Machu Picchu Travel

Museo Santuarios Andinos

Museo Santuarios Andinos

The entire Peruvian territory holds an extensive cultural and historical heritage, and if you love history as much as we do, then you surely don’t want to miss this museum since it holds one of the most important discoveries in the country.

The Santuarios Andinos museum was born after an expedition in the southern mountains of Peru, a successful project led by Johan Reinhard and José Chávez Chávez in 1995. These famous archeologists found 14 mummies in Peru and another four in Argentina along with their belongings.

One of these mummies was Juanita, a small Inca girl found frozen in the Ampato volcano, who was sacrificed in honor of the Apus during Inca times. The body was found in ‘perfect’ conditions since the inhospitable cold environment kept it safe from deterioration. 

However, this is not everything the museum has to offer since it holds an extensive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts that were traced back to the most powerful culture of the Andes, the Incas, where textiles, pottery and objects made of precious metals are showcased.

Likewise, there are other pieces that belonged to several other cultures in Peru, with an approximate antiquity of 550 years. Would you like to know all about it? Here we’ll cover the most important aspects of the museum!

The Museo Santuarios Andinos Through Time

As we mentioned before, the museum was born out of the initiative of an expedition carried out in 1995. The Museo Santuarios Andinos was founded a year later after the finding of the Juanita mummy, in December 5th 1996 to be exact.

It is one of the most significant museums in Peru, praised by its impressive collection of Inca and pre-Inca archeological objects and, above all, the Juanita mummy. Therefore, the exhibitions are more focused on the cultural and religious side of these ancient civilizations.

Taking into account the most important ceremonies that took place around the region, mostly in honor of the Apus, the spirits of the mountains. The Santuarios Andinos museum has gained popularity over the years thanks to its intimate approach to Inca culture.

Who was Juanita, the lady of Ampato?

Juanita was an Inca child found in the crater of the extinct Ampato volcano in 1995. It was the biggest discovery of the century since its body was totally preserved thanks to the freezing temperatures of this snow-covered volcano.

Juanita was about 14 years old when she died between the 1440 and 1450, apparently during the reign of the Inca Pachacutec. She was 1.58 meters high and enjoyed excellent health. 

Juanita was selected before birth to be sacrificed in honor of the Gods or Apus, her cause of death is linked to a severe blow to the head that caused internal bleeding. It was a common technique used to sacrifice children during that time.

Nowadays, Juanita’s body rests in the facilities of the Santuarios Andinos Museum, enclosed in a crystal box that keeps the body tempered to -19°C to preserve it for the years to come.

How to Visit the Museum?

The Museo Santuarios Andinos is located in Arequipa’s Historical City Center, a few blocks away from Plaza de Armas. The site remains as a free tourist attraction and attracts thousands of visitors per year.

We highly recommend visiting the monastery on a guided tour so you don’t miss any important details of this colonial gem. If you wish to know the old town of Arequipa at its fullest, we have the perfect tour for you!

Our Arequipa City Tour takes you through the most visually striking colonial scenery of Peru, while visiting the most sought after attractions on the way. Include this excursion in your travel itinerary and start exploring the city like a local expert! Contact our travel specialists for more information.

Arequipa is a region full of natural wonders, history and culture, which is why we'd love to show you everything about it. If you would like to know more about the famous White City, here you have a blog about the top things to do in Arequipa.

Would you like to know more about Peru? Here you’ll find all the information you need for your trip. Our local expert team has prepared the most complete informative guides for you! Also, if you’re eager to know Peru at its fullest, check our travel packages and live an authentic experience with Viagens Machu Picchu