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Places to Visit in Cusco

There are simply too many tourist sites to count in the Cusco region. There are ancient human settlements that jealously guard their secrets of ancestral cultures that are thousands of years old. And there are living villages that still thrive as they celebrate the great Andean culture.

In Cusco you will find: fantastic archeological centers, magical natural formations that have incredible views, great Incan temples, extraordinary convents from colonial times, very interesting museums, palaces that the Incas built, excellent medicinal hot springs, and villages that are thousands of years old.

Places to visit in Cusco
Places to visit in Cusco

The Archeological Parks of Cusco

Cusco has 10 distinct archeological parks which is more than any other place in Peru. These parks are open to the public and they serve the function of conserving, investigating, and communicating advances in the studies of the Incan and pre-Incan cultures.

Machu Picchu Archeological Park

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

This is the masterwork of Incan engineering and construction techniques. Due to its unique architectural characteristics and its incredibly scenic location, Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. This grand citadel is clearly divided into two principle zones: the agricultural zone which is composed of the numerous agricultural terraces on the south side; and the urban zone where the inhabitants lived and carried out their civic and religious activities. Together they form this Wonder of the Modern World which is certainly one of the most visited tourist destinations on the planet. Within this archeological complex Huayna Picchu Mtn. and Macho Picchu Mtn. are located.

  • Location: 110 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Machu Picchu, and in the province of Urubamba.
  • The complex is open 7 days a week from 6:00 am until 5:30 pm.

The Choquequirao Archeological Park

Choquequirao
Choquequirao

This archeological complex is located near Salkantay Mtn. (3300 masl.) This Incan city is comprised of buildings, temples, and terraces which are spread out over different levels and sectors. The site is partially excavated. It is very popular with lovers of trekking.

  • Location: 210 km. to the noirtheast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Santa Teresa, and in the province of La Convencion.
  • Choquequirao is open 7 days a week from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Sacsayhuaman Archeological Park

This park is one of the most famous and one of the most visited places in Cusco. The principal part of the complex is just to the northeast of the city of Cusco.

Sacsayhuamán Archeological Center

Sacsayhuamán
Sacsayhuamán

EsThis is the great ceremonial fortress of the Incas which was constructed during the reigns of Pachacútec and Huayna Cápac. It is constructed of megalithic stones and is comprised of platforms, towers, doors, terraces, reservoirs, temples, and an immense expanse where Inti Raymi is celebrated every June 24. Because it is so close to Cusco, it is one of the most frequently visited places. The view from the top is well worth checking out.

  • Location: 3 km. northeast of the city of Cusco
  • It is open everyday from 7:00 am until 5:30 pm.

Qenqo Archeological Complex

Qenqo
Qenqo

It is located 4 km. northeast of the city of Cusco. It has two parts: Big Qenqo and Little Qenqo. Etymology: the name signifies zig-zag or labyrinthe. It is thought to have had mainly a religious function. On the outside there is a semi-circular amphitheatre with trapizoidal niches and a puma-shaped monolith that measures about 6 meters.

  • Location: it is located 4 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco.
  • It is open everyday from 7:00 am. until 5:00 pm.

Puca Pucara Archeological Complex

Puca Pucará
Puka Pukara

Puca Pucara is a military construction near Cusco. There are great walls, terraces, and pathways. During Incan times it functioned as a gateway into Cusco and as a defensive battlement. The name in Quechua means Red Fort. This is because of the color that rocks take on during twilight.

  • Location: 8.4 km. to the northeast of Cusco.
  • It is open everyday from 7:00 am. until 5:00 pm.

Tambomachay Archeological Complex

Tambomachay
Tambomachay

A temple dedicated to the deities of water. It was used as a place where the Incan elite could go and relax. This spot is also known as the Bath of the Inca. The complex has 3 main terraces, a series of aqueducts, canals, fountains, and an immense tower which completely encircles the site on the high side.

