If you’re visiting Bacalar soon, you’ve come to the right place. After reading this guide, you’ll know which area to stay in, where to find the best restaurants and how to get around this tranquil lake town in Mexico.
What to expect from Bacalar
Most travellers tend to visit Tulum as their last destination in the Quintana Roo region, but they’re missing out.
Continue south and you’ll stumble upon Bacalar, also known as the Lagoon of Seven Colours. The lagoon’s turquoise hues and crystal clear waters are what attract most people to the area. It’s perfect for those looking for the chance to laze in a water hammock or paddle in shallow waters.
A great thing about Bacalar is that it’s not on most people’s radars. YET. This means the town allows you to escape the craziness of the rest of Quintana Roo, and experience a more traditional Mexican vibe.
Is Bacalar worth visiting?
Apart from water-based activities around the lagoon, there’s not much else going on in Bacalar. This just makes it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of the area.
For such a small town, the selection of food and quality is both surprising and outstanding. Some of the best dishes in Mexico can be found in Bacalar.
If we had to pick between staying in Bacalar, or one of the more popular spots like Playa del Carmen or Tulum, we would choose Bacalar every time.
How many days should you spend in Bacalar?
Bacalar is the perfect place to spend 3-4 days, exploring the lagoon by boat, kayak or paddleboard, and visiting some of the surrounding attractions like the nearby rapids.
Alternatively, you can just grab a book and a hammock and just relax. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it?
To help you make the most of your time in Bacalar, we’ve put together a list of the Top Things to Do in Bacalar.
Where to stay in Bacalar
Bacalar is a small lake town, so picking where to stay is a relatively easy decision. Exactly what we all love to hear. If you stay in the centre of town or in one of the accommodations set on the lake, you can’t go wrong.
We’d recommend finding accommodation right on the lake. The sunrises here are indescribable! And these accommodations often come with private piers where you can relax all day. If your budget allows it, there are a number of stunning boutique and luxury hotels that will make you feel like you’re in the Maldives.
You’ll be able to find a range of accommodation options from hostels to homestays and Airbnbs.
Where to eat in Bacalar
When travelling to such a small town, many travellers won’t have high expectations for the food. Bacalar defies this assumption.
There are so many amazing restaurants that you’ll want to extend your stay just to visit more of them.
Mango y Chile — the best vegetarian burgers around
One of our favourites is Mango y Chile. It’s a vegetarian/vegan burger restaurant that makes the best burgers and serves huge portions!
The restaurant likes to play with flavours, adding interesting toppings. You’ll probably be surprised that the patty isn’t made of meat, it tastes so good. Whilst you’re enjoying your delicious burger and chips on the balcony, you can take in the wonderful views of the lagoon.
Mr Taco — unique tacos you won’t have tried before
Another one not to miss is Mr Taco. Here you won’t just find your standard taco. They have 15 different filling options from mole to chorizo and potato.
This quaint and interestingly decorated spot only seats a few people, so it can get busy. It’s no wonder because the tacos are delicious and cheap. They also sell some mouth-watering and huge burritos that are a must-try!
Enamora — healthy and delicious brunch spot
For those who love a good brunch to set them up for the day, Enamora will hit the spot. The cafe is the epitome of health, offering great smoothies, delicious sandwiches and bowls packed with goodness. The surrounding trees add to the peacefulness that oozes from this place.
How to get around Bacalar
Getting around Bacalar couldn’t be easier. The small town is centred around the main square, commonly called a Zocalo in Mexico. When it comes to amenities, everything is within walking distance.
If you’re staying on the lake, you’re only a short walk away from this too!
If your accommodation is within the town, you’ll be able to walk everywhere you need. There are a number of supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets and pharmacies scattered throughout the town.
A short walk to the main square and you’ll also find a selection of great food spots which we talk about in our Things to Do in Bacalar blog post.
The great thing about walking is that you get to see the town, it’s free and it helps to burn off all of the tacos you’ve been eating.
Like we said above, all of the amenities you could possibly need are within town, but if you want to explore further afield, you may have to hop in a taxi.
There are a number of attractions a short taxi ride away, like the Bacalar rapids. To give you an idea of the price, a taxi ride from the centre of town to the rapids should cost around 150 MXN ($8.50).
Taxis are always roaming around the town, so you won’t have a problem finding one. They also cluster around the main square, or you can ask your accommodation to order one for you.
Hiring a bike allows you to cover more ground than walking and it’s also a fun way to explore the town and surrounding areas. Some areas of the town will require you to go uphill slightly, but don’t worry the hills don’t last long.
Hiring a bicycle should cost around 35 MXN ($2.00) per hour, but you may be able to haggle a better price if you’re looking to keep the bike for a longer period of time.
Some accommodations also include bikes in the price of your stay which is a nice added bonus.
How to get to Bacalar
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Palenque||7.5hrs – 9hrs 5mins||736 MXN ($36) – 1,750 MXN ($85)||Palenque to Bacalar|
|Tulum||2.5hrs – 3hrs||310 MXN ($15) – 3,500 MXN ($170)||Tulum to Bacalar|
Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re almost ready for your adventure in Bacalar. The next step is to create your personalised itinerary with our top picks of things to do in Bacalar. Simply choose your favourite activities and places to visit, and you’re all set to make lasting memories 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
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
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
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
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