Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA): The Ultimate Guide in 2023

Ever thought about visiting the Cancun Underwater Museum?

Cancun has tons of fun ways to enjoy its clear, turquoise waters, but if you are looking for a unique experience that you will not have anywhere else in the world,  make sure to visit the Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA).

The Cancun Underwater Museum, locally called MUSA, is a collection of over 500 sculptures that have been attached to the sandy ocean bottom in shallow water.

Visitors to the area can enjoy the sculptures while scuba diving, snorkeling, or from a boat.

These amazing sculptures attract underwater enthusiasts from all over the world, and you cannot find anything like this in other areas.

Keep reading to learn how to visit the underwater museum. 

Musa Isla Mujeres Snorkeling Tour
Snorkeler among the statues at MUSA

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About Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA)

The idea to build MUSA started in 2005 when then marine park director Jaime Gonzalez Cano saw the damage being done to the most popular coral reefs in the area.

He realized that a large number of boats, divers, and snorkelers were harmful to the reef, so he wanted to build an artificial reef for visitors to enjoy.

Gonzalo Cano heard about a dive instructor and artist named Jason Taylor who was sculpting artificial reefs in the Caribbean and invited him to join the project.

Jason Taylor created the initial sculptures to be placed underwater, and then several national and international artists added their work to the project.

MUSA opened in 2010 with the mission to conserve coral reefs and promote new coral growth. 

📌 Where is the Cancun Underwater Museum located?

The Cancun Underwater Museum is located in the shallow waters between Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc in the Cancun National Marine Park.

There are installations of the project near Manchones Reef and Punta Nizuc.

There will be additional sculptures added near Chitales Reef in the near future.

These areas are all located off the coast of Cancun and Isla Mujeres, so you need to take a boat to visit the museum. 

PUnta nizuc drone view
Punta Nizuc

🔱 Underwater Sculptures in MUSA

The sculptures in MUSA were carefully designed with neutral ph concrete that will promote coral growth.

Before sinking the sculptures, they are carefully cleaned to guarantee there are no chemicals on them that will harm the surrounding reefs.

One of the most famous installations in the underwater museum is Taylor´s piece The Silent Evolution. It is made up of over 400 life-sized human figures.

These humans were inspired by the people who live in a local fishing village, and the piece is meant to show how humans have impacted nature.

One of the coolest things about these sculptures is Taylor intended for them to evolve over time, as nature reclaims the space.

The sculptures have many small, porous holes in them to promote growth and provide space for small animals to live.

When they were originally made, the sculptures had amazing detail, but over time, these details have been covered up by the growing corals and sponges.

Some of the other famous pieces are a full-size VW Beetle replica and a piece called The Banker that shows businessmen with their heads buried in the sand. 

Statues at MUSA
Statues at MUSA

🤿 Is the Cancun Underwater Museum worth it?

Yes! There are so many reasons you should make a trip to the underwater museum while in Mexico.

🗸 First, this project is unique and you cannot find anything like it in other places.

Most artificial reefs grew on top of shipwrecks or debris that ended up in the ocean.

The museum was intentionally sunk, and created with materials that are safe for the reef, to redirect visitors off the coral reefs.

🗸 Secondly, this gives a bit of a break to the reefs, with fewer divers and snorkelers who can potentially damage them.

The project helps bring awareness to the issues coral reefs are facing worldwide and supports projects that protect them.

🗸 Thirdly, the sculptures are always changing, so it is amazing to visit them over and over again. One thing that surprises many visitors is how much growth the sculptures have.

For years, the most common pictures online of MUSA were from when the sculptures were recently placed in the ocean.

Now, the sculptures are full of life and many of the concrete details have disappeared.

🗸 Lastly, it is fun! Whether you are a new snorkeler or an experienced diver, it is fun to swim around and see the interaction between the wildlife and the sculptures. 

