Things to do in Bacalar, Mexico: the home of the lagoon of the 7 colors

We had heard wonders of the Bacalar Lagoon, but we had also heard that it was almost completely surrounded by hotels and beach clubs that hid it from view of tourists. We didn’t have them all with us when we decided to make a stop in the city. Our idea was to try to see the lagoon and continue the journey… That was our idea. An idea that vanished as soon as we peeked into that preciousness. There was a lot what to do in Bacalar and its lagoon as if not to stay longer.

Jumping in front of the walls of the fort of San Felipe de Bacalar

From one night in Bacalar we went to two. Before you say that we would not like it so much if we were only two days, it is that we had an appointment with a Mayan site. But, on the way back, we stayed another couple of nights, which ended up becoming four. The Beauty of the lagoonthe Relaxed atmosphere of its center, the Graffitithe Cenotes, the food… In the end we enjoyed that feeling of feeling at home, of not having to look at the map to go to the sites and of knowing where everything was, in short, of walking without “sightseeing”.

Don’t believe us? Well, take a look at everything what to do in Bacalar and you will see that you also extend your stay next to one of the Most beautiful lagoons in the world.

Where is Bacalar in Mexico and how to get there

We start at the beginning: geography. Where is Bacalar? In Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula and in the State of Quintana Roo, going from more to less. Yes, it is in the same state as the famous Tulum, Cancun or Playa del Carmen, but in the southern part, very close to Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo.

What to see in Bacalar Laguna Colores Selva
The lagoon of Bacalar between the jungle of the shore

You won’t have any problem for get to Bacalar Because it is one of the tourist spots of the state – always without reaching the level of the big cities of the north. You can go in bus from Chetumal –40 minutes journey– and in Shared taxi, faster and for the same price. If you prefer, you can hire your private transfer from Chetumal, door to door.

There are also buses from Riviera Maya –just under three hours from Tulum and about four from Playa del Carmen– and from Cancun -about five and a half hours- with ADO and second-class companies, at ADO stations you have all the information on schedules and prices.

Tours to Bacalar from the Riviera Maya: Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen

If looking for the bus station, checking the schedules and queuing at the ticket office is not your thing, you can hire an excursion to Bacalar from the Riviera Maya. It is also a good option if you go with the right time, that not everyone has two months to travel around the Yucatan Peninsula and a week to be in Bacalar like us. You will sail through the lagoon and visit some of the places to see in Bacalar in a single day “Of course, the early morning and the bus hours will not be taken away by anyone.”

What to see in Bacalar Amanecer Laguna Azul
What you will not be able to see with a tour to Bacalar is the sunrise in the lagoon of the seven colors

Obviously it is more expensive than doing it on your own, but you will avoid choosing between the options of boat trips and the expense of the hotel night and the bus ticket, in addition to having a guide who will accompany you throughout the day. tour.

The lagoon of Bacalar or lagoon of the 7 colors

It’s time to respond to “Why do I have to go to Bacalar?“. For many reasons, but only with the Bacalar Lagoon You’d have enough reason. The nickname of the Bacalar lagoon is Lagoon of the 7 colors. And it’s not just because marketing, delivers what it promises. Moreover, we could even assure that there are More than seven shades of blue.

What to see in Bacalar Laguna Colores
Colors of the Bacalar lagoon

Did you know…?

The different shades of blue present in the lagoon of the seven colors are due to the Depth variation of its waters along its surface and to the white of its sand. Do not worry, although the Bacalar lagoon is 55 km long and up to 2.5 km at its widest, you will not have to travel the whole to see the colors. You will hallucinate from the same shore.

In our article about cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula we told that the cenotes were the only sources of drinking water in the area in Mayan times. The composition of the terrain causes the water to seep in, forming the cenote systems, and not remain on the surface. In fact The Bacalar lagoon is one of the few lagoons of the peninsula… and was formed by the Overflow of several cenotes. We also said in that article that there are cenotes in lagoons and it was those of the Bacalar lagoon to which we referred. One of them, the cenote de la Bruja, reaches 100 meters deep.

The stromatolites of the Bacalar lagoon

In addition to the beauty of the colors and the cenotes, the Bacalar lagoon has great Biological and geological significance being home to the structure of stromatolites Modern freshwater world, between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. Are The oldest living organisms on the planet, there is nothing. These structures release oxygen and capture large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are alive and protected, so don’t touch them or get close to them. They are located in the surroundings of the Cenote Cocalitos.

