With Colombia being famed for its colorful towns, historic ruins, and endless UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there is no doubt that you will constantly be surrounded by works of art, whether it be architecture, ancient artifacts, street art, or significant monuments, Colombia has it all.
Colombia attracts all kinds of travelers because of its sheer diversity, so if you are a lover of the arts and cultural heritage, you will be pleased to know that Colombia has a host of art and history spots waiting for you to discover.
Let us guide you towards the best places to find works of art, both ancient and contemporary, and the best museums you can visit throughout the country.
Art in Colombia
As we all know, art comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms, considering it is a type of freedom of expression, and in Colombia, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to places to find works of art. There are so many ways in which are has come about in this historic country, and some include dance, film, theater, sculpture, paintings, pottery, and of course, ancient artwork from Pre Colombian and Colonial times. The fact that Colombia has such a vast history means that there is just so much to learn about, and if this is something that interests you, you will be as enthusiastic about these places as we are.
So let us look at some leading places to pay a visit while you are on your Colombian journey.
The Best Museums in Colombia
Museo Botero del Banco de la República
If it is an impressive art collection you are looking for, then this is the place to begin, right in the heart of Bogotá. It houses one of Latin America’s most important art collections and started in the year 2,000 when world-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero gave 208 works of art, including a portion that he had created, to the bank.
The collection was then housed in a colonial building located in Bogotá’s historical area, where it is today, and the best part is it is entirely free of charge. Here you can find works done by Balthus, Georges Braque, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso, to name but a few.
Museo de Antioquia
Next to the famous Plaza Botero, you will find the most visited museum in all of Medellin – Museo de Antioquia, which has over 100 works of art on display, were donated by Colombian figurative artist and sculpture Fernando Botero.
It is recommended to start on the third floor, where many of Botero’s impressive creations are, and make your way down. Although you may be captivated by Botero’s works alone, there are also other halls with religious and colonial artworks to discover too.
Museo de Arte del Tolima
This art museum located in the region of Tolima has an extensive permanent collection and features both Latin American contemporary pieces and Colombian art.
It hosts around 500 pieces, which date back to Pre-Colombian times and works from modern Colombian artists, and has had over 100 exhibitions since its opening in 2003. As one of the busiest museums in Colombia, this is an art hub worth visiting, with a variety of art exhibitions, cultural programs, and events being held quite often.
Medellín Museum of Modern Art
Having been founded in 1978, this art museum has become somewhat of a popular spot in Medellin, both for locals and tourists with love for the arts. One of the most famous living Colombian artists, Fernando Botero, comes from Medellin, and you will be sure to find many works of art by him, here and in most museums around the country.
Within this impressive building, you will find an intriguing range of exhibitions, with three awe-inspiring permanent exhibitions promoting a variety of artworks and art styles by many Colombian artists – but be sure to stop and admire the building before you do anything else!
Colombian National Museum
As the biggest museum in Colombia, you can guess that a visit here will take you longer than expected. That should be nothing to complain about. Here you will find yourself fully engrossed in all things historical, cultural, and artistic, giving you a great insight into the country of Colombia. This museum, which is also the oldest in the country, has more than 200,000 collective items that give you an insight into Colombian history and heritage. The building itself is a former prison with a story of its own.
The Gold Museum
As one of the most visited museums in the country, with around half a million visitors every year, the Gold Museum, located in Bogota, has an expansive collection of pre-Hispanic gold – the largest in the world. It has 30,000 pieces of gold on display and 20,000 pieces of ceramics, textiles, and other ancient artifacts, which will keep you busy during your visit.
It is worth noting that the museum is free on Sundays and public holidays (which don’t fall on a Monday). This extraordinary tour will not only take you to the Gold Museum but also the Botero Museum in Bogota.
Pablo Escobar Museum
Located in the city of Medellin, you will come across this museum, which is dedicated to Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, but forget whatever you thought you knew before because you will undoubtedly learn the real personal stories here.
This museum features lots of personal items, which visitors will find interesting, and stories told by his family to enable you to get the full story about this infamous figure. However, the most intriguing thing about this museum is that it is run by the family of Escobar, giving you nothing but the truth, first-hand information, and experiences that they lived – a fascinating place to visit.
Monuments to Look Out For
Art is all around you in Colombia, so without having to visit a museum or art gallery, keep your eyes peeled for these famous monuments that all tell a story. For a look at some hidden gems, including local galleries, monuments, and museums, why not contact a local ‘Destination Expert’ for some recommendations.
In this plaza, located in Medellin, you will find 23 sculptures created by world-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who donated the statues.
This Medellin tour will take you to Plaza Botero to marvel at these impressive million-dollar statues, but you will also get a guided tour of Medellin graffiti art.
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira
This feat of engineering is something to marvel at in Bogota, with it being carved into an abandoned salt mine (182m)600ft underground. This Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena city tour will take you to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, the Gold Museum, and the Botero Museum.
Cristo Rey, Cali
Similar to the Christ the Redeemer of Brazil, Cristo Rey in Cali is a unique monument in Colombia, standing at 26m (86ft) tall, and as you make your way up here, be on the lookout for the sculptures in the hill created by Carlos Andres Gomez.