Bacalar 101: The Beginner’s Guide to Bacalar, Mexico

Mexico, Travel Guides

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By Ryan Gargiulo

If you are looking for a place that has history infused with breathtaking sites, then Bacalar in Mexico is the place to be.

Bacalar is home to the magnificent Lake of Seven Colors that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who sees it.

Not only does it have a number of tourist sites, but it is also known for having remnants of some of the oldest creatures that ever existed.

Scientists believe that the organisms will be able to unravel the mystery behind pirates who lived in Bacalar during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Away from the history, the town is dotted with fishermen’s houses that provide a glimpse into the culture of the Mexican people.

You can choose to tour these houses and experience first-hand the life of a fisherman.

The town also has one of the most loved eco-tourism parks named Uchben Kah, where tourists can do various water activities like boat riding, snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving.

All this is possible in the turquoise blue waters of the lake.

Before You Go: Travel Insurance

When planning a trip to Mexico your first priority should be to make sure you make a small investment towards your health and well-being by considering an affordable travel insurance policy for your trip.

Not only will this budget-friendly travel insurance policy cover you if your bags are lost/stolen and if your flight is delayed/canceled, but you’ll also be covered for all medical and injury-related issues as well. 

Let’s face it. No parents, family, or friends want to have to cover the cost of you getting medevaced home from Mexico.

Unfortunately things do happen.

Especially when you least expect it.

Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing travel insurance coverage for your trip so that you know that you’ll be taken care of in the event of a serious emergency in Mexico.

P.S. You won’t believe how reasonably priced this travel insurance is.

Why wait? Get a Travel Insurance Quote for your trip today.

How to Get to Bacalar, Mexico

Despite being a small village in Mexico, Bacalar is slowly gaining popularity among the most sought-after tourist destinations.

However, the area still remains hidden, which gives it a relaxing touch due to the lack of overcrowding tourists.

Let us look at how to get to Bacalar through various transport means:

By Air

The nearest airport to Bacalar is the Chetumal International Airport (CTM).

If you are planning to visit the Riviera Maya before heading to Bacalar, we recommend flying into either Cancun International Airport (CUN) or Tulum International Airport (TUY).

Tulum Airport is convenient as it is only 2 hours and 15 mins away from Bacalar by car while Cancun Airport is more than 4 hours driving distance from Bacalar.

Tip: Begin your flight search by using the Skyscanner engine embedded below.

By Car

It’s a 4-hour drive from Playa del Carmen to Bacalar.

You can get rental cars at roughly $35, and despite the long distance to travel, it will be worth it.

You can also drive from Cancun to Bacalar which will take about 5 hours.

By Bus

To travel by bus, you can take one from the ADO Bus Station.

The Cancun to Bacalar bus from there would cost about $23.

You can also get the Tulum to Bacalar bus at the ADO or OCC Bus Station for $15.

Bacalar Villages

Where to Stay in Bacalar

There are various accommodation options in Bacalar – from Airbnb to hotels and even hostels.

The most recommended option, however, is Airbnb since it’s convenient and most of them are located close to the airport.

The people of Bacalar are pleasant, so you will find kind and helpful staff in most of these accommodation rooms.

The prices are also affordable, and it is advisable to book your accommodation early enough to avoid the last-minute rush.


You can easily get a Bacalar house rental in the central part of Bacalar.

The homes are cozy, clean, and affordable, with most of them being rated 4.7 out of 5.

If you are looking for an Airbnb, the Bacalar rentals are the way to go.

Get a discount of up to $37 on your first Airbnb stay by clicking here.

🔎 If this is your first time using Airbnb, we recommend you read our Insider’s Guide to Saving Money on Airbnb Apartments.


There are a number of Lake Bacalar hotels that are both affordable and expensive.

The Bacalar luxury hotels cost up to $260 and can go higher depending on your preference.


The cheapest option is sleeping in the hostels in Bacalar.

As an added advantage, the rooms come with free Wi-Fi and breakfast.

They are also close to the city center, which gives you a good vantage point to the tourist sites and other areas in Bacalar.

Things to Do in Bacalar

Sitting on the shores of a lake ranked as the second largest in Mexico, Bacalar offers a unique tourist spot.

You get to see the clear lagoon as well as participate in various water activities on this eastern part of Mexico’s coast.

This town is best for day trips as access to various sites is easy.

You can decide to see the magnificent fortress or take a boat ride to one of the fisherman camps along the lake.