What to see in Bacalar Laguna Stromatolites
Stromatolites next to the Cocalitos cenote

In addition to these “rocks-alive”, in the lagoon of the 7 colors there are Large amount of fauna among birds, fish, mammals in the bordering jungle areas and reptiles. In fact, there have been some attacks by Crocodiles within its waters. We have to say that the companies that make the visits by boat control the places where they allow bathing and we did not see any in the whole tour.

What to see in Bacalar Laguna Siete Colores Iguana
An iguana from the lagoon of seven colors

Pollution and survival of the Bacalar lagoon

The tourism in the lagoon of Bacalar – with more than 140,000 visitors a year – is causing a very high pressure on the ecosystem. The sewage and the fuel spills of the boats the are damaging, along with the fatty layer that blocks the surface of the water due to the sun creams.

The farm What takes place in the northern part of the lagoon by groups of Mennonites who cut down the jungle to cultivate and pollute the land and water with chemicals is also destroying the beauty and variety of colors and life in the lagoon.

Be sure to visit it, but remember to try to leave as little trace of your step as possible For example, no sunscreen, sunscreen or any makeup or cosmetics if you are going to bathe.

8 things to do in Bacalar if you go for free

You already know why to go to Bacalar, but we have said that the lagoon is not the only reason. In fact, Bacalar has the category of Magical Town of Mexico. Check out the 8 things to do in Bacalar and convince yourself.

Enjoy the lagoon of the 7 colors on a boat trip

It is not the only reason, but the main one: the first thing you have what to do in Bacalar is Navigate the lagoon of the 7 colors. It is the best way to enjoy it because, as we had heard, most of the shore is occupied by hotels and beach clubs. In addition, the feeling of Go in a small boat on an eye of water more than 100 meters deep It is something that is not forgotten.

Cenotes Quinta Roo Mexico Bacalar Lagoon
Above the Black Cenote

There are so many Companies that make the boat and pontoon tour –a more comfortable boat with some shade– by the Bacalar lagoon. Look, more than anything, at the number of people you are waiting for. Prices are regulated and are the same for everyone, but only leave when they are full enough to make the trip profitable. Although the prices are fixed, you can always try haggle A little and get the pontoon at the price of boat. You can also book a walk through the lagoon of Bacalar with the time closed and online, so you won’t have to wait. If you prefer, you can also Sailing on a sailboat through the lagoon of the 7 colors.

What to see in Bacalar Laguna Colores Pontones
Pontoons in the lagoon of the seven colors of Bacalar

During the navigation, we approach the Three Cenotes Most famous of La Laguna: that of the Witch or Black, the Emerald and the Cocalitos –where the stromatolites are–. And we saw some of those big hotels and private homes from the water. They are about two hours in which, in addition, we also approach the Bird Island and we swam next to the Pirate Channel that connects the lagoon of Bacalar with the lagoon Mariscal.

Visit the fort of San Felipe

The pirates referred to in the channel of the Bacalar lagoon were English, French, Dutch… And, obviously, his intention was not to stay in the lagoon. To defend himself from his attacks on the city, the Fort of San Felipe in the first third of the eighteenth century. These were not the only struggles that the fort experienced, during the Caste War, in the mid-nineteenth century, was taken by the indigenous rebels against the Mexican government. It continued to maintain a military function until the mid-twentieth century, when it was converted into museum.

What to see in Bacalar Fort San Felipe
The fort of San Felipe

We confess that we stay outside the walls and defensive moats, but we tell you that its collection has objects from the colonial era and Mayan pieces. Next to the moat there is a small open-air theater where we find a representation of Mayan legends.

Take a walk through the historic center and eat a marquesita

The fort of San Felipe marks the center of Bacalar, east of the Zocalo Square. One of the things you have what to do in Bacalar is Stroll through the historic center and the Zocalo square is the perfect place to start. In the tour day trip to Bacalar A visit to the city centre is included.

Do not miss the opportunity to eat a typical marquesita of the Yucatan Peninsula in one of the stalls that are placed at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 20th Street, southeast of the Zocalo square.

Take a picture with Bacalar’s letters

In the same square of the Zocalo, in front of the fort of San Felipe, are the lyrics by Bacalar. These letters were reserved for Magical Towns, were their mark of quality, although now they are in all the towns and even neighborhoods of Mexico.

What to see in Bacalar Letras
The lyrics of Bacalar

Search all graffiti

As you walk the streets – from east to west – and the avenues – from north to south – that form the Bacalar grid, you will come across a good number of Murals with images related to Mayan culture, Quintaroo folklore, animals… We always look for urban art when we do tourism and we have to say that we found the murals of Bacalar very good.

