In 2009 a monumental underwater contemporary museum of art called MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) was formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc. The project founded by Jaime González Cano, Director of the National Marine Park, Roberto Díaz Abraham, then President of the Cancun Nautical Association and English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor now consists of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures and is one of the largest and most ambitious underwater artificial art attractions in the world.
The Museum aims to demonstrate the interaction between art and environmental science and form part of a complex reef structure for marine life to colonize and inhabit whilst increasing biomass on a grand scale. All of the sculptures are fixed to the seabed and made from specialized materials used to promote coral life. The total installations occupy an area of over 420sq meters of barren substrate and weighing in at over 200 tons.
The Cancun-Isla Mujeres Marine Park is one of the most visited stretches of water in the world with over 750,000 visitors each year, placing immense pressure on its resources. The location of the sculptures promotes the recovery of the natural reefs as it relieves pressure on them by drawing visitors away to an alternative site. Over the past few years the Museum has also received worldwide acclaim and generated millions of dollars in advertising to the region through its extensive media coverage.
The layout is divided into two galleries called Salon Manchones and Salon Nizuc. The first is eight meters deep and suitable for both divers and snorkelers and the second four meters deep and only permitted for snorkeling.