Where To Scuba Dive an UNDERWATER Art Museum!

MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun

Most people have likely seen photos of an underwater museum on social media or some Buzzfeed article, but thought we’d never be in a situation to see one ourselves.

So imagine my surprise when I’m looking for interesting excursions to do while on my trip to Cancun, and find out there’s a freakin’ underwater museum not even 45 minutes from my hotel!

Given that the dive is only 8 meters, and the average recreational diver usually dives around 40 meters, I knew that this was also the perfect place to get my fins wet and do my very first scuba dive.

Be sure to check out the video I made of my experience and the museum, so you know exactly what to expect!

But wait, I don’t know how to scuba dive. Do I have to be certified?

Scuba Diving, Underwater Museum, MUSA, Cancun

The Aquaworld diving pool, where we get our first experience in the scuba gear!

I always thought you had to be certified to dive at all, but found out that’s only for solo dives! If you’re with a certified dive master, you can dive with zero experience (i.e. me) down to 60ft.

However, please make sure you’re with a well-reviewed and reputable company, and that you’re well-informed on pre-, during, and post- diving procedures. Diving can be very dangerous, and especially uncertified, you’re always diving at your own risk.

That being said, I felt that I had a 100% safe time, and would do it again in a heartbeat! I absolutely recommend the dive I did, with the company I did it with.

I did the MUSA tour through Aquaworld, who I highly recommend because they go the distance in terms of safety, efficiency, and great attitude. Aquaworld was a 30 minute drive from our hotel in Puerto Morelos, but it’s about 1 hour and 15 minutes from the main tourist strip of Cancun. (I realized afterward that booking my ticket through my resort cost 110USD, but on their website it’s only 50USD!)

Once you get to Aquaworld you have a 1 hour training sessions where they teach you about all of the equipment—using the regulator, buoyancy control device (BCD), submersible pressure gauge (SPG), etc. 

They also taught us about equalizing our ears, the importance of not holding our breath, and how to navigate underwater properly.

It may seem easy to be overwhelmed by the equipment and science that allows you to breathe underwater for extended periods of time, but after an hour I felt very comfortable sitting 3 meters underwater in the pool!

Once they made sure none of us are going to panic or try to breathe out of the pressure gauge, we took a 30 minute boat ride out to Isla Mujeres for the main event.

Once strapped up, we split into groups of around 8, including the dive master and underwater photographer, to do our “tour” of the museum and jump into the water.

You’re then led over to a rope where they slowly lower you down the 8 meters, making sure you’re okay while you equalize your ears.

Have you ever scuba dived? How about through... an UNDERWATER MUSEUM? Click To Tweet

So what do you actually see once you’re down there?

Once you’re on the ocean floor, the tour begins.

MUSA stands for the Museo Subacuático de Arte, which means Underwater Art Museum en español.

The original intent of the project was to fight back the destruction of the coral reefs due to climate change and human interaction. So, in the museum you’ll see over 455 submerged statues and art pieces that now serve home to hundreds of colonies of undersea life.

I saw a small house, a Volkswagen Beetle, hundreds of statues, large mines, and so much more (of course, all made from cement), which you can see in the photos below.

Once the tour began, the fact that I was suddenly scuba diving an underwater museum 8 meters underwater when I had zero experience that same morning made my mind race! Of course I was also trying to absorb all of the visual stimulation of fishes and art installation, and trying to take photos and video the entire time. It really took me a second to remember that I was still in a museum, and try to focus on each art piece.

Interestingly enough, the statues themselves have an incredible tie to the local community—they are the community!

Most of these models [for the statues] were locals from Puerto Morelos, a nearby fishing village to the south of Cancun. A 5-year-old boy sat for over an hour whilst he was covered with marine cement, other statues were made from a pregnant lady, a nun, a local fisherman as well as a model and a famous British TV presenter. (Aqua World)

Isn’t that insane, but so cool ?! Each statue is a living and breathing person in the community. With over 800,000 tourists visiting the coral reefs each year, I would imagine the locals are frustrated or at least annoyed by the crowds and their negative effect on the reef.

But a project like this that involves the people so directly, is a huge step in the right direction for the reef.

MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light
MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light
MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light
MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light
MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light
MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light
MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light
MUSA Underwater Museum Cancun | Packs Light

Do I need anything before I go?

Like I said, you don’t have to have any experience scuba diving so you don’t worry about being certified. But, if you are certified, make sure you bring your PADI scuba diving card! You get a bit more freedom during the tour.

All scuba diving equipment is provided for you, and you can rent wetsuits if you want to as well.

Also, before buying your ticket make sure you’re physically fit to scuba dive. Do you have an ear infection/ear ache? Do you have respiratory problems like asthma? Do you panic in large open spaces or small spaces? If you have any issues, talk to a doctor even before your trip to make sure you’re able to dive safely.

Other than that, don’t forget your sunscreen and your underwater camera like my Go Pro Her 4 (affiliate link), and you’re ready to go!