Here are some of the things you can do in Bacalar:

Bacalar Mexico
Seven Color Lagoon

Swim in the Seven Color Lagoon

Owing to the scenic beauty of this lagoon, the Mexican government named Bacalar one of the magic towns out of 111 that are in Mexico.

The lagoon has seven different shades of the color blue and is a breathtaking scene to watch.

You can experience the magic by swimming in this narrow lake that has a bottom made of limestone, hence making it crystal clear.

Go kayaking in Bacalar

Except swimming in the lagoon, you can go kayaking and add a taste of adventure to your experience.

In most cases, the hotels will offer kayaking gear to its guests.

If not, you can always get a kayak in the shops strategically placed in front of the lake.

Canal de los Piratas
Pirate Bay

Visit the Canal de los Piratas

It is believed that Bacalar was invaded by pirates in the 17th century, led by a famous pirate known as Diego de Los Reyes.

The pirates were known to enter the town through a canal that is now referred to as the pirates’ canal.

You can learn more about this intriguing history at the Canal de los Piratas.

Enjoy the rapids of Bacalar

The Bacalar lagoon has spectacular living organisms including the gigantic microbialites that stretch up to 10 kilometers and go as high as 3 meters.

You can easily view this site by diving or snorkeling on top of the ‘Rapids’, which is the Southern Rio Chaac.

Visit the Fort of San Felipe

The best place for you to learn the history of Bacalar is by touring the Fort of San Felipe.

This 270-year-old fort contains a museum with artifacts coupled with murals that explain the story behind the historic caste wars in Bacalar.

You will get to see some canons and skeletons believed to belong to the pirates who sailed to Bacalar through the canal.

Go zip lining at Kan K’in Bacalar

If you’re looking for some thrill, you can get some at Kan K’in by zip-lining and getting a view of the beautiful canopy of the Mayan jungle.

The area is a ten-minute drive from central Bacalar, making it convenient and easy to access.

Hop into a pontoon boat around the Laguna Bacalar

If you are travelling as a group, the best way to tour the lagoon is by taking a pontoon boat.

You can get these from your hotel or the people aligned along the road to the lagoon.

The trip only costs $15 per person and is worth every penny.

Go cavern diving

Experience a magical cavern diving experience at the Cenote Azul, which is only a 15-minute drive from Bacalar’s central business district.

The Cenote is 90 meters deep and has a cavern that is illuminated, making it one of the most unique caverns in Yucatan.

Visit the Church of San Joaquin

A few meters from Bacalar’s center stands the old Church of San Joaquin. It has a significant value to the people of Bacalar.

If you are around on July 15th and 16th, you will be able to witness celebrations for Saint Joaquin who is the patron of this church.

Despite being constructed in the 18th century, this church is still intact and has a ceiling fitted with a vault which adds mystery to the site.

Wander through a Mayan ruin

For an unforgettable day trip, drive an hour away from Bacalar to the ruins at Kohunlich and tour the Mayan site.

You will be treated to a spectacular view of palace platforms, courtyards, pyramids, and plazas.

Getting around Bacalar

The town of Bacalar is in the southern part of Quintana Roo, which makes it easily accessible by car.

As mentioned earlier, you can drive to Bacalar from Cancun or Playa del Carmen for 3 to 4 hours, respectively.

With a full gas tank, your drive is expected to be smooth with no hiccups. Once in Bacalar, here are some of the ways you can get around:


Bacalar is a small and tightly-knit town, which makes it easy to explore on foot.

Most of the sites are a few meters from the town center, which makes walking an affordable way to get to them as well as an opportunity to tour the streets.

Bike Rental

If you’re not into walking, you can always rent a bike and use it to navigate through the town.

The bikes are available in hotels as well as rental shops in the town.

Best Time to Visit Bacalar

In terms of the weather, Bacalar is warmest in the months of May, July, and August.

However, if you are looking to travel when there is no chance of rainfall, then February, March, and April are your best chances.

If you are planning to set sail or go on a boat tour, then avoid the months of April and May as this is when the winds are at its peak.

On the other hand, you should travel to Bacalar in July if you want to avoid the crowds at most tourist sites.

However, if you do not mind the thick crowds, then January, February, and March are the best months for you to tour this magical town.

This will also mean expensive flights, rental cars, and accommodations.

If you are looking for a pocket-friendly month, then visit in September as this is the least likely time for people to travel to Bacalar.


Bacalar is a beautiful place. From the magical Seven Color Lake to the historic Mayan ruins, this town has everything you need for that holiday getaway.

Join thousands of tourists this year and experience the breathtaking beauty of this town.

Remember to make your bookings early enough to avoid the challenges that come with the last minute rush.

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