  • Location: 8.7 km. to the northeast of Cusco.
  • It is open everyday from 7:00 am. until 5:30 pm.

Ollantaytambo Archeological Park

Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo

This is one of the few towns which still maintains its original Incan layout. The archeological complex is the most important one in the Sacred Valley. It had various functions such as: astronomical center, administrative center, urban center, agricultural center, and livestock raising center. It is an important site in the dramas passed down to us in Incan literature. The town is named after the after the legendary figure, Ollantay.

  • Location: 72 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Ollantaytambo, and in the province of Urubamba.
  • It is open 7 days a week from 7:00 am. until 5:30 pm.

Pisac Archeological Park

Pisac
Pisac

This park is located in the province of Calca, and in the district of Pisac. It contains an area of 9063 hectares. Pisac was a royal hacienda, and it was named after a bird, the partridge, that lives in the area. The main part of the complex is comprised of various sectors, among them the neighborhood where the nobility lived, and the Intihuatana. Other notable constructions are the towers or lookouts and there is a magnificent series of terraces.

  • Location: 40 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco, in the district of Pisac, and in the province of Urubamba.
  • The site is open 7 days a week from 7 am. until 5:30 pm.

Moray Archeological Park

Moray
Moray

These agricultural terraces served as an agricultural laboratory where the Incas could experiment in adapting plants to differing elevations, that is, to different climatic zones. The set-up off the terraces produces 20 different micro-climates. The highest temperatures are at the lowest levels and the temperatures gradually decrease as the terraces ascend.

  • Location: 47.5 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Maras in the province of Urubamba.
  • The site is open 7 days a week from 7 am. until 5:30 pm.

Tipón Archeological Park

Tipón
Tipón

Tipon is one of the royal gardens that Wiracocha ordered built. The site consists of 12 terraces which are flanked by walls of polished stone. The terraces are enormous. The canals and the fountains are beautiful, as are the views from the higher levels of Tipon. The flora is very interesting here, and you can see the vast amount of hydraulic engineering that the Incan builders employed. The cult of water was very important here in Tipon where water was worshipped.

  • Location: 27.7 km. to the southeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Oropesa in the province of Quispicanchis.
  • The site is open 7 days a week from 7 am. until 5:30 pm.

Chinchero Archeological Park

Chinchero
Chinchero

This is one of the most important archeological sites in the Cusco area because of its terraces, its retaining walls, and its formidable constructions, some of which the Incas built to form access portals. On top of the Incan walls the Spanish built a colonial church.

  • Location: 28.5 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Chinchero in the province of Urubamba.
  • The site is open 7 days a week from 7 am. until 5:30 pm.

Raqchi Archeological Park

Raqchi
Raqchi

This is the site of a great Incan temple made out stone and mud. The temple was dedicated to Wiracocha. There are lots of storehouses, water fountains, and enclosures.

  • Location: 120 km. to the southeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of San Pedro, in the province of Canchis.
  • The site is open 7 days a week from 7 am. until 5:30 pm.

Piquillacta Archeological Park

Piquillacta
Piquillacta

This complex was built by the Wari culture. It served as a military, urban, and agricultural center. It is north of the Huacarpay Lagoon.

  • Location: 49.7 km to the south east of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Lucre, in the province of Quispicanchis.
  • The site is open 7 days a week from 7 am. until 5:30 pm.

The Tourist Sites of Cusco

What other places should I visit when I come to Cusco? Besides the aforementioned archeological sites, the Cusco region has many more very interesting tourist sites.

The Plaza de Armas of Cusco

Plaza de Armas of Cusco
Plaza de Armas of Cusco

This is the nucleus of the cosmopolitan city of Cusco. It is surrounded by temples and colonial arches. There are tourist restaurants, jewelry stores, travel agencies, and specialty stores for the tourist. It is located right in the center of Cusco, and is the place where many of the most important traditional holidays are celebrated: Santuranticuy, Corpus Christi, Semana Santa (Holy Week), Fiestas Patrias (Peruvian Independence Days), Fiestas Jubilares del Cusco ( Cusco Days), Año Nuevo ( New Year’s Eve).

