18 Places to Visit in Cusco

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18 Places to Visit in Cusco

In this article, we will take you to explore Cusco through 18 Places to visit in Cusco. You don’t want to lose any of these places, each one offers a unique and memorable experience that gonna rich your trip. Come with us on this amazing tour of the treasures of the city of Cusco

Despite the size of the city of the city of the city, places to visit in Cusco are within walking distance of each other, with the occasional steep hill. In the center is the Plaza of Armas, and near Av. El Sol is the principal commercial street. A few blocks north and east of the Plaza are steep, winding cobblestone streets, which have hardly changed over the centuries. The flat areas to the south and west form the commercial center of Cusco.

plaza de armas de cusco

The alley leading off the northwest side of the square is called Procuradores, but it is nicknamed “gringo alley” because of its tourist restaurants, agencies, and services aimed at backpackers. Next to the cathedral, in the same square, the narrow street of triumph ascends steeply towards the San Blas square, the heart of the electric artistic district of Cusco.

In places to visit in Cusco, there are independent guides who speak several languages. If you wish to make more extensive circuits in major points of interest, such as Qorikancha or the cathedral, it is advisable to agree on a fair price in advance.

CENTER OF CUZCO

1. PLAZA DE ARMAS

In the Inca’s Time, this square, named Huacaypata or Aucaypata, was the heart of the capital. Today it is the nerve center of the modern city. The Peruvian red-and-white flag and the multicolored flag of Tahuantinsuyo, represent the four regions of the Inca Empire, although it is often confused with the gay banner.

Colonial arcades surround the square, which is twice the size of the present Regocijo square. On its northeastern side stands the imposing cathedral, preceded by a long flight of stairs and flanked by the churches of Jesús María and El triunfo. On the southeast side is the Compañía de Jesús church, which stands out for its ornamentation. The quiet pedestrian alley of Loreto, with its Inca walls, is a historic access road to the plaza.

lugares para visitar en Cusco

2. CUSCO CATHEDRAL

  • Cost of entrance: 25 soles or with Religious Ticket
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am -17:45 pm

The Catedral is one of the places to visit in Cusco builder above the Palace of Viracocha Inca, used blocks of stone owned by Sacsayhuamán. Started in 1559, it took almost a century to erect it. To its right is joined by the Church of Triunfo (1536) and to its left is the Church of Jesús María (1733).

The cathedral is one of the greatest exponents of colonial art in Cusco, especially the works of the Cusco school, famous for its combination of European religious painting styles of the 17th century and the iconography of Andean indigenous artists. A classic example of this is the portrait of the Virgin Mary wearing a skirt in the shape of a mountain, with a river running along the hem. This portrait is identified with the pacha mama (“mother earth”).

One of the most famous paintings of the Cusco school is The Last Supper by Quechua artist Marcos Zapata. Located in the northeast corner of the temple, it represents one of the most solemn scenes of the Christian faith, but is adorned with a small banquet of ceremonial Andean pitanzas; the plump roasted guinea pig, face up, captures the attention.

3. CHURCH OF THE COMPANY OF JESUS

  • Cost of entrance: 15 soles or with Religious Ticket
  • Opening Hours: 9:00 – 11:30 am and 13:00 – 17:30 pm

The main square is also considered one of the places to visit in Cusco. It was built in the palace of Huayna Capac, the last Inca who ruled a united and undefeated empire.

Erected by the Jesuits in 1571, it was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1650. The Jesuits intended it to be the most presumptuous church in Cusco. But the archbishop pointed out that its splendor could not overshadow the cathedral. The dispute reached such a point that Pope Paul III had to mediate and decided in favor of the cathedral. However, when his sentence arrived in Cusco, the Society of Jesus was almost finished, and boasted an incredible baroque facade and the largest altar of Peru, all crowned by a high dome.

lugares para visitar en Cusco

4. CHOCO MUSEO

  • Contact: telf. 244765; Garcilaso street 210
  • Opening Hours: 10:30 am – 18:30 pm

The aromas of bubbling chocolate captivate you as soon as you enter. Although the museum is rather bland, the best part of this French-owned initiative is the workshops for making organic chocolate (70 soles/per person). Another attraction is the fondue or a cup of fair trade hot chocolate. Suitable for children.

