06/11/2009Cancun unveils the world’s largest underwater museum

The National Park West Coast of Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc, which receives approximately 750,000 tourists annually, will feature more than 400 concrete sculpture figurines comprising the world’s largest underwater museum, right in the waters in front of Cancun and the island of Isla Mujeres.

At a cost of more than US $350,000 seed capital, the project has been put into place to give the natural reefs the opportunity to flourish. The Marine National Park has stepped up to the challenge of diverting tourists away from natural habitats along the natural coral reef units without losing their visitors and the US $36 million they bring directly into the area each year.

Approximately 400 sculptures will be sunk within this National Park on sandy bottoms at different depths and placed close to the natural coral and sea life in order to create a man-made artificial habitat as from November 14th this year. Each piece of art will be man-sized, with a base of four square meters. There will be theme based galleries, such as an army of Mayan indigenous warriors and other sculptures such as the “Dream Catcher” who collects messages in bottles adrift. We all will be encouraged to send our message; one of the first messages in a bottle attached to the above mentioned sculpture reads: “May our hearts, never become as hard as our heads”, by Roberto Diaz A. President of the Cancun Underwater Museum.

“I am excited that this will become the beginning of the world’s largest underwater museum. This is a unique opportunity to explore the boundaries of art and combine it with reef conservation,” said Jason de Caires Taylor, British underwater sculptor of the unique sculptures. The main piece will encompass between 300 and 400 lifelike figures based on actual living people. Once the main first phase of the project is completed, other artists will be encouraged to submit their own sculptures and contribute to this unique museum.

The National Park’s director, Jaime Gonzalez Cano, calculates that by April 2010 there will be approximately 250 sculptures in the underwater museum.

“The underwater museum will draw many visitors, allowing us to give a rest to the natural reefs. It’s like a restoration process”, Gonzalez explained.

Upon the opening of the museum, divers will be required to gain experience in artificial habitats and snorkelers will continue to wear life jackets for buoyancy to prevent damaging the natural corals and the new artificial habitats.

About Cancun

Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The island of Cancun is in the shape of a “7” and is bordered to the north by the Bahia de Mujeres; to the east by the Caribbean Sea; and to the west by the Nichupte Lagoon. Cancun is Mexico’s largest tourist destination and boasts 146 hotels with a total of 28,808 rooms. Opportunities for new experiences abound in Cancun, which offers visitors an ideal setting for interacting with nature and discovering Mayan culture.

Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau www.cancun.travel

About the project and its author, please visit www.underwatersculpture.com