  • Location: in the center of Cusco’s historical district.
  • Time when you can visit: 24 hours a day.

The Twelve Angled Stone

The Twelve Angled Stone
12 Angled Stone

This is a stone block which is set in the wall of the palace of Inca Sinchi Roca. Above this palace the present day Palace of the Archbishop was built. The marvel of this stone is that it has 12 angles (corners) that are perfectly carved into it so that the stone fits in perfect harmony with the other rocks in this Incan wall.

  • Location: one block off the Plaza de Armas down Calle Hatum Rumiyoc. (“Calle” means “street”).
  • Time when you can visit: all day long.

The Incan City of Patallacta

The Incan City of Patallacta
Patallaqta

This site is located on the left bank of the Urubamba River at Km. 82 which is the starting point of the Classic Inca Trail Trek. This Incan urban center is made up of 112 houses that are built of rocks held together with mud mortar. The town is divided into various sectors which are connected by stairways and paths. The ceremonial zone is called Pulpituyoc.

  • Location: 82 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Machupicchu, in the province of La Convención.
  • The site is open 7 days a week from 8 am. until 5:00 pm.

Kanamarca Archeological Complex

Kanamarka
Kanamarka

This is a site of the pre-Inca tribe, the K’anas. They built these circular and rectangular buildings and enclosures out of stone and mud. Actually the place is most famous for being the site of the K’anamarca dances.

  • Location: in the district of Alto Pichigua, in the province of Espinar.
  • Hours when the site is open: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Huamanmarca Archeological Center

Huamanmarka
Huamanmarka

This was an Incan religious and administrative complex which was built during the reign of Inca Yupanqui. There are many doors with double jambs and Incan structures with pyramidal form. This signifies that the site was used to celebrate important religious feasts. Actually every June the traditional festival of Huamanmarca Raymi.is celebrated here.

  • Location: In the district of Huayopata, in the province of La Convención.
  • Hours when the site is open: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

There are 2 important access routes to Machu Picchu. Both were part of the great Incan road system called the Qhapaq Ñan. Today they have been converted into the most famous trekking routes in Peru and in the whole world. The ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu ran along cliffs, crossed innumerable ravines full of glacial melt-water, and passed through all kinds of different climatic zones in the Andes Mountains and in the Eyebrow of the Jungle. The Classic Inca Trail is 43 kilometers long and it begins at Km. 82 of the railway line that runs from Cusco to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). Along the route there are fantastic Incan archeological complexes such as Qoriwachayrachina, Patallaqta, Runkuraqay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Intipunku, Intipata and Wiñayhuayna. The Short Inca Trail is 12 kilometers long. It begins at Km. 104 of the same railway line. The archeological centers that are visited along the route are Chachabamba and Wiñaywayna.

  • Location: to the northeast of the city of Cusco.
  • Time when the Trail is open: in the mornings, but you are only allowed to enter the trail with the sponsorship of a travel agency.

Mauk’allaqta Archeological Complex

Mauk'allaqta
Mauk’allaqta

This is very impressive pre-Incan city. It is situated on the bank of the Apurimac River and is composed of about 200 enclosures which are made of rocks and mud. The majority of these enclosures were burial crypts. Some are circular and some are rectangular. Without a doubt the most important tomb is the one that rises above the main plaza of the city. This is probably where the mummies of the rulers of the Qolla were placed. It is thought that Maukállaqta was the seat of government for the Qolla tribe before the Incan expansion.

  • Location: 251 km. to the southeast of Cusco. In the district of Qoporaque, in the province of Espinar.
  • It is open from 8:00 am. until 5:00 pm.

