While it may seem like the underwater site of some long-ago ancient civilisation once swallowed up by the sea, the cleverly designed and strategically placed sculptures on the seabed floor in the shallow waters off of Cancun make up a most unique museum – the Cancun Underwater Museum.
Over 400 life-size sculptures have helped create an artificial reef and, in the process, an amazing marine attraction has developed. Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) is a non-profit organisation, devoted to the Art of Conservation.
The project was created by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor and Marine Park director Jaime Gonzalez in 2009, with an initial 100 marine-friendly sculptures placed in the waters of Cancun’s National Marine Park. The slightly eerie statues are now covered with algae coral, making Cancun home to the world's biggest artificial reef.
The sculptures are based on local residents and are made from pH-neutral properties that aid in the development of coral reefs. Today, there are around 500 cement figures beneath the deep blue. While the shallow waters not only magnify his beautiful work, the ocean environment benefits from the new reefs that are born, creating a beautiful new underwater world full of sea life.
The museum consists of two areas or ‘galleries’ referred to as Salon Manchones and Salon Nizuc. Perfect for scuba divers, the water depth around Salon Manchones is up to eight metres deep, while the snorkel-friendly gallery of Salon Nizuc has a depth of three to four metres.
Glass bottom boat tours are also popular, with access from mainland Cancun. From there, it's just a short boat ride to the museum near the coast of Isla de Mujeres. hat better way to see these ‘museum’ pieces than on a snorkelling or scuba diving adventure or glass bottom boat tour?