Did you know that there is a place in Mexico’s Peninsula states as of “The Maldives of Mexico”? Yes, true story! This little piece of Heaven called Bacalar is home to a blue lagoon. Today, I share with you my Bacalar travel guide that gathers everything you need to know. After reading this guide, you will have all the information to organize your trip to the New Maldives or Mexico, Bacalar!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to get to Bacalar?
Travel itinerary from Cancun International Airport:
- From Cancun International Airport Terminal 2 to Cancun downtown: 35 minutes. Pice in May 2022: 98 pesos per person one way
- From Cancun downtown to Bacalar: approximately 5,5 hours. Price in May 2022: 566 pesos per person one way
How long to stay in Bacalar?
Since Bacalar is quite far away from all the other popular stops across Mexico’s Peninsula, I would recommend staying in Bacalar for at least 3 days. In addition, Bacalar is the ideal destination to relax with magnificent turquoise calm waters.
Note that Bacalar is the perfect place to stay long-term if you are visiting Mexico’s Peninsula to have a relaxing vacation with turquoise waters. Indeed, as Bacalar is home to a lagoon not connected to the Caribbean Sea, you are guaranteed not to have any seaweeds or saragasses all year round. So, no bad surprises and you can visit Bacalar at any time of the year (compare to other popular destinations in Mexico’s Peninsula).
Where to stay in Bacalar?
Bacalar has many types of accommodation, from dorm beds in a hostel to luxury hotels. This makes the place super attractive for any type of traveler! The city center of Bacalar is quite small, so everything can be reached on foot. However, bear in mind that some attractions are far from the center and you will need a means of transportation.
One big thing to take into consideration is that to have access to the lagoon of seven colors, you mainly need to go through pontons. Surprisingly as it is, there are only a few free public pontons around Bacalar town. All the other pontons are privatized by hotels for their guests. Consequently, I would keep that in mind when you book your stay. Maybe it is worth it to pay a little bit more per night to have private access to the lagoon.
Here are my hotel recommendations for your stay in Bacalar:
How to move around Bacalar?
What to do in Bacalar?
Now that I had the chance to visit Bacalar and its lagoon of seven colors, I understand why they call this place the new Maldives of Mexico! Frankly, there is not much to do here in Bacalar except for enjoying the stunning turquoise color of the lagoon. But do we need anything else for a vacation? I don’t think so!
The lagoon of seven colors
Alright, so you will have understood by now that the main attraction of Bacalar is its lagoon of seven colors. You can access the lagoon in different ways of course but the most common is via a pontoon. In other words, you can get to the lagoon either via a private pontoon (from your hotel for instance) or via a public pontoon (free for everyone).
Another way to enjoy the beautiful lagoon of seven colors is by visiting the Cocalitos Cenote. Located 20 minutes away by bike, Cocalitos Cenote is the ideal place to spend the entire day with great facilities such as swings, hammocks, and a restaurant. This is my favorite place in Bacalar and the entrance fee is very reasonable for what you get I think.
Also, as you might know, or not, the lagoon is home to the largest living microbial formation on Earth called Stromatolites. You have the chance to be able to observe them in the Cocalitos cenote.
50 pesos per person
open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sail on the lagoon of seven colors
Kayak at sunrise
500 pesos per person
starts at 6:00 am for 3 hours
Due to its location, Bacalar is not that far from the state of Campeche where there are many Mayan ruins. That’s why if you are in Bacalar this is a great opportunity to go explore those ancient ruins lost in the jungle. The most popular one is called Calakmul Ruins and they are really impressive.
Even though the journey can be a bit long from Bacalar (approximately 3,5 hours), I sincerely think it is worth it! This archaeological site is far less touristy than all the other Mayan ruins I have visited. Moreover, the ruins are surrounded by an intense jungle that is home to many spiders and howler monkeys! On top of that, you have the chance to go up to the temples and have therefore a great view of the surrounding jungle.
“Unfortunately, there is not much point in me telling you the entrance fee for the Calakmul site because it changes every week. Just know that you will have to pay 3 different tolls along the way. Anyway, for your information only, in May 2022, we paid a total of 250 pesos per person.”
Where to eat in Bacalar?
The small town of Bacalar has a lot of restaurants and bar options. Here are my recommendations for eating out in Bacalar:
- Savora Bakhalal: best place for Italian food with great wood-fired pizzas!
- Mango y Chile: best vegan restaurant in town!
- La Playita: best place to have a happy hour with a view of the lagoon!
- La Catrina: the best spot to have drinks!
Tips for your stay in Bacalar
- Nor boats nor kayaks/paddles are allowed on the lagoon on Wednesdays. Consequently, you won’t be able to do any tours that day of the week
- The best place to enjoy a lagoon of seven colors with facilities (swing, hammocks, sunbeds, toilets, and restaurant) is in Cocalitos cenote.
- Most of the access to the lagoon has been privatized by hotels/restaurants or beach clubs which means you have to pay an entrance fee if you want to have access to it. They are only a few public pontoons available.
- There is no functional ATM in town. Most of the travelers weren’t able to withdraw money with international cards.
- Roads are only one way in the center of the city which can be a bit tricky to get around.
- Restaurants are mainly closed on Wednesdays.
- Since the lagoon is not connected to the Caribbean sea, there are no carcasses or any seaweeds all year round.
In summary, Bacalar is the ideal destination for all people who want to have a relaxing getaway and enjoy the clear and turquoise waters, without any worries about seaweeds.
I sincerely hope I have inspired you to add Bacalar to your bucket list next time you want to visit Mexico. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I would love to share more with you.
Anyway, don’t forget to check out all my posts related to Mexico to get more inspiration!
Sending you lots of love,