The Underwater Museum (MUSA)

A photo of underwater statues.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

You’d never know just looking at it, but there is a drove of treasure beneath the waters of the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s extraordinary, it’s exquisite, and it’s one of the most magnificent sights a person could ever behold. It’s called the MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) and it consists of dozens of sculptures, some of which are only accessible via scuba diving.

In all honesty, it’s kind of creepy. Dozens of human-like statues stand on the sea floor, as if they were alive at one point. One can hardly look it without being reminded of the mythical city of Atlantis. But there are no fables here; just a really unique museum that doubles as a conservation effort.

According to the MUSA, the Cancun-Isla Mujeres Park gets over 750,000 visitors each year, making it one of the most frequented stretches of water in the world. While this level of tourism is great in an economic sense, it’s not so great in an environmental sense. In fact, it takes a tremendous toll on natural resources.

And that’s why three leading figures teamed up to create MUSA: Jaime González Cano, Director of the National Marine Park, Roberto Díaz Abraham, former President of the Cancun Nautical Association, and world-renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. These three individuals founded the museum back in 2009 as way to draw attention away from Cancun-Isla Mujeres Park. It’s worked wonderfully so far, and Cancun-Isla Mujeres Park is already beginning to recover some of its natural reefs.

CNN Travel gave the museum rave reviews, writing that, “The museum comprises more than 400 original sculptures, which also serve as artificial reefs. Many are of human figures, making the ocean floor resemble some beautifully spooky lost world, its inhabitants frozen in space and time.” And even if you can’t scuba dive, never fear: the museum is accessible via snorkeling and glass bottom boat as well.

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