In Cusco there is cultural heritage on every corner and much to discover within its museums. Here are some tips to enhance your visit.
The inevitable: Museo de Arte Precolombino, MAP
If there is one must-see museum, it’s the MAP Cusco the exhibits are full of heritage, the rooms are nice, the treasures are exhibited very well and there is good lighting. The tour of this big old house presents pieces from the arrival of the Incas in 10 different rooms distributed on two floors. In each room you will discover a specific culture or theme: Formativa, Nazca, Mochica, Huari, Chimu, Inca and wooden objects, jewelry made of shell and bone, gold and silver … don´t forget to go through the final gallery, it´s based on the colonial era and exhibits paintings from the Cusco School.
The works of the Museo de Arte Precolombino came from the Museo Larco in Lima that presents 3,000 years of the most important collections of ceramics, gold and jewelry of Peru´s ancient cultures.
Find the MAP Café on their patio, which is one of the first fusion restaurants in the city with unique shops and a traditional textile store with beautiful pieces made by hand.
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
General admission: S/. 20 Students: S/. 10
Address: Plaza de las Nazarenas 231
The more historic: Museo Inka
Have you come to Cusco for the Incas, the masters of the immense and great empire that only lasted 100 years and who left their a large mark in history? The Incas, unlike other previous civilizations, left less traces of their artistic mastery. They were great warriors and architects. The Museo Inca presents pieces of Pre-Columbian cultures, a journey through the history of the Incas, everyday objects for understanding their livelihoods, ceramics, artwork, instruments… We can appreciate their mastery of medicine with the skulls on display. It also features a reconstructed tomb. It is a little classier in museology and has a good introduction to the Inca culture.
Hours of operation: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
General admission: S/. 10 Peruvians: S/. 5
Address: Cuesta del Almirante 103
The more religious:
As for the heritage of Cusco after the Inca legacy, it´s impossible not to appreciate what the conquerors left behind in the city. Impressed by the beauty of the capital of Tahuantinsuyo, they endeavored to destroy a large part and build beautiful churches filled with gold, immense houses and carved balconies atop the Inca structures… I recommend you take a half day to walk among the churches of Cusco that today are part of a religious tour. In addition to the Cathedral, you can visit the Museo Arzobispal also known as the Museum of Religious Art (you can enter the museum, the Cathedral and the temples of San Blas and San Cristobal with a partial or integral ticket). The museum is located in a big beautiful house with a central fountain, arches and impeccable pathways. Gaze upon beautiful pictures decorated with filigree, the first organ that came to Peru and many more details.
Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
General admission: S/. 10 Students: S/. 5. Integral Ticket: S/. 30 or S/. 15
Address: Intersección Calle Hatunrumiyoq and Herrajes. Religious Art Circuit Office, Calle Cuesta del Almirante 116
The most Cusco-ish: Galería Chambi
You´ll see that when it comes to appreciate Cusco, the charm is also in the scenes of daily life: faces, life and culture that transports you back in time. The most famous photographer of Cusco and perhaps of Peru is Martin Chambi. His work as a portraitist left key testimonies of Cusco from the 20s to the 50s. Chambi was one of the first to give presence, under his lens, to the indigenous people of Cusco. They are important social photographs. Not to mention the photos of the pristine landscapes that were taken before we all arrived. In this gallery, there is little explanation of his work but there are three rooms to enjoy the stories these pictures tell us. Exiting to the street, you will see Cusco with different eyes.
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
General admission: S/. 10.
Address: Calle Maruri 315. 2nd floor of the Placio del Inca Tupac Yupanqui.
Additional museums: Museums included in the tour
Many tourists, when they arrive in Cusco, purchase the famous tourist ticket. There is a ticket including part of the Sacred Valley and the integral ticket that includes the ruins and the town of Cusco valid for 10 days. With this ticket you can enter the Museo Regional, the Museo de Sitio del Qoricancha (located under the Santo Domingo Convent, which has a separate entrance fee of S/. 10), the new Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, the Museo Histórico Regional with its collection of objects from the pre-Inca and colonial period and the Museo de Arte Popular with folkloric masks from the dances of the Paucartambo and works created by artisans from Cusco. They aren’t indispensable, but they are worth seeing if you have time and they don´t have an additional cost. You must see the show at the Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo with 70 artists and a repertoire of 50 dances. There is a show every day at 6:45 p.m. (Av. El Sol 604) and also includes the tourist ticket. These same museums are part of the Circuito II Ciudad de Cusco y Valle Sur, for 70 soles and is valid for two days.
Normally Tourist Tickets are on sale at the entrance of every archeological site or museum. If you want to be on the safe side, you can buy it at the Oficina de Información Turística de DIRCETUR (Calle Mantas 117-A, from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.). It must include a seal of the Ministry of Culture. For more details, check with COSITUC.