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6 Museums in Cusco You Should Visit

6 Museums in Cusco You Should Visit

As one of the top destinations worldwide for international travelers, there are plenty of museums in Cusco that reveal the rich history of the Inca culture and those that preceded. Whether before or after your trip to Machu Picchu, visit the top historical, archaeological and religious museums to gain a deeper understanding of the cultures that made this area of Peru what it is today. 

While visiting the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, it’s worth investing a few hours to gain a deeper insight of what some consider the navel of the world. The best part? The majority of the following museums in Cusco are within walking distance from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas.

What museums in Cusco should you visit? 

Plan your trip following this selection of the top Peruvian museums located in the ancient Inca capital.

Museum of Pre-Columbian Art

Situated in the Plaza Nazarenas of Cusco’s laidback art district, San Blas, the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo de Arte Precolombino, also referred to as MAP Cusco) showcases archaeological artifacts and mystical art works from all regions of ancient Peru. Transporting visitors back in time some 3000 years, many of the 400 pieces on exhibit belong to Larco Museum, one of the top museums in Lima, Peru

To help you better understand how these ancient cultures gave rise to the Incas, peruse the ten exhibition rooms with an audio guide (available in English, Spanish and French). Afterwards, enjoy a peaceful rest at the site’s fine restaurant, MAP Café.

  • Address: Nazarenas 231, Cusco
  • How to get there: From the Plaza de Armas, head southeast on Calle Plateros until you reach the Plaza Haukaypata. Cross the plaza and head east onto Cuesta del Almirante, the veer right onto Cordoba del Tucuman until you reach the museum (in front of the Plazoleta de las Nazarenas). 
  • Hours: Monday-Sunday, 8am-10pm

Inka Museum

Take advantage of your stay in the ancient capital of the Incas by learning all you can about the ingenious culture that built Machu Picchu and its lasting legacy. Inka Museum (Museo Inka) is situated in an old palace full of pre-Hispanic ceramics, jewelry, metal- and gold-work, textiles and even Inca mummies and skulls. Portraits of Incas painted in the 17th century artistic tradition known as Cusco School (Escuela Cusqueña) make this museum particularly significant. 

Keep in mind there is not an official Inca museum in Lima, so be sure to visit this one before heading back to the capital city. 

  • Address: Ataúd 154, Cusco
  • How to get there: At the corner of Ataud with Cordoba del Tucuman, this museum is just a block before the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. 
  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-6am; Saturday, 9am-4pm (closed Sundays)

Regional Historical Museum of Cusco Peru

Regional Historical Museum of Cusco

Though relatively small, the Regional Historical Museum of Cusco (Museo Histórica Regional de Cusco) provides travelers with insight of the importance of this area in terms of politics, architecture and, of course, history. Artifacts from the pre-Hispanic to colonial times can be seen at this museum in Cusco, which is pictured above.

The museum itself is something to admire as it was once home to the colonial-era poet (and one of the first Peruvian mestizos), Garcilaso de la Vega

  • Address: Calle Garcilaso, Cusco
  • How to get there: From the Plaza de Armas, head southeast on Calle Plateros then run right onto Del Medio. Continue straight (onto Plaza Kusipata) then right onto Calle Garcilaso.
  • Hours: Monday-Sunday, 8am-5pm

Casa Concha Museum

Tucked in a colonial building dating back to the 18th century is the world’s most comprehensive collection of Inca artifacts gathered from the ancient citadel, Machu Picchu. Nearly 400 archaeological pieces are on display in the Casa Concha Museum (Museo Casa Concha), including the findings of Hiram Bingham, the American explorer who made public the existence of the Incan citadel. 

Whether a prelude or follow-up to your Machu Picchu adventure, the Casa Concha is a must visit site to better understand the lifestyle, craftsmanship and hardships of the Incas.

  • Address: Santa Catalina Ancha 320, Cusco
  • How to get there: From the Plaza de Armas, head southeast on Calle Plateros the diagonally cross the Plaza Haukaypata to reach Portal Belen. Turn right onto Santa Catalina Angosta then left at Santa Catalina Ancha.
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm (closed Sundays)

Museum of Religious Art

This museum is founded upon what was once the 14th-century palace of Inca Roca and part of its exterior wall is home to the mind-boggling 12-angled stone. Enter through the Moorish-style doors to peruse a collection of religious colonial paintings as well as a magnificent collection of unique Cusco paintings.

Don’t forget to look up and admire the carved wooden ceilings and the large Renaissance patio at the center of the Museum of Religious Art before hopping to the next museum in Cusco.

  • Address: Herrajes 38, Cusco
  • How to get there: Cross the Plaza Haukaypata just as you would to reach the Casa Concha museum, only continue east on Portal Belen. This museum is located on the corner of Calle Hatunrumiyoc and Calle Herrajes.
  • Hours: Monday-Sunday, 8am-6pm

Museo de Sitio Qorikancha Cusco Peru

Coricancha Museum

Before it was all but completely demolished during the Spanish conquest, the Coricancha (pictured above) was the most important temple in Inca history. Today the underground archaeological museum, Coricancha Museum (also referred to as Museo de Sitio Qorikancha), is located beneath what was once the Sacred Garden of said temple. 

As one of the most visited museums in Cusco, visitors can observe mummies, textiles and sacred idols that highlight the greatness of the Inca culture. After exploring each of the five exhibition rooms, exit the Cusco museum and step into the sunny garden facing the Spanish-built Church of Santo Domingo.

  • Address: Avenida Sol s/n, Cusco
  • How to get there: Of the six museums, this one is the furthest from the Plaza de Armas yet can still be reached by foot in ten minutes. Head southeast on Calle Plateros, past Plaza Haukaypata. A quick right onto Mantas before a left onto El Sol Avenue, you’ll continue straight until reaching the Cusco museum on your left. 
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8:30am-5:30pm; Sundays, 2pm-5pm

Interested in visiting these museums in Cusco? Book a train ride to Machu Picchu departing directly from Cusco city, and check out these cultural spots before or after your adventure to the Inca citadel.