Bogota, the capital of Colombia, has a long and rich history dating back to the pre-Columbian era. Founded by the Muisca people in the late 15th century, the Spanish conquered the city in the 16th century. Over the decades (and centuries), Bogota became a center of trade and culture under Spanish rule and eventually became the capital of Colombia in 1777.
Bogota’s history is as varied as it is long, and one of the best places to learn about the country’s history, culture, and people, is in the city’s many museums. Visiting these Bogota museums is an opportunity to view art and ancient artifacts from one of the most important cities in Latin America.
If you’re uncertain where to start, here’s a round-up of Bogota’s best museums. It’s a representative group in size, diversity, and niches. Well-known museums made the list, as well as smaller, lesser-known ones. This list of museums in Bogota is a great starting point for learning about Bogota.
Bogotá Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO)
The Bogotá Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO) is a must-see for any art lover visiting Colombia’s capital city. The museum was opened in 1970 by then-President Misael Pastrana Borrero,
MAMBO has four floors containing six art galleries and a library. It’s home to an impressive collection of over 3,633 works of contemporary art, including pieces from some of the most famous Latin American artists and International Artists. The collection includes works by renowned Colombian artists Andrés de Santa María, Alejandro Obregón, and Enrique Grau.
The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, which are always worth checking out. Former artists whose work has appeared at MAMBO include Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, and Francis Bacon.
Whether you’re interested in contemporary art or want to see some beautiful pieces, the Bogota Museum of Modern Art is worth visiting.
Details: Cl. 24 #6-00, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Museo de Botero (Botero Museum)
Museo de Botero is one of the most popular museums in Bogota, and Fernando Botero is one of the most famous Colombian painters. The museum is dedicated to the works of Fernando Botero, a renowned figurative artist and sculptor from Medellín, Colombia. In addition to the permanent collection of his paintings and sculptures, the museum features works by other artists in its temporary exhibits.
The museum is housed in an old palace, providing a beautiful backdrop for the art.
Visitors can also enjoy the garden courtyard, which features a pond and sculpture garden. There is a cafe where visitors can enjoy a bite to eat while taking in the beauty of the Museo Botero.
Details: Cl. 11 #4-41, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Casa Museo Quinta de Bolivar
The Quinta de Bolívar was the home of Simon Bolivar, liberator of much of South America from Spanish colonial rule. It became a national monument in 1938.
The Quinta de Bolívar contains an extensive collection of 3,650 personal belongings, documents, and mementos related to Simón Bolívar. There are also works of art by renowned painters, including José María Espinosa and Pedro José Figueroa.
This museum is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Bolivar. It provides fascinating insights into the life and times of one of South America’s most important historical figures.
Details: Calle 21 No.4A – 30 Este, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Coin and Bill Production Museum (Casa de Moneda)
If you’re looking for an exciting specialty museum in Bogota, visit the Coin and Bill Production Museum, also called Casa de Moneda or The Money House in English. It is also referred to as The Old Mint of Colombia.
This quirky museum is dedicated to everything money-related and features a wide range of exhibits and photography about Colombia’s currency and finance.
Some highlights of a visit to the Money House include collections of ancient coins and banknotes, exhibits on how money is made, and historical events resulting in new coins and notes minted. Money is fun!
Details: Cl. 11 #4-93, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Official Website
Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC)
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Bogotá, is a must-see for anyone visiting the Colombian capital. It is often confused with the Museum of Modern Art as it displays contemporary and modern exhibitions.
Some of the highlights of the museum include works by Colombian artists Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt, and Luís Eduardo Urueta.
In addition, the museum’s murals on the outer wall are worth checking out. These pieces, “Signo Encuentro” by Manuel Hernández and “Sin Título” by María Teresa Pardo, have graced the exterior since 1986. The murals are the ultimate street art.
Details: Cra. 74 #82A-81, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Casa Museo Francisco José De Caldas
The Francisco José de Caldas Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the scientist Francisco José de Caldas, nicknamed Sabio Caldas in Colombia.
It features Caldas’ paintings, documents, drawings, and scientific instruments and is set inside his 17th-century Spanish colonial-style villa. The home has been lovingly preserved and features many of his furnishings and memorabilia. It became a historical monument in 1944.
Details: Cra. 8 #6-87, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Official Website
Colombian National Museum
The National Museum of Colombia has a rich collection of 20,000 pieces of art, artifacts, and historical documents from throughout the country’s history. It is the oldest museum in Colombia, and before it was a museum it was a prison.
The museum is divided into seventeen exhibition halls focusing on archeology, history, decorative and contemporary arts, and ethnography. Some of the museum’s highlights include a well-preserved Colombian mummy and paintings by famous artists Fernando Botero, Enrique Grau, and Guillermo Wiedemann.
If you’re interested in Colombian history and culture, the National Museum of Colombia is worth a visit.
Details: Av. Alberto Lleras Camargo #N. 28-66, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Colonial Museum of Bogota
If you’re interested in learning about the colonial era of Colombia, then the Colonial Museum of Bogota is an essential stop. The museum is housed in a beautiful colonial-style building and houses an impressive collection of 19th-century art and artifacts from the colonial period, primarily collected by Colombia’s high society. This fascinating look at Colombian culture highlights a problematic era in the country’s history.
The museum has over 1,500 items in its exhibits, including paintings, textiles, sculptures, furniture, silverware, numismatics, prints, and manuscripts. Highlights of the collection include works by New Granadan colonial painter Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos. The pieces in the museum include his easel paintings and drawings attributed to him.
