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  • Monica Jones

Cusco vs Panama City...let's compare!



Recently I went from drinking “té piteado” or “spiked tea” in Cusco to watching a ship go through the Panama Canal outside of Panama City. I was lucky enough to live in Cusco for almost a year and also visit Panama City for a week. I couldn’t help but notice they’re both gorgeous but also extremely different cities. Let’s look at how they’re different by using comparative and superlative adjectives!


I was in a bit of shock when I got to Panama City after having lived in Cusco for ten months. Right when I stepped off the plane, I noticed how much hotter and more humid Panama City was compared to Cusco. Since Cusco is at a much higher elevation level than Panama city and it’s not near the ocean it’s much drier and colder. You might ask, how much higher? A WHOLE LOT. I dropped from an elevation of 3,339 meters (almost 11,000 feet) to 8 meters (223 feet).


Once my body had adjusted to the climate and altitude difference, I started to notice some other major contrasts between these two magnificent cities. Panama City is much more modern and larger than Cusco. What makes Cusco so magical is that it’s 3,000 years old; making it the oldest living city in the Americas. As many of you probably already know, it’s the historic capital of the Inca Empire (13th to 16th century). Then the Spanish came and everything changed but that’s a story for another day….


So, I went from a 3,000-year-old Inca city in the mountains built of large stone blocks to what’s considered the most cosmopolitan city in Central America that was founded in 1519. Needless to say, Panama City’s architecture is significantly more modern than Cusco’s. There are 10 buildings over 200 meters (656 feet) high that were built in 2011. From the Biosmuseo to El Tornillo to the JW Marriott (AKA Trump Tower) there’s no lack of aesthetically pleasing architecture here.


Now, let’s move on to two of the main attractions near these two magnificent places; Machu Picchu and the Panama Canal. Also known as the “Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is the most iconic representation of Inca civilization. This fortress is on a 2,340 meters (7,970 feet) mountain ridge. Needless to say, it’s in a much more mountainous area than the Panama Canal. Located 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Cusco, it’s farther away from Cusco than the Panama Canal is from Panama City. The Panama Canal is just 14,484 kilometers (9 miles) from Panama City.


Speaking of the Panama Canal, let’s take a look at it now. The Panama Canal took a more international effort to build than Machu Picchu. After the French handed over the construction process (1880s) to the United States they started building this canal, which spans over an 82-kilometer (50-mile) stretch, in 1904. After it was opened in 1914 the oversight of the US was transferred to Panama. As you can see, this Wonder of the Modern World was built within the “recent” past compared to Peru’s Wonder of the World, which is significantly older.


In a nutshell, I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing both of these places even though I would consider them almost complete opposites. Although, since I grew up in the state of Idaho in the United States, I’m more of a mountain person, so if I had to choose between these two places, I would have to say Cusco would be my city of choice. Below you’ll find the rules for comparative and superlative adjectives to help you better understand how to use them. I hope you found this blog helpful for you to see comparative and superlative adjectives in context. Write in the comments below a comparison of two different places to practice!


Comparative Adjective Rule

One syllable adjective: add “er” to the end (fatter, bigger, smaller, etc.)


Two or more syllable adjective: (not ending in “y”): add “more” before (more beautiful, more modern, more creative, etc.)


Adjective that ends in “y”: change “y” to “i” and add “er” to the end (healthier, happier, sleepier, etc.)


Exceptions: better, worse, farther, less, more, further, farther


Superlative Adjective Rule

One syllable adjective: add “est” to the end (largest, greenest, brightest, etc.)


Two or more syllable adjective: (not ending in “y”): add “most” before (most religious, most exciting, most boring, etc.)


Adjectives that ends in “y”: change “y” to “i” and add “er” to the end (healthier, happier, sleepier, etc.)


Exceptions: best, worst, least, most, furthest, farthest



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