Palenque to Bacalar

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How to get from Palenque to Bacalar

Whilst continuing your journey through southern Mexico, you shouldn’t miss the beautiful Riviera Maya. One place you definitely should include in your itinerary is Bacalar, the municipal seat and largest city in Bacalar Municipality.

Somehow, despite all it has to offer, Bacalar has remained one of Mexico’s hidden gems. Its main attraction is Bacalar Lagoon, with spectacularly clear turquoise waters so enchanting you’d think you’re in an island in the middle of nowhere.

Lounging by the beach is a popular activity, but so is kayaking, snorkelling, paddleboarding and scuba diving in one of the cenotes. Something else you probably don’t expect, Bacalar has a rich history involving pirates that will be interesting to learn about during your visit!

New to Bacalar? Our compact Bacalar guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Bacalar!

Bus from Palenque to Bacalar

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus9 hours900 MXN ($47.50)Check Bus Tickets

The most popular way to travel the 486 km (301 miles) from Palenque to Bacalar is a 9-hour bus that costs around 900 MXN ($47.50).

There is one direct bus trip available from Palenque to Bacalar every day. It departs in the evening and arrives early morning the next day. Travel time by bus is about 9 hours, but you can spend most of it in dreamland.

There also used to be a shared minivan operating from Palenque to Bacalar. Reduced travel due to the pandemic has taken this option out of the equation. But even if the minivan was still available, we don’t really recommend it.

Although the minivan was a bit faster at 7.5 hours, it was double the price of the bus with rates from 1,750 MXN ($93). We don’t think it’s worth it since buses are already very comfortable and are more spacious.

Itinerary from Palenque to Bacalar

Palenque to Bacalar by Bus

Duration: 9 hours
Cost: 900 MXN ($47.50)
Duration: 9 hours
Cost: 900 MXN ($47.50)

There is only one bus operating from Palenque to Bacalar, which is operated by AU.

AU is a sub-branch of Mexico’s most popular bus company ADO. Although this is the cheaper subbranch of ADO, you can still expect a comfortable ride with AU. Their bus features air conditioning, a toilet and reclining seats.

The bus trip from Palenque to Bacalar takes a little over 9 hours. This already includes scheduled stops at Emiliano Zapata, Escarcega and Chetumal to pick up and drop off passengers. These stops are the main reason buses take longer than minivans.

Bus ticket prices start from 900 MXN ($47.50).

Bus schedule from Palenque to Bacalar

Bus OperatorSchedulesCosts
AU Bus18:00-03:05900 MXN ($47.50)
Check Bus Tickets

The first bus from Palenque to Bacalar is also the last bus of the day. There is no more next trip. It’s best to book your tickets online in advance to be assured of a seat. You can find cheap bus tickets on BookAway.

Departure station

Buses going to Bacalar depart from Palenque’s central bus terminal in the town centre, just a 10-minute walk from the main square.

If you don’t fancy walking with all your luggage, you can take a taxi for around 60 MXN ($3.15).

Arrival station

The bus will drop you off at ADO Bacalar, just on the town’s main road.

With the bus schedule, you’ll arrive in Bacalar in the middle of the night. So unless your accommodation is within walking distance, your best option is to take a taxi.

Taxis in Bacalar are not metered so before getting in, agree on the rate with the driver. Rates to the beach lagoon and anywhere within the city limits should be between 60 MXN ($3.15) and 130 MXN ($6.50).

Our favourite places to stay in Bacalar

Agam Hotel – Treating Yourself

This place is just wow! Agam hotel boasts a bright and stunning decor that will make you feel like you’re staying in one of the fancy Tulum hotels. The difference is that the price tag is a lot lower!

There’s a swimming pool and a number of comfy loungers to spend the day on, soaking up the sun. After one night here, you’ll be looking to book more!

  • Stunning swimming pool
  • Delicious à la carte breakfast
  • Bike rental available
  • Beautifully decorated, modern rooms

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Check Latest Price

Casa Zazil – Mid Range

The ladies running this hotel provide an unforgettable service, and are great at recommending things to do in Bacalar. The hotel feels brand new with it’s light and airy rooms that boast a modern flare.

Added bonus: one of the host’s talents is preparing delicious vegan smoothies, coconut bowls and paninis. Waking up in the morning has never been so easy!

  • Attentive and friendly hosts
  • Delicious breakfast
  • Newly renovated rooms
  • Close to the bus stop

Double rooms between $40-$80 per night

Check Latest Price

Hotel Ma Alob Che Bacalar – Mid Range

Hotel Ma Alob Che provides everything you could ask for at a very good price — spacious rooms, comfy beds and excellent hosts. It is slightly further out of town, but as Bacalar is so small, you’re never far from the action.

This comes with the advantage that you’ll be surrounded by only peace and quiet. The large and lush garden in the hotel is the perfect place to relish in this tranquility.

  • Large and modern rooms
  • Relaxing communal courtyard and garden
  • Peaceful atmosphere
  • Bicycles available to rent

Double rooms between $40-$80 per night

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Zayali – Budget Friendly

The owners of Zayali homestay welcome you as if you’re part of the family, making you instantly feel like you’re at home. The rooms are clean, spacious and well air-conditioned, guaranteeing a great night’s sleep.

The rooms also include a fridge, microwave and coffee-making facilities. Plus, there’s a great communal hangout area with hammocks and a rustic bar.

  • Super friendly host family
  • Big and clean air conditioned rooms
  • Great location
  • Free water and coffee

Double rooms between $15-$40 per night

Check Latest Price

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Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.

Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.