Details: Cra. 6 #9-77, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Official Website
Miguel Urrutia Art Museum (MAMU) (Formerly Colección de Arte del Banco de la República)
Another top art museum in Bogota is the Miguel Urrutia Art Museum, which was renamed in 2016 from the Colección de Arte del Banco de la República (Art Collection of the Bank of the Republic in English).
The museum houses 6,000 pieces in its collection, with domestic and international collections. The collection includes a large selection of works from the 17th century and a series of religious wood carvings that date back to the 1800s. Several rooms are dedicated to Colombian art, offering a unique perspective on the country’s history and culture.
Some of the highlights of the Colección de Arte del Banco de la República is a series of paintings by Victorino Garcia Romeo, titled “Dead Nuns,” as well as work from Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregón and Enrique Grau.
Details: Cl. 11 #4-93, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
The Bogota Museum of Gold
The Gold Museum in Bogota is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. It is home to an impressive collection of over 34,000 gold artifacts from all over Colombia, the most extensive collection of prehispanic gold work in the world. Pieces of gold!
The indigenous people of the area used many of these objects in daily life. There are also artifacts used for sacred rituals by tribes like the Muisca and Tayrona. The museum is also home to an extensive collection of pre-Columbian art, including other metal alloys, such as Tumbaga.
For many reasons, one artifact that attracts attention from the general public is the Poporo Quimbaya, a vessel used to store limes for the ritualistic chewing of coca leaves. Substance use has been around for a long time.
Details: Cra. 6 #15-88, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Official Website
International Emerald Foundation Museum (MIE)
The museum in Bogota houses an impressive collection of emeralds. Colombia is the world’s largest producer of this verdant green gemstone. You can learn more about these stones at the MIE, including how they are mined and processed.
Exhibits feature the history of jewelry and gemstone trading, along with history and science. Because of the value of the displayed items, this museum can only be visited by guided tour.
Details: Avianca Building, Calle 16 # 6-66, piso 23, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Official Website
Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Museum
Suppose you’re interested in learning about the life and work of the assassinated Colombian politician Jorge Eliecer Gaitan and Colombian history and politics. In that case, this is the museum to visit.
The museum offers a unique perspective on Gaitan’s life and work and provides insight into Colombia’s complex history. It is set inside Gaitan’s former home and houses a collection of photos, documents, and other items related to his life and work. His library collection alone contains over 3,000 books.
Details: Cl. 42 #15-52, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
The Maloka Museum is an interactive science museum in Bogota and is a great place to learn about science and technology.
The museum is family-friendly and caters to children, who will love expanding their curious minds with the engaging exhibits that make science and learning enjoyable and easy to digest.
Details: Cra. 68d #No 24A – 51, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Military Museum of Colombia
The Military Museum of Colombia is one of the most important museums in Bogota. It’s located in the former home of Antonio Ricaurte, a brave captain who sacrificed his life during the San Mateo Battle in 1814.
The museum covers all aspects of Colombian military history, from the indigenous peoples who fought against the Spanish conquistadors to the modern-day army. The collection started with firearms and equipment from the former Weapons Museum at the José María Córdova Military Academy but now extends to nine complete rooms featuring weapons, uniforms, and other artifacts used by the military over the years.
One of the highlights of the museum is the Independence Room. The room contains busts, statues, paintings, and photographs of those who fought during the first civil war. It’s nice to see information about the women who fought for independence included.
I stayed in a hotel a block down from this museum.
Details: Cl. 10 #4 92, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Palace Historical Museum of the National Police
This museum in Bogotá is all about the history and evolution of the National Police of Colombia. The museum is housed in a stunning colonial building in La Candelaria, a district where you’ll find many of Bogota’s museums. The museum displays objects and weapons used by the National Police and has exhibitions on its foundation and role in the Colombian Armed Conflict.
You can also see two rooms full of exhibits on the police campaign against crime and drug trafficking by the notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. A particular item in the museum that generates much interest is a stuffed dummy of Escobar’s body covered in bullet holes.
Details: Cl. 9 #9-27, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Official Website
Planetarium of Bogota
The Bogota Planetarium is a great place to visit if you want to learn about astronomy and the universe. The planetarium contains a small museum dedicated to space, which offers a variety of exhibits and programs that are both educational and fun. Some of the things you can see at the Planetarium include the dome theater and some samples of lunar objects gifted to Colombia by the United States.
They also offer occasional events, such as lectures and movie nights. If you’re interested in learning more about astronomy or space, the Bogota Planetarium and its museum are worth a visit.
Details: Cl 26b #5-93, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Official Website
Santa Clara Church Museum
The Santa Clara Church Museum (Museo Santa Clara) is located inside the Church of the old Royal Convent of Santa Clara. Constructed in 1647, the museum houses religious art and sculptures from the colonial period. The building is an excellent example of Baroque architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Some of the highlights of the museum include an impressive collection of paintings by Spanish artist Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos, Gaspar y Baltazar de Figueroa, and Agustín García Zorro de Useche.
Details: Cra. 8 #8-91, Bogotá, Colombia | Official Website
Getting to Bogota, Colombia
El Dorado International Airport (BOG) serves Bogota and is the second busiest airport in South America. It’s a hub for Avianca, the Colombian national airline. Terminal 1 houses international flights, and Terminal 2 is for budget carriers.
The airport is served by major carriers directly or through code-sharing partnerships, including U.S. carriers Delta, American, and United. Most flights from the U.S. originate or connect through Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, or Dallas.
Save to your favorite travel and culture Pinterest boards