Underwater Museum Cancun & Isla Mujeres: Scuba diving at the famous MUSA
Cancun’s and Isla Mujeres’ underwater museum the MUSA, or Museum Subacuático de Arte, is a must-see for any avid scuba diver and marine life enthusiast. It’s one of the best dive sites in Cancun. Located within the National Marine Park of Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún, and Punta Nizuc, MUSA is the largest underwater museum in the world with over 500 sculptures and exhibits.
(Sorry for the poor photo quality – I took them in 2019 with an old action camera)
Visitors can explore the vast array of underwater statues, ranging from large-scale figures to abstract works. The museum also features a diverse range of sculptures depicting the Maya culture and local wildlife such as turtles, rays, and dolphins. Divers have the unique opportunity to observe the marine life inhabiting MUSA’s colorful coral formations. The underwater museum is near the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest barrier reef system in North America.
About the MUSA underwater museum in Cancun
Established in 2010, Cancun’s Underwater Museum of Art is an ocean conservation project to help restore damaged coral reefs. The 500+ life-size statues were constructed with PH-neutral marine concrete, and their purpose is to provide extra space for sea life colonization as a means of fighting against the destructive effects of climate change on marine life.
From the beginning, the goal was to create an artificial reef with sculptures crafted from marine concrete. Algae began to form on the statues first, and then smaller polyps started growing too. Nowadays, some of these monuments are entirely covered in algae, while others feature amazing coral formations that transform their facial features into something truly incredible.
Beyond status, sunken cars like an iconic Volkswagen Käfer, bicycles, swim-through gates, or other art objects can be explored. The depth varies on the location between 9 and 30 feet (3 to 9 meters). This makes it not just great for a relaxed, long scuba dive for all levels but also ensures a great experience for snorkelers alike.
The dive plan for MUSA, Cancun/Isla Mujeres
Often you will only be on a small boat and at various locations. It takes about 25 minutes from Cancun. Most divers need to roll off the boat backward to enter the water.
When the entire group is in the water, you descend to the bottom at a depth of no more than 30 feet (9 meters). Due to the great visibility – often more than 65 feet (20 meters) – you probably get a glimpse at the first art sculptures already.
The sculptures and other art objects are submerged all over the area. Therefore, your dive guide will plan the best route for you and show you the best places.
The underwater museum scuba dive in Cancun is a shallow dive, and therefore you get a lot of bottom time. The current is almost zero to none, and therefore you won’t have to fight and use up your air. Hence, many dives last a full hour.
The water temperature ranges from 73 to 78 F (23-26C) in the winter and 82 to 84 F (27-29C) in the summer. A great location for just diving in a shorty wetsuit.
Most dive operators combine the MUSA with a second dive at the Manchones Reef.
MUSA underwater museum dive site brief
- Access: From boat
- Maximum depth: 30 feet/ 9 meters
- Visibility: 65+ ft/20 m
- Dive time: 50 – 60 minutes
- Certification level: Open Water
- Water temperature: 73 – 82 F/ 23 – 84 F
- Current: Low
- Type: Shallow dive
What to see at the MUSA in Cancun when scuba diving?
The underwater museum of art in Cancun is home to some truly unique pieces of artwork. With over 500 sculptures, the site spans an impressive total area of 420,000 square feet (39,000 square meters).
Scuba divers can encounter an abundance of marine life while exploring the statues, including turtles, eels, stingrays, and a variety of other fish species. If you are lucky, you may even find a shark roaming around.
When is the best time to visit the underwater museum in Cancun and Isla Mujeres?
In the winter months, there is less rain, and it’s not as hot as in the summer months. Therefore, the best time to visit and scuba dive at the underwater museum in Cancun and Isla Mujeres is between November and April.
What certification is required to dive at the MUSA in Mexico?
Diving at the underwater museum MUSA in Cancun and Isla Mujeres is ideal for every level of scuba diver. The minimum requirement is the Open Water certification. However, many SSI and PADI operators conduct discovery dives here. In fact, one of my scuba buddies did his first discovery dive here and obviously got sucked in.
How much is a dive at the underwater museum in Cancun and Isla Mujeres?
Usually, a two-tank scuba dive at the underwater museum and nearby reefs in Cancun and Isla Mujeres is around the 90 to 110 USD mark. Check with your dive center if the rental gear and national park entrance fee are already included.