Detours with locals.
Travel tips you can trust.

The best 1-star reviews of the Seven Wonders of the World


(Washington Post illustration; photos by iStock)

Back around 400 B.C., scholars of ancient Greece jotted down a listicle of the seven best tourist attractions, paving the way for future travel bloggers everywhere. “Lighthouse of Alexandria. What a lighthouse! Five stars,” they proclaimed on their scrolls, as I envision it.

Today, only one of the original ancient wonders of the world still exists: the Great Pyramid of Giza. To fill the void in our list-loving lives, the New 7 Wonders Foundation created a contest that led to the declaration of the next official round of wonders in 2007. Tens of millions of people voted, and seven UNESCO World Heritage sites emerged the victors.

The “new” Seven Wonders of the World attract millions of travelers every year. Some people are blown away by the sites, like the spectacular cloud forest that shrouds Machu Picchu or the exquisite marble carvings of the Taj Mahal. Others leave unimpressed by the so-called wonders and leave reviews on the Internet to prove it.

Here are the best of the worst reviews posted on TripAdvisor of the New Seven Wonders of the World.


“NOT worth it. … The tour guide on the bus was rude to me and not funny, in fact he made the bus ride longer with his mono toned unfunny dialog, the radio thing they gave us to listen to the guide on the tour stopped working half way. They were supposed to offer us soda OR beer on the ride back but they didn’t offer beer at all. Vendors kept shoving things in my face and following me to try to sell me things to the point of harassment and the overall experience was awful. The sights were ok but the people made it so terrible I will never return to Mexico again. It was NOT WORTH THE MONEY! People said its because its a poor country but so is Jamaica and Jamaica was nothing like this. Jamaica was wonderful, Mexico was TERRIBLE!” — undeadbeauty

Reviewer undeadbeauty is right here. If you visit a country’s most popular tourist attractions and it sucks, you should definitely never go back to the country. Rude waiter at an Eiffel Tower restaurant? Au revoir, France. Nothing to see here. An unfunny tour guide at what UNESCO calls the site of “masterpieces of Mesoamerican architecture” is absolutely reason enough to never visit the entirety of Mexico ever again.


“Creepy place … Don’t like to see the persecution of Christians. Creepy place. The pain and suffering here was beyond imagination.” — jehorne

Reviewer jerhorne has a point. The Colosseum is a creepy place. Of the 324 one-star reviews of the Colosseum, most focus on the abhorrent lines and scams going on out front — not the fact that the 50,000-person amphitheater was a real bloodbath in ancient times. That being said, jehorne probably saw “Gladiator” (2000) or at least the trailer, so why show up to the nearly 2,000-year-old structure in the first place?


“Looks better in the pictures. … We visited here from Dehli and were honestly disappointed. The building is not as big or elaborate as we thought. there were lots of people making veiwing difficult. The actual tombs are below ground so you are only looking at copies of the tombs and the other visitors were disrespectful by taking pictures etc despite the notices saying not to. Aggra itself looked a little rough around the edges. We opted to pay extra to go on the toll road/motorway which was almost deserted and the journey still took 3.5 hours each way.” — califon

The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his late favorite wife in perhaps the grandest gesture of love in history. But it was built too small, if you ask reviewer califon. Talk about a waste of nearly 20 years, 1,000 elephants and the labor of 22,000 people to construct this white marble token of his affection.


“ 'Never Thirsty’ in Petra site near the Treasury. Do not purchase from this vendor. … The necklaces are defective, poorly made. Once you open the two small bags, the blue beads are uneven: tied together with thread like dental floss. This is a bait and switch situation. We were overcharged 180.79.” — geishaUSA

If there’s a reason to give a wonder of a world a one-star review, it’s because you purchased a bad necklace there. I mean, we’re talking about a caravan-city that was carved into red sandstone by the Nabataean people who’ve inhabited it since prehistoric times. The least you can expect is some good trading in this trading town.


“Frankly, borng. … I took off important time from business to visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu. I took an urban adventures tours that was really lousy so that might affect my view of this. However, I frankly thought this was an incredible disappointment. Yes, this is a huge achievement in building and labor expenditure as well as incredible length. But when you get there, it is really a pile of sloppily laid bricks. If it were t so long, there would be nothing remarkable about it at all. I walked up instead of taking the cable car. That was a very nice experience, especially when you realized you might actually get to the top alive!” — SteeE_13

“Borng,” or boring, is just the beginning of SteeE_13′s problems with the Great Letdown of China. While UNESCO says it “embodies unparalleled significance as the national symbol for safeguarding the security of the country and its people,” SteeE_13 remains unimpressed by the shoddy bricklaying. At least it’s long. One star.


“Just don’t … This is not a recommended travel destination for 2019. I understand many people just wanna spend 2 weeks of their boring enough life in a place they think would be cool, and take a bunch of the same photos their neibours Instagramer wannabe friend’s dog also have. If that’s you, you will fit right in with 500 other moms and pops with their Canon point and shoots. You will be fighting for a spot on the plato with 500 other selfie duck faces, Lululemon yoga pants, and brim hats they just brought from the market at Aquas Calientes which also sell fluffy alpaca faces. Cool. Wake up, to the locals, you are nothing more than the 5000 other money trees. To the Peruvian tourism board, you just happily handover another $150 out of your already over budget Peruvian holiday. All these because maybe you watched some stupid Instagram influencer or YouTuber hyping about everything they see. Do you own research, don’t come to Machu Picchu because you saw a photo on your friends’ feed, or Google tell you it’s a must go location. It’s not.” — Mm Ww

The misty, magical mountains of Peru are no match for the wrath of reviewer Mm Ww. The yoga pants and *checks notes* hats with a brim are simply too horrible to see anything of value in the 15th-century Inca citadel, built in accordance with astronomy, that remained a secret to the outside world until 1911. Nothing but a backdrop for social media posts that aren’t worth posting in the first place. Time to move on from this world wonder.


“Cell phone grave yard … Everyone goes to Christ the Redeemer with a cell phone. What you do is lie down on the ground in front of the statue and take a picture of your friend with the statue behind them. It is disastrous. There is no crowd control at this monument. The platform around the statue is shoulder to shoulder. Good luck trying to take a picture. It is better to go on a cloudy day and take pictures of the statue then go down a little further on the mountain under the clouds to take pictures of the city. Or if it is a clear day - do a private helicopter ride. That is what I will do the next time I am in Rio.” — joann k

Joann K hit Christ the Redeemer with a one-star because travelers taking photos prevented her from being a traveler taking a photo. A reasonable alternative? Ball out and take a private helicopter ride to see the 98-foot-tall statue in Tijuca Forest National Park.

Read more:

How to survive 12 hours in an airport

‘Home Alone’ is getting a reboot. We catalogued all the travel plot points that wouldn’t hold up today.

Chrissy Teigen brought gravy through TSA and exposed a weird loophole

Follow By The Way on Instagram for city highlights, travel tips and more