What’s safer than wreck diving and a thousand times more exciting than a conventional museum? Explore the underworld wonderment and eerie adventure at MUSA underwater museum. How perfect for an intrepid water baby! Next stop, Cancun!
Cancun has a reputation for being little more than a party destination. But it’s more than just a place where the margaritas flow and the sand is the colour of coconut meat. There’s more here than meets the eye. Each year huge numbers of tourists flock to the coral reef sites of Cancun. All eager to swim amongst turtles, starfish and other marine life.
But the desire to find Nemo isn’t without its drawbacks! As a result of the consistent flow of visitors, Cancun’s natural areas were put under immense pressure. And this is where the environmentally friendly MUSA – or The Underwater Museum of Art – comes to the rescue.
MUSA is an artificial reef created to breed and promote marine life. By diverting attention away from overpopulated natural areas and minimising environmental impact, the authentic reefs get a well-deserved breather.
The ambitious installation was set up in 2009 by a marine conservationist and a British artist. There are 500 (yes, really!) life-sized sculptures resting 28-feet below sea level. The sculptures are made out of PH-neutral concrete that encourages plant growth which fish can nibble on.
And who exactly are the statues depicting? Well, it turns out the majority are casts of the local Mexican community. You’ll also notice everyday commodities in the mix, such as televisions and a VW Beetle. They represent all walks of life and each exhibit has a powerful message; be it one of capitalism, evolution or redemption.
While the statues themselves don’t look all that perturbing, once they are plunged into the ocean floor they begin to grow thick layers of algae. And that’s when things get a bit Dawn of the Dead.
But don’t panic, reader. You’ll be in the safe hands of a professional who will guide you through the museums most thought-provoking exhibits. To start, swim through Man on Fire, The Anchors and The Resurrection.
For those taking their first foray into the world of deep sea diving, instructors will show you the ropes. And if you don’t fancy sticking your head underwater at all, you can observe the museum from a glass bottom boat.
Experience an aquatic netherworld, do your bit for the planet, be Ariel for a day and befriend an obscure fish. It’s all happening in the waters surrounding Cancun.
MUSA Cancun Underwater Museum, Mexico
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays all year round.
What you need to know:
You’ll be accompanied by a guide but will need to hold an up to date diving certification to enter the museum. If you don’t have one, you can take a course for an additional £62.