Espíritu Pampa Archeological Complex

Espíritu Pampa
Espíritu Pampa

This was originally a Wari site. It is located deep in the dense vegetation of the jungle in the northeast section of the Vilcabamba district. It was upon this site that the Incas probably built Vilcabamba. Also known as the Plain of the Spirits, this site covers an area of about 40 sq. km. It is composed of plazas, enclosures, and courts which are rectangular in shape. Most of them are painted inside and out.

  • Location: 500 km. northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Vilcabamba, in the province of La Convención.
  • It is open from 8:00 am. until 5:00 pm.

The Hanging Bridge of Q’eswachaka

Qeswachaka
Qeswachaka

This is an Incan style hanging bridge made out of ichu grass. It is 28 meters long and 1.2 meters in width. It hangs above the roiling waters of the Apurimac River. There has been a bridge of this type at this location since Incan times. It is part of the Incan Qhapaq Ñan road system. This bridge is renewed and maintained every year. It is the last of this style Incan bridges tand is over 500 years old. The renovation is thus an ancestral rite. Every year the communities of Winch’iri, Chaupibanda, Ccollana, Quehue, and Perccaro get together and do the work.

  • Location: 156 km. to the southeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Quehue, in the province of Canas.
  • Hours that it is open: 24 hours a day.

The Salt Mines of Maras

Maras
Maras

These salt mines are in the Maras district. Salt has been mined here since Incan times. During the colonial era of the viceroyalty Maras mine was the first producer of salt in this part of the Andes. Today the extraction of salt is accomplished with the cooperation of both men and women from the communities of Maras y Pichingoto. They first block the flow of the water from a nearby spring that has a high concentration of salt. Then they let the water in the blocked pool of salt water evaporate. This leaves behind a residue of salt. The salt is then collected and, depending on the quality, is used for human consumption, animal consumption, or in industry.

  • Location: 58 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Maras, in the province of Urubamba.
  • It is open from 8:00 am. until 3:00 pm.

Tarawasi Archeological Complex

Tarawasi
Tarawasi

This Incan construction was built upon the order of Inca Pacahacutec with the objective of making a rest stop on the walk to Chinchaysuyo (the eastern quarter of the Empire.). There is a great platform with walls made of worked stone. All the stones are joined together in typical Incan fashion.

  • Location: in the district of Limatambo, in the province of Anta.
  • It is open from 8:00 am. until 5:00 pm.

The San Blas Neighborhood

San Blas Neighborhood
San Blas Neighborhood

This is one of the oldest and most famous neighborhoods in Cusco. It is the oldest parish in Cusco and it has narrow lanes full of colonial buildings. Along its streets you will find stores featuring the work of the most popular artists and craftsmen in the area.

  • Location: 3 blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
  • Time when you can visit: all day.

The Natural Attractions of Cusco

If you are going to travel to Cusco or if you are in Cusco, you are sure to run out of time before you run out of beautiful and fascinating locations to visit in this blessed place. There are innumerable snow-capped mountains, lakes, valleys, canyons, trails, and jungle hideaways. There are lots of places that are ideal for eco-tourism and for trekking. And in almost every location that you visit, you will find signs that the Incas were there first.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Sacred Valley of the Incas
Sacred Valley of the Incas

This is a very fertile inter-Andean valley that is located on the banks of the Urubamba River. It stretches through the districts of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. During the time of the Incas it was prized for its mild climate and for its geographic qualities. It has the same advantages today. It was the bread basket of the Empire. Much of their agricultural production came from the Valley. Within the Valley many of Cusco’s chief tourist attractions are to be found. Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Maras, Moray, and Salineras. Because the Valley is so beautiful, and the weather there is so agreeable, quite a few of the area’s most exclusive hotels are located there.

  • Location: 31 km. from the city of Cusco. It is in the provinces of Calca and Urubamba.

