The city of Cuzco obtained honors, once again. Travel and Leisure Magazine gave it second place for Mexico, Central and South America in the World’s Best Cities competition. The Imperial City bested such wonders as Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Lima and the many amazing resort cities of Mexico, although the city of Mexico came in first place. This is an honor for an amazing place.
Cuzco Eats agrees with the voters and judges of Travel and Leisure. Cuzco deserves this recognition. Not only is is one of the well preserved colonial cities of Latin America, distinguished for its Hispano Moorish architecture in a stunning setting of mountains and eucalyptus forests, its white walls and blue doors and balconies, like a dream rest on top of the capital of one of the world’s great empires, the Inca.
Increasingly, Cuzco’s army of archeologists and historians is making the Inca capital more visible and available for visitors and locals alike. It truly is one of the wonders of the world as its contours and constructions become more known.
The city is also known for its fine lodging and increasingly fine restaurants, as well as the distinctiveness of Cuzco’s native Hispano-Inca cuisine as well as for adventure.
There is more. Cuzco is a living city. It is not a tourist city that picks up the sidewalks in the off season. This is a vital place, nearing half a million strong, with its own historical culture and lore. It is at the heart and lungs of a massive region encompassing jungle, valleys, and high mountains.
Its neighborhoods and main square fill almost daily with the sounds of bands and the pulse of dance troupes as one group or another celebrates its day.
Cuzco is also Cusco, and Qosqo, folded over and over like a fine pastry with layers of many origins, from the many Andean regions to Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean. One can easily spend a lifetime opening them one after another to grasp what makes them and how they contribute to the complex whole of this city which both holds a stone to the Inca God Viracocha and the Christ of Temblors, a desiccated figure on a cross who brings the city to jubilation and tears when he makes his way into its streets.
Cuzco deserves the honor. It is a way station, a staging ground for visitors to Machu Picchu to be sure. Yet it is so much more. It breathes and pumps. It deserves to be known as a destination in its own rite, not as a museum or tourist city, but as one of the world’s great places of heritage and life.