The Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum, or MUSA as it is known locally, is a subaquatic art installation and the largest of its kind in the world. The museum seamlessly integrates environmental awareness with art and an underwater adventure, making this a popular tourist attraction in Isla Mujeres.
The installation is relatively new, with the project having kicked off in 2009. There are now over 500 sculptures installed on the seabed for tourists to enjoy. The creators of the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum designed the museum to embody an artificial reef to attract marine life to the area. The cement in fact encourages growth of diverse types of coral, which in turn provides protection and nourishment for sea creatures.
Some of the sculptural exhibits you expect to see when you tour the museum include:
The Volkswagen Beetle
Expect to see a life-size replica of the iconic VW Beetle at the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum! It’s hollow shell provides a safe haven for lobsters, crabs, sea urchins and many other crustaceans. From an environmental standpoint, the sculpture is a subtle commentary on the consumption of fossil fuels.
The Silent Evolution
This exhibit is the biggest installation at MUSA, comprising 400 life-size sculptures of people to showcase the local culture including clothing and occupations. It’s quite a spectacular feat to see!
Practice your swimming skills at the Seascape Rings and swim through hoop-shaped sculptures of various sizes.
Urban Reef House
Bet you never thought you’d see a whole tiny house under the sea! The Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum even includes an underwater suburbia for sea creatures! The homes have been specially designed to provide shelter and protection for reef inhabitants.
Where is the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum located?
The museum lies between Isla Mujeres and the Punta Nizuc coast near Cancun. It is easily accessible by boat from both Isla Mujeres and Cancun.
How deep is the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum?
The Underwater Museum reaches a depth of 30 feet (or 10 meters). The crystal clear Caribbean Sea waters provide incredible visibility of up to 60 geet (or 18 meters), making most of the larger sculptures visible from the surface of the water. Water temperatures generally linger around 82℉ (or 28℃).
How do you get to the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum?
You can access the Museum from both Isla Mujeres and Cancun on sailboats or catamarans, depending on which tour you choose. You cannot hop on a boat and explore the museum yourself. Your hotel should be able to arrange a tour for you or you can book directly with your preferred tour operator.
What do Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum tours include?
Most of the tour packages are jam-packed with extras. The tour that departs from Cancun, operated by Ecotourismo Cancun, is a full day tour lasting around 7 or 8 hours limited to 16 passengers at a time. Depart Cancun on a spacious Catamaran and sail off to Isla Mujeres. Once at the museum, your guide will supervise you as you snorkel around the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum. The tour then heads to the main island where you will have free time to explore the town. Meet back up with your group for the inclusive lunch and sail to Playa Norte for an afternoon of sunbathing and swimming. On board, there is a restroom and open bar.
For serious divers, a tour that departs from Isla Mujeres itself – operated by Mexico Divers – lasts for 4 hours and includes 2 dives in the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum, all your equipment as well as coffee and snacks. Open water certification is required to dive for kids aged 10 onwards and adults.
How much does it cost to visit Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum?
The cost depends very much on which tour operator you go with and the type of tour you’re looking to experience. A catamaran cruise and snorkeling tour starts at around $120. The scuba diving tour of the museum starts from around $111. Your resort should be able to advise you on prices and the best tour operators departing from nearby your hotel for your convenience.
What other attractions are close to Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum?
While you’re on the water, some fabulous attractions are a short boat ride away! Your tour operator may stop at these attractions as part of your tour or if you’ve arranged a private tour, you can make a special request.
Punta Sur and Ruins of Ixchel
Punta Sur is an ecological park at the southernmost tip of Isla Mujeres. Stand atop the cliffs at Punta Sur and watch the sunrise with incredible views of the Gulf of Mexico. Along the winding pathways, you’re treated with 23 sculptures creating a sensational outdoor art exhibit. After your stroll through the sculpture garden, it’s time to explore the historic Ruin of Ixchel. The Goddess Ixchel is a symbol of femininity, fertility, love and healing.
Mosey along and you’ll stumble upon the old fisherman’s lighthouse nestled amongst a number of restaurants. Sip a cold Mexican beer and feast of fresh seafood on the terrace to charge your batteries.
Garrafon Natural Reef Park
For adventure seekers, what better way to follow up on a snorkelling tour of the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum than with a visit to the thrilling Garrafon Adventure Park! Go ziplining, kayaking or relax in the inviting swimming pool. Help yourself to the delicious buffet showcasing local flavors and to drinks from the open bar. The perfect way to top off an adventure-packed day!
The Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum is one attraction that is not to be missed when visiting this charming island! Seeing life-size sculptures and the vibrant marine life up-close is an experience you won’t soon forget.