Central America · Mexico

Bacalar Lagoon is a top holiday destination in Mexico

Bacalar is a laid back town in Yucatan, by the lake of the same name, which looks like the sea due to it’s turquoise water. The blue lagoon provides plenty of activities, it’s surrounded by green mangroves far from the madding crowd. In town there are many choices of small hotels, family run restaurants and lake view bars. It’s relaxed atmosphere makes it one of the best destinations in Mexico to spend the holidays. Find out how I experienced that beautiful place.

A perfect day in Bacalar Lagoon

It’s already bright but the sun is still behind the horizon. I wait until it decides to show above the  line of the lake. I walk in the waist deep water along the mangroves. Roots of the trees remind me of big spiders coming towards me. I don’t want to scare the birds  fishing by the shore, they look at me with one eye from time to time. I look them back with the eye of my camera. With the first sunrays, the water colour start to change. Bacalar Lagoon in Yucatan is famous for having seven shades of blue, but I’ve already counted more, or maybe I am too specific. I don’t stay long watching the morning spectacle, I better go to find a boat trip around the lake. 

The white, slim yacht silently goes across the tranquil surface of Bacalar Lagoon in Mexico. The wind cooperates with the sail, making gentle noise. We come closer to a round bay of Cenote Negro, where the water color changes dramatically for dark blue, nearly black. It’s because underneath us is 180 meters deep which gives me goose bumps of excitement. Then we come back to the safe waters and the captain casts the anchor to  stop for a swim near Cenote Esmeralda. The party music is loudly on, the beer disappears from the little fridge and everyone gets a holiday vibe. 

Credit Q

Then we go further to Cenote Cocalitos to see the stromatolites. They look like round rocks formed by bacteria. It’s hard to believe that they are the planets oldest and earliest lifeform!

The last point during our trip is El Canal de los Piratas, named after famous pirates and corsairs, who came here to repair their boats and construct new ships. By the entrance to the canal there is a strange construction which resembles a wrecked ship covered in graffiti. It’s not actually a shipwreck but a concrete building which was supposed to be a bar but didn’t get the licence. The guide tells the group about healing properties of the clay which covers the bottom of the lagoon, so we make a clay mask in the shallow area to exfoliate our skin.

The wiev over the village Bacalar from the lake
Credit Q

Time to go back, but I don’t have enough of swimming and I grab my snorkeling mask and jump in from one of many piers. I could easily see little fish from above the surface but when put my head into the water the visibility is very poor. The clearest blue I have ever seen is embracing me while I snorkel giving me a feeling of floating in the sky. If there is a heaven, it must look like this. 

After that, the active day in Bacalar Lagoon in Mexico comes to an end and the stomach is letting me know that it’s time to go to one of several veggie restaurants for a proper meal. I walk through relaxed streets in the evening, without the crowd and annoying sellers. I got an invitation ticket for a Saturday salsa night, but I won’t be here anymore, exploring the rest of Mexican attractions.

Useful information if you plan to go to Bacalar in Mexico

Where to stay

The small hotel Nido del Quetzal where I stayed in Bacalar is well worth recommending. Very close to the lagoon, nice garden, tasty breakfast and the neighbours are big parrots. Good value for the price, double room starts from 40 dollars.

Where to eat near Bacalar Lagoon

  • Mango y Chile – delicious veggie burgers and smoothies with a view over the lake from the hill
  • Rapsodians Resto Vegetariano – best ever falafel for 120 pesos
  • El Pinio  – is a bit hidden inside Bacalar but has got a nice outdoor area with hammocks and a veggie friendly menu. Burrito with veggie, rice and two sauces for just 130 pesos 
  • Have a drink in one of the lakefront restaurants so you have access to their private pier

What else to do in Bacalar:

  • Kayaking
  • Sunrise paddle boarding
  • Hang just above the water on a swing or a hammock
  • Sightsee the Spanish fort
  • Watch the sunset from the pier
  • Visit Mayan ruins nearby Bacalar in Mexico
  • Swim five times a day in a crystal blue water
  • Relax

How to get to Bacalar by bus

To get to famous Bacalar Lagoon in Mexico, take the comfortable Ado bus from Cancun Airport to Bacalar. The journey takes approximately 5 hours. It also goes from Cancun Bus Terminal, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.


  • Pack an organic sunscreen and repellent. Locals pay a lot of attention to keep the lake clean and you can’t use any chemicals going into the water. Please respect that.
  • Go for a boat trip in the morning as the water has got the most indigo blue shade at that time.
  • There are street sellers offering boat trips, ask several to get the best price. In addition, if you are in a group of people, try to negotiate. I paid 250 pesos per person for 2h, but I heard it could be cheaper.
  • Choose a yacht rather than motorboat as it’s more eco friendly for the fragile ecosystem of the lake.
  • There is an ATM in Bacalar. The money exchange accepts only Euros and Dollars. 

If this article inspired you to go to Bacalar or you have already been there, please feel free to share your thoughts in a comments below. I would love to hear from you.

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