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The Best Museums in Cusco to spend your time

It is often very wise before starting to explore a new destination to learn about the past of that destination, this way when visiting the ancient sites, you will have an idea of what you are seeing and can relate. What better way than to visit a museum or 2. Cusco is no exception to this rule with many and varied museums that will spark interest in the ancient Peruvian cultures that expanded from the North of Ecuador and South to Chile and over the Andes into Argentina.

If you have a free day before your tour starts, (it is a great idea to acclimatize to the altitude in Cusco, before starting your Inca Trail or visit to Machu Picchu), visit one or two of the museums and maybe even buy a souvenir from the gift shop to remember your time in Cusco.

Here is a list of the of the best value for your time museums in Cusco

Museo Inca del Cusco

The Inca Museum of Cusco is located inside a lovely Spanish colonial mansion called ‘Casa del Almirante’ and was built for Admiral Alderete Maldonado in the 17th century, formally the palace of Inca Huascar. The museum has a significant collection of ceramics, ceremonial vessels, textiles, tools and more.

The different rooms that make up the museum include Inca history as well as the most important civilizations of ancient Peru in order such as: the Chavín culture (1,200 – 400 BC), Marcavalle (1,000 – 700 BC), Nazca (100 – 800 AD), Wari (600 – 1,200 AD), until the Inca era (1230 – 1535 AD). The exhibition also includes a recreation of a life-size Inca tomb.


Museo de Arte Precolombino

A tour of the Museo de Arte Precolombino takes you through 10 rooms with pieces from pre-Columbian civilizations of Peru with materials, natural elements, religious, political and cultural objects from these civilizations.

Some of the 10 rooms that you will see include

The Origin Gallery, featuring communities with their own identity, including Cupisnique, Chavin, Salinar, Vicus, Viru and Paracas, all from the coastal areas of Peru, that left behind artifacts of a similar theme.

The Silver Gallery, featuring silver which was linked the females of the era, the room has an exhibition of vessels, bottles, cups, jewelry, earpieces all with exquisitely carved and stamped patterns, some from the Chimu era.

The Gold Gallery, featuring gold, gold was considered masculine energy, from the pre-Hispanic time, gold costumes, jewelry and elaborate furnishings, most with birds’ motifs, from the Mochica and Chimu eras.

The Inca Gallery, featuring a large collection of Inca stone figures, used as offerings to Pachamama and other Inca gods. Also see vessels used by the Inca for ceremonies and for drinking ancient Inca beer, called Chicha.


Museo del Templo de Qorichanca

This small museum has five rooms where you will find pre-Inca, Inca and colonial pieces from the excavations that were carried out in Qoricancha from 1992 to 1995. The exhibitions include fragments and ceramics from the Inca Period. There is also a model of what Qoricancha could have looked like, which is also very interesting.


The Museum of Contemporary Art

At the present time the museum has more than 280 works of renowned local, national and   foreign artists. Its oldest work is an oil painting by Remigia Mendoza: “Río Vilcanota” (1897). It has three exhibition halls in the Municipal Palace, one in the Chapel of San Bernardo and an exhibition of handicrafts in the main courtyard of the Municipal Palace. It permanently exhibits the works of its collection and annually organizes more than 50 new exhibitions from individual and collective exhibitions of renowned national and foreign artists.


The church and museum are a beautiful Catholic building, located in the city of Cusco, on the Plaza de Armes which was built by the Franciscans. Among the artwork and paintings are one the largest paintings in South America, most of the 60 canvases are inspired by the life of the convent. When you visit be sure to take the tour of the St. Francis of Assisi Catacombs, interesting and worth the time.


Museo de Coca

Just as the name implies here you will find out the history of Coca and the leaf, an interesting topic and see how the local people use Coca to lessen the effects of altitude. There are many products to try and buy and is an interesting place to spend some time.


Choco Museo Cusco

Plenty to do here, there is a free museum, cooking classes for adults and kids, explanations of the history of Chocolate, why not visit. This one is for the chocoholics out there and you won’t leave empty handed.


Planetarium Cusco

The Planetarium is a great outing for the family, not a museum but interesting no the less, here you will learn about the constellations and the stars. Spend some time being amazed by the knowledge of the guide, ask as many questions as you want, enter the dome and see the giant telescope. Tours to the Planetarium are run daily.

Tours leave 6pm from the Plaza Regocijo Daily, you will need to book in advance.

As you can see there are many great museums to visit while in Cusco, not only will you learn about the history of Peru and Cusco, it will help when visiting ancient Peruvian ruins. Don’t leave Peru without a visit to one of its fascinating Museums.

In 1 250 B.C., ancient Peruvians started to get organized in communities, each with their individual ide