The Lares Valley

Lares Valley
Lares Valley

The Valley of Lares is located between the east side of the Andes and the northern section of the Urubamba Range. It is encircled by the great snow-capped peaks of Verónica, Sawasiray, Pitusiray, and Chicón. It is home to many traditional communities where the folks still make their living by employing age old, homespun activities like potato farming, weaving, and raising alpacas and llamas. It is a major trekking route because it enables the trekker to interact with the local people and learn first-hand about their traditions.

  • Location: 148 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the province of Calca.

Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain
Rainbow Mountain

Vinicunca is the Quechua name for this Mountain of Many Colors. It has many of the colors of the rainbow: red, purple, green, yellow, rose, and many different shades of these colors. It is located in the area of glacier covered Mt. Ausangate (5200 masl.) It is one of the most popular places to visit in the Cusco region. This is because of its enigmatic colors and because it is considered a trekking route of moderate difficulty.

  • Location: 100 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Pitumarca and in the province of Canchis.

Humantay Lake

Laguna de Humantay
Humantay Lake

This turquoise mirror of a lake is located up on snow-capped Humantay Mtn. It is on the Salkantay – Machu Picchu trekking route. The mysterious coloration of its glacial melt-waters, along with its proximity to Mt. Salkantay, have made it a must-see destination for trekkers and for those folks who really want to take care of the environment. The lagoon is surrounded by exotic biodiversity and awesome snow-capped peaks.

  • Location: 122 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Mollepata, and in the province of Anta.

Suykutambo Canyon or the Three Colored Canyon

Suykutambo
Suykutambo

This is a regional conservation site. It has an area of 39 485 hectares. It is a curious rock formation at the confluence of three rivers: the Callumani, the Cerritambo, and the Apurímac. It is an ideal spot for adventure sports, and is also a very beautiful natural wonder. Suykutambo is close to the archeological sites of Mauk’allaqta and María Fortaleza. In addition, this is the natural habitat of the vicuña and the taruka deer, and also of the world’s largest bromeliad, the puya raimundi.

  • Location: 260 km. to the southeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the districts of Coporaque and Suykutambo, and in the province of Espinar.

The Four Lake Circuit

Four Lake Circuit
Pomacanchi Lake

This tourist circuit takes in 4 lakes: Pomacanchi, Acopia, Asnaqocha, and Pampamarca or Tungasuca. Each of these watery mirrors is surrounded by native flora and fauna. This is an ideal spot to view exotic birds and watch migratory birds like ducks, herons, and seagulls. You can go fishing or try out other water sports. There will be picturesque little towns to visit, and you can immerse yourself in history by visiting the home of Túpac Amaru II.

  • Location: 97 km. to the southeast of the city of Cusco. The lakes are in the districts of Pomacanchi, Acopia, Mosoqllaqta, Tungasuca and Pampamarca; and in the provinces of Acomayo and Canas.

Glacier covered Mt. Salkantay

Salkantay, Inca Trail
Salkantay, Inca Trail

This impressive Apu Salkantay is the second highest peak in the Cusco area. ( 6271 masl.) It is located in the Vilcanota Range. The Salkantay massif is surrounded by absolutely beautiful scenery, deep canyons, cliffs, lakes, and other snow-capped peaks. One of the valleys running down off Salkantay cuts across the world famous Classic Inca Trail which is traveled everyday by hundreds of adventurers heading to Machu Picchu. You will be able to see far out over the Eyebrow of the Jungle.

  • Location: 127 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Mollepata, and in the province of Anta.

Glacier Covered Mt. Ausangate

Ausangate
Ausangate

This snow-capped peak is the highest peak in the Cusco region. ( 6384masl.) It is the 5th highest mountain in Peru. It forms part of the Vilcanota Range. It is surrounded by glaciers, mountains (including Rainbow Mtn.), forests of stones, plateaus, and beautiful lakes like Sibinacocha. It is the preferred destination of trekkers and lovers of adventure sports.

