Museums in Cartagena de Indias: 7 awesome places to discover
Allow yourself to be seduced by painting, navigation stories of the Colombian Navy, gold collections, religious and Afro-Caribbean art, as well as the historic legacy that preserves each one of the museums you can find in Cartagena de Indias.
I set up my route, put on a hat, got some sunscreen, took my camera, and, with a map on my hands went out to visit them. At 10:00 a.m. I left the hotel; the sun was relentless, as it usually is on the Caribbean, but I had to go out to fulfill my appointment with culture and history and take the museums tour in Cartagena.
“Museo de Arte Moderno” (Museum of Modern Art)
The first museum I visit is in “Plaza San Pedro”. Crossing through a red rustic wooden gate, that reveals some cobbled walls that hold gorgeous art pieces, with permanent collections and itinerary exhibitions, I immerse myself in the contemporaneity of this place, which allowed me to admire techniques applied by renowned Latin American artists, among them great Colombian masters. It is a spacious place and a quiet and striking two stories building. The first floor has five exhibition halls that allow to enjoy the exotic combination of acrylic works on canvas, iron sheets, granite sculptures, silk screen painting, among others.
Monday to Friday: From 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - From 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: From 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday: From 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Plaza San Pedro Claver, Cll. 30 # 4-08.
“Museo San Pedro Claver” (Saint Peter Claver’s Museum)
In the company of the museum’s founder, I mystically approached the largest religious art collection that holds the “Museo San Pedro Claver” in Cartagena de Indias. I was amazed by this place that still preserves the space distribution and the wooden floors of the colonial period, since the museum has not been restored, thus its essence is protected. Each corner has a story, in which the lives of “San Pedro Claver”, and some of the characters displayed in the collection, are told.
It also has an important collection of African and Afro-Caribbean art works, with Haitian paintings and African masks, which are really rare and reflect everyday situations of our lives, such as the simplicity, imagination, spontaneity, the protection and the triumph of live, as well as the feelings, fears, and the search for love and harmony.
Monday to Friday: From 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location:Historical Center, Plaza de San Pedro, Cra. 4 # 30-01.
Museo Naval del Caribe (Navy Museum of the Caribbean)
How did the Spanish conquerors defeated the ferocious Indians of the Caribbean? With that question and four hypotheses, that you won’t stop reading, the “Museo Naval del Caribe” welcomes me in “Plaza Santa Teresa”. As if I were aboard a galleon with the Spanish Empire, surrounded by Corsairs and “Kalamarí”, I felt that port rebirth and I got to sense how Cartagena fought to rescue its splendor as the first port of the Caribbean Sea.
This museum has an incredible setting. Every inch you cover, leads to the exact moment in which events occurred. The ones that remain fascinated by the “Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas” and the old walls of Cartagena de Indias, will find in this place materials with which they were built. On the second floor the adventure continues. First of all I stationed myself in front of the “seamanship knowledge tower” where I met all the crew. From there I headed towards the “fleet of freedom”, to meet the hero of the Caribbean Sea. But at the end of the tour I was still intrigued, I wanted to feel as a part of the crew, so I went into the submarine simulator, which gets submerged in the Caribbean Sea. Next in my itinerary, the “Museo Histórico de Cartagena” in “Plaza Bolívar”.
Everyday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Historical Center, Plaza Santa Teresa, Calle San Juan de Dios # 3-62.
“Museo Histórico de Cartagena” (Historical Museum of Cartagena)
It is a museum with particular characteristics. In addition to all the history it keeps, it made me feel as if I were in a mystical place, with old bells, and black walls that give you a sense of death, power, and a scary and dark look, which was the usual atmosphere of the Inquisition times, which is exhibited in this place.
I went through the most significant moments of the city in the course of its history, through itinerary art exhibitions that accompany the permanent. I had the chance to run into our Caribbean Indian ancestors, inquisitors and witches; conquerors and pirates; African, Spanish, and Creoles; heroes and anonymous beings who, altogether forged our historical memory and our nation. Get to know the culture of different periods, the history and the presence of the Inquisition Court in the memory of Cartagena and the thoughts of its people. Do not stop the tour, check out the patio where you can see where the gallow and the guillotine are displayed. Take a lot of photos like me, and get a sense of the legacy that all this left to the country.
Monday to Saturday: From 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday and holidays: From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Historical Center, Palacio de la Inquisición, Plaza de Bolívar.
“Museo del Oro” (Gold Museum)
Crossing “Parque Bolívar” I came across the “Museo del Oro”. Walking by the halls of this place, visited by many tourists, I found a complete collection of pieces of gold, water and earth fabrics, the gold of the flat lands of the Caribbean, and some curious little pieces with an amazing human representation.
The tour through the different rooms is accompanied by a pedagogical animated presentation conducted by a historian, a linguist, a social communicator, and a person of “Zenú” origin, who share the story as a part of their daily life.
In this museum you will learn about the territory occupied by the “Zenúes” and the social aspects of this tradition. This culture highlighted the importance of women, embodied in a masterly way by the multiple representations of women, as the fundamental axis of social reproduction.
Finally, you will observe the collection of approximately 900 archaeological objects, divided into three rooms, and available to all visitors. After this I headed towards “Calle Estanco del Aguardiente”, to visit “La Presentación, Casa Museo Arte y Cultura”.
Tuesday to Saturday: From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Historical Center, Plaza de Bolívar, Cra. 4 # 33-26.
“La Presentación Casa Museo” (The Presentation House Museum)
In this tour you can not miss a delicious cup of coffee to taste while admiring this exhibition of local, national and international artists. That is the way I started it, with a cappuccino in hand seeing the mysterious atmosphere of the first room of the museum, which has works with the technique of Chromaluxe on aluminum.
As I continued to the next room, I observed the technique of oil, photographs and more conceptual works. With great joy I finally arrived at the room where the piano is, and it is not a simple piano, "it is a tail one, the most beloved and most appreciated item by visitors". "If you like and you have the level, come and attend the piano club of the museum, open for all its visitors", is an invitation from the Director of the museum.
The museum also offers small concerts and recitals, set with the exhibition of the moment to combine these art forms.
It is a place in Cartagena with a peaceful and relaxed environment, where it is necessary to take a pause and sit on the patio to enjoy the breeze and the sound of the water fountain for a few minutes. Repeat this wonderful plan every three months if you want to appreciate the new exhibitions, and also see the private collection of works that each artist leaves behind. The last museum on the list, the Museum and House Rafael Núñez.
Monday to Saturday: From 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Location: Historical Center, Calle Estanco del Aguardiente # 5-63.
“Museo Casa Rafael Núñez” (Museum House Rafael Núñez)
This simple, spacious and fresh two-story wooden house located in the El Cabrero neighborhood near the sea, green and white, is full of the spirit of order, away from luxury but very elegant. It retains the simplicity and elegance of local historic figure Rafael Núñez, who repeated for several years the presidency of Colombia, and today is remembered through elements that remain intact, and are displayed in each of the rooms: Paintings, personal belongings and collections of art.
On the first floor you will find a comfortable patio, with a green grammage. You will also find the park of the muses and other restructured sites. Going up the stairs and reaching the second floor, there are different interesting areas, such as the library, the presidential office, the main room, the sleeping rooms and the meditation one.
It is a commitment to the history of Colombia and Cartagena to visit this pleasant house, which in large print allows us to read the Colombian anthem, whose author is Rafael Núñez.
This museum is garnished with balconies and on them the flags of Cartagena de Indias and Colombia are hoisted. In addition, from this museum there is a beautiful view of the walled city that you can enjoy.