In our opinion it is the most beautiful destination in southern Mexico, on the Yucatán peninsula; Bacalar and its stunning Laguna Bacalar. Laguna Bacalar is one of the largest lakes in Mexico. It is not without reason that this Mexican destination is even compared to dream destinations such as the Seychelles and the Maldives. Due to the different depths, the water consists of different shades of blue. This is why Laguna Bacalar is also called “the seven colored lake”. It really is such a destination in Mexico where you linger much longer than planned. There is plenty to do in Bacalar to keep you entertained for at least two or three days. We have listed the coolest places and finest restaurants in Bacalar for you.
Of course you will travel to Bacalar to admire the beautiful shades of blue of Laguna Bacalar. But there is more to do in Bacalar. Almost all cool things to do are on or around the water. So don’t forget to pack your swimwear. The town of Bacalar is not that big, but is fine for a few days. Just like in other colonial Mexican cities, such as Valladolid, the central square is the place to be. Especially in the evening, locals and travelers come together here to make music, dance, eat and chat.
*Don’t forget to watch our Bacalar drone video at the end of this article.
#1. Drift snorkeling at Los Rapidos (Bacalar Rapids)
Los Rapidos is a restaurant located about ten miles south of Bacalar. There are no busses going to Los Rapidos, so you have to rely on your rental car or a taxi. A taxi costs about 150 pesos from Bacalar for a single ride. Whether or not you decide to have lunch at Los Rapidos, everyone is welcome. Admission is 100 pesos per person. Upon entering you will receive a wristband with which you can enter and leave unlimited. We recommend going to Bacalar Rapids early in the day. It gets very busy here in the afternoon.
But of course you don’t travel to Los Rapidos for the restaurant. The place has become popular because of the drift snorkeling through the Bacalar Rapids. Now you wonder, of course, drift snorkeling what is that? Drift snorkeling is snorkeling in a natural rapid through a narrow channel. The water is very clear but don’t forget about the current. The currents can get pretty intense. Fortunately, every few meters there are ropes in the water that you can hang on to.
If you are not a water enthusiast, you can chill in one of the hammocks in the water. Or just enjoy the view.
#2. Take a swim in of the four cenotes in Bacalar
The entire peninsula of Yucatán is known for his many cenotes – underground waterholes – where you can swim in. The most stunning cenotes can be found around Valladolid, but also at Bacalar you can find four cenotes. Cenote Azul, Cenote Cocalitos, Cenote Esmeralda and Cenote Negra (la Bruja). These cenotes can all be visited. It is also possible to book a tour from the town to, among other things, the cenotes. Admission fee for Cenote Azul is 125 pesos per person.
#3. What to do in Bacalar: Go kayaking at Laguna Bacalar
What you really have to do in Bacalar is take a trip on Laguna Bacalar. This can be done by booking a sailing trip, but this is not the most ideal option for budget travelers. We therefore rented a kayak with which we discovered the most beautiful places on Laguna Bacalar ourselves. You can rent a kayak at Green Monkey Hostel for 150 pesos per hour. Make sure to stop at El Canal de Los Piratas. If you want to go kayaking stop a few more times, keep in mind that you have to rent the kayak for three hours anyway.
#4. Relax at Las Cocalitos
Around Laguna Bacalar there are a lot of hotels and other buildings which makes is hard to find a great place to relax around the lake. Las Cocalitos is a perfect place for that. You can chill on the grass, swing on the wooden swings in the water and take a refreshing dip. There is also a restaurant where you can eat delicious fresh fish. The entrance to Las Cocalitos is 50 pesos per person.
#5. Visit Fort Felipe
In the center of Bacalar you can visit Fort San Felipe. Here you can find information about Bacalar and the history of the lake. From the fort you also have a beautiful view over the lake and its surroundings.
#6. Have lunch and/or diner at the most amazing restaurants in Bacalar
Bacalar is a small town with a central square where you will find most of the restaurants. However, if you dive a little further into the streets you will automatically pass the finest restaurants in Bacalar. We stayed three nights around the lake and went looking for the best addresses.
Banana Go is by far our favorite “restaurant” in Bacalar. You can’t really call it a restaurant. It is more of a food truck that is placed next to the main road in town. They serve delicious smoothies, burgers and “rolls” here. Especially the banana roll is recommended. A fried banana topped with all kinds of vegetables and a delicious mushroom sauce. It is also very cozy out there.
Mango y Chile
If you want to eat delicious (healthy) burgers and enjoy a beautiful view over the lake at the same time, then Mango y Chile is the right place for you. Not only are the burgers delicious, they also make fresh juices and smoothies.
Lunch at Enamora
Besides Banana Go, Enamora is the place to go for a delicious lunch. The sandwiches are fantastic and the juices are wonderfully fresh. The atmosphere is also great. Enamora is not a cheap place for lunch by Mexican standards, but it is worth it!
Bacalar hotels: The best places to stay in Bacalar
Many hotels and hostels are located around Lake Bacalar. The choice is huge, but it is wise to book an accommodation in advance through booking.com as this destination is becoming increasingly popular. We ourselves stayed at Hotel Balché. This hotel, which actually feels more like a cozy guesthouse, is unfortunately not located on the lake, but very close. The rooms are spacious, clean and super chill.
How to get to Laguna Bacalar
Bacalar is the perfect destination on your journey through Yucatán. You can fly cheaply to the capital Cancún from anywhere in the world. We flew from Brussels to Cancún ourselves with TUI from Bruxelles airport. A single ticket cost us a little less than € 250 per person. If you are flexible, you can often find even better prices by booking one of the many last minutes.
Laguna Bacalar is a huge lake that is easiest to discover from the town of Bacalar, located in the province of Quintana Roo in the state of Yucatán. The town is located near the border with Belize. Bacalar is easily accessible from popular resorts such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum, as well as from inland and Belize. We ourselves drove to the lake from Xpujil where you will find beautiful deserted Mayan temples.
When traveling through Mexico by rental car, Bacalar is very easy to reach. It is also possible to travel to Bacalar by bus. There are several buses from Tulum to Bacalar. It is also possible to take the bus from Bacalar to, for example, Mérida or Palanque.
Watch our Bacalar drone video
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