This Mexico Resort Town Has an Underwater Museum With 500 Statues
The Cancun Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA) is a unique and highly acclaimed public art exhibit located off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Founded in 2010 by artist Jason Taylor, the museum covers a small section of the ocean floor near Cancun’s resort area, with more than 500 different sculptures crafted from special marine-grade cement that can withstand the pressures of being submerged underwater.
Visitors can explore the museum’s collection of life-size statues and observe local marine life as they swim or dive around the museum. Many of the sculptures lend themselves to photos of divers encircled by stone humans or standing at an underwater desk, surrounded by cement office supplies.
MUSA is an environmental project created to aid in coral reef conservation, helping to protect and preserve the fragile ecosystems.
Sculptures in the Cancun underwater museum
The Cancun Underwater Museum of Art features 500 life-sized sculptures divided into three main galleries. The museum has three separate galleries, separated by depth.
The Island Gallery at Punta Nizuc is shallowest, maxing out at about 14 feet below the surface. It has 33 sculptures and is closest to most of Cancun’s hotels.
But it’s really scuba divers who get the best views as they can access the Machones Gallery, where most sculptures are around 25 to 25 feet below the surface. This is where you’ll find the most well-known sculptures in the Cancun underwater museum, such as “Silent Evolution,” which has 400 human figures, and “The Bankers,” depicting men in suits burying their heads in the sand. Both are by well-known artist Jason deCaires.
There’s also a third gallery being slowly being developed around Punta Sam, appropriate for snorkeling as its roughly the same depth as Punta Nizuc.
Visitors can snorkel or scuba dive around these unique underwater sculptures to observe local marine life in their natural habitat. MUSA’s artificial reef has become an important part of the coral reef conservation efforts in the region, providing a refuge for fish and other aquatic species.
Snorkeling at the Cancun underwater museum
Visitors can explore the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art by snorkeling or scuba diving. The museum can be accessed from Isla Mujeres’ Garrafon Park, which offers both guided and self-guided tours of the museum’s galleries.
Snorkeling tours are limited to the two more shallow galleries and are offered through the museum. Tours range from $47 to $60 and are offered anywhere from once a week to a few times a day, depending on the tour. Buying your ticket in advance is recommended, and know that there’s an extra $15 Marine Park fee not included in the ticket cost.
Scuba diving at MUSA
Scuba divers can also explore the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art in more detail. The Machones Gallery is between 33 and 39 feet, so it’s only accessible with SCUBA gear. Two-tank morning dives start at $90, and if you’re not certified, you can do an “Intro to Scuba” dive in the park for $145. Divers will need to pay an extra $12 park fee in cash at check-in. temperatures range from 74 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit, so you may be fine wearing just a rash guard if you visit in the summer. But you can rent wetsuits for about $15 when you check in if you’re worried about getting cold.
The Cancun underwater museum is a pretty shallow dive, so expect the water temperatures to be a bit warmer than diving at depth in other areas around the Yucatán.
And if you don’t want to get wet at all, you can still see the Cancun underwater museum — just book a glass-bottom boat tour. It’s offered three times a day and is $47 per person.