  • Location: 190 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Ocongate, and in the province of Quispicanchi.

Manu National Park

Manu
Manu

This is a natural protected area that encompasses 1,909,800 hectares. The park was created on May 29, 1973. It has been declared part of the Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The Manu Biospheric Reserve is an area with one of the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth. ( That is both for plants and for animals). Many forms of life here have not yet been catalogued. And besides that, it is one of the most important natural attractions both for nature lovers and eco-tourists. Here is a place where you observe the wildlife in its natural state, and also make contact with the native people of the Amazon region.

  • Location: 300 km. to the northeast of the city of Cusco. It is between the provinces of Manu and Paucartambo.

The Wetlands of Lucre – Huacarpay

Huacarpay
Huacarpay

This is a quite a rare high Andean ecosystem formed by lagoons surrounded by abundant wetland vegetation which serves as a refuge and feeding ground for local and migratory birds. It is very valuable ecologically and scenically. Biologists and ecologists love to come here and observe birds which originate from all different latitudes. Quite close by this site are the Wari ruins of Pikillaqta.

  • Location: 32 km. to the southeast of the city of Cusco. It is in the district of Lucre, and in the province of Quispicanchis.

The Convents and Colonial Churches of Cusco

Another tourist attraction that Cusco has to offer is its wide variety of Colonial era convents and churches. Most these were actually constructed upon the walls and foundations of the temples which the Incas had built. You will be surprised by their grandeur and their majesty. The majority of these churches and convents are located in the historic center of Cusco.

The Cusco Cathedral

The Cusco Cathedral
The Cusco Cathedral

This is the most important present day religious structure in Cusco. Its style is considered Andean Barroque. The interior is decorated with cedar carvings and the altar is plated with gold and silver, as are the choir loft and the pulpit. Upon its walls hangs the most important collection of the Cusco School of Art. Hours when it is open: 10:00 am. until 6:00 pm.

  • Location: on the Plaza de Armas.

The Church of the Company of Jesus

The Church of the Company of Jesus
The Church of the Company of Jesus

This church was originally built in 1571. It is constructed on the walls of the old Amarucancha which was the palace of Inca Huayna Cápac. After the earthquake of 1650 the church underwent reconstruction until 1688. The design and the façade are examples of Andean Barroque style. The façade, which is said to be altarpiece style, is decorated with medium size towers and the stones have been curiously worked. As you enter the church you will see the three-bodied main altar and the Salomonic columns. The pulpit is made of wood. There are Barroque paintings covering the wall behind the altar. The finest painting is the one of ¨The Wedding of Martín García de Loyola to Beatriz Clara Coya”.

  • Location: Plaza de Armas.
  • Hours when it is open: 9:00 am – 12 noon. And 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm.

The Church and Convent of la Merced

The Church and Convent of la Merced
The Church and Convent of la Merced

This church is also Barroque style. The church possesses the second largest gold monstrance in the world. It measures 1. 3 meters and it weighs 22 kilos. It is decorated with precious stones and on top there is a giant pearl carved into the form of a siren.

  • Location: Calle Mantas.
  • Hours when it is open: Monday through Saturday from 8:00 – 12 noon. And from 2:00 pm- 5:00 pm.

The Church and Convent of San Francisco of Asís

The Church and Convent of San Francisco of Asís
The Church and Convent of San Francisco of Asís

This colonial edifice has three naves set at different levels. It is built out of rocks, pebbles, and lime. It has one basilica and one tower. It is laid out in the form of a Latin cross. The facade has a large door in the form of an arch. The convent is now a museum which exhibits 429 works of art. Among them are paintings, sculptures, altarpieces, and furniture. There is also a large library with books in 5 languages. There are various catacombs, too.

  • Location: Plaza San Francisco.
  • Hours when it is open: 8:00 am til 6:00 pm.18:00 horas.

