HISTORY BENEATH THE SURFACE
CEDAM – National Museum of Underwater Archeology (Puerto Aventuras)
Don’t be deceived by this small, unassuming museum: it packs a vast collection of artifacts extracted from historic shipwrecks around the area, and it’ll provide a well-deserved respite from all the sun soaked fun in Akumal. Best of all: Free admission!
MUSA – Underwater Museum of Art (Cancun, Isla Mujeres)
If you think air-conditioned museum halls are overrated, why not take things underwater? That’s right; get ready to take on MUSA’s collection of 500 submerged sculptures spread across the pristine subaquatic beauty of its two main sites.
You can take a tour on board a glass-bottom boat, do some snorkeling, or just dive in with your scuba gear. Just make sure your camera is waterproof! Prices may vary according to the type of tour you choose, so you’re better off contacting musamexico.org ahead of your visit.
Prehistoric Museum at Parque Dos Ojos (Tulum)
Here’s another modest museum that delivers plenty of bang for your buck. Nestled on top of a major system of subterranean rivers that feed the cenotes and other significant bodies of water, this interesting midway stop on the highway that connects Cancun and Tulum is dedicated to the archeological and anthropological vestiges of the Ice Age, with plenty of fossilized remains of prehistoric animals on display. Moreover, your guides may be the same scuba divers who uncovered these spectacular pieces, so you know you’re only getting the most accurate info from them. Open all week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission is $2.50.
The Island Museum (Cozumel)
After undergoing a major renovation, this carefully curated museum provides a truly comprehensive look at Cozumel, its surrounding waters, and the historical and contemporary relevance of the island, the place where Spanish explorers first came in contact with the indigenous Mexican tribes.
There’s plenty to see among four main halls, an area dedicated to Mayan culture, and the temporary exhibits. Opens Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission is $4.00 for adults, while kids under 8 get in for free.
Mexican Folk Art Museum (Xcaret)
You’ll get your fill of colorful Mexican folklore at this place, where you can truly grasp the variety and distinctive regional styles found within the entire country, thanks to the work of its expert craftsmen.
Visitors are particularly attracted by the huge collection of dolls inspired by the Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities. Admission is free, but make sure you bring some money for souvenirs. You won’t want to leave empty handed. Opens Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.