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Cusco Museums | Our guide to the best in the city

Cusco has a number of museums covering many different interests from Chocolate making to the history of the Inca civilisation.  Some of these museums are free and some are included on the Cusco Tourist Ticket and there are a few really interesting ones that are pay on the door that you won’t want to miss.  In the guide below we’ll let you know which ones were our favorite, the entry costs and what you get for your money. 

Museo de Santa Catalina Cusco
Museo de Santa Catalina Cusco

Museo Casa Concha 

Activity – Museum – Entrance Cost 20.00 PEN 

This museum was one of our favourites as it charts the history of the Machu Picchu site from its discovery to the present day.  It houses several rooms of artefacts and pictures from the time when Hiram Bingham started his excavations and tells the story of how he worked with the local people to uncover the site.   This, for us, was particularly interesting as we’d just completed the four day Inca trek to Machu Picchu so it was wonderful to see the exhibit after visiting the site.   The museum is only a five min walk from the main square Plaza de Armas and is open every day 9am – 4pm apart from Sundays. 

Museo Histórico Regional de Cusco

Activity – Museum – Entry with the Cusco Tourist Ticket

This museum is small and is situated in the former house of Garcilaso de la Vega, a Spanish/Inca writer who lived here in the 17th century and is now buried under the Cusco Cathedral.  The museum houses some Incan artefacts, paintings, costumes and jewelerly of the people who inhabited this area.  It also shows the works of Vega and has loads of information about how the Incans lived in the area especially during the times of colonisation.   This is one of the museums that doesn’t allow you to take pictures or videos inside however you can take them outside where there is a lovely courtyard with a fountain.   This museum is only a few mins walk from the Plaza de Armas and is open every day, 9am – 5pm apart from Mondays. 

Museo Casa Concha
Museo Casa Concha

Museo y Catacumbas del Convento de San Francisco    

Activity – Religious museum – Entrance cost 15.00 PEN (guide included)

This museum was another one of our favourites as the guide that lead us through the museum was extremely passionate about the building and its history.  There are several rooms dedicated to the life and work of the Franciscan monks and some fantastic artwork as well as artefacts from bygone times and a fabulous library with some extremely old books.  Like most museums in Cusco you cant take photographs inside of the buildings but you’re free to snap away outside.  The museum is open every day of the week from 9am to 6pm but just be mindful that on Sunday’s, if there is a mass, then there will be some areas that you won’t be able to visits. 

Museo de Arte Popular

Activity – Museum – Entry with the Cusco Tourist Ticket

This is a quirky little museum inside the building where you buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket on the Avenue El Sol just a few mins walk from Plaza de Armas.   Just past the office where you buy the tourist ticket, there is a stairway downstairs leading to the museum.  Downstairs you’ll find three rooms.  The first has a strange collection of what looks like paper mache figures depicting different periods of history.  There are models and other quirky constructions showing the life and times of local people.  The second room has a photography display showing what Cusco looked like in olden days and the third room has a video playing showing the history of Cusco and the surrounding area.  Its a curious little museum and worth a few mins to check it out.  Its open every day apart from Sunday from 8am to 6pm. 

Museo de San Francisco
Museo de San Francisco    

Traditional Textile Center of Cusco 

Activity – Museum & Shopping – Entry Free 

This museum is a craft centre with live demonstrations of the weaving craft of the local people as well as an area with the colourful textiles for sale.  The Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (CTTC) is a non-profit organisation that was established in 1996 by Andean weavers and their supporters to keep the local traditions alive.   The museum and shop is open every day apart from Sunday from 9am to 5pm and well worth a visit to see the ladies weaving some beautiful fabrics in the traditional style. 

Museum of Contemporary Art 

Activity – Museum – Entry with the Cusco Tourist Ticket

This is a strange one as we didn’t find much art here at all.  When you arrive there are 2 rooms, right and left of the main entrance which seem to hold some local artists work.  When we were there the artist was in the room explaining his work and concept to some people.  He also had some works for sale.  The paintings were really good and were mostly of Cusco and the local people but that’s about all the museum had to offer.  In the rest of the museum there seemed to be just a collection of conference rooms and no more art.  I wouldn’t go out of your way to visit this one but if you’re in the area and have the tourist ticket then its worth just popping your head in the door.  The museum is open 9am – 4pm but not on Sundays. 

Museo Del Monastério De Santa Catalina De Siena

Activity – Religious museum – Entry cost 8.00 PEN

This museum highlights  the daily lives of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine: their spiritual practices, their teachings and duties, the training of novices, and their everyday tasks.  The museum has some well preserved artefacts such as the rooms where the novices lived and worshiped, the tapestry work that the nuns did each day and the place where they came together for meals.  It really gives a great insight into the lives of the sisters and we really enjoyed our visit to this museum.  It is only a few mins walk from the main square, Plaza de Armas and is open 8.30am – 5.30pm every day apart from a Sunday. 

Museo del Chocolate 

Activity – Museum – Free Entry 

This is a great little museum to visit as not only is it free you get to taste some chocolate.  The museum has large windows into the factory and you get a first hand view of the chocolate making procedure.  Behind the windows there are information boards telling the chocolate making story from pod to bar and upstairs there are often live demonstrations.  In the shop you are invited to try the different flavours of chocolate and sample some of the chocolate liqueur and they even have chocolate tea.  The shop also has other chocolate products such as body butter, incense sticks, soap and a few other crazy products.  There are also chocolate workshops you can book but these are at a cost depending on the group size.  The museum is open every day from 9am to 6pm and is only a few mins walk from the Plaza de Armas. 

Museo Santa Catalina Cusco
Museo Santa Catalina Cusco

Our view

Our view is that Cusco has such a variety of museums there’s something for everyone.  If you’re not purchasing the tourist ticket then there are still a good number of really interesting museums you can visit and even if you’re on a strict budget there’s a couple for free that are worth visiting.  The story of Cusco and its heritage is really interesting and the museums of the city tell the story well. 

Booking resources for your stay in Cusco

Flights

You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.

Accommodation

We have always tended to use Booking.com having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

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