The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo (Qorikancha)

Qoricancha
Qoricancha

This Colonial church and convent were built on top of the Incan Temple of the Qorikancha. The Qorikancha was the most sacred religious site in the Incan Empire. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens. In the interior of the church you can see some of the finest examples of Incan architecture, images of Andean vision of the cosmos,, and a selection of oil paintings from the Cusco School that date back to the17th and 18th centuries.

  • Location: Plazoleta Intipampa which is 2 blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
  • Hours when it is open: Monday- Saturday from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm. And Sunday from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

The Church and Convent of Santa Catalina

The Church and Convent of Santa Catalina
The Church and Convent of Santa Catalina

This is a Colonial construction which was built around the year 1605. It was built upon the old acllahuasi which was the Incan House of the Chosen Women. It is Renaisance style with Roman arches. Inside you can see one of the most complete collections of colonial art in the city of Cusco. On exhibit are paintings from the Cusco School, sculptures, gold and silverwork, textiles, altarpieces, and painted murals.

  • Location: Calle Santa Catalina Angosta, about half a block from the Plaza de Armas.
  • Hours when it is open: Monday- Saturday from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm and Sunday from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

The Colonial Church at Andahuaylillas

Andahuaylillas
The Colonial Church at Andahuaylillas

This is one of those surprising examples of both beautiful and popular Andean religious art. The church isl known better as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. There are murals and paintings and silver plated frames. There is a gold plated altar. Construction began in the 17th century. Inside the church there is a wonderful collection of paintings from the Cusco School of Artists that were never before seen. The old organ is amazing. There is gold work and silver work that you will marvel at. The altar itself is Barroque style.

  • Location: The Plaza de Armas in the town of Andahuaylillas.
  • Hours that it is open: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm everyday.

San Blas Church

San Blas
San Blas

This is a Colonial era church that is located in the most famous neighborhood in Cusco, the San Blas neighborhood. It was built around 1560 upon an Incan temple dedicated to thunder and lightning. This is the oldest parish in Cusco. It is famous for its intricately carved wooden pulpit.

  • Location: in Plaza San Blas which is 3 blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
  • Hours when it is open: 8:00 am til 6:00 pm except Sunday.

The city of Cusco has other wonderful churches. You might enjoy visiting the Temple of Belén, the Temple of San Pedro, the Temple of San Cristóbal, the Temple of Santa Ana, the Temple of San Sebastián, and the Temple of San Jerónimo.

The Cusco Museums

Cusco is a great place for lovers of Andean culture. Cusco has 10 museums that show beautiful representations of pre- Incan work, art from the great Incan culture, and also art from the Colonial and Republican periods.

Most of these museums are in the center of the city. They are:

The Inka Museum

This museum is part of the University of San Antonio Abad de Cusco. It used to be called the Archeological Museum. It is located in an old colonial house that was built upon an Incan palace. It contains a great collection of art from Andean cultures.

  • Hours when it is open: Monday- Friday from 8:00 am til 6:00 pm. and Saturday from 8:00 am. til 4:00 pm.
  • Location: Ataúd 154

The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art

There are 10 separate exhibition salons. They show the very best in pre-Columbian art. They show major exhibitions in wood, bone, shell, and gold and silver. You will see examples from the pre-Incan Nazca, Mochica, Wari, and Chimú cultures and from the Incas, too.

  • Hours when it is open: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm.
  • Location: Plaza Nazarenas 231

The Museum of Religious Art

Inside these finely built walls (you can see the 12 Angled Stone on the outside) there is large collection of religious paintings from the Colonial era. After checking out the exterior of the museum, in the interior you can admire the ceiling made out of cedar. The settings are Moorish style and the windows which are made of colonial-era glass are exquisite.

  • Hours when it is open: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. Everyday.
  • Location: Herrajes 38.

