Opened in 1992 on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the Americas, Cartagena's Naval Museum of the Caribbean tells the history of the city and its surrounding areas, as well as the story of how Panama became a separate country. Housed in what was once a Jesuit college, the whitewashed museum by the sea is easy to spot.
As you make your way round the exhibits, you'll see historic maps, ship tools, detailed model cityscapes, and model boats from throughout the centuries. And in the outer hall on the second floor, you'll get to see guns that have been salvaged from the seabed.
The history of Cartagena is immutably tied to its relationship with the sea, and the detailed texts on show at the Naval Museum of the Caribbean give a summary of 300 years of naval conflicts off the city’s shores. You'll learn all about the Spanish conquest of Colombia, and the later attempts of other European fleets to take Cartagena. And on the upper floor there's information about the modern Colombian navy and its role in the Korean War.
On 3-62 San Juan de Dios street, displays at the Naval Museum of the Caribbean are in Spanish, but it's possible to hire an English-speaking guide for USD $12. Entry costs COP$6000 for adults and COP$3000 for children. The museum is open from 9am-7pm.