Curators, history buffs, archeologists, and museum lovers alike flock to museums in Cancun every year – and it is easy to see why. Cancun houses incomparable museums revealing remarkable time capsules and voyeuristic delights.

Within this article you have free admission to the greatest collections of Mexican heritage and history in the world. So read on to explore cultural Cancun.

The Mexican Folk Art Museum (Xcaret)

Visit this museums in Cancun

On the Highway that connects Cancun with the Riviera Maya, you will find the Museum of Mexican Folk Art. This collection of folk art belonged to a well-known hacendado (hacienda owner) whose love for Mexico drove him to collect a large number of handicrafts, each representing different regions of the country.

These colorful and extraordinary works capture the creativity and imagination of Mexican artisans. At the end of the tour, you can buy a replica of your favorite piece from the Museum shop and take it home as a memento of this historic location – a national library where the handicrafts are the books, and where Mexico’s story is an open book.

Cancun Wax Museum

Wax museum in Cancun

The Cancun Wax Museum is where both Brazilian and European sculptors created wax personalities, with more than 100 characters in 23 scenarios of the world of movies, sports, music, television, politics, kids, and terror.

Wax statues include Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth, Elvis and Spider-Man, and many other personalities from the United States, UK, and Mexico. You can take selfies with your favorite star or have a tactile, interactive celebrity experience of your own. Around every corner you won’t know what statues you’ll expect to find, creating big surprises.

Inspiration is in abundance as you learn from the stories and life experiences of every individual being represented, from both the past and present.

Cozumel Island Museum

historical museums in Cancun

Cozumel Island Museum provides a truly comprehensive look at Cozumel, its surrounding waters, and the island’s historical and contemporary relevance as the site where Spanish explorers first met indigenous Mexican tribes.

The museum dates back to the 30s, and it was originally one of the first hotels on the island. It offers four permanent exhibits that give you an insight into local geography, ecosystems, history, and culture.

There are also 2 Temporary Exhibit rooms for local and international artists and a special room that pays tribute to 146 years of carnival tradition. A real sense of history filters through inside this enthralling and utterly absorbing museum.

MUSA

museums in Cancun

Devoted to the art of conservation, MUSA – the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art, or Museo Subacuático de Arte, enjoys the status of being the biggest underwater museum in the world, and it welcomes nearly 750,000 tourists yearly. It is located just off the coast of Isla Mujeres, a beautiful, peaceful paradise.

The museum has a total of 500 sculptures, most by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, and the others by five Mexican sculptors.

Here you will find three different galleries submerged between three and six meters (9.8 and 19.6 ft ) deep in the ocean at the Cancun National Marine Park. To place the statues on the ocean floor, Taylor had a special lift made for the statues so none would be damaged during the move.

The underwater museum benefits the protection of the coral reefs. Artificial reefs are usually created by sunken ships and other objects that have fallen to the bottom of the ocean floor. The statues are a new technique and material for coral to grow on, and a means for art to save the oceans.

There are a few ways for adventurers to explore the Underwater Museum of Art, including two different galleries Punta Nizuc and Manchones, each with recommended ways to interact with the sculptures.

At Punta Nizuc you may snorkel to the bottom, or you can go on The Jungle Tour, where you can drive your own boat through the canals of the Nichupté Lagoon.

You may also go on a glass-bottom boat, or if you like to get wet, the second underwater gallery, located in Manchones, is where scuba diving is the preferred mode of viewing the sculptures.

Once below water, here the sculptures range from reflecting capitalism to holistic living, many thought-provoking for your pleasure and edification.

Chichen Itza

Visit Chichen Itza

For soulful visitors to Cancun, landscapes, archeological sites and ruins offer two ways to commune with the past and become outdoor museums as such. Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. It is located in the Yucatan Peninsula near Valladolid, Yucatan, a nice little Colonial town and it is also really close to Cancun.

The archeological site was selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007, and it offers an extraordinary glimpse into the past. It is divided into Old Chichen and Chichen Itza where you can find 6 Mayan Ruins in the Old Chichen section and about 20 Mayan Ruins in the New Chichen or Chichen Itza, making it a total of 26 Mayan Ruins to see on the Mayan Site.

The Chichen Itza Pyramid or El Castillo is the most important Mayan ruin, but others are equally important, such as El Caracol or Observatory, The Temple of The Warriors, and the Mayan Ball Game.

A highlight to a trip out there at the right time of year is The Kukulkan Temple in the city center, not just because is easily the most famous structure, or because of its enigmatic shape, but also because of a spectacular phenomenon known as the “Shadow of the Snake” or “The Descent of the Feathered Serpent”.

During the spring and autumn equinoxes, observers can see the shadowy form of a snake descend from the top of the pyramid to its base, three hours before sunset.

Maya Museum of Cancun

Maya Museum

The Maya led tough, pious lives, with their devotions to their gods, and they left behind a rich history of learning and culture, which still fascinates people around the globe today.

The Maya Museum of Cancun (Museo Maya de Cancun) offers an amazing overview of Maya history, art, culture, and archaeology that makes it a must-see for anyone intrigued by one of the world’s most powerful ancient civilizations. Ancient artifacts and fascinating history in a unique location make for an utterly unique day out.

It opened its doors in November 2012, and was designed by Mexican architect Alberto Garca Lascurain, and built over six years at a cost of $15 million dollars.

The Museo Maya de Cancun’s collection contains over 3,500 artifacts, but only about 350 are on display at any given time. There are two permanent exhibition halls, one on the archaeology of the State of Quintana Roo (of which Cancun and the Riviera Maya are part) and one on Mayan culture in general, as well as a third hall with changing temporary displays.

The treasures in the Maya Museum of Cancun give a tantalizing glimpse into the lives, communities, and beliefs of the Maya, and through these artifacts, they left behind, their ancestry is still with us.

The Maya Museum also includes an entrance to the San Miguelito archeological site.

San Miguelito Archeological Site

best museums in Cancun

San Miguelito is one of several settlements in and around Cancun, including El Rey, El Meco, and the ruins of Ixchel on Isla Mujeres. These communities strategically positioned their structures behind sand dunes that ran north and south along the Caribbean and lagoon shores. San Miguelito is the only location where evidence of the protective dunes can be found. All of these sites were part of the Post-Classic Mayan trade network, which delivered and exported goods all over the Caribbean.

The site features mesmerizing and well-preserved Mayan ruins, in which you can climb and take photos, or where you can simply sit and absorb the peaceful atmosphere. If you want to feel connected to the forebearers of Mexican land, this is the place.

The 3D Museum of Wonders

Fun museums in Cancun

In Playa del Carmen an extraordinary space endures year after year for our intellectual enrichment combined with fun gratification.

The 3D Museum of Wonders is an interactive museum that displays the incredible artistic creations of one of the world’s leading illustrators of 3D conceptual artwork. Awe-inspiring optical illusions can be found throughout this magnificent space. You are immersed in the works on display and become a part of the exhibit itself, rather than simply viewing them.

You can amaze your friends back home with photos of you in a boat, interacting with an enormous painting, catching a wave on a surfboard, or getting caught inside a bubble! Museums aren’t always full of history, sometimes they are just full of shenanigans!

Sentimental, Sacred, and Important Journeys

Documenting the history of a community is impossible without the story keepers such as the owners and staff at these museums in Cancun, who hold the past close to their hearts and guard it for the future.

Museums remind us that the passage of time is inevitable. What you do with your time is not. So why not take the time to visit some museums in Cancun?

When you visit museums in Cancun you play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history and culture available to all. And this goes on to shape the character of the community today.