The 10 Best Museums in Cartagena

Cartagena, a gem on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, is steeped in history, culture, and art. Among its many attractions, the city’s museums stand out as treasure troves, offering a glimpse into the past and present of this vibrant region. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, or simply looking for a deeper understanding of Cartagena, these museums are must-visit spots.

Let’s dive into the heart of Cartagena’s culture with a curated list of the top 10 museums you can’t afford to miss.

1. The Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Zenú)

Imagine stepping into a world where gold gleams from every corner. The Gold Museum is a sanctuary of pre-Hispanic artifacts, showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of the Zenú people. The collection of gold pieces and pottery is not just impressive; it tells the story of a civilization that thrived in this region long before the Spanish conquest.

2. Palace of the Inquisition (Palacio de la Inquisición)

History comes alive at the Palace of the Inquisition. This museum might send shivers down your spine with its haunting exhibits of the Spanish Inquisition’s grim past. But it’s not all doom and gloom; the building itself is an architectural marvel, with its elegant colonial design and a stunning baroque doorway that welcomes you into a different era.

3. Naval Museum of the Caribbean (Museo Naval del Caribe)

Set sail through Cartagena’s maritime history at the Naval Museum of the Caribbean. With detailed models of ships, historical navigation instruments, and tales of naval battles, this museum captures the strategic importance of Cartagena as a port city. It’s a fascinating journey through the waves of time that shaped the Caribbean as we know it.

4. San Pedro Claver Museum and Cloister (Museo y Claustro de San Pedro Claver)

San Pedro Claver, the patron saint of slaves, spent his life advocating for human rights in Cartagena. His former residence, now a museum, offers a serene retreat from the bustling city streets. The museum not only honors his legacy but also displays religious art and artifacts that reflect the city’s spiritual history.

5. Modern Art Museum (Museo de Arte Moderno)

For a change of pace, the Modern Art Museum is a breath of fresh air. Its collection of contemporary works by Colombian and Latin American artists is a testament to the region’s vibrant art scene. The museum’s sleek design and rotating exhibitions make it a hub for art lovers and those curious about modern artistic expressions.

6. Rafael Núñez House-Museum (Casa Museo Rafael Núñez)

Step into the home of Rafael Núñez, a four-time president of Colombia, and the author of the country’s national Anthem. This museum is a window into the life of a man who played a pivotal role in Colombia’s history. The well-preserved 19th-century house, with its original furnishings and personal belongings, offers an intimate look at Núñez’s world.

7. Caribbean Music Museum (Museo de la Música del Caribe)

Feel the rhythm of Cartagena at the Caribbean Music Museum. This lively museum celebrates the diverse musical heritage of the Caribbean coast, from cumbia to salsa and everything in between. Interactive exhibits and audiovisual displays will have you tapping your feet and maybe even dancing through the halls!

8. Emerald Museum (Museo de la Esmeralda)

Colombia is renowned for its emeralds, and the Emerald Museum is a sparkling tribute to these precious gems. Learn about the mining process, admire stunning jewelry, and even witness artisans at work. It’s a unique opportunity to see why Colombian emeralds are coveted worldwide.

9. Historical Museum of Cartagena (Museo Histórico de Cartagena)

Located in the former city hall, the Historical Museum of Cartagena is a repository of the city’s past. From colonial times to independence and beyond, the museum’s exhibits provide a comprehensive overview of Cartagena’s rich history. It’s an essential stop for anyone looking to understand the city’s evolution.

10. Chocolate Museum (Museo del Cacao)

Who doesn’t love chocolate? The Chocolate Museum is a sweet addition to Cartagena’s cultural landscape. Discover the history of cacao in Colombia, learn about the chocolate-making process, and indulge in some delicious tastings. It’s a treat for all the senses and a delightful way to wrap up your museum tour.


  • What are the opening hours for the museums in Cartagena?
    Most museums in Cartagena are open from 9 am to 5 pm, but it’s always best to check ahead as times can vary, especially on weekends and holidays.
  • Are there any free museums in Cartagena?
    Yes, some museums offer free admission on certain days of the week or have special free hours. It’s worth doing a little research to take advantage of these offers.
  • Can I buy tickets to Cartagena’s museums online?
    While some museums may offer online ticketing, others require purchase at the door. It’s a good idea to visit the museum’s official website or contact them directly for the most accurate information.

In conclusion, Cartagena’s museums are as diverse as they are captivating. Each one offers a unique perspective on the city’s history, culture, and art. From the glittering displays at the Gold Museum to the rhythmic beats of the Caribbean Music Museum, there’s something for everyone. These institutions not only preserve the past but also celebrate the living, breathing essence of Cartagena. So, next time you’re wandering through this enchanting city, take a moment to step into one of these cultural havens—you’ll walk out with a richer understanding and appreciation for the soul of Cartagena.

Remember, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a curious explorer, Cartagena’s museums are not just stops on a tour; they’re gateways to stories untold and experiences unmatched. So, go ahead, immerse yourself in the magic, and let the city’s history envelop you. Trust me, it’s an adventure you won’t forget.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.