How to get from Palenque to Bacalar?

Whilst continuing your journey through southern Mexico, you shouldn’t miss the beautiful Mayan Riviera. One place that you definitely shouldn’t skip is Bacalar.

Somehow Bacalar has remained as one of Mexico’s hidden gems, despite all it has to offer. The main reason why most travellers are attracted to the town is due to Bacalar Lagoon. The lagoon has spectacularly clear turquoise water, a colour more commonly associated with a tropical island than a lagoon.

You won’t get over how blue it is or get enough of all the activities available in the lagoon, including; kayaking, snorkelling, SUP and scuba diving in one of the cenotes. Something else you probably wouldn’t expect, Bacalar has a rich history involving pirates that’s really interesting to learn about.

The most popular way to travel the 486 km (301 miles) between Palenque and Bacalar is a 8.5 hours bus ride costing around 668 MXN ($31).

Recommended transport option

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus8.5 hoursFrom 668 MXN ($31)Check bus tickets
Shared minivan7.5 hours1750 MXN ($83)Check minivan tickets

There is another option of a shared minivan, however it’s over double the price of the bus. If you’re travelling with a group it may be a viable option though.

A company called Maya Shuttle offers a 7.5 hour shared minivan service once a day for 1750 MXN ($83) per person.

We’d recommend sticking with the bus as you have more space, it’s cheaper and the journey time isn’t much longer for the money you save.


Itinerary from Palenque to Bacalar


Bus icon

Palenque to Bacalar by Bus

Duration: 8.5 hours
Cost: From 668 MXN ($31)

Buses to Bacalar depart from the Palenque’s central bus terminal, located in the town’s centre and only a 10 minute walk from the main square.

If you don’t fancy walking with all your luggage, the best option is to take a taxi for around 60 MXN ($2.80).

Step 1: Palenque to Bacalar

Duration: 8.5 hours
Cost: From 668 MXN ($31)

The bus company currently covering this route is AU, who offer a comfortable and good quality ride. All buses are first class, meaning they include AC, a toilet and reclining seats.

You can book your tickets online on BusBud or directly at the bus terminal. However, since there’s only one departure a day, it is better to book ahead.

Bus OperatorSchedulesDurationCostsSchedule
AU18:30-02:308.5 hoursFrom 668 MXN ($31)Check bus tickets on BusBud

Check Bus Tickets on BusBud

The AU buses don’t make unannounced stops along the road, but they will make short stops at Emiliano Zapata, Escarcega and Chetumal, to pick up and drop off passengers before arriving at Bacalar. This is the reason why the bus takes longer than the minibus.

Step 2: Bacalar Bus Terminal to City Centre

Duration: 5 – 15 minutes
Cost: 0 – 130 MXN ($6)

The bus will drop you at the Bacalar’s main bus terminal, ADO Bacalar, on the town’s main road. This road is around 5-10 minutes away from the town centre and the lagoon’s beach by taxi.

Due to the bus timetable, you’ll arrive in the middle of the night. Therefore, your best option is probably to take a taxi to your accommodation unless it’s within close walking distance.

Taxis in Bacalar are not metered so before getting in, agree on the rate with the driver. A reasonable rate to go within the limits of Bacalar is between 60 – 130 MEX ($2.80 – $6).


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COVID-19 Limitations: Transportation services have limited availability and schedules might be less frequent. Please check our recommended booking websites for the most recent schedules.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to recent travel restrictions, most of the transportation services are currently unavailable or subject to change.