Isla Mujeres Playa norte

How to Explore MUSA

You will need to go on an organized tour to visit the Cancun underwater museum. Here are the different ways you can do it:

✔️ Snorkeling

Taking a snorkel tour is a great way for everyone to enjoy MUSA.

You do not need any prior snorkeling experience, your guide will explain to you everything you need to know before getting in the water.

This is a great area to snorkel because the surface is generally calm, and the water is clear.

The statues are shallow, so you will be able to see them clearly while you float on the surface. 

✔️ Diving

Scuba diving is a great way to visit the museum if you want to get an up-close view of the statues.

Certified divers can sign up for boat trips that visit the underwater museum with their dive shop.

This area is great for divers of all skill levels. Beginner divers will benefit from the calm conditions and shallow depths.

Experienced divers will enjoy seeing something completely different than they normally do. 

If you are not dive certified but want to try scuba diving, there are a few ways you can visit MUSA.

First, you can try out scuba diving in the Mexican Caribbean for beginners. This is when you take a small introductory class with a dive instructor.

You will have a class in basic dive theory and then the chance to practice skills in the pool before going on the boat and scuba diving at the underwater museum.

You can also sign up for a full dive certification class, which will involve theory, additional pool work, and four dives in the ocean.

Your instructor can combine part of the class with a visit to the underwater museum! 

People Diving at Cancun Underwater Museum
People Diving at the MUSA

✔️ Boat Tour

If you are not comfortable getting into the water, there are still ways for you to visit the underwater museum. You can sign up for a boat tour on a glass-bottom boat.

These tours generally include refreshments and a cruise before arriving at the underwater museum.

From the comfort of the boat, you can look through the glass bottom of the boat and see the underwater sculptures. 

✔️ Jungle Tour

You can sign up for tours that let you drive high-speed boats through the mangroves.

There you will have great views of the coastal jungle.

After driving the boats, you will go to Punta Nizuc where you will be able to snorkel and visit a section of the underwater museum. 

✔️ See Replicas 

If you, or someone in your group, are unable or disinterested in getting in a boat to go to the underwater museum, you can see replicas of some of the statues on land.

In the Plaza Kulkulcan Mall, there are 26 replicas plus one original statue of the installation The Ocean Muse by Roberto Diaz Abraham.

Visitors who want to learn more about the project can check these out, without having to leave the shore. 

Recommended MUSA Tours

The Cancun Underwater Museum is in the waters between Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

You cannot reach the statues by swimming from the shore, you need to go on a tour.

The government controls which boats can visit MUSA, and you will need to go with an approved tour operator.

Here are some of the best tours to take to the underwater museum:

👉🏽 Cancun Underwater Museum Snorkel Tour

4.0 ⭐️ 201 Reviews

You will meet your guide at the marina, then board a highspeed boat to go to the underwater museum.

There your guide will give you a snorkel briefing before everyone hops into the water.

Your guide will be with you the entire time to help you feel comfortable and point out different marine life and make sure you do not miss any of the sculptures.

This snorkel tour includes snorkel equipment and fruit and refreshments on board. It lasts around 4 hours. 

Our guide was very attentive. Our safety was obviously the most important thing to him. They had good communication and explained every step.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sarah_Z, Sep 2022
statue underwater in isla mujeres

👉🏽 2-Hour Snorkeling Paradise Reef in Cancun Underwater Museum

4.5 ⭐️ 25 Reviews

Enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters of Punta Nizuc. You will take a boat ride to a floating platform at Punta Nizuc.

The platform makes water entry and exits easy, which makes this a great snorkel tour for families with children or new snorkelers.

Your guide will explain how to use the snorkel equipment, and you will have unlimited snorkeling off the platform.

Punta Nizuc has a shallow coral reef to enjoy and Taylor’s piece What Have We Done.

This installation of the underwater museum is made up of 23 structures for you to enjoy.

Your snorkeling tour includes beer and refreshments, and you can pack your own snack to enjoy. This tour lasts about 2 hours. 

