There are so many museums in the world, but have you ever seen one that’s completely submerged in the ocean? Yes, they do exist. The Cancun Underwater Museum is one of them.
This underwater museum in Cancun was spearheaded by Jamie Gonzales Cano – the director of National Marine Park – and Jason deCaires Taylor. Also known as Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), this submerged museum features hundreds of underwater statuses, each with a significant cultural and environmental meaning.
The main motive behind the underwater artwork was to contribute towards the preservation of the natural habitat and all elements of the marine ecosystem.
Ironically, some experts predict that the statues will eventually be damaged by the same elements of the ecosystem they sought to protect – coral reefs. But before then, make sure you’ve had your little piece of heaven from this underground paradise.
If you are thinking of taking a trip to this museum, here are a few things you should know.
5 Facts You Didn’t Know about the Cancun Underwater Museum
1. The Structures Can Withstand the Saline Sea Water for a Long Time
Contrary to what some people believe, the saline sea water will not erode the sculptures anytime soon. This is because they are made of PH-neutral concrete.
To encourage the growth of coral reefs and withstand the salinity of seawater, the structures were infused with sand, micro silica, and marine grade cement. The resultant PH-neutral mixture is then fortified with fiberglass rebar for solidity. Holes are also drilled in the structures to allow marine life to inhabit and feed off the coral reefs.
Since they are made with eco-friendly materials, all the statues are covered in coral and algae to make for an incredible sight.
2. Snorkeling is Not the Only Way to Take in the Beauty of the Underwater Museum
As much fun as it may sound, some people dread the idea of diving six feet into the ocean even with protective diving equipment. If you don’t want to get wet, you can still enjoy the scenic views of the Cancun Underwater Museum via an underground transparent glass tunnel.
Therefore, you shouldn’t let your fear for snorkeling prevent you from experiencing one of the most amazing man-made structures.
3. There are Two Main Underwater Sections in the Museum
MUSA boasts of two underwater areas – the Manchones Reef and the Punta Nizuc. Manchones Reef is larger and houses 477 underwater statues, while Punta Nizuc has 23 sculptures. That’s a total of 500 underwater statues!
Even better, the museum is expanding its underground area with more breathtaking structures. The new art gallery known as the Chitales is yet to be unveiled. It will use the artwork of a renowned Cuban sculptor, Elier Amado Gil.
As more artists and organizations continue to commit their efforts and resources to its expansion, you can expect the museum to be even more amazing.
4. The Underwater Statues Have a Deeper Meaning
One of the main reasons why tourists flock the museum is the unique aesthetics of the sculptures. Moreover, the water medium and the refraction of light gives the underwater sculptures a 3D mystique like no other. The clear contrast between synthetic and organic forms further highlights the artistic genius of these underwater statues.
While their beauty is well articulated for everyone’s viewing pleasure, the deeper meaning of these underwater statues often goes unnoticed.
Every piece has a story. For instance, the “Reclamation” statue — which was recrafted after being broken by a storm — bears a message of renewal and rebirth. The “Inertia”—which appears to be an overweight male watching TV from the comfort of his sofa with a hamburger on his lap—represents a socio-political commentary of individuals who neglect environmental causes.
There are other hundreds of sculptures that reflect how human beings destroy the nature with no remorse. So the next time you are there, don’t just look at the artwork, ask what they mean or represent.
5. The Museum Distracts You From the Actual Corals
One of the most amazing things about this underwater museum is that it serves to protect the natural ecosystem on multiple levels.
Its artwork bears important messages of environmental protection and actually act as a distraction by keeping tourists occupied on their tour and not disrupting the main coral reef system.
How Much Does Visiting the Cancun Underwater Museum Cost?
Surprisingly, visiting this one-of-a-kind underwater museum is way cheaper than you think. Currently, tickets are priced at $58 for adults and $29 for children (but can change depending on the season). You can visit the museum anytime between 9 AM and 5 PM every day.
MUSA is open all year round, however, since it also acts as a marine conservation area, you will need to be escorted by one of the museum’s professional guides to access the museum.