Unbelievably azure water in seven shades of blue, water sports like sailing and kayaking and outstanding vegan food in a relaxed Mexican town. This makes Bacalar one of our favourite places in Mexico. We like it so much that we even stayed longer than in Tulum. You can never get enough of the view of ever-changing blue colours amid the jungle and mangrove of the Yucatan Peninsula. Plan 3-4 days to fully enjoy all what Bacalar has to offer.
How to get to Bacalar?
If you are already somewhere on the beautiful Yucatan peninsula you can just rent a car or hop on a bus to get to Bacalar. You have daily buses from all major towns. Go to the bust station and just ask for the time table. If you go with ADO buses you can check times online but the buses are less frequent than if you just check at the bus station. We went to Bacalar from Mahahual and it took just about 90 mins
Where to Stay in Bacalar?
Bacalar is very Backpacker friendly and you can find cheap and clean accommodation in the town centre, not far from the laguna. If you can afford to spend a little bit more than you should definitely try to find a hotel with direct lake access. The best options which are not too far from town and have stunning blue water just in front are a bit south of town. We stayed in the town centre and walked everywhere which was totally fine for us, but if you come for relaxing then go for the lake-side hotel.
Best Things to do in Bacalar?
Enjoy the Sunrise During a SUP-Tour
The sun rises directly over the lake being on the middle of the lake on a SUP Board is probably the best way to see the sunrise in Bacalar. The tour starts at 6 o clock so you need to get up early to experience that and also this is the only time of the day when the lake is calm enough for an enjoyable SUP experience. Somehow from around 9 o clock the wind picks up and the lake gets quite rough. We saw a few people trying to kayak and STU paddle but most of them failed.
You can book the tour on their website or just go to the place directly.
Swim & Relax on the Lake
Most of the lake front is not accessible for the public nevertheless there are a few good spots where you can swim, snorkel and unwind. There are two public palapas in town, both offer shade and a good place to jump into the water. Here you can mostly find tourists.
North of town is a little Ecological Zone with a gras area and a little peer. You need to pay 3 MXP entrance fee to get to this more natural place. We saw lots of locals enjoying a free afternoon here. Also you can snorkel and dive for snail houses. This place is also lovely during sunset time the light is just magical. We met a famous Mexican photographer here during a shooting and he offered to take some quick pics of us too.
Apart from these public places we found a restaurant in town which will also let you pass to their peer. There you can find swings directly over the water. The restaurants is called Baluartes.
Another lovely place to spend an afternoon lazy on the lake is Casa Tortuga. If you buy a drink or food you can hang out in their stylish garden with direct access into the azur blue water.
Explore Cenote Esmeralda
This Cenote is directly connected to the lake so from here you really can spot 7 shades of blue from deep azure to turquoise to aquamarine. The entrance fee is about 40 MXP. There are also some swings in the water for fun pictures for your Instagram 🙂
Here you can find some of the oldest bacteria in the world forming stromatolites. They are very sensitive and when you step on the they can die same like corals. So please be extra careful not to harm this sensitive ecosystem.
Freedive in Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul is a about 10 minutes taxi ride south of town. It may not be the most beautiful cenote we have seen in Mexico, but it is a great place for breakfast and swimming when the lake is really rough. The water is not super clear but good enough fro some snorkelling. There is plenty of fish inside the cenote. We went to the cenote for some free diving around 10 o clock and most tables were already filled up.
Sail into the Sunset on Lake Bacalar
Our absolute highlight during our stay in Bacalar is a sailing tour on a catamaran through the lake. We did a lot of research and found that Casa Tortuga has the biggest and most comfortable sailing boat in town. We were only 4 guests on the boat and could therefore enjoy the trip even more. If you like sailing and you always thought such trip is too expensive then Bacalar is your destination. The whole 4 hour trip including some fresh pineapple and banana was only 600 MXP pro person. This is the cheapest sailing trip we have seen so far. There is a cooling box on board so you can bring your own drinks maybe some beer or even champagne.
The route for your sailing trip can be the usual routine of all boat tours in Bacalar or you can tell the captain to bring you his favourite spots on the lake. This is what we did and we loved all the spots he showed us. The grande finale of the trip was a great sunset. We arrived back at Casa Tortuga happy and inspired after dawn. Now we also want a sailing boat.
If you want to book your sailing adventure just add this number +52 1 983 155 1313 on WhatsApp and let them know about your needs.
In case you chose the unusual route for the sailing trip you should still head on a normal boar tour to see the pirate channel. This part of the lake looks just stunning but it is also very crowded. I think the best for exploring this part might be the SUP tour in the morning.
Enjoy the Best Vegan Burger in Mexico at Mango y Chile (Opening hours: 1pm-9pm)
Whether you are vegan or not, you have to visit the hottest place in Bacalar. The food is superb and so are the views over the lake. We came here everyday for lunch and also sometimes for dinner because the food was just so incredible good. Our favourite choice is the Hamburgesa Clasica the bread is so nice and crispy as well as the patty. Only writing about it is makes me want to have one. Don’t miss a chocolate chip cookie afterwards. Meals are huge and filling and the prices very reasonable. That’s probably why Mango y Chile was always crowded and visited by locals and tourists alike.
Your Local Uber Hey Taxi Bacalar
If you need a taxi from your hotel to any places in town and don’t want to search for taxi on the street especially during the night then here you go. Add this number +52 1 983 183 0731 on WhatsApp and write them where you are and where you want to go and they will arrange a taxi picking you up. They understand English and will also let you know in advance how much the ride will cost.
We hope this post is helpful and you will have an awesome time in Bacalar. Enjoy your visit from the first moment until the last!