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Travel News A Guide to Bacalar, Mexico

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A Guide to Bacalar, Mexico

At this 'Lake of Seven Colors,' you'll find plenty of options for activities, great food, and abundant tranquility. Here's everything you need to know about Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico, the hidden gem of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The small town of Bacalar, at the bottom of the Yucatan Peninsula, is home to a nearly 60km-long freshwater lagoon. Known as the “Lake of Seven Colors”, the clear water melts between seven serene shades of blue.

Paddleboards, kayaks, and hammocks-on-docks are as fast-moving as this charming ‘Pueblo Magico’ gets. It’s a relaxing contrast to the tourist-heavy beaches of Playa del Carmen and Cancun, and it’s only 2.5 hours from the popular destination of Tulum, Mexico.

How to Get to Bacalar

The easiest way to reach Bacalar from the US is by flying into Cancun. Cheap flights to Cancun are available from all over the United States.

The Yucatan Peninsula is a road tripper’s paradise, with low priced rental cars, easily navigatable roads, and a stunning peninsula to explore. Mayan ruins (including the world wonder Chichen Itza), the sparkling Caribbean coastline near Tulum, and countless cenotes are easily accessible en route from Cancun to Bacalar.

Mexico’s popular ADO buses run to Bacalar multiple times per day from Cancun (about 5 hours) and from Tulum (about 3 hours).

Bacalar is also near the Mexican border with Belize. From Belize’s Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, you can take a boat to Chetumal and from there, easily access Bacalar by shuttle or taxi.

If you know when you want to fly, figure out the best time to book your flight from the US.

Where to Stay in Bacalar, Mexico

Hostels and hotels both have prime real estate along the lagoon, with properties and docks backing up directly to the shores. Strung over the shallow waters of the lagoon, hammocks and swings are a popular addition to Bacalar’s docks. At night, these docks become an ample spot for stargazing on a clear night.

You can search for cheap hotels in Bacalar, Mexico on Skyscanner.

Food and Drinks in Bacalar

Food trucks (of your standard, delicious Mexican variety) line the square, and an authentic Italian restaurant is on the corner. A fish taco truck parks off the main street, one block from the water. Live music fills trendy brunch cafes on the weekends.

Most importantly, casual bars and eateries sit along the lakefront. Many of the lake-side restaurants offer patrons long wooden docks, lounge chairs, and hammocks to relax and enjoy a meal (with a side of tranquility).

Things to Do in Bacalar

Paddleboarding and Kayaking on the Lake

Plenty of companies and hostels along the lakefront offer paddleboards and kayaks for rent. The sun rises over Bacalar’s lake, making the early morning a beautiful (and less hot) time to be out on the water.

You can kayak to the Black Cenote, a natural sinkhole in the lake where the water depth abruptly drops from 3 feet to over 250-feet, in the stroke of an oar. 

Afterward, paddle over to Pirate’s Canal, a once popular gateway for the pirates of the Caribbean.

Visit Cenote Azul

This cenote’s crystal clear, crazy-deep waters make it a haven for divers. With a cenote-side restaurant and a 600-foot circumference, Cenote Azul is a beautiful spot to relax. It is one of the largest and deepest known cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula and a must-experience while you’re in Bacalar.

Wander the City of Bacalar

The remnants of an old fortress are open to the public near the craft shops and cafes surrounding the sprawling, park-filled Main Square. The Fortress of San Felipe was built in the 17th-century to protect the town from the pirates that famously pillaged these areas.

Zipline with Lake Bacalar Views

Less than 20 minutes from the city, a company called Kan K’in operates tirolesas, or ziplines, that fly you through the jungle with sky-high views of the lake in all its multicolored beauty.

Things to Know about Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

The only ATMs in the city are located in the Main Square. Lines can be long, and ATMs can occasionally have problems, so it’s a good idea to get cash out before heading to Bacalar.

You can set a Price Alert on Skyscanner to get notified when flight prices drop to Cancun.