“This article may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, we will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.”
MUSAN, The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa in Cyprus is one of the most exciting and unique snorkeling spots in the Mediterranean region. It is in the marine park in Pernera Beach Agia Napa and features 93 statues forming an underwater forest consisting of various tree-form and plant installations with human figures between them – made by a British sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor.
Snorkeling in the MUSAN was the highlight of my snorkeling trip in Cyprus; swimming above and among these unique artworks made it an extraordinary experience.
If you are also considering visiting this spot (which I highly recommend if you are in Cyprus), here is a summary of what to expect and what to know about snorkeling in the underwater museum in Cyprus.
What Can You Expect From Snorkeling In MUSAN Underwater Museum Ayia Napa?
We arrived at the site, Pernera Beach, around 9:30am. When you drive on Nissi Ave (the main road of Ayia Napa), turn at Rossos Supermarket, where you see a huge MUSAN sign.
There is free parking directly at the beach. We could easily park our car as the parking lot was nearly empty, but it was low season (early November), so it might be more difficult in the high season when the area is more populated.
After changing to our swimsuit and getting our camera ready, we entered the water. There are several entry/exit points: a small concrete pier next to the MUSAN sign, a stainless steel ladder next to the info container, and a wooden pier a little further up.
You can choose any of them, the museum is about 200m/650ft off the shore, so you can get there with a short, approx. 3-5 minutes long swim.
The area where the underwater sculptures are is clearly marked and big orange buoys indicate the entrance. There are also floating platforms nearby to rest on if you get tired or want to warm up.
The statues are in 8.5-10m/28-33ft deep water, but since the visibility is excellent (20-30m/65-98ft), all installations are visible while swimming at the surface, making the MUSAN enjoyable for snorkelers too, not only for divers.
If you can skin dive, you can easily get close to the sculptures to observe better and take good photos of them. We dove down several times and really enjoyed swimming between the unique installations and having a closer look at them. It was cool to see how precise the figures are and how algae and coral settle on the statues, turning them into reefs to attract marine life.
The concept of MUSAN was to create an underwater forest consisting of various tree-form sculptures and human figures to draw attention to a very important topic: how people sacrificed our planet for money and how important it is to re-establish the connection between humans and nature.
The sculptures are divided into 4 zones, the Cypress Pavilion, Floating Forest, Urchin Forest and the Feather Star Forest. Each zone consists of various plant- and tree installations with children and adult human statues between them.
According to the concept, the adult figures dressed in suits represent the human race that destroys our planet for money, while the forest people try to hide from them between the remaining trees. Some figures hold cameras, pointing them at the people in power, making them responsible for damaging nature.
All in all, The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa is a must-visit snorkeling spot in Cyprus. I liked that the sculptures are tall and not too deep so everyone can see them, even those who float on the surface and don’t dive down. The idea behind the installations is very actual and makes everyone think about what is happening with our planet and the environment. If you can, I recommend visiting it in the morning when there are fewer people in the water and the water is calmer and clearer.
Useful Information & FAQs
Where is MUSAN?
The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa is in Cyprus, just off Pernera Beach in the Agia Napa Marine Protected Area. (Google Map link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/xzoNZWJNnZxiahye8)
Do you need to buy a ticket to enter MUSAN?
Visiting MUSAN is free now; you don’t need to pay an entrance fee or buy a ticket. However, according to their official site, they plan to schedule the visits based on a reservation system through local dive centers, which might charge a fee that will be used for the maintenance of the marine park. Please visit the official website and/or contact the museum for updates.
When is the Ayia Napa Underwater Museum open?
The underwater museum is open year-round, daily from 10 am to 4 pm, according to MUSAN website. This is the opening time of the Museum’s tourist information center next to the beach, but in reality, you can visit it from sunrise till sunset.
The site is closed on days with bad weather conditions (they post such announcements on MUSAN Facebook page)
How deep is the water at MUSAN?
The sculptures are in 8.5-10 meters (28-33ft) deep water.
Who made the underwater statues?
The underwater sculptures are made by Jason deCaires Taylor. The British sculptor is famous for addressing today’s hot problems (such as climate change, the destruction of the environment, the impact of social media on society etc…) and helping the environment at the same time.
Why are the sculptures so special?
These modern underwater art statues and installations were designed to benefit the environment: they are made from low-carbon, pH-neutral materials that help life to settle on them, turning the area into an artificial reef, attracting marine species and enriching biodiversity.
Can you see something else besides the underwater sculptures?
As the underwater museum was created with the purpose of creating an artificial reef and providing habitat for species, it attracts a good amount of marine life to the area. Besides common Mediterranean fish species (wrasses, parrot fish), you can see lionfish, squids, octopus, sea horses around the statues. You might encounter a turtle or even a sea lion if you are lucky.
What is the best time to visit MUSAN?
MUSAN can be visited all year round when the weather is good and the sea is calm. For snorkeling, the best time to visit is the summer, when the water is warm, so you can swim around and observe the statues comfortably.
However, the area is very busy during June, July and August. Hence, I recommend coming in the shoulder season (between late September and early November) when the weather conditions are ideal for late summer escape. Still, there are fewer around so you can avoid the crowds, find parking quickly and also the room rates are lower.
What is the best time of the day to visit the Museum Of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa?
Morning is the best time of the day to go snorkeling in the MUSAN. There are fewer people around in the morning, and also the visibility is better than later in the day.
Is the water cold? Should I wear a wetsuit?
If you come in the high season (during summer), you don’t need a wetsuit as the sea is warm (27-28°C/ 80.6-82.4°F). We visited MUSAN in early November and the water was comfortable for snorkeling without a wetsuit; it was 25°C/ 77°F, so we only used our UPF swimshirts we always wear for sun protection.
If you come during the winter months, you must wear a wetsuit as the water is cold (17-20 °C/ 62.6-68°F) between December and April.
How long to stay?
You need about 1-2 hours to visit MUSAN, swim around in it, and see all the statues comfortably. However, if you want, you can spend the whole day here as it is a lovely, family-friendly sandy beach.
Are the facilities at the beach?
Pernera Beach, where MUSAN is situated, has showers, toilets and sunbed rental. Many supermarkets and restaurants are within walking distance on the nearby Nissi Ave, Ayia Napa’s main road.