With white sandy beaches, piña coladas and stunning sunsets, Cancun often conjures up thoughts of your typical relaxing retreat. And yet, hidden off the coast of the crystal-clear beaches lies a gallery equal parts haunting and magical; the kind that you really need to see to believe. The monumental underwater contemporary museum of art, MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) has been formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, and consists of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures.
It's one of the largest and most ambitious underwater artificial art attractions in the world. And it's pretty dazzling too. There are three ways to experience the underwater museum: snorkeling, touring in a glass bottom boat, or via the jungle tour. While snorkeling is the most popular, for those of us who prefer to stay dry, the glass bottom boat excursion allows viewers to experience the museum from above.
If you're looking for something a little more private, the jungle tour allows you to take a two person boat out through the beauty of Nichupté Lagoon through the jungle mangroves and into Punta Nizuc, where you can snorkel upon arrival.
The best part? The museum does a whole load of good for the environment, and is supported by Cancun's Ministry of Environment. Not only does the eco museum aim to redirect visitors away from natural reefs (allowing time for their regeneration), every sculpture is designed to both protect the environment and act as refuge for small fish escaping predators.
OK, fine, maybe that wasn't the best part. Visiting MUSA is worth it for the underwater selfies alone.