Manchones spot is home to a coral reef and one of the three galleries of the MUSA, Cancun’s famous underwater museum. The museum, which has nearly 500 sculptures, is worth a detour, but the snorkeling experience can be disappointing due to the important depth (25ft/8m on average), the compulsory wearing of a floating vest and the overcrowding of the spot.
The Manchones Gallery of the MUSA is located about 1km southwest of Isla Mujeres. There are dozens of half day or day tours to go snorkeling there, mostly departing from Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Tours often include other activities or services (buffet, open bar, etc.). Prices start at around $ 40 for a half day snorkeling tour.
You will enter the water from your boat. Wearing a life jacket is compulsory on this spot, which is protected by a National Park. Some tours also ask participants to hold on to a rope, attached to the back of the boat, during the entire snorkeling session.
This spot is made up of two adjacent areas:
1 / A MUSA gallery, called “Salon Machones” (Manchones Gallery), which has nearly 470 underwater sculptures (↕6-8m). It is the largest of the museum’s three galleries. Among the most iconic sculptures in this gallery are The Silent Evolution (a collection of over 400 life-size human sculptures), Anthropocene (a sculpture depicting a Volkswagen Beetle car with a man curled up on the windshield) and Bacab, a more abstract installation appearing almost as a turtle from the top. Each statue creates habitat areas for marine life to colonize, and attracts many fish and invertebrates around.
2 / A pretty deep natural coral reef (↕4-6m), known as Manchones Reef. The reef is mostly in good condition, with healthy elkhorn coral, fire corals and gorgonians. Grunt, groupers, angelfish and parrotfish are some of the most commonly spotted species on the reef, but you’ll have to observe them from the surface. Closer to the surface, many yellowtail snappers, bar jack and Bermuda chub are seen swimming around snorkelers.
Most boat trips include snacks, refreshments and/or meals (breakfast or lunch depending on the time of the tour). Find out what the tour includes when you book.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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