Your Next Diving Adventure Must Include Cancún's Famous Underwater Museum

Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula hosts a wealth of attractions travelers can enjoy year-round. Those focused on a Cancún getaway will find everything from beautiful beaches and delicious dining options to ancient ruins within reach. While local destinations like Xcaret bring jungle adventures to life for travelers, a trip here can also include a visit to Isla Mujeres, Xel-Há, or time spent climbing the Mayan pyramid Nohoch Mul.

Home to just over a million residents according to Macrotrends, Cancún welcomes millions of international travelers throughout the year. A report by Mexican media outlet Reportur highlighted the Cancún International Airport celebrating the record-breaking arrival of 30 million passengers at the end of 2022. Whether visitors arrive to dig their toes into the sand or explore places like La Isla Cancún shopping village, Cancún is a place that keeps travelers coming back for more.

Beyond land-based fun, Cancún is also a diver's dream come true. According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), dive trips here can include cenote exploration, whale shark encounters, shipwreck viewing, and reef observation. Divers heading to Cancún also have the incredible option of adding a stop at one of the world's most famous underwater museums to their itinerary.

The Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) is an underwater experience and unique non-profit organization. It hosts 500 sculptures on-site according to Solo Buceo. The Cancún Sun states that museum galleries are situated 30 feet below the surface, offering divers ideal conditions for exploration.

A museum made for wonder and conservation

A visit to Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) is designed to be visually inspiring. It's also an innovative effort in marine conservation. According to a review of underwater museums by Daily Sabah, the museum was conceived by Jaime Gonzalez Cano who wanted to create an artistic space that would double as a protection for fragile marine environments.

The same review states the museum opened to the public in 2010 as a way of diverting divers from over-visited coral reef sites like the Manchones Reef. The museum's sculptures were crafted on land using "pH-neutral marine concrete." A thorough cleaning of each sculpture before placement ensured no harmful chemicals would be integrated into the delicate marine ecosystem they inhabit today.

The MUSA website informs guests that the museum hosts three galleries in total: Punta NizucManchones, and Galeria Villa Roda-MUSA. Each gallery offers up a one-of-a-kind take on creative landscapes for guests to experience. The museum's website lists Jason deCaires Taylor as the Artistic Director at MUSA as well as one of the museum's sculptors. According to an article in The Guardian, some of his most iconic installations like "The Silent Evolution" include more than 400 statues that weigh well over 120 tons in total.

Options for exploring the underwater galleries

Time spent exploring this intriguing underwater museum in Mexico can look very different for visitors depending on their preferences. The Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) website offers five separate dive tour options for guests to enjoy departing from either Cancún or Isla Mujeres. Two of these tour options are designed for certified divers while the remaining three include diving lessons before heading out to explore galleries with an instructor.

The museum also provides guests with options to book snorkeling tours of the underwater museum alongside knowledgeable guides. These options can be combined with glass-bottom boat tours that give guests a unique perspective on the underwater installations from a specialized vessel. Any of the underwater tours at MUSA can be paired with a stop at the Galeria Villa Roda-MUSA which hosts a land-based sculpture garden to explore once visitors resurface.

No matter what it is that brings visitors to MUSA, it's a chance to explore a truly special and unique destination. While some are drawn this way because of their pure passion for diving, others might find themselves exploring with a heart for marine conservation. A desire to be artistically inspired is another reason many visitors find themselves immersed in this spectacular underwater world. No matter the underlying motivation, it's an experience travelers will want to be sure to add to their itinerary the next time they're in Cancún.