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Cancun Underwater Museum – Is It Worth to Visit?

I am writing the review of Cancun – Mexico Underwater Museum (MUSA) in between of Isla Mujeres and Cancun as a certified scuba diver with logged dives in several countries under various types of diving including wreck dives. The reason to scuba dive in the MUSA because of my curiosity after all the fuss of how good it was as reviewed online and travel magazines. I like the idea of having the underwater museum to raise awareness about the important life of our seas.

However, my diving experience in the MUSA did not meet my expectation. Maybe I had high expectation after reading reviews that called it as an amazing experience. The facts were far from amazing. My apology for being harsh, it was not a cheap diving package, and I would like to share my view here to give a balanced review about the place and the reality to expect when you took a scuba diving/snorkeling package to this museum.

First, we only saw few art exhibitions – I am not sure if that was just a missed opportunity from our dive guide/instructor who was busy guarding a discovery* scuba diver at the same time as he guided us, or some collection have gone by time. A positive note here, our dive guide/instructor was friendly, and he briefed us in crystal clear instruction. He also allowed us to dive five minutes longer than usual due to our diving experience.

Second, it was shallow diving – 8 to 10 meter. It was good for snorkelers, discovery* scuba and newly certified scuba divers to explore this place. But it was not as exciting as I hoped.

Third, there was not much sea life in the area to see except the statues or as they called as the exhibited arts. The surrounding was mostly sandy bottom with few greenish corals and seaweed. Yes, there was reef with colorful fish, but there were very few. It looked like the sea was overfished. It was, in fact: worrying. I don’t think by having the statue under the water will help the marine life to grow. Other environmental friendly actions are necessary to be taken.

Fourth, it was 45 minutes bottom time for scuba divers regardless how much air has left in your tank. We were allowed additional five minutes bottom time, but that was because of our diving experience.

Fifth, snorkelers joined in the same boat with scuba divers. I noticed scuba divers have more time under the water compared to the snorkelers. If you were snorkeling on the boat with scuba divers, be aware of the possibility to wait on the boat for the scuba divers.

Cancun Underwater Museum

Conclusion:

  • I don’t think I will visit it again even if I am staying at the Cancun’s hotel zone for the second time (which is most likely could happen) unless there are new and super special arts displayed in the MUSA.
  • For snorkelers, just be aware that the depth was between eight to ten meter, you might have to do free-diving to see the statue.
  • If you join Discovery* Scuba or newly certified Open Water scuba diver, this place is good to practice and enhance your skills while enjoying the arts – the seawater is mostly calm with good visibility.

*Discovery Scuba is a scuba dive package for a person without prior scuba diving experience nor a non-certified scuba diver. Usually, a discovery scuba diver is allowed to dive under full guardian of a scuba diving instructor and not to scuba dive for more than 10 meters deep.

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56 Comments »

  1. I liked it. But I think I had a better guide/package. Looking at your points:
    1. There are a number of sites in the MUSA. The one that I dived had about a dozen different art works to look at.
    2. Yes, most of the MUSA sites are pretty shallow. They were designed to be accessible to snorkelers too. I think some are a little deeper, but they are all far from being challenging doves.
    3. Part of the reason for installing the MUSA was to relieve pressure on the heavily dived coral reefs in the area. They were deliberately dropped into barren areas. Any flora and fauna you see has been attracted purely by the fact that the statues are there. Compared to the world class reefs in the area there isn’t so much life to see, but compared to many sites I have dived around the world, there was tonnes of it. And the statues made for a different backdrop to the photos.
    4 & 5. Are purely down to the guide service you used

    As I say, I liked the dive. I thought it was substantially different from anything else that I had dived. But I had to bend my head around looking at it in a different way. I looked at it like I would look at an art installation in a gallery.

    But it is good to see and hear other views. Far too often all you get are gushing reviews of things and the people that didn’t like it (but quite likely have views shared by many) keep quiet.

