Bacalar - Mexico

Tulum to Bacalar

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How to get from Tulum to Bacalar?

The town of Bacalar is one of Mexico’s hidden gems that has somehow managed to escape influxes of tourists. It’s situated in the south of Mexico’s Quintana Roo District, not too far from Chetumal and Belize. Why do we love Bacalar so much?

Bacalar Lagoon!

The water is mesmerizingly blue, a colour more commonly associated with a tropical island than a lagoon. The place offers the perfect spot to relax, with lots of the hotels and hostels backing onto the lagoon itself. You could spend your entire time there tucked in a hammock overlooking the lagoon if you wanted to!

That would be a shame though, as there’s so many water based activities available on the lagoon including kayaking, snorkelling, SUP or scuba diving in one of Bacalar’s cenotes. The town also has an interesting history involving pirates which can be fun to learn about during your visit.

Bus from Tulum to Bacalar

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus3 hours258 MXN ($12)Check bus tickets

The most popular way to reach the lagoon paradise and cover the 215 km (133 miles) from Tulum to Bacalar is a 3-hour bus ride. Fares range between 258 and 340 MXN ($12 – $16).

The bus goes directly to Bacalar from Tulum and is by far the most cost-effective option available.

Private shuttles are also available but although they are convenient, they can be expensive. If you’re travelling as a group, you can share the price between you all, making it a more reasonable option. You can book this service via BookAway where rates start at 3,360 MXN ($159).

Another alternative that has become popular with travellers is renting your own car in Tulum. Rates start from 210 MXN ($10) a day. This option gives you the freedom to stop at any of the beaches or towns along the way, leave whenever you want and indulge in a bit of car karaoke. The only downside is that you will need to return the car in Tulum to avoid paying almost $100 extra fee if you leave the car in Bacalar.

Itinerary from Tulum to Bacalar

Bus icon

Tulum to Bacalar by Bus

Duration: 3 hours
Cost: From 258 MXN ($12)

Buses to Bacalar depart from Tulum’s main bus station, Terminal Autobuses Tulum ADO, located in the town’s centre.

If you’re too far from the bus terminal to walk then it’s best to get a taxi.

Taxis in Tulum are not metered, so make sure to agree on the rate before stepping in. An average rate from the beach area to the bus terminal is around 150 MEX ($7).

Step 1: Tulum to Bacalar

Duration: 2 hours 50 minutes
Cost: 258 – 340 MXN ($12 – $16)

The bus companies going from Tulum to Bacalar are ADO and AU. Both are very good in terms of quality, but ADO offers departures three times a day, while AU offers just one.

All buses are first class, meaning they include AC, a toilet and reclining seats.

You can book your tickets online on ADO’s Website, or you can find AU’s tickets on BookAway. It’s also possible to buy them directly from the bus terminal.

Bus OperatorSchedulesDurationCostsBookings
2 hours 50 minutes292 MXN ($14)Check bus tickets on ADO website
AU20:55-23:452 hours 50 minutes258 MXN ($12)Check bus tickets on ADO website

Check Bus Tickets on ADO Website

Step 2: Bacalar bus terminal to City Centre

Duration: 5 – 10 minutes
Cost: 0 – 130 MXN ($7)

Once you arrive in Bacalar, you’ll be dropped off at the main bus terminal, situated on the town’s main road. From here it’s a 5-10 minute drive from the town’s centre and the lagoon’s beach.

If your accommodation is nearby you can consider walking, but if you are staying closer to the lagoon, the best option is to take a taxi.

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


Our favourite places to stay in Bacalar

Zayali - Budget Friendly

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.

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

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Hotel Ma Alob Che Bacalar - Mid-Range

Enjoy spacious and modern private rooms that all offer private bathrooms as well. It’s slightly further out of town, though Bacalar is so small that you’re never far from anything.

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

  • Large and modern rooms
  • Nice communal courtyard and garden
  • Peaceful and relaxing atmosphere

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Casa Zazil - Mid-Range

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

Extra plus: One of the hosts 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

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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.

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

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