Cancun’s Underwater Museum
Mexico and especially Cancun is well known as the adventure capital of Central America. The Caribbean Sea options are endless as the Yucatan Peninsula has fantastic beaches and ideal tropical weather. From diving into magical cenotes to jet-skiing and parasailing, Mexico has something for everyone. One of these adventures however is a little special though – it’s snorkelling at Cancun’s underwater museum, just of off the coast between Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
What is the Underwater Museum?
The project called MUSA ( The Underwater Museum of Art) founded by Roberto Díaz Abraham, former President of the Cancun Nautical Association and Jaime González Cano, Director of the National Marine Park in 2009. There are over 500 permanent sculptures in the museum.
The Museum hopes to demonstrate the interaction between art and the environment. It forms a complex reef structure for marine life to colonize and inhabit whilst increasing biomass on a grand scale. All of the sculptures are fixed to the seabed and made from specialized materials used to promote coral life.
The sculptures are located 8m deep in the ocean, and the creator, Jason deCaires Taylor calls the collection The Silent Evolution. The statues of this collection are to show humans interacting with the environment around them, with both a positive and negative impact. The museum includes; a little girl with a faint smile on her face looking up to the surface; six businessmen with their heads in the sand, not paying attention to their surroundings, and even a man behind a desk with his dog lying next to him.
Please bear in mind that you should be a competent swimmer, the waters are deep, and the waves can be large. Swimmers will be in large groups, led by the guide. You will be provided with a life jacket, flippers and snorkeling mask. As there are many tours operating this popular destination every day there are multiple catamarans that surround the museum, they will create a circle around the museum, and swimmers will snorkel in the middle, so ensure that you are aware of where you’re swimming.
As you float through the water and see the sculptures for the first time you will be amazed at how well preserved they are. You can swim up close to the artwork and very strong and confident swimmers can even dive towards the ocean floor to get an even closer look. You will get approximately an hour to swim around, admire the fish, and explore this Underwater Museum.
As you silently glide through the water observing the incredible sculptures below, you will be amazed by the detail and the creativity of these pieces of art. You may pass over the VW car, parked on the ocean floor, or the circle of people, gazing outwards towards the rest of the ocean. Each sculpture is covered in coral, sea grass and surrounded by fish, giving them a surreal and eerie vibe.
After exploring this famous and iconic museum, snorkeling will never be the same!
How to get there.
The best launching point is Cancun. Many flights run from the US and Canada to Cancun, as it’s a very popular tourist and Spring Break destination. Flights can be very cheap if purchased at off peak times. Most tour companies will offer excursions out to Cancun’s Underwater Museum on the Yucatan Peninsula. You can book these in advance online, or simply visit one of the many vendors that line the streets of Cancun. The tours will generally include a hotel pick up, a day out on the boat visiting the Underwater Museum and then a trip to the stunning island paradise of Isla Mujeres. Usually the tour includes lunch and unlimited drinks on the boat.