8 Breathtaking Underwater Museums Even Non-Divers Can Visit

Jelena Vuckovic Hidden Wonders0 Comments

For most people, the word “museum” conjures up a similar image: large, brightly lit rooms with roped-off walls.

Tired attendants slouch in corners repeating something about flash photography. A guy in a hat rambles pretentious half-truths about the art at an unsuspecting love interest. Not to mention the queues, so long you have to reroute your mail.

As we all know but won’t admit, museums tend to be a grueling ordeal that can only be appreciated in hindsight.

But not this time!

The museums on this list won’t be crowded – at least not by other humans, we can’t say there won’t be fish—and you will be able to enjoy the art in total quiet.

It’ll feel so sublime, you’ll think you’re walking on air. Except you will be walking on water, sort of.

Check out a selection of the best underwater museums below for a truly new way to experience art: submerged.

Photography permitted, provided your camera is waterproof.

1. The Atlantic Museum, Lanzarote, Spain

Photo Source: Jason deCaires Taylor

The Museo Atlantico is the first underwater museum in Europe. 14 meters under the sea by Lanzarote you can find a poignant collection of art by celebrated artist Jason deCaires Taylor, a British sculptor. An army of life size figures made with environmentally friendly materials are submerged here, along with a botanical garden. The piece de resistance is a raft filled with sculptures called “The Raft of Lampedusa”, representing the people who crossed these waters during the refugee crisis. Visit this place whether you’re a diver or snorkeller and go back again later, because the museum is in constant expansion and there is always something new to see.

Depth: 14m | Activities: scuba diving, snorkelling

 

2. MUSA, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Photo Source: Jason deCaires Taylor

This subaqueous museum in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc was started in 2009 and is one of the largest in the world. Marvel at over 500 sculptures on 420sqm in this man-made home for countless coral species. There is a way for everyone to explore this museum, whether through snorkelling, diving or even through a glass structure that lets you discover this magical place without getting wet. Like the previous place, this museum exhibits work by Jason deCaires Taylor.

Depth: 8m | Activities: scuba diving (incl. lessons), snorkelling, glass cabin for non-divers

 

3. Underwater Sculpture Garden, Grenada

Photo Source: Jason deCaires Taylor

This time, deCaires Taylor chose the waters by Grenada to sink his sculptures into: a park housing 65 pieces over 800sqm, it helps marine life find a new home, along with being visually striking, of course. The water is shallow and clear enough so that everyone has a way to see the statues and observe the marine life bustling because of them, and a glass bottomed boat will take you around above the underwater garden if you prefer to stay dry, although snorkelling comes highly recommended by previous visitors.

Depth: 2-8m | Activities: diving, snorkelling, glass-bottomed boat trip

 

4. Ocean Atlas, New Providence, Bahamas

Ocean Atlas, New Providence, Bahamas

Photo Source: Jason deCaires Taylor

The largest underwater statue in the world clocks in at a featherweight 60 tons. Put here to raise awareness and hopefully help stop the leaking of oil onto the coral reefs from a refinery nearby, the giant little girl is a painful reminder that there is a lot of work to do if we want to quit hurting the environment. Based on the legend of Atlas – the titan carrying the world on his shoulders – she holds the surface of the ocean up. The combination of immense size and childlike innocence of this statue has an arresting effect, and hopefully will inspire people not to let her carry the weight of the underwater world on her shoulders alone. To bring some variety into this list, this sculpture was made by Jason deCaires Taylor, also known as the Picasso of water. She sits five meters tall, weighs 60 tonnes and will be happy if you visit her, whether in a diving suit or snorkelling mask.

Depth: 5m | Activities: snorkeling, diving

 

5. Bay Islands Underwater Museum, Roatan, Honduras

Bay Islands Underwater Museum, Roatan, Honduras Photo Source: Bay Islands Underwater Museum

This underwater exhibition is your best choice if you’re interested in history, as you should be. The waters cover an incredible collection of artefacts, such as weapons and canoes that African settlers used to hunt here, and even a Mayan cemetery. If you’re more of a nature person, don’t worry: a wide variety of sea-residents can be spotted here, too – think stingrays, turtles, or different kinds of tropical fish. Since this place is barely deeper than a swimming pool, even the most water-shy can try snorkelling with or without a guide.

Depth: 2m | Activities: swimming, snorkelling

 

6. Christ of the Abyss, Liguria, Italy

Christ of the Abyss, Liguria, Italy

Christ of the Abyss, Liguria, Italy

Photo Source: Julie Gautier/redbull.com

Come here to visit one of the most popular diving spots in Italy by one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Off the shore somewhere between Portofino and Camogli you will find an enormous Jesus sculpture with arms raised towards the sky. The sculpture commemorates the death of Dario Gonzetti, a diver who lost his life near this spot in 1950. Don’t let that deter you from visiting, though: exploring this site should be pretty easy for seasoned divers, and equipment has gotten a lot better in the last few decades. Visit any diving center in Portofino to book an excursion and go see Jesus, if not for anything else, do it for the memory of your diving comrade.

Depth: 15m | Activities: scuba diving

 

7. Guardian of the Reef, Grand Cayman Islands

Guardian of the Reef, Grand Cayman Islands Photo Source: DiveTech

Standing at 13 feet and change, this piece by artist Simon Morris is an imposing bronze cast statue doing his job and guarding the reef. You can stand next to him him at 65 feet (approx. 20m) under the sea, or admire the top of his head from above. Be advised, however, that strong currents can make the guardian’s turf a bit tough for novice divers. As for the statue, all that commotion does not move him in the least. But he is also half seahorse half man, so that’s understandable.

Depth: 20m | Activities: diving

 

8. Amphitrite Statue, Grand Cayman Islands

Amphitrite Statue, Grand Cayman Islands Amphitrite Statue, Grand Cayman Islands Photo Source: Mermaids Of Earth

A stone’s throw away from her counterpart the guardian, you can find this gorgeous lady, another impressive underwater sculpture by Simon Morris. She’s very tall at 9 feet, and slender, if somewhat on the heavy side: she may not look like it, but she weighs 600 pounds. Unfortunately she is already taken: Amphitrite is Poseidon’s wife. As one half of the de facto power couple that rules the waters, she is a sight for sore eyes and is sure to make a dive to visit her unforgettable. You may touch her, but do so at your own risk and don’t say we didn’t tell you so when you when you incur the wrath of the gods.

Depth: 17m | Activities: diving

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