What to see in Bacalar Graffiti
One of Bacalar’s graffiti

Watch the sunrise at Bacalar Lagoon

It will be an important early morning, but another of the things you would have what to do in Bacalar is Watch the sunrise over the lagoon of the 7 colors. We have already said that most of the shore is occupied by hotels and cluBs beach, but there are still a couple of public places from which to enjoy the show, a couple of piers. As if that were not enough, the 16th Street Pier It ends in a log cabin that sets the perfect setting for the daytime performance. Nor are we going to assure you that it is to arrive and kiss the saint, we went six times and had a couple of impressive sunrises and the others full of clouds. But the beautiful ones are not forgotten.

What to see in Bacalar Amanecer Laguna
Sunrise at Bacalar Lagoon from 16th Street Pier

In fact, we were never alone on the pier every day. There was always some other tourist waiting for the sunrise sitting on the wooden boards or, directly, inside the water of the lagoon.

Do kayak or Paddle Surf In the lagoon

The contemplation of the colors of the Bacalar lagoon does not consume calories… If you are looking for a little sport, beyond the time swimming on the boat ride, you also have options. We saw people doing Paddle Surf. The water is totally calm and it is easy to keep your balance, we even saw a guy who was on the board with his dog. And also in kayak. Don’t let it be said that you don’t stay in shape.

What to see in Bacalar Amanecer Laguna Paddle Surf Kayak
Water sports at dawn in the lagoon of the seven colors

Visit the Blue Cenote

There are not only cenotes within the Bacalar lagoon. Forming part of the same system, but outside the lagoon, there is another one: the Blue Cenote. Surrounded by the jungle and with a private entrance, it is a tourist cenote -with restaurant-, with a diameter of almost 200 meters and 90 deep. You can reach it with a taxi from the center of Bacalar Or, if you dare, walking along the shore of the lagoon, although we already tell you that you will see little water on the walk. We are talking about just over 4.5 km away from the fort of San Felipe.

Cenotes Quintana Roo Mexico Laguna Bacalar Azul
The Blue Cenote

Rincon Jump with Me

At the back of the cenote, there is an almost wild access to the water. We indicate it on the map, but more as a curiosity than as a proposal to take a bath.

Our recommended hotel in Bacalar

Maybe much of our infatuation with Bacalar is related to the hotel in which we sleep. No, it was not a beach hotel, nor a resort all inclusive, it was a Family Hotel, very quiet and a bit away from the tourist center. We spent our six nights in Bacalar in the Hotelito K ́uyche ́. Swinging in the Hammocks of your garden. Cooking in your Shared kitchen. And resting in the rooms – we tried a couple – large, clean and comfortable. Not to mention the staff, always attentive. One more detail: you can pay by card and without commission for using it – which, in Bacalar, is charged in most establishments. Of course, it is not the only one Bacalar hotel

Sleep in Bacalar Hotelito K'uyche' Room
Our room at the Hotelito K ́uyche’ in Bacalar

Where to eat: recommended restaurants

We prepared our meal in the kitchen of the Hotelito K ́uyche ́, but we also tried some restaurants in our week in Bacalar. We recommend a couple of places that we really liked.

Let’s start with the restaurant Mistura, at 321 5th Avenue, between 28th and 30th Streets. Traditional Mexican food with touches of innovation and a first class service. We still remember that grilled octopus in black recado sauce and the mixed ceviche with shrimp, octopus, sea bass, red onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado and corn chips. Delicious and without commission for paying by card – a point in its favor.

Eating at Bacalar Restaurant Mistura Pulpo Grill Recado Negro
Grilled octopus in black recado sauce from Mistura restaurant

The other is a Traditional taqueria, Christian’s taqueria, on 18th Street between 7th and 9th Avenues. Gringas, quesadillas, melted cheese and, of course, tacos. We do not know if it is the best meat al pastor de Bacalar, as they say in their menu, but it is very good. Of course, they charge commission for paying by card and they did not tell us until they brought the account – and that we had asked them before.

Map with things to do in Bacalar

You will not get lost in the city: the streets go from east to west and the avenues from north to south, plus the numbering is also ordered, growing north on the streets and west on the avenues. But, to know where the places to see and things to do in Bacalar, here is our classic map.

We went to spend a couple of days and ended up staying a week and Bacalar is much more than a lagoon, although it has seven colors.

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