5. MUSEUM OF SACRED, MAGIC AND MEDICINAL PLANTS

  • Contact: tel. 22-2214; 351 Santa Teresa St.
  • Entrance fee: 15 soles
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am – 19:00 pm mon-sat

In this fascinating new museum it explores, leaf by leaf, the history, and uses of Peru’s medicinal, sacred, and hallucinogenic plants. Highlights include exhibits on biopiracy, 8,000 years of coca cultivation, and mind-blowing multi-layered images that simulate the ayahuasca experience. There is a gift store with quality natural products a lauded coffee shop and a private patio on the top floor.

Lugares para visitar en Cusco

6. MUSEUM OF PRE-COLUMBIAN ART

  • Contact: telf. 23-3210; Plazoleta Nazarenas 231
  • Entrance Fee: 22 soles
  • Opening Hours: 09:00 am – 22:00 pm

It occupies a Spanish colonial mansion with an Inca ceremonial duck and, thanks to excellent curatorship, brings together a varied but small collection of archaeological pieces from the storage rooms of the Larco Museum in Lima. The pieces, dating from 1250 B.C. to 1532 A.D., show different ancient Peruvian artistic and cultural achievements with explanatory texts.

7. MUSEO INCA

  • Contact: telf. 23-7380, tucumana con ataúd
  • Entrance Fee: 10 soles
  • Opening Hours: 08:00 am – 18:00 pm

Located one steep block northeast of the Plaza de Armas, this charming and modest museum is the best if you are interested in Inca culture. Inside, the restored interior houses an excellent variety of gold and metalwork, jewelry, textiles, mummies, models, and the largest collection of queros in the world. The interpretative information is excellent.

The building that houses it rests on Inca foundations and is known as the Admiral’s House, in honor of its owner, Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado. Badly affected by the earthquake of 1650, it was rebuilt by Pedro Peralta de los Ríos Conde de laguna, whose emblem is above the porch. In 1950 it was damaged by another earthquake, but today it is fully restored and has regained its place among the most beautiful colonial houses in Cusco.

places to visit in Cusco

8. MUSEO DE HISTORIA NATURAL

  • Location: Plaza de Armas
  • Entrance Fee: 2 soles
  • Opening hours: 09:00 am – 17:00 pm lu-vi

Managed by the university, it houses a colorful collection of stuffed animals and birds from the area and more than 150 Amazonian snakes. The entrance is on a side street of the Plaza de Armas, to the right of the church of the Society of Jesus.

9. CHURCH AND MONASTERY OF SANTA CATALINA

  • Location: Plano p.200; Arequipa s/n
  • Entrance fee: 8 soles
  • Opening Hours: 08:30 am – 17:30 pm lu-sa

The temple treasures many colonial paintings of the Cusco school, as well as an impressive collection of vestments and other elaborate embroidery. In the adjacent baroque chapel there are spectacular friezes and many life-size figures (some alarming) of nuns praying, sewing or going about their business. The convent is home to 13 flesh-and-blood cloistered nuns.

places to visit in Cusco

10. MUSEO IRQ’I YACHAY

  • Contact: telf. 24-1416; teatro 344
  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 13:00 pm y 14:00 – 17:00 pm lu-vi

Rather, it is an exhibition of art and handicrafts, as it is the fascinating result of an NGO that aims to provide an opportunity for cognitive development to children in remote communities. As the most isolated and forgotten populations, they also act as guardians of Andean culture.

The children paint what they know animals, mountains, rivers, and people, and incorporate the symbols of the looms that have surrounded them since they were born: the north is hope and future, and the red is love and revenge.

11. TEMPLE AND CONVENT OF LA MERCED

  • Contact: telf. 23-1821; mantas 121
  • Entrance Fee: 6 soles
  • Opening Hours: 8:00 – 12:00 pm y 14:00 – 17:00 lu-vi

The third most important colonial church in Cusco was destroyed by the earthquake of 1650, but was soon rebuilt. To its left, at the back of a small courtyard, is the entrance to the monastery and museum. Paintings on the life of St. Peter Nolasco, who founded the order of La Merced in Barcelona in 1218, hang on the walls of its beautiful colonial cloister.

lugares para visitar en Cusco

12. REGIONAL HISTORIC MUSEUM 

  • Contact: Garcilaso Street
  • Entrance Fee: With tourist ticket
  • Opening Hours: 8:00 – 17:00 pm

This electic museum is located in the colonial house Garcilaso de la Vega and is one of the places to visit in Cusco, the residence of the Hispanic Inca chronicler who lies buried in the cathedral. Its collection, exhibited in chronological order, begins with several arrowheads from the Precambrian period and continues with pieces of pottery and jewelry from the Wuari, Pucara, and Inca cultures.