Excellent staff and area to snorkel. The spot is in open waters so pay attention to the weather and currents.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A Tripadvisor Reviewer, Nov 2022
MUSA Beatle

👉🏽 Two Tanks Dives Cancun Underwater Museum for Certified Divers

5.0 ⭐️ 17 Reviews

Certified divers will enjoy this two-tank dive trip. You will meet at the dive shop where you will fill out your medical questionnaire and show your dive credentials before getting on the dive boat.

You will do your first dive at the underwater museum, where you will enjoy marine life and sculptures.

Your second dive will be at Manchones Reef.

Your tour includes all your dive equipment and docking fees, and the dive groups will be limited to six divers. This tour lasts four hours. 

Professional and meticulous staff. Terrific underwater visual experience. Huge sea turtles within arms length and amazing sea artifacts. Good pricing.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ kenneth_L, Dec 2021

👉🏽 2 Tank Dive MUSA and reef

4.5 ⭐️ 121Reviews

This two-tank boat dive tour is for certified divers to enjoy the colorful Mexican Caribbean waters. Your first dive will be at the Cancun Underwater Museum.

There you will have the chance to swim between the coral-covered statues and look for marine life.

You will do your second dive at a nearby reef where you will enjoy seeing a variety of fish and colorful corals.

The tour includes your dive equipment, and you can rent a wetsuit for an additional cost, as well as water and refreshments. The tour lasts 5 hours. 

Great dive. Guides were informative and attentive to the guests. I would highly recommend them. Easy to book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mark_H, Mar 2023

👉🏽 5-in-1 Cancun Snorkeling Tour: Swim with turtles, reef, MUSA, shipwreck, and Cenote

4.5 ⭐️ 962 Reviews

Explore the underwater world off the coast of Cancun with this family-friendly tour.

Your patient guide will help everyone feel comfortable in the water and have a good time. Your tour will take you to five different spots to see a variety of wildlife.

You will visit a shallow coral reef,  see the underwater structures at MUSA, go to an area where there is a good chance of seeing sea turtles, and snorkel above a shipwreck.

The last stop of the day will be to snorkel in a cenote. This tour lasts 3 and a half hours. 

Excellent experience with the family! Our operators were Moises, Juan and Eric. Strongly recommend this snorkeling tour!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Patrick_U, Apr 2023
Punta Nizuc Nichupte' lagoon

👉🏽 Jungle Tour & Snorkel at Punta Nizuc Reef, Underwater Museum

4.5 ⭐️ 141 Reviews

Explore the mangroves while driving your own speed boat.

You will be able to admire jungle views while you cruise around.

You will drive to Punta Nizuc where you will have the chance to snorkel on the reef and above section of the underwater museum.

Your jungle tour includes all equipment and lasts 2 and a half hours. 

Our tour guide Jose was awesome and personable. Bradley-the gentleman taking pics and video was fun and creative. The entire crew was professional and welcoming. We had a great time.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Jonathan_M, Mar 2023

How to get to MUSA

You can only visit MUSA on a tour. You can sign up to visit the museum on a snorkel, scuba diving, or glass bottom boat tour.

Tours from Cancun that take you to the underwater museum are popular, so make sure to book in advance. 

Cancun Underwater Museum Price

There is a $15 USD fee per person to visit the Cancun Underwater Museum.

Some tour operators include this price in your tour price, while others will ask you to pay it when you check in for your tour.

Check with your tour operator to know if it is included in or not in your tour.

Tips and things to consider when diving into MUSA

An underwater museum is a special place. Here are a few things to keep in mind to have fun on your visit and be a respectful visitor. 

👍🏼 Be a responsible traveler and diver

You might wanna ask if it is safe to travel to Cancun. The answer is definitely yes but it is important to be a responsible visitor to the underwater museum.

It’s safe to travel to Cancun but make sure to listen to your guide’s safety briefing and follow all the rules for visiting the marine park.

