Cancun is best known for its beaches and nightlife – but is there anything else beyond 5-star Cancun resorts and world-class clubs? What to do in Cancun if you want to stay active on your holiday? We decided to go to museum! But this one was not a classical with paintings hanging on white walls and where you need to stay quiet. The Underwater Museum Cancun is the home of past, present and future. A place that was created by people taking care of the ocean’s future… Let us show you know what can you see on a Punta Nizuc snorkeling trip!
Underwater Museum Cancun – Sculptures under the sea
MUSA Cancun -Museo Subacuático de Arte- was founded in 2009. Today Underwater Museum Cancun consists of over 500 life-sized statues in the ocean featuring masterpieces from famous English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor whose sculptures can be found in underwater museum in Lanzarote too.
MUSA is now a top-rated Cancun attraction. The underwater statues are important for the environment and for the economy too. Cancun Underwater Museum helps the recovery of the natural reefs as it draws visitors away to this alternative site as well as benefits the community by attracting tourists. Sculptures are fixed to the seabed, made of special material which promotes coral life to turn the area into artificial reef.
Where is the Cancun Underwater Museum?
MUSA is a long-term project with permit to sink 1200 sculptures under the sea in 10 different areas around Cancun creating artificial reef system. So far 3 galleries have been developed:
Machones: first gallery, depth 8 m, snorkeling + diving, located off the coast of Isla Mujeres
Punta Nizuc: depth 4-5 m, snorkeling, located at the southern tip of Cancun’s hotel zone
Punta Sam: depth 3.5 m, snorkeling, newest gallery, few sculptures so far
Alhough Machones gallery is the best known with the Silent Evoultion 400 human figures installation, we found that it is too deep for snorkeling. Punta Sam is shallow, but there are only 2 installations at the moment. Punta Nizuc seemed to be the best choice for snorkeling with many different underwater statues to see at relatively shallow water.
Snorkel trip to Underwater Museum Cancun Punta Nizuc
There is not many information about Punta Nizuc snorkeling on the internet. Even locally, tour operators will offer you mainly Isla Mujeres snorkel trip with MUSA visit if you ask them about Underwater Museum snorkeling. (Some of them don’t even know Nizuc gallery) Punta Nizuc is not available from shore anymore for external visitors, since the beach belongs to hotels. We found only one tour to Nizuc: Aquaworld Cancun Paradise Snorkel Trip. You can book this trip in advance online, at some hotel or by some tour agent, we just walked into Aquaworld and signed up for the next departure. Punta Nizuc snorkeling trip costs 47 USD + 10 USD marine park/dock fee for adults, half price for kids. This includes snorkel equipment with life vest, guided tour plus soft drinks, beer on the boat and on floating platform.
Aquaworld Punta Nizuc snorkel trip
Price: 47 USD + 10 USD marine park/dock fee for adults, half price for kids
Included: snorkel equipment with life vest, guided tour, soft drinks plus beer
Departures from 9:00 am to 2:00pm from Aquaworld Marina
The boat will take you through the mangrove lagoon to Aquaworld’s floating platform next to Punta Nizuc reef. Aquaworld staff will give you life vest and so you are ready to start the guided snorkel trip! You will start with a swim over the corals then continue with underwater statues.
(Normally we don’t like guided tours, we prefer exploring reefs ourself, but in this case we were happy to have a guide! The visibility was very bad, sometimes we could not even see the sea bottom, so without our guide we did not manage to find the sculptures!)
Punta Nizuc Coral Reef
I think the statues are the main attraction not the corals in Punta Nizuc. You can find some spots with nice coral formation, hard corals and sea fans, but generally the inner small reef (where the trip takes you to snorkel) is not in a good condition with little life around. To see vibrant, colorful coral reef, we recommend snorkeling in Puerto Morelos!
Underwater sculptures seen while snorkeling- Punta Nizuc
The sculptures you will see vary depending on the conditions, on the tour you take. The most famous one you will see for sure: Understanding installation is only 1.8 m deep, you will see it easily from the surface by low visibility too.
The rest of the underwater statutes can be found deeper and it is tricky to find them if the water is not clear. The visibility is the best between May and July, when the sea is usually calm.
We have seen the following sculptures (See all photos in the Gallery):
- Reclamation (5 m)
- Gardener (3.5 m)
- Time Bomb Fuse (4.5 m)
- Time Bomb Mine (4.5 m)
- Inertia (5 m)
- Holy Man (5 m)
- No Title (5 m)
- Threshold (5 m)
- Underwater Musa (5 m)
- Void (5 m)
There are some more statues deeper that can be visited with Underwater Museum glass bottom boat trip or while scuba diving.