advertisement
  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires: This museum contains the world's largest collection of Argentine sculptures and paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. It also houses European art dating from the pre-Renaissance period to the present day. The collections include notable pieces by Manet, Goya, El Greco, and Gauguin.
  • MALBA-Colección Costantini, Buenos Aires: This stunning new private museum houses one of the most impressive collections of Latin American art anywhere. Temporary and permanent exhibitions showcase such names as Antonio Berni, Pedro Figari, Frida Kahlo, Candido Portinari, Diego Rivera, and Antonio Siguí. Many of the works confront social issues and explore questions of national identity.
  • Museu de Arte Sacra, Salvador: When you walk into this small but splendid museum, what you hear is not the usual gloomy silence but the soft sweet sound of Handel. It's a small indication of the care curators have taken in assembling and displaying one of Brazil's best collections of Catholic art -- reliquaries, processional crosses, and crucifixes of astonishing refinement. The artifacts are shown in a former monastery, a simple, beautiful building that counts itself as a work of art.
  • Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo: A sunlit joy to be in, the Pinacoteca is one of the best curated art collections in Brazil. Renovated in 1997, the roof and many interior walls were removed, replaced with a latticework of glass and open spaces, and connected by a series of catwalks. It's the perfect place for anyone wanting to see and understand Brazilian art.
  • Museo Arqueológico Padre Le Paige, San Pedro de Atacama: This little museum will come as an unexpected surprise for its wealth of indigenous artifacts, although the museum's famous mummies have been taken off display due to ethical questions. Still, considering that the Atacama Desert is the driest in the world, this climate has produced some of the best preserved artifacts in Latin America, on view here.
  • Museo del Oro, Bogotá: With over 20,000 pieces of gold, the Museo del Oro offers the largest collection of its kind in the world, providing a visual history of Colombia and Latin America from the pre-Columbian era to the Spanish conquest. Taking a guided tour of the museum is one of the best ways to learn about the indigenous groups that inhabited modern-day Colombia before the arrival of the Spaniards. Whatever you do, don't leave Bogotá without visiting the gold room, a dazzling display of 8,000 pieces of gold.
  • Fundación Guayasamín, Quito: Oswaldo Guayasamín was Ecuador's greatest and most famous modern artist. His striking large paintings, murals, and sculptures had an impact on artists across Latin America and around the world. This extensive museum displays both his own work and pieces from his collection. Combined with the neighboring Capilla del Hombre, this is a must-see for any art lover or Latin American history buff.
  • Museo de la Nación, Lima: Lima is the museum capital of Peru, and the National Museum traces the art and history of the earliest inhabitants to the Inca empire, the last before colonization by the Spaniards. In well-organized, chronological exhibits, it covers the country's unique architecture (including scale models of most major ruins in Peru) as well as ceramics and textiles.
  • Monasterio de Santa Catalina and Museo Santuarios Andinos, Arequipa: The Convent of Santa Catalina, founded in 1579, is the greatest religious monument in Peru. More than a convent, it's an extraordinary and evocative small village, with Spanish-style cobblestone streets, passageways, plazas, and cloisters, where more than 200 sequestered nuns once lived (only a handful remain). Down the street at the Museo Santuarios Andinos is a singular exhibit: Juanita, the Ice Maiden of Ampato. A 13-year-old girl sacrificed in the 1500s by Inca priests high on a volcano at 6,380m (20,926 ft.), Juanita was discovered in almost perfect condition in 1995.
  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas: Occupying 13 rooms spread out through the labyrinthine architecture of Caracas's Parque Central, the permanent collection here features a small but high-quality collection of singular works by such modern masters as Picasso, Red Grooms, Henry Moore, Joan Miró, and Francis Bacon, as well as a good representation of the conceptual works of Venezuelan star Jesús Soto.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.