Cusco Museums

(Cusco / Cuzco, Peru)

Photo of the Museo InkaWith such a rich Inca history and heritage, it will come as no big surprise that the best museums of Cusco celebrate the city's past Inca civilisation, along with other ancient cultures. The Museum of Regional History (Museo Historico Regional) is one such attraction in Cusco and exhibits a wealth of artefacts relating to the cultures of the Chimu, the Chavin, the Incas, the Mochica and the Vicus, amongst others.

A very refreshing and somewhat modest attraction, the Museo Inka is to be found just to the north-east of the Plaza de Armas, close to the very heart of Cusco, and is worth some time. Worth noting, many museums within the city will require that you first purchase a 'tourist ticket' (boleto turistico), which will then entitle you to free admittance.

Different view of the Museo Inka

Museo Inka

Address: Tucuman at Ataud, Cusco, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 084 23 7380
Located inside a building known as the 'Admiral's House', since it was once the residence of Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado, the Museo Inka actually stands on ancient Inca foundations and despite serious damage from a number of earthquakes over the years, including the 1650 earthquake, the building remains one of the city's most impressive colonial houses. Inside the museum is an especially grand stairway, overlooked by many curious mythical creatures. The Museo Inka is regarded as the very best that Cusco has to offer in the way of Inca culture and is crammed full of wonderful artefacts, such as gold and metal works, textiles, pottery pieces, mummies, 'quero' drinking vessels and other important archaeological finds. Look out for the very ornate ceilings and the Andean weavers, who often demonstrate their handicraft skills within the courtyard area.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 17:00, Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge

Casa Garcilaso de la Vega / Museo Historico Regional (Museum of Regional History)

Address: Plaza Regocijo, Calle Heladeros, Cusco, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 084 22 3245
The Casa Garcilaso de la Vega is a particularly historical colonial building and amongst the first of its kind to be built in Cusco. Formerly the residence of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, a famous Inca-Spanish historian who is buried at the cathedral, the architecture of the Casa Garcilaso is very traditional in its appearance. Inside, visitors will enjoy the displays of pottery, silver and gold pieces. Cusquenan art from mainly the 17th and 18th centuries is also on display, while various seasonal events are worth looking out for, being staged in the auditorium room.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday 08:00 to 17:30
Admission: entrance with 'tourist ticket' only

Picture of the Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum)

Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum)

Address: Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru, PE
The Natural History Museum is known locally in Cusco as the Museo de Historia Natural and is managed by the university. Various preserved animals originating from this part of Peru are displayed here. Although this attraction should never really appear at the top of places to visit, lovers of reptiles may be interested to see the extensive collection of some 150 different snakes from the Parque Nacional Manu. The entrance to the Museo de Historia Natural is often a little hard to find and stands next to the La Compania de Jesus church, off the Plaza de Armas.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:30 to 13:00, 15:00 to 18:30
Admission: charge

Museo del Sitio de Qorikancha image

Museo del Sitio de Qorikancha

Address: Avenida El Sol, Cusco, Peru, PE
Situated alongside the church of Santo Domingo, the Museo del Sitio de Qorikancha is a small and intriguing, underground archaeological museum. Exhibits are based around the Inca and pre-Inca cultures, and include plenty of interesting pieces. The entrance is sited on the Avenida El Sol.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:30, Sunday - 08:00 to 13:00
Admission: entrance with 'tourist ticket' only

Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón (Manuel Chávez Ballón Site Museum)

Address: Aguas Calientes, Peru, PE
The Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón is to be found directly below the Machu Picchu mountain, close to the Puente Ruinas, where it serves as an important archaeological site museum for the Cusco region. Whilst this museum may be fairly small in size, its contents are well displayed and focus on the actual discovery on Machu Picchu, along with its excavation and fascinating history. A short video presentation is on hand, with the main exhibits including a number of artefacts (many are currently housed at Yale University in Connecticut, USA). If you have time, do check on the neighbouring botanical gardens, where orchids and native Peruvian flora are to be found flourishing.
Open hours: Wednesday to Monday - 09:30 to 16:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children

ChocoMuseo (Cacao and Chocolate Museum)

Address: Calle Garcilaso 210, 2nd floor, Cusco, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 084 24 4765
ChocoMuseo, also referred to as the Cacao and Chocolate Museum or the
Museo del Chocolate, is a place where not only can visitors learn about the history of cacao and the cacao tree, they can also become involved in chocolate making workshops, visit the artisanal chocolate factory, tour a cacao plantation farm and buy souvenirs in the gift shop.
Open hours: daily - 10:30 to 18:30
Admission: free, charge for workshops and tours