Fascinating things to do in Bacalar, Mexico: What to see and how to get there
Bacalar is a hidden gem in Mexico. Situated on the Yucatan Peninsula, this sleepy town is home to crystal-clear turquoise waters and some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination that’s teeming with natural beauty, Bacalar is definitely worth checking out!
Bacalar is a small town in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is located on the shores of Laguna de Bacalar, also known as Lake Bacalar. The lagoon is about 30 kilometers long and seven kilometers wide. It is one of the seven natural wonders of Mexico.
The town of Bacalar has a population of about 12,000 people. It is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful lagoon and nearby ruins.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what to see and do in Bacalar, as well as how to get there.
Are you looking for the ideal travel route in Yucatan Mexico? Be sure to check out this Yucatan road trip itinerary.
How can you get to Bacalar lagoon?
There are a few different ways to get to Bacalar. The most popular way is to fly into Cancun and then drive south for about four hours. You can also fly into Belize City and then take a water taxi across the border to Chetumal, which is just a short drive from Bacalar.
If you’re coming from Guatemala, you can take a bus or shuttle all the way to Chetumal and then follow the same directions. No matter how you choose to get there, Bacalar is definitely worth the effort!
If you need transportation from Cancun to Bacalar, you can check here your possibilities.
If you need to rent a car, check this website for the best deals.
What is the best time to go to Bacalar?
The best time to visit Bacalar depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to come is during the low season (May-October). However, if you’re looking for warm weather and sunny days, the high season (November-April) is a better bet. Keep in mind that Bacalar is located in the tropics, so it’s pretty hot and humid year-round!
Is Bacalar safe for tourists?
Bacalar is generally safe for tourists but there have been some small reports of crime in recent years. Visitors should take precautions when traveling to this area and be aware of their surroundings at all times. There are also some areas of the lagoon that are off-limits to swimming due to dangerous currents.
We had no bad experiences when we were in Bacalar and felt safe all the time.
How many days do you need to visit Bacalar?
How many days you spend in Bacalar will depend on what you want to do and see while you’re there. If you’re just looking to relax and enjoy the lagoon, a few days should be enough. However, if you want to explore the nearby ruins or take part in some of the other activities available in the area, you may need a week or more.
When we were in Bacalar we spend one day at the lake and the cenote Cocalitos and went to Los Rapidos the next day.
10 best things to do in Bacalar
Discover the Bacalar lagoon by a boat trip
One of the best ways to see the Bacalar lagoon is by taking a boat trip. You can arrange a tour through your hotel or at one of the many tour companies in the town. The boat will take you out onto the lagoon where you can enjoy the stunning views and crystal clear water.
You may even spot some of the native wildlife, including turtles, iguanas, and birds. A boat trip is a great way to relax and soak up the beauty of the Bacalar lagoon.
Visit the fortress of San Felipe in the center of Bacalar
San Felipe Fortress is a must-see for any visitor to Bacalar. The fortress was built in the 18th century to protect the town from pirates. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bacalar. You can explore the fortress, learn about its history, and enjoy the stunning views from the top of the walls.
The fortress is located in front of the town’s main square. Fuerte San Felipe is open daily except for Monday. The entrance fee is only $2 per person.
Go sailing on the Bacalar lagoon
Bacalar lagoon is the perfect place for a sailing adventure! You can rent a sailboat or catamaran from one of the many companies in town. Once you’re out on the water, you can relax and enjoy the stunning views.
We advise you to do a sailing trip in the afternoon. We explored the lake with The Sailing Colibri.
Relax at the cenote Cocalitos
Cenote Cocalitos is a popular tourist spot in Bacalar. Visitors can take a dip in the refreshing water or explore the cave system. There are also some small shops and restaurants near the cenote, so you can grab a bite to eat after your swim.
The Cenote Cocalitos is also known as the Sanctuary of the Stromatolites.
It is called that way because of the many stratified type structures that are concentrated there. These structures are protected and very special to Mother Earth as they produce oxygen.
The area is beautiful and very Instagrammable ;-). There are hammocks and swings available from which you can enjoy the beautiful colors of the lake. A place you can not miss!
