Some of the Best Museums to Explore When Visiting Cusco
25 March 2020
A visit to Cusco is a deep immersion into many fascinating cultures. The Inca’s ancient capital displays its rich cultural heritage practically everywhere- in its colonial streets, buildings and stone walls in the historic downtown, in magnificent Inca archeological sites.
Places such as the temple of Coricancha and the complex of Sacsayhuaman, and in its numerous museums, both large and small, where visitors can admire architecture, history, artwork and crafts that span hundreds of years- wonders created by the many cultures that found their inspiration in the Incas’s Imperial City and the surrounding Andes Mountains.
It is a bit difficult to list Cusco’s best museums , since each has its own themes, and each visitor has their preferences. But here are some of the most highly regarded museums in Cusco, both public and private, in several categories:
The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (MAP)
Located downtown on the small charming square called Plaza Nazarenas, contains one of the finest collections of pre-Inca and Inca art and artifacts that you’ll find in Cusco.
Expertly interpreted by English and French-speaking guides, the museum holds part of the Larco Museum’s collection, considered one of the world’s finest. The MAP Cafe is an excellent space to relax and enjoy lunch after your visit.
Museo de Arte Religioso
For visitors interested in admiring the impressive colonial-era Cusco School artwork , you can’t miss visiting the Museo de Arte Religioso, (or Museo del Arzobispado) the museum of Cusco’s Archbishopric, which holds some of the most important works of Cusco’s 16th and 17th century native painters, including renowned Diego Quispe Tito.
It’s located on a corner of Cuesta de San Blas, the street that goes up from Cusco’s main square to the San Blas neighborhood. The setting is charming- small galleries surrounding a lovely courtyard garden with a fountain, and a dignified chapel.
The Museo Inka
Cusco’s largest archeological museum is located very near the main square, the Plaza de Armas, just a block up the hill on Cuesta del Almirante street.
The Museo Inka has a large collection of diverse exhibits that trace the history of Cusco from the pre-Inca period to the 20th century. The displays are interpreted in both Spanish and English, and the entrance fee is very reasonable.
Casa Concha Museum
Hundred of Inca relics were found at Machu Picchu , and many were returned in 2011 by Yale University.
Peru’s largest collection of relics from Machu Picchu, which illustrates many aspect of life in the famed citadel, can be viewed at the Casa Concha museum, in a large colonial-era house on Santa Catalina Angosta street.
Museo Histórico Regional
Another diverse collection of archeological and historic exhibits can be found at the Museo Histórico Regional. It’s a small museum set in a colonial courtyard circled by arches, located downtown at Casa Garcilaso, just in front of Plaza Regocijo square.
The museum offers visitors a look at Inca ceramics, metalwork, stone sculptures and traditional native foods, as well as some beautiful colonial-era paintings and artifacts. A nice place to spend an hour or more.
Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco
The collections of many of Cusco’s best artists and craftspeople can be seen at a number of small private museums, located both in the downtown and in San Blas neighborhood. Many artists renowned for their synthesis of ancient and modern techniques, symbolism, materials and motifs.
The Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco is a great place to admire and purchase gorgeous handcrafted weavings created by traditional native communities in the Cusco region.
Museo Maximo Laura
Artist Maximo Laura’s splendid collection of contemporary textile tapestries is on display at the Museo Maximo Laura. Just a block away from Cusco’s Cathedral on the corner of Santa Catalina Ancha.
Hilario Mendivil Museum
The Hilario Mendivil Museum in San Blas has the work of an eminent 20th century artist, creator of prizewinning “long-necked” religious sculptures.
The Choco Museo
Finally, a couple of fun museums you just can’t miss. The ChocoMuseo on Calle Garcilaso is all about chocolate, and you won’t want to leave without tasting Cusco’s amazingly delicious chocolate products.
The Museo de la Coca in San Blas will give you a fascinating perspective on the sacred leaf of the Incas, also with products that make great gifts.
These are only some of Cusco’s approximately 50 different museums. And the best way to experience them is on an expertly designed Andean Excursions acclimatization tour. Please contact us at: to find out more about visiting the fascinating ancient capital of the Incas!