It’s not every day one gets to see an underwater museum, especially in a gorgeous place like Mexico. Be sure to cross this adventure off of your bucket list!

Happy diving! 

Drop a comment below this post if you would do this! Have any equally as unique dives you’ve done? Where were they?

Check out the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), in Cancun, MX! Scuba dive it with no previous experience, and cross this off of your bucket list!

Pin me baby, one more time.

Check out the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), in Cancun, MX! Scuba dive it with no previous experience, and cross this off of your bucket list!

Oops, you pinned it again *wink*


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31 Discussion to this post

  1. Leigh says:

    I get so nervous with those tanks – they seem so heavy! But looks like an amazing experience!

  2. Patricia says:

    Wow!! I’ve always wondered about this kind of thing, and it’s so exciting that you actually got to do it. Like you, I assumed you had to be certified to try it. I had no idea it would be so easy to get to diving! I would love to do this, and I think Andy would be down for it. The statues add this fascinating yet haunting quality that would make the whole experience something I would never forget. Amazing!

  3. Miranda says:

    omg this is SO COOL. Honestly, I’d never heard of an underwater museum until now haha. But its totally on my bucket list now!!

  4. WOW! Definitely a must place for every scuba diver. I will include this in my bucket list once I visit Mexico.

  5. Wow! This is quite an experience.
    I have not heard about this incredible museum before. Thanks a lot for sharing this.
    Loved reading your post.

  6. Fiona Mai says:

    Such an awesome experience! Glad to know that you don’t need to be a certified diver in order to do this experience. After reading this I think I might need to consider buying a good underwater camera now.

  7. Oh wow, what an amazing first dive!!! I have wanted to dive one of these for ages! I think the beetle would have been my favourite!

  8. Wow – this looks amazing! Definitely adding it to the list! We have beautiful diving where we are too – but this is a really interesting idea! 🙂

  9. This is cool. I love the pictures!

  10. What an awesome experience!!!!! I love that they combined the good work of “seeding” the reef with environmentally aware tourism. And at $50, that’s a real bargain. I haven’t been too inclined to go to Cancun because I shy away from beach-only vacations, but I’m definitely putting it on my list thanks to your post 🙂

  11. Chiera says:

    This is so cool! I definitely want to get Scuba certified one day! How luch that this was only 45 minutes from your hotel! At for such a good price aswell! Amazing

  12. Diana says:

    Wow this is so cool! I can’t believe there’s a museum 8 meters underwater! I’ve never scuba dived before but it’s definitely something I want to do. Would love to check this out!

  13. Helene says:

    I love this post! I did scuba diving in Indonesia on Lembongan island and enjoyed it loads!:) thanks for sharing:)

  14. McKenna says:

    This looks incredible! I would love to go some day!

  15. Elise says:

    I’m so glad I read this! I had no idea that 1) this project was to re-grow the marine life/corals! and 2) That there are 455 and they are actually models of REAL PEOPLE. That is so cool! Enjoyed your footage – I’ve never scuba dived but this looks like a good intro – not too deep and no scary big fish (with teeth!)

  16. Scuba diving has always freaked me out! I’m not a fan when it comes to being too far out in the ocean, so I don’t think I’d enjoy it too much! Which is super disappointing, because this looks absolutely incredible! So cool to see up close 🙂 Great photos, too!

  17. Okay, that might be a little bit stupid and I\ve heard different versions – I can’t swim, do you know if it’s possible to dive with an instructor?

    • Gabby says:

      I wouldn’t recommend this dive if you can’t swim, but yes this is always an instructor. You could also look at the snorkeling alternative so that you have a life vest and can just float around!

  18. This is so cool! My husband and I have been wanting to dive and so I’ve been looking for places to dive without needing our certification!

  19. tania says:

    wowww!!! thanks for so many important information! loved your writing and pics by the way!

  20. Anisa says:

    Your pictures are incredible! I am not sure about scuba diving though. Would you be able to see much if you just snorkeled?

    • Gabby says:

      Thanks, I appreciate it! And YES, this same company has a snorkel tour where you can see some of the statues in the shallower areas of the reef! Also a great option 🙂

  21. Vanessa says:

    This looks really cool. I’m a little nervous to scuba dive, but that fact that it’s not too deep makes me feel better. I’ll have to check this out when I’m in Mexico.

  22. Claudia says:

    Wow, I had no idea of an underwater museum. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Jen says:

    This is great! I’m glad you were able to fit in this experience, and that your guide was so helpful and informative! I love your photos, it’s such an amazing place! Pinned and tweeted 🙂

  24. Ana Ro says:

    After reading this, I’m torn. On one side, it looks really cool, on the other side with my fright of water this looks like my worst nightmare come true! 😀 It is a great post though, very informative and inspiring!

  25. Lisa says:

    Oh wow! So great to see another Museum after just having dived the Museo Atlantico…now I need to go here too! So interesting to read that you could dive without being certified…it looks so incredible 🙂

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