You can go above and beyond by trying to reduce your plastic consumption while on vacation by filling your water bottle with large jugs of filtered water. 

👍🏼 Do research about the sculptures

Everyone will enjoy looking at the sunken sculptures, but doing a bit of research before your visit will enhance your experience.

Knowing how the sculptures were built and sunk, and learning about the artists who made them will give you a deeper appreciation for the project.

You can learn about the artists on the official MUSA website.  

👍🏼 Check the weather condition

If you can, plan to visit the underwater museum on a sunny day that does not have much wind.

The best time to visit Cancun is during the dry season, from December to April.

Wind can make the surface of the ocean choppy, making it harder to enjoy your tour.

A sunny day will give you better light to enjoy the statues, whether you are snorkeling, scuba diving, or admiring them from the boat.

👍🏼 The boat and the sea can be a challenge

Almost everyone who hears about the underwater museum wants to visit it, but getting on and off a boat can be a challenge for some.

Do your research about what options are available for visiting the museum, and make sure everyone in your group is realistic about their ability to get on a boat and in and out of the water.

If you have specific questions, reach out to your tour operator. 

👍🏼 Wear eco-friendly sunscreens

The underwater museum is inside Cancun’s marine park. One of the rules to visit the marine park is no chemical sunscreen.

Make sure to use reef-friendly sunscreen, these are mineral based and usually contain zinc oxide. Avoid any sunscreen that has oxybenzone or octinoxate in them. 

Wearing a long-sleeve rash guard is another option.

👍🏼 Avoid touching marine creatures and the statues

The statues in the underwater museum are living creatures. They are covered in algae, sponges, and coral, so they should be treated with the same respect as all other marine life.

Do not touch them, and divers should make sure to practice good dive practices to avoid accidentally kicking them. 

👍🏼 Bring pesos/cash

You will want to take some cash with you on your tour. Most guides work very hard to keep you safe and make sure you have fun, and they deserve a tip for their efforts.

Depending on if your tour includes all docking fees and the fees to enter the marine park, you may need to pay those in cash upon check-in. 

Underwater museum WV BEATLE MUSA
Beetle in the Underwater Museum

Frequently Asked Questions about MUSA

What is a fun fact about Cancun Underwater Museum?

There are over 500 sculptures in the underwater museum, including a full-scale VW Beetle!

Which underwater museum is the best in Cancun?

The underwater museum is divided into galleries. The largest section is near Manchones Reef.

There you will find the famous piece The Silent Evolution, which is composed of over 400 figures. There is also a section of the museum near Punta Nizuc with 23 pieces. 

Why are there underwater statues in Cancun?

The underwater statues are artificial reef that was built to relieve stress on nearby coral reefs from human impact as well as promote new coral growth.

The underwater museum attracts visitors and creates awareness about the damage being done to coral reefs.

Can you snorkel in Cancun underwater museum?

Yes! You can take a boat snorkel tour to the underwater museum and snorkel above the statues.

The statues are in shallow, clear water, so you will be able to enjoy them while snorkeling on the surface.

What are the underwater statues of Cancun made of?

They are made from a ph neutral concrete that promotes coral growth. They were designed with holes throughout the structures to attract marine life to live in them. 

Punta Nizuc Canal
Punta Nizuc Canal

Wrapping Up: The Cancun Underwater Museum

If you want to have a unique and fun experience in Cancun, you do not want to miss out on a visit to the underwater museum.

Whether you are a certified diver, snorkeler, or someone who prefers to stay on the boat, there are tours that will let you enjoy this impressive work.

Now, over 10 years since the first sculptures were put on the ocean floor, you will be able to appreciate the coral growth they are promoting and how nature is reclaiming the space. 

Adrienne diving

About the Author

Adrienne Banka is a Michigander and fell in love with diving at 16 years old. Now she is an island living dive instructor turned brewmaster, turned mom.  When she is not in the water she enjoys riding her bike and chasing after her dog and her little girl. 

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