There is also a Nazca mummy, a few Inca tapestries, several small gold ornaments, and a somewhat sinister scale model of the Plaza de Armas. The large, practical table in the courtyard outlines the chronology and characters of the Cusco school.

13. MUNICIPAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORANY ART

  • Loaction: Square of Regocijo
  • Entrance Fee: With a tourist ticket
  • Opening Hours: 09:00 am – 18:00 pm

The little collection of Andean contemporary art that is exposed in the municipal building is for authentic fans. The Quijote Museum has a much better collection, with a representative range of contemporary Peruvian artists information that places the art in its historical context.

14. SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH

  • Location: Plaza San Francisco
  • Entrance fee: 8 soles
  • Opening hours: 06:30 am – 17:30 pm

This church is part of the places to visit in Cusco, more austere than other of his sisters cusqueñas, dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is one of the few that did not have to be rebuilt by competo after the earthquake of 1650. It has a large collection of colonial religious paintings and a superbly carved cedar choir.

The adjoining museum houses the supposedly largest painting in South America, measuring 9×12 m and showing the family tree of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the order. There are also two crypts of macabre interest, which are not fully buried. Inside are human bones, some arranged in shapes reminiscent of the transitory nature of life.

places to visit in Cusco

15. MUSEUM OF RELIGIOUS ART

  • Location: Huatunrumiyoc esq. Herrajes
  • Entrance fee: 15 soles with a religious ticket
  • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 11:00 am – 15:00 – 18:00 pm lu-sa

This museum has its origin in the Palace of Inca Roca, it converted into a majesty colonial residence and after in the Arzobispado Palace. The beautiful mansion has a collection of important religious art because of the details of the era, especially for his vision of the interaction of the native towns with the Spains.

16. SAN BLAS CHURCH 

  • Location: San Blas Square
  • Entrance Fee: 15 soles or with a religious ticket
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am – 18:00 pm  lu-sa

This simple church is small, but his major altar, of Barroco style and covered with gold bread, is amazing. The pulpit, of exquisite carving and made from a single trunk, is considered the most beautiful example of colonial wood carving in the Americas. The legend says that his creator was an indigen who suffered from a lethal sickness and had a marvelous recovery, he dedicated his life to carving the pulpit for the church.

They say that his skull rests at the high of the cut, but in reality, nobody knows with certainty the identity of the skull and the carver.

places to visit in Cusco

17. AROUND OF CUSCO 

The four ruins near the places to visit in Cusco are Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay. You can visit all of them in a day or less time if you make a guide accelerated circuit. If only have a place to visit, Sacsayhuaman is the highlight. Is a walk of less than 2km uphill from the Plaza of Armas in the center of Cusco.

The form more cheap of visiting the places of interest is taking an autobus to Pisac and asking the conductor that stop in Tambomachay, the site more far of Cusco y also the most elevated, with 3700m altitude. There is a walk of 8km of return to Cusco, where you can visit points of interest on the road

18. SACSAYHUAMAN

This immense ruin of religious and military importance is the most impressionable of all the places to visit in Cusco. The name significance in Quechua is “satisfied falcon”. Sacsayhuaman looks so big, but what you see today is not more of near of 20% of his original structure. Less after the conquest, the Spains broke down more walls and used his block of stones to build cusqueñan houses. Nevertheless, they left the rocks more big and impressive, in particular the ones that conform to the important clams. In 1533 the strength was a scenery of one of the battles more bitter of the Spain conquest.

Between the zigzagging walls and the coline, there is a big Plaza of Armas that celebrates the colored tourist show of Inti Raymi all the years the June 24th.

places to visit in Cusco

Explore much more tourist destinations and facts about Peru in our travel blog and plan your next trip with us!

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