Published June 29, 2012
Cancun is probably best known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches and the bluest water you may ever see.
But beneath those turquoise waves is a popular tourist attraction that is about to get a bit bigger.
The Cancun Underwater Museum, features a maze of 400 ghostly looking, life-sized sculptures submerged the bottom of a national marine park. In July the museum will complete its final installation of about 60 new sculptures designed to become a new habitat for marine life.
This unique and popular site, which attracts about 750,000 visitors annually, was created in 2010. The sculptures, made of specially formulated, marine-grade cement -- many of which are cast from local residents -- were submerged underwater and placed on the sea floor where divers are free to explore.
The sculptures are only 28 feet deep in water, with a shallower portion set off just for snorkelers, which means both divers and snorkelers can enjoy the sculptures.
The museum not only provides a home for marine creatures, it also diverts snorkelers and divers from fragile coral reefs.
Museum director and sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor’s most recent sculptures include “The Last Supper,” which is a table of two with plates of half-eaten fish and a centerpiece of apples and hand grenades. This work depicts the threat oceans face as a result of over-fishing.
The newest phase of the museum includes the "Phoenix," the figure of a woman with movable wings of living purple gorgonian fan coral that appear to beat with the wave cycles.“Urban Reef,” another of his works, is a collection of architectural structures designed to look like a street scene and is home to certain species of reef dwellers, such as juvenile fish, crustaceans, and sea urchins.
To get to the museum, book through a local tour company like Aquaworld that offers snorkeling trips.