AAA Editor Notes
Underwater Museum of Art (Museo Subacuático de Arte), or MUSA, is at Blvd. Kukulcán Km 15.3. This “museum” comprises two separate installations submerged in the waters off Cancún Island. The project, begun in 2009, was a conservation effort aimed at creating an artificial reef environment that would be inhabited and eventually colonized by coral and other marine species. The goal was to not only create a new reef habitat but to help protect existing reefs from encroachment by recreational scuba divers and snorkelers.

Approximately 500 sculptures, many of them life-size human figures, were created from PH-neutral cement and anchored securely to the substrate. Many of the models were residents of nearby Puerto Morelos. The sculptures include holes that enable algae to form and coral polyps to more easily gain a footing, thus encouraging sea life to feed off the coral. Such an artificial habitat is more conducive to the growth of coral and subsequent reef formation than sunken ships and other objects that come to rest on the sea floor.

The majority of the sculptures are concentrated in an area near Manchones Reef, between the mainland and Isla Mujeres, where the water is approximately 30 feet deep. A much smaller sculptural grouping is off Nizuc Point, at the southern end of the Hotel Zone, in waters approximately 12 feet deep. This otherworldly submerged display can be viewed on a glass-bottom boat tour or on guided scuba diving or snorkeling excursions.

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