This fun little museum on Plaza Bolivar, in an impressive 18th-century mansion, already attracts the morbidly inclined. Your tour begins with two entire rooms full of horrifying torture devices, used right here by the Cartagena chapter of the Spanish Inquisition. Between 1776 and 1821, when Independence heroes banned the practice, hundreds of people were tortured, and some killed, on suspicion of heresy or dabbling in witchcraft.
Head upstairs, however, for several excellent (and air-conditioned) exhibits illuminating less tragic period’s in the city’s history. You’ll find everything from paintings of Cartagena through the ages, to detailed dioramas (with cool cut-away interiors showing construction details of the cities finest buildings), as well as maps, ceramics, Independence-era cannons, pre-Columbian statues, and much more. Signage is in both Spanish and English, and offers often poignant commentary on the city’s history.