Cancun Underwater Museum MUSA
Crystal-clear waters, year-round tropical climate and the spectacular Mesoamerican Reef make Cancun and the Riviera Maya one of the most famous destinations in the world for scuba diving and snorkeling. With millions of visitors each year, it’s vital that we do all we can to ensure the health of the reef for years to come. One of the most exciting initiatives in sustainable tourism in Cancun is the Cancun Underwater Museum known as MUSA.
The Art of Conservation
In 2009, Cancun launched MUSA, The Cancun Underwater Museum, with the goal of creating an alternative destination for divers and snorkelers and to give the natural reefs a bit of a rest. British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor began his creations using local fisherman and residents as models (yes, each sculpture is a “real” person!) The sculptures are made of a ph neutral cement that is texturized specifically to make it easy for new coral polyps to attach themselves. The sculptures are carefully placed down-current from the natural reefs and are built with hidden corners and crannies for sea life to call home.
Today the Cancun Underwater Museum is home to over 500 sculptures, each doing their part to attract healthy corals and marine life. The statues are rapidly growing algae and coral polyps and are the breeding grounds for all kinds of sea creatures! The art evolves naturally, once the sculptures are in the water they become part of the seascape and develop new colors, textures and shapes as they become one with the new environment and turn into living art. The sustainability plan was a huge success and now Cancun is home to the largest artificial reef in the world.
How to Snorkel the Cancun Underwater Museum
MUSA is divided into three main areas in Cancun, Salon Manchones, Salon Nizuc and Punta Sam. The Manchones reef sits between Cancun and Isla Mujeres and is home to the majority of the sculptures. At 8 meters deep, the Manchones Reef section of MUSA is best seen on a guided scuba tour. Nizuc and Punta Sam are both set in shallower waters (4 meters or less) and are the perfect place for even novice snorkelers to immerse themselves in this magical world, they are often included in the Cancun jungle tours and Cancun glass bottom boat adventures.
Be sure to add MUSA Cancun Underwater Museum to your bucket list, it’s an absolutely extraordinary experience that will leave you speechless and you’ll feel good knowing you did you part for the environment.