Underwater Museum Cancun – Punta Nizuc snorkeling

Cancun is best known for its beaches and nightlife – but is there anything else beyond the 5-star resorts and world-class clubs? What to do in Cancun if you want to stay active on your holiday? Well, we decided to go to the 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… Are you interested? Then keep reading to get all information on the Punta Nizuc snorkeling trip that allows you to explore a different world under the sea!

What is the Underwater Museum Cancun?

MUSA Cancun -Museo Subacuático de Arte- was founded in 2009 with the purpose of creating artificial reefs to attract marine life and like this, new dive and snorkel sites. Today the Underwater Museum Cancun consists of more than 500 life-sized statues in the ocean featuring masterpieces from the famous English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor whose sculptures can be found in several places all over the world including the underwater museum in Lanzarote too.

underwater museum cancun
Reclamation – MUSA

MUSA is now a top-rated Cancun attraction. The underwater statues are important for the environment and for the economy too. The 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. The sculptures are fixed to the seabed, made of a special material that promotes coral life to turn the area into an artificial reef.

Where are the underwater statues?

MUSA is a long-term project with a permit to sink 1200 sculptures under the sea in 10 different areas around Cancun creating artificial reef systems. So far, 3 galleries have been developed at the following locations:
Machones: first gallery, maximum depth 8 m/26ft, snorkeling + diving possible, located off the coast of Isla Mujeres
Punta Nizuc: maximum depth 4-5 m/13-16ft, best for snorkeling, located at the southern tip of Cancun’s hotel zone
Punta Sam: depth 3.5 m/11.4ft, snorkeling, newest gallery, so far few sculptures only

Cancun - PuntaNizuc
Cancun – Punta Nizuc

Although the Machones gallery is the best-known thanks to the worldwide-famous Silent Evolution installation that features 400 human-sized figures, we found that it is too deep for snorkeling, therefore not so enjoyable. Punta Sam is shallow, but there are only 2 installations at the moment. To cut it short, for snorkeling Punta Nizuc is the best choice that has many different underwater statues to see at relatively shallow water.

Punta Nizuc snorkeling

There is not much information available about Punta Nizuc snorkeling options on the internet. Even locally, most tour operators offer the main Isla Mujeres snorkel trip that includes a stop at the MUSA Machones if you ask them about snorkeling in the Underwater Museum (some of them don’t even know where is the Nizuc gallery).

A few years ago, Punta Nizuc was available from the shore for free but it is not anymore since the beach became a private. We found only one tour to takes you directly to the Nizuc gallery which is the Aquaworld Cancun Paradise Snorkel Trip.

Aquaworld Punta Nizuc snorkel trip

If you decide to go snorkeling in Punta Nizuc, you can book the trip in advance online, or locally in bigger hotels or via tour agent, but it is not necessary. We just walked into the Aquaworld and signed up for the next departure.

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 2:00 pm from Aquaworld Marina

Aquaworld snorkeltrip boat to underwater museum
Aquaworld boat – this one goes to the underwater museum


The boat will take you through the mangrove lagoon to Aquaworld’s floating platform next to Punta Nizuc reef where the Aquaworld’s staff will give you a life vest and so you are ready to start the guided snorkel trip! You will start with a swim over the corals then continue your way to the underwater statues.

Timebomb Cancun
Timebomb Cancun

(Normally we don’t like guided tours, we prefer exploring reefs ourselves, 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 all the sculptures!)

Underwater statues to see in 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 even if the visibility is bad.

Understanding sculpture  - Punta-Nizuc Musa
Statues to see on an Underwater museum Snorkeling trip – The Understanding installation

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.

The following sculptures can be found in the gallery: (See them in the video below or 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 seen if you join the Underwater Museum glass bottom boat trip or go scuba diving.

Tip: did you know that you can see some underwater statues also in Cozumel? Find out in our Cozumel snorkeling guide where!

The Nizuc Reef

I must say that the statues are the main attraction not the corals in Punta Nizuc, however, beginner snorkelers might find also the reef enjoyable. You can see some smaller coral formations, hard corals and sea fans, but generally, the inner small reef (where the Paradise trip takes you to snorkel) is not in a good condition with little life around.

Coral reef - Punta Nizuc
Punta Nizuc Reef

To see vibrant, colorful coral reefs, we recommend snorkeling in Puerto Morelos or discovering Tulum snorkel spots!

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Punta Nizuc underwater Museum statue

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

2 thoughts on “Underwater Museum Cancun – Punta Nizuc snorkeling

  • 2018-03-05 at 07:36
    Permalink

    Please clarify the price discrepancy. Your site shows $47 + 10, but we downloaded the information from the Aquaworld site, and it is $58. Is it because it includes the dock fee?

    We’d also like to know approximately how many statues we’d be able to see. Another site states 16, but we know there are around 500.

    We will be there the second week in May so are hoping for clear waters to see as many as possible.

    Mahalo and Aloha,
    Bonnie and Jerry Stowe
    Kauai

    Reply
    • 2018-03-05 at 12:29
      Permalink

      Hello Bonnie and Jerry,
      We are happy to help you 🙂

      The Underwater Museum in Cancun has 3 different galleries and they are located on different places around Cancun.

      We visited the Punta Nizuc Gallery, which can be found just the end of the hotel zone on the south of Cancun. The photos you see in our post and in our gallery were taken on this place. This trip called Paradise Snorkeling on Aquaworld’s site and it costs 47 USD + 10 USD marina park fee (if you book it online or via tour operators, the price can be different) The avarage depth in Punta Nizuc is around 4-5-6 meters, so if the visibility is good you will see the sculptures, one of them can be found at 1.5 m deep.

      The bigger installation with around 500 statues can be found in other gallery of the museum of the coast of Isla Mujeres, this is a different tour called MUSA tour on Aquaworld.com and yes, you are right this costs 58 USD and it is written on the site that marine park fee is not included. We did not visit this gallery because the average depth is around 8 m, so if the visibilty is not good (like it was in December for us) you won’t see anything in the water… Our tour guide told us that the clarity is getting better from April so I think you will have clear water!

      If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

      Have a great day, Anett

      Reply

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