Regional Historical Museum

It is located in the house of the Chronicler, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. It offers one of the most complete collections of both Incan and pre-Incan archeological pieces. There is a great collection of paintings from the colonial era, and also other artifacts from the colonial era, the Republican era, and from the contemporary. You can also see the legacy of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

  • Hours when it is open: 8:00 am. until 6:00 pm.
  • Location: Calle Heladeros

The On-site Museum of the Qorikancha

There are five exhibition salons where historical ancestral Andean art is shown, both Incan and pre-Incan. The majority of the work exhibited (metal objects, lithic pieces, ceramics, textiles, sculptures, paintings, and musical instruments) was found during excavations made in the Incan temple, the Qorikancha.

  • Hours when it is open: 8:30 am. until 5:30 pm. except Sunday.
  • Location: On the 3rd block of Ave. El Sol, in front of the Qorikancha.

Museum of Contemporary Art

This museum is located within the Municipal Palace. There are 2 permanent exhibition rooms and 1 temporary room. The museum shows contemporary art. There are more than 280 pieces by famous local, national, and international artists.

  • Hours when it is open: 9:00 am. until 6:00 pm. except Sunday.
  • Location: Portal Espinar 270

Museum of Popular Art

This is the Museum of the American Institute of Art. The museum exhibits the best of Cusco’s popular art. Most of the pieces were acquired at the traditional Christmas Fair, Santurantikuy. Within the galeries you can see works by recognized Cusco masters such as: Hilario Mendívil, Nemesio Villasante, Luis Acosta and other great contemporary artists from the Cusco area.

  • Hours when it is open: 8:00 am. until 6:00 pm.
  • Location: Ave. El Sol

The Machu Picchu On-site Museum

This museum is also known as the Manuel Chávez Ballón Museum. It is located at the foot of the Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu. It has archeological remains and also features a multi-media exposition of excavations made at Machu Picchu. And there is an exquisite botanical garden which has the plants that are native to the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

  • Hours when it is open: 10:00 am. until 4:00 pm.
  • Location: by Puente Ruinas, at the foot of the Citadel of Machu Picchu.

Casa Concha Museum

This museum is situated in a large colonial mansion which belongs to the University of San Antonio Abad in Cusco. It presents the findings of Hiram Bingham when he first visited Machu Picchu. (There are 360 pieces which were returned to Peru by Yale University in the USA) There are photos and videos of other archeological excavations; and there are pieces (bones, metal fragments, ceramics, etc.), that were found during the restoration and the excavation of the interior of Casa Concha.

  • Hours when it is open: 9:00 am. until 5:00 pm.
  • Location: Calle Santa Catalina Ancha

Santa Catalina Museum

It is located in the House of the Chosen Women (The Akllawasi). These were women in Incan times whose lives were dedicated to the Sun God. Today this site is called the Monastery of Santa Catalina. Within the museum you can see: the interior of the Santa Catalina cloisters, the work room, the founder’s cell, the study room, the dining room, the room for reflection, the room for adoration, and other sectors. This also one the premier sites for viewing the work of the Cusco School of artists.

  • Hours when it is open: 9 am.til 5 pm.
  • Location: Calle Santa Catalina Angosta 401

Incan Palaces

  • Qollqanpata
  • Qasana
  • Qoraqora
  • Kiswar Kancha
  • Hatunrumiyoq
  • Hatun Kancha
  • Pukamarka
  • Amaru Kancha

Colonial Houses

  • Palacio Arzobispal
  • Palacio Del Almirante
  • Casa Cabrera
  • Casa Del Inca Garcilaso De La Vega
  • Casa Del Marqués De Valleumbroso
  • Casa De Los Cuatro Bustos
  • Casa Del Marqués De Picoaga

Medicinal Hot Springs

  • Cocalmayo
  • Lares
  • La Raya

Traditional towns

  • Maras
  • Chinchero
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Pisac
  • Paucartambo

Look-out points

  • Cristo Blanco
  • San Cristóbal
  • Santa Ana
  • Inca Pachacuteq Monument

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