    • Hi Barry, thank you so much for your input! Of course, I don’t expect to see a coral garden in this region just like what I have seen in the countries within the coral triangle map.
      I read your post about MUSA, and I did not see some of the exhibited statues as in your pics. It could be a missed opportunity from the diving center; it’s a bit shocking as it’s attached to Hilton. We were diving in the coral reef dive sites after diving at MUSA, and it was still not looking good in my opinion especially if being compared to Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen. They should consider to do more than just putting the statue if the aim is to restore the reefs and corals. In Bali, they do a biorock project to restore the corals, and it is a continuing process. It’s not as famous and well marketed as MUSA although it has a similar idea by putting man-made arts underwater. I guess for my next visit in Cancun, I’d rather go scuba diving on the sailing fish season 🙂 Thanks again!

  2. Harus dipertimbangkan juga, bahwa kemungkinan artikel yang mbak baca sebelumnya, baik yang online maupun dari majalan travel, kemungkinan disponsori, sehingga sudut pandangnya dibuat semenarik mungkin. Dan aku rasa ulasan mbak ini bisa menjadi penyeimbang dan pertimbangan bagi orang lain yang ingin dive di tempat tersebut.

    Kalau dari yang aku baca ini, rasanya pasti bosenin banget semisal harus diving 45-50 menit tapi yang dilihat itu-itu saja. Kecuali dasar berpasirnya juga menyimpan banyak mahluk-mahluk makro yang keren untuk didokumentasikan. Dan tiba-tiba aku juga jadi teringat situs biorock yang di Pemuteran Bali. Yang meskipun buatan, tapi ramai ikan dan mahluk laut lainnya. Mungkin karena karangnya hidup dan sehat.

    • Bener banget, marketing-nya jago bener org-org di kawasan ini. Sebenarnya yang tambah bikin kaget juga adalah review dari pengunjungnya kebanyakan bombastis kalau baca dari media seperti TripAdvisor. Harganya lumayan mahal pula, ngelebihin rata-rata harga menyelam di Indonesia – 100-an USD dua tank, gak abis pula 😀 !

      Kalau dari industri penyelaman bawah laut secara keseluruhan, Asia Tenggara masih juara – mulai dari harga sampai ke kualitas terumbu karang dan keragaman hewannya. Mahluk-mahluk makro dan warna warni susah dicari di kawasan ini. Spesialisasinya memang beda di kawasan ini.

      Moga-moga tahun depan aku bisa mampir ke biorock nih….sungguh penasaran seperti apa 🙂

      • Kalau ilmu marketing nya bisa diaplikasikan ke Indonesia, asik nih. DI sini soalnya banyak situs2 selam jawara. Bahkan banyak yang belum diungkap juga.

        Wuih lumayan juga ya 100 USD dua tank gak habis hehe. Di sini udah bisa nyelam 3 kali, alias seharian tuh mbak.

        Amiin, semoga bisa mampir ke Biorock di Indonesia, baik yang di Pemuteran maupun di Gili Trawangan ya.

  3. Sorry to hear about this diving experience in Cancun. Less attractions and it sounds like the diving experience was crowded with the snorkelers. Maybe they catered more for snorkelers and not mainly for divers :/ But lovely photos all round 🙂

  4. Ya sayang bangat yach Indah. Secara kalau lihat di brosur-brosur wisata area ini sering disebut2 dan cantik. Tapi kalau areanya kecil dan biayanya lumayan yach sayang aja sich.

    • Iya…kalau udah menyelam di Indonesia, kayaknya bisa kecewa menyelam di kawasan ini. Harganya lebih mahal dari rata-rata menyelam di Indonesia. Itu yg Bart sebutin mungkin ada benarnya, sepertinya Biorock di Bali bisa lebih menarik buat diselami. Kita ini kurang jago marketing 😦
      Meksiko sepertinya uniknya di cenote diving – yang susah ditemui di kawasan lain di dunia (nanti ada post-nya) dan menyelam dengan ikan seperti sailing fish gitu ya..tapi itu tergantung musim.

  5. Indah I appreciate your honest review of the experience. You have done so much amazing scuba diving that I wonder if for those who have little experience it was more inspiring?

    • Thank you, Sue! It could well be, but I just feel for the amount of money that they charge, it is quite expensive compared to what it has to offer 😦

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