Go swimming in the Bacalar lazy river – Los Rapidos
Los Rapidos is located in the southern part of the lake and also has those special stromatolites. If you don’t have a car, you can grab a private taxi. There is a restaurant, bar, hammocks, bathrooms, and… natural fast-moving rapids to play in!
After paying the entrance fee, you can spend as much time as you want here. It is also possible to rent a kayak. We stayed here for a couple of hours and let the kids play.
It is possible to park your car next to the entrance. The restaurant is open from 10 am – 6 pm. At the entrance of the restaurant, you’ve got to pay an entry fee of $5. It is possible to pay by credit card or cash. They have lockers.
Go kayaking – paddling on the Bacalar lagoon during sunrise.
Kayaking or paddling on the Bacalar lagoon is a must-do activity for any visitor to the area. You can rent a kayak from one of the many companies in town. Then, paddle out onto the lagoon and enjoy the stunning views. Be sure to stay close to shore so you can watch the sunset over the water. Kayaking during sunrise or sunset is a truly magical experience!
Take a tour of the Maya ruins of Dzibanche and Kohunlich
There are two main Maya ruins sites that can be visited in the Bacalar area: Dzibanche and Kohunlich. Both are fascinating to explore and give visitors a great insight into the Maya civilization. Dzibanche is particularly notable for its well-preserved pyramids, while Kohunlich is known for its impressive “mask temple”.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Maya culture, these two sites are definitely worth a visit.
Have a healthy lunch at Yerbabuena Smoothie bar
After a morning of exploring the Maya ruins, you’ll no doubt be ready for a healthy lunch. Yerbabuena Smoothie bar is the perfect spot to refuel. The menu features fresh, wholesome food, and the smoothies are absolutely delicious. You can even get your lunch to go, so you can enjoy it while strolling around Bacalar’s beautiful lagoon.
Visit Calakmul, the capital of the Mayan kingdom
Calakmul is a large Maya archaeological site in the Mexican state of Campeche. The site is located in the jungles of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and is home to a huge number of ancient ruins. Calakmul was once one of the most powerful cities in the Maya civilization, and its pyramids are some of the largest and most impressive in all of Mesoamerica.
Today, Calakmul is a popular tourist destination and is well worth a visit if you’re interested in learning more about the Maya culture.
We choose to do the short walks and climbed both pyramids. The views on top of the pyramids are unforgettable! You get the true Indiana Jones feeling here. Jungle, monkeys, old Mayan temples, … this place has it all. And best of all, there are no crowds here, just a few lost tourists just like you!
Be sure to have cash with you as they don’t accept credit cards. Take some lunch with you as well, there are no restaurants in Calakmul. In Xpujil you can find Willy’s supermarket to stock up on food, drinks, and cash.
Take a day trip to Mahahual
Mahahual is a small coastal strip located north of Bacalar and is a popular tourist destination. Mahahual is known for its beautiful coral reef, and its clear turquoise waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
Along the beach, massages are offered. The prices range from $20 to $30 per hour.
You can also snorkel all by yourself with your own gear or a rented snorkeling set just off the coast. It is also possible to go to the protected reef Banco Chinchorro. It also has some shipwrecks to explore underwater.
Where to stay in Bacalar
The Blue Palm hotel in Bacalar is a nice boutique hotel where you can spend the night. It is a five-star hotel with a restaurant, swimming pool, and a garden. Breakfast is included in the price.
Another nice hotel to spend the night in is the Casa Aakal Lagoon Front. It is located next to the lake.
A good budget option is Casa Coral. This hotel is located out of the center of Bacalar but is still easily reachable by taxi or bike. They have a small kitchen so you can prepare your breakfast or dinner by yourself.
These are just a few of the best hotels in Bacalar to stay in. Whether you’re looking for a cozy hostel or a luxurious resort, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodations for your needs.
Looking for other places to sleep in Bacalar?
Map of Bacalar and what to do
Bacalar should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Mexico. It has so much to offer, and there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in exploring the Maya ruins or relaxing on the beach, you won’t be disappointed. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!