Bacalar is a Magic Town located in Mexico’s Quintana Roo District. Although it’s still a laidback destination compared to other destinations in the Riviera Maya, it’s slowly growing in popularity.
What attracts most travellers to Bacalar is the Laguna de Bacalar. With its enchanting turquoise and blue hues, it’s often also called the Lagoon of Seven Colors. In local language, the town’s name was derived from the word Baak’Jalal, which means surrounded by reeds.
With eco-friendly hotels, an unlimited number of hammocks, pristine cenotes and amazing views everywhere you look, Bacalar is the perfect place to take a step back from busy destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula like Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Chetumal.
It makes Bacalar the perfect last stop for your travel itinerary in the Yucatan Peninsula. Besides an unmissable boat tour, kayaking or SUP trip around the lagoon, the Bacalar also has a very colourful history. From the Mayan Civilization to Spanish Conquistadores and a stint with pirates – there are many interesting stories to learn during your visit!
New to Bacalar? Check out this compact Bacalar guide to find the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Bacalar!
3 ways to get from Cancun to Bacalar (Sorted on popularity)
Themost cost-efficient way to travel the 345km driving distance from Cancun to Bacalar is a 6-hour bus with combined fares from 595 MXN ($29). Alternatively, you can take a 4-hour private transfer that costs around 6,850 MXN ($335) or a 2-hour flight with fares from 2,943 MXN ($140).
The bus is the only direct public transport available from Cancun to Bacalar. Operated by ADO, buses depart frequently throughout the day so you can easily fit it into your schedule. Bus fares (including transfers to and from bus stations) starting from 595 MXN ($29) and the bus trip takes around 6 hours.
Are you travelling with a group or coming from Cancún International Airport? If so, you might also want to consider getting your own private ride. A 4-seater private transfer from Cancun Airport to Bacalar costs around 6,850 MXN ($335)– it comes at a price, but at least it saves you the hassle of going into the city centre to get a bus. Having your own shuttle is convenient if you’re carrying a lot of luggage and/or travelling with kids and elders. Also, it can take you straight to your hotel in Laguna Bacalar.
There are no direct flights from Cancun to Bacalar. If you want to fly, you can take a plane to the coastal town of Chetumal and then take a taxi from there to Bacalar. The journey takes around 2 hours plus waiting time at the airport. Taking a flight is the fastest and most scenic option, but it is also very expensive with combined fares from 2,943 MXN ($140).
If you decide to fly, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to help reduce your impact on the environment.
Taking the bus is an easy and cheap way to get from Cancun to Bacalar. The bus stations of the two cities are both centrally located. You can easily walk from/to your hotel or take a short taxi ride. Total travel time takes around 6 hours.
Step 1: Cancun City Centre to Bus Terminal
Duration: 5 – 25 minutes Cost: from 15 MXN ($0.70)
Buses depart from ADO Bus terminal along Calle Pino in downtown Cancun. If your hotel is in this area, it might only be a short walk away.
If you’re staying in the Hotel Zone, you can reach the bus station via a 15-minute taxi that costs around 210 MXN ($10).
You can also save some money by using the local bus when coming from Cancun’s hotel zone. Lines R-1, R-3 and R-38 make a stop at Avenida Tulum, right in front of the bus terminal. A bus ticket costs 15 MXN ($0.70) and the trip takes around 25 minutes.
Step 2: Cancun to Bacalar by Bus
Duration: 5.5 hours Cost: 520 MXN ($25.50)
Buses from Cancun to Bacalar are available throughout the day, with departures almost every hour from 06:10 in the morning to past midnight.
ADO, Mexico’s largest bus company, is the sole operator for this route. You can expect a bus with air conditioning, reclining seats, and a toilet. Do prepare a jacket as the ride can get chilly!
The bus trip from Cancun to Bacalar takes around 5.5 hours. The cheapest ticket prices start from 520 MXN ($25.50) and can be booked online via BookAway.
We recommend to book tickets online in advance to be guaranteed a seat at your desired time and date.
While it is possible to buy your tickets at the bus station, you’ll have to wait for the next trip in case tickets for your preferred time are already sold out.
Step 3: Bacalar Bus Terminal to City Centre
Duration: 10 minutes Cost: from 60 MXN ($2.90)
Buses park at ADO Bacalar, located along the main road, some 2km from the tourist area. Many hotels are within walking distance of this bus station. If your hotel is closer to the beaches of Laguna de Bacalar, we recommend taking a taxi.
Taxis in Bacalar are not metered so make sure to agree on a price before getting in. Rates to Laguna Bacalar beach and anywhere within the city limits should cost between 60 MXN ($2.90) and 130 MXN ($6).
Cancun to Bacalar by Private Transfer
Duration: 4 hours Cost: 6,850 MXN ($335)
If you prefer your own ride and have the budget for it, it might be more convenient to get a private transfer from Cancun to Bacalar. Rates start from 6,850 MXN ($335) for a 4-seater car.
We honestly think that taking a private shuttle is quite expensive as there is already an efficient bus service connection Cancun and Bacalar.
However, it’s a great alternative if you’re coming from Cancun International Airport and are heading straight to Bacalar with all your luggage. Travel time is also about 2 hours faster than taking the bus.
Taking a flight is a quick way to get from Cancun to Bacalar. It is worth noting though that you can only take a flight up to Chetumal, which is still 40km away from the beautiful lagoon.
The total travel time takes a little over 2 hours.
Step 1: City Centre to Cancun Airport
Duration: 30 minutes Cost: from 98 MXN ($4.80)
Cancun Airport is located about 18km south of Cancun city centre. You can get there in 3 ways: via taxi, a shared minivan, or the ADO buses departing from Cancun’s Central Bus Station. All options can drop you off at any of the airport’s two terminals.
The bus is the cheapest option from downtown Cancun to Cancun Airport at 98 MXN ($4.80). Tickets are available for online booking on ClickBus, but you can also buy them onsite at the bus station.
If you’re coming from the Hotel Zone, it might be more convenient to take a shared minivan for 157 MXN ($7.50) or a private transfer for 456 MXN ($22). Both can be conveniently booked beforehand through BookAway.
From Chetumal Airport, you will then have to travel about 40km northwest to Bacalar. The best way to complete the last leg of this journey is by taxi.
There are plenty of taxis waiting at Chetumal Airport so pre-booking is not really necessary. It’s good to know the average rate though to avoid being overcharged. A taxi ride from Chetumal Airport to Bacalar costs should cost you around 400 MXN ($19.50).
A cheaper option would be to take the bus, which only costs 80 MXN ($3.90). Unfortunately, there are no direct buses for this route. You’ll still have to take a short taxi ride to the ADO Bus Terminal in Chetumal city centre, from where the buses bound for Laguna Bacalar are parked.
Bacalar to Cancun guide
Heading back to Cancun after? Check out the full details of our guide from Bacalar to Cancun.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Can you rent a car from Cancun to Bacalar?
There is also an option to rent your own car from Cancun to Bacalar. Driving on your own is a popular way to go around Mexico, particularly because it’s very cheap. Rates for a rental car start from 320 MXN ($15.50) a day.
Having a car rental gives you the freedom to make as many side trips as you want and do whatever you want – like belting out your favourite road trip tunes. It’s worth noting though that you’ll have to return your rental car in Cancun unless you’re willing to pay an extra $100 if you leave it in Bacalar.
The owners of Zayali homestay welcome you as if you’re part of the family and make 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 also a great communal hangout area with hammocks and a rustic bar.