Top 3 Museums in Cartagena

Cartagena has a unique and vibrant culture that you can feel in your bones across every inch of the city. From the beach to the colorful city center, there’s much to see and do in this coastal Caribbean paradise. If you’re looking to dive a little deeper into Cartagena’s history and learn about the context for everything you’re seeing and experiencing, consider checking out one of these enlightening museums. 

The top museums in Cartagena may not be the biggest you’ve ever seen, but they all pack a punch, leaving visitors intrigued and informed by the time they leave. 

THE TOP 3:

The Naval Museum

For history buffs interested in the tales of epic battles and pirate raids, The Naval Museum (Museo Naval del Caribe) is the place to go. This 2-story, interactive museum showcases the city’s general history, as well as its naval history with some displays giving day-by-day accounts of Cartagena’s most famous battles. This museum also details Colombia’s fight for independence and the important role that Cartagena played in achieving this feat. Meanwhile in the courtyard, you’ll find cannons and other artifacts from centuries-old ships found in the city’s harbor. 

The Palace of the Inquisition

If dark history is more your style, then the Palacio de la Inquisicion will fit the bill. The beautiful colonial era building that houses this museum once served as the office of the Spanish Inquisition and also the site where death row criminals were incarcerated before meeting their fate. Needless to say, there’s a lot of unique history to be discovered here. On the ground floor, you’ll even find instruments that were once used to torture people accused of blasphemy, witchcraft and other crimes against the Catholic church. 

The second floor is home to the city’s official history museum. While this exhibit is not as detailed as the ones found at the Naval Museum, more of it is translated into English. 

The Zenu Gold Museum

Although not as large as the gold museum in Bogota, Cartagena’s Zenu Gold Museum is definitely worth a visit, especially since it’s free! In general, Colombia’s indiginous people were excellent craftsmen and created unique figures and jewelry from gold. This museum, however, specifically highlights the work of the Zenu people who are native to the inland valleys south of Cartagena. The museum allows visitors to admire these gold pieces while learning more about the native populations of Colombia. It also contains some gold brought to Cartagena by pirates and other explorers.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

The Emerald Museum

At The Emerald Museum, travelers will be taken through the history of these special green-ish gems, while learning about how they’re mined in the seven mines currently still in operation in Colombia. The museum contains a variety of exhibitions, guides, and details about how the gems are used today.

The Museum of Modern Art

With a variety of works on display from local, national and international artists, Cartagena’s Museum of Modern Art is a must for any real art lover. The constantly rotating exhibits guarantee a different experience every time.

BONUS:

The Chocolate Museum

El Museo del Cacao isn’t so much a museum as it is a chocolate shop that also happens to have a lot of interesting information about cacao in Colombia and how chocolate is made. Either way, if you love chocolate, this place is a must!


P.S. True chocolate fans can learn how to make this sweet treat at one of our chocolate making classes.