Bogotá has an enormous amount to offer: interesting museums, a beautiful old center and good food. And although there is much more to do, most travelers only see Bogotá’s historic center: La Candelaria. Full of history, street art and culture. Including many museums. In this article I will tell you which 5 museums in Bogotá are worth visiting.
5 Must-see museums in Bogotá Colombia
1. Museo Nacional (the national museum of Colombia).
In 1874, English architect Thomas Reed designed the magnificent building that now houses the National Museum. This makes this the largest and oldest museum in Colombia in a building that served as a prison until 1946. The museum tells the country’s history in art and objects displayed in the former cells. Personally, I especially enjoy looking at the paintings, but actually the whole atmosphere of this old building makes it worth a visit.
2. Museo Histórico de la Polícia National (The Historical Museum of the National Police of Colombia).
The police museum turned out to be a very interesting experience. We arrive at a beautiful 1923 building in the middle of a drab street, where it looks yellow with cops. It turns out that tours in both Spanish and English are given by 18-year-old boys on duty. We have to listen carefully to follow our agent’s English, but at least he is very enthusiastic.
We start on the first floor and learn all about Pablo Escobar. His motorcycle is on display here and we are also introduced to his second wife: the gun he used. After seeing interesting pieces from this black Colombian period, our guide takes us upstairs and it turns out that this museum is very big. Eventually we end up on the roof, from where we also have a nice view of Old Town. About an hour and a half later, we are outside again, satisfied.
3. Casa de Moneda (the money museum in Bogotá).
In other words, the money/coin museum. The entire history of the coin is explained here, including the machines that used to mint the coins. We will also find a collection of art by various Colombian artists.
And even if you are not interested in the history of currency, this museum is still worth a visit. Because housed in a beautiful old building with a courtyard garden including a fountain, you can see what an old house in Bogotá’s busy downtown actually looks like. Very beautiful I can tell you.
4. Museo Botero: my favorite museum in La Candelaria
Museo Botero in Bogotá: this one is not to be missed! Fernando Botero is definitely one of, or perhaps THE, most famous Colombian artist. Right next to Casa de Moneda in an equally beautiful house with little garden, we find mainly paintings, but also a few sculptures made by Botero. Everything is thick. Or chubby. Women, FARC leaders, oranges, houses, you name it. The proportions are quite extraordinary. Everything that hangs and stands here he himself donated to this museum.
His perhaps most famous work, by the way, is in Medellín: the large sculptures of fat people and animals scattered throughout the city. I can enjoy impressionism immensely, but now that I have discovered Botero, this is my second favorite. By the way, this museum also offers paintings by Monet, Dalí and Picasso, among others. Saving the best for last: take a look at Colombia’s favorite artist.
5. Museo del Oro (the gold museum in Bogotá).
Without a doubt, the most famous museum in La Candelaría is the gold museum. Now I must admit that this is not my favorite museum, but it is definitely worth a visit. Here you will find many finds from the ancient Indian tribe Muisca for example. And many more gold and other objects, giving you a glimpse into Colombia’s history.
Want to know more about Colombian gold?
- Go in search of El Dorado in Laguna de Guatavita
- Visit the gold museum in Pasto
- Or the gold museum in Cartagena
What more is there to do in Bogotá?
Bogotá has much more to offer. Just read these 7 reasons to stay longer in Bogotá. Because of the variety of neighborhoods, the North is very different from the South. You will see these interesting differences during this bus route through Bogotá. And be sure to check out these 10 sights to see in Colombia’s capital city.
Bogotá is a surprising city with much more to do than you think. Have fun!