will be drenched in samba and your eyes will welcome a rest from the vibrant colours of the carnival. Carnival starts 40 days before Easter.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Ancient ruins, perched dramatically on top a mountain side above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, still convey the majesty and grace of this once powerful city. Mach Picchu was built around 1450 but abandoned around 1550 and forgotten about until 1911 when it was rediscovered and instantly became an important heritage site and major tourist attraction. Machu Picchu’s main buildings of interest include the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows and the Intihuatana. There are two main choices to reach the ancient ruins – travel via train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes or the world famous 20 mile Inca trail to the Sun Gate; more demanding but much more satisfying. The trek itself is also quite an attraction – with views of snow-capped mountain peaks, cloud forests filled with delicate orchids and local, rural hamlets populated with ethnic minority tribes.


  • Don’t travel in the wetter months (December to April) if you want to trek the Inca Trail. It can be very muddy and dangerous. June to August are the best times, but also the coldest so bring lots of warm clothes.

  • Get the bus early morning to enjoy the sunrise before the hordes of tourists arrive. It really is worth the extra effort.

  • Climb Huayna Picchu for an alternative view of Machu Picchu. It takes about an hour so remember to take food and water with you but is a great way to get more from the ruins than most.

Easter Island

Easter Island’s mysterious and insightful monumental statues, called moai were created by the Rapanui people, Pacific Islanders who somehow lived on this remote Chilean Island. How they got there is still a mystery. It is thought a tribe of Polynesian origin settled there in 300AD and established an original tradition of monumental sculpture and architecture, with no external influence. As well as trying to figure out the reasons behind the enigmatic stone heads, the Island itself is beautiful – volcanic craters and remote stark landscapes to trek around.

Tip: Try the Mount Terevaka circuit walk. Start from Anakena beach and trek around the base of Mount Terevaka. It takes about 5-6 hours but takes in many ahus and moai. It’s not a popular or well known route so you may have the experience all to yourself.

Nazca Lines, Peru

The Nazca lines are thought to have been created by the Nazca culture between 200BC and 700AD. There are hundreds of figures and creatures drawn, ranging from the very simplistic through to detailed drawings. The drawings stretch over 50 miles between Nazca and Palpa in Peru. The reason behind the drawings is still unclear, most think the drawings are religious. Many also cannot be identified apart from the air as they are so large.

White City of Arequipa, Peru

Arequipa lies in the Andes Mountains. Other than the draw of the mountains, the colonial-era Spanish buildings draw in the crowds. The buildings are made of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock – hence the name The White City. Arequipa is now a World Heritage City because of its architectural significance.

Tips for travelling in South America

  • Avoid travelling in the favelas (shanty towns of Brazil) without a reputable guide.

  • Learn some basic phrases – you’ll be surprised how far you can get with them.

  • Always check the political security of an area before you plan to visit.

  • Time is often not watched as much as it is in the UK. When someone says 6pm, things may not often happen till later on!