Things to do in Bacalar Mexico

by Kelly

Known as the Maldives iof Mexico, we knew we had to visit Bacalar. What we found was a sleepy town that comes alive on the weekends, full of cute stores and restaurants and cenotes set on a beautiful lake.

All our blog posts contain affiliate links that help us keep our blog running at no extra cost to you! When you click on our links to book accommodation activities or transport we earn a very small commission. This costs no extra to you but helps to keep our blog online and bring you up to date information!

How to get to Bacalar Mexico:

The easiest way to get to Bacalar is by ADO bus from Cancun, Tulum, Merida or the southern towns. The buses are comfortable and generally on time. You can book your bus online which saves hassle as buses do book out.

You can hire a car to drive yourself, the roads aren’t difficult but there are a lot of one way streets. I think this would be an awesome way to get around the Yucatan area and get to those hard to reach places. We always rent through rental cars and have had good experiences.

Tulum to Bacalar:

Tulum to Bacalar is super easy! We did this exact trip with ADO buses. We pre-booked our ADO bus tickets as they really do sell out especially to or from Tulum. Depending on the bus time you select it can take from 2.5 hours to 4.5 hours. We loved jumping on the ADO buses and sitting back letting the driver do all the work. Alternatively you can hire a car and drive yourself. This is an awesome way to get around the area, especially to those out of the way places.

There are also day trips from Tulum to Bacalar, these are the ones we recommend: From Riviera Maya: Coba, Punta Laguna and Cenote Day Trip.

Cancun to Bacalar day trips:

You can also do day trips from Cancun or Playa del Carmen to Bacalar if you are basing yourself there, these are the best: From Cancun: Bacalar Lake of Seven Colors Tour

How many days for Bacalar ?

We stayed four days and loved it. Honestly we could have spend a week easily. Three days would be fine too but we fell in love with lazy days by the lake and extended it a little. There is more to do here than you imagine, and the days can slip by quite quickly when you are relaxing by the lagoon!

If you’re pushed for time 1-2 days is fine or you can even take a day trip from Cancun or Tulum to Bacalar.

When is the best time to go to Bacalar?

We went in late March right before Easter and it was lovely! The days were really hot which just made cooling off in the lagoon even better!

Need to know for Bacalar

ATMs- There are only a couple of ATMs in Bacalar and they do charge a lot of fees. I’d bring cash with you if possible. The mini markets usually take card as long as the power is on.

Getting around- it’s a very walkable town, only a couple of small hills, not a lot of shade on footpaths so bring a hat.

Opening hours- we found a lot of stores and restaurants closed Monday -Wednesday. Places started opening on Thursday and we were told they’d be open over the weekend. It’s definitely a place that comes alive over the weekend, locals seem to have Wednesday off and we noticed that loads were enjoying the public jetties with us, which was nice.

Lagoon closure- we read a lot of information that said the lagoon was closed on a Wednesday and that you couldn’t take boats or kayaks out on it then. We were at the lagoon all day swimming and saw tons of people out on boats, paddle boards and kayaks! I don’t know if it is a year round rule or just parts of the year but it seems like you can still enjoy the lagoon all week!

Hotels in Bacalar Mexico

Bacalar Mexico Resorts

Bacalar Habitas

This is a stunning resort right on the lagoon at Bacalar. It is the most perfect stay, the rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable. There are classes to take part in and breakfast is included. Highly recommended.

Hotel Casa Bakal

Stunning accommodation right on the Bacalar lagoon. The rooms are beautiful, comfortable and clean with breakfast included. ‘Like being in a travel magazine!’

Puerta del Cielo Hotel Origen

Stunning views over the Bacalar lagoon, excellent staff and service.

Hotel Azulea Bacalar

Truly beautiful, great location and views, excellent breakfast.

Midrange Bacalar Hotels

Hostal & Suites Pata de Perro – clean comfortable with cute rustic vibes. Great location

The Yak Lake House – excellent location, great rooms, really good stay

Agam Hotel – hidden gem, excellent breakfast, great staff and rooms.

Budget accommodation in Bacalar- 

We stayed at Lura Bacalar – it was great! Incredibly central location and there was a tree growing in our room! It was so unique and we would recommend it.

Hakuna Matata Glamping – basic little huts that are really cute. Great location and nice outdoor space.

Black Jaguar Hostel – nice spaces and common space. Breakfast included

Siyan Ka’an Bak’halal – clean comfortable and great location.

Things to do in Bacalar Mexico

Laguna de Bacalar (Lagoon of 7 colours)

The Laguna de Bacalar or Lagoon of 7 colours is the number one thing to do in Bacalar. It is truly beautiful and the reason why it’s referred to as the Maldives of Mexico.

The Lagoon of 7 Colours. named as it rolls out in a gradient of several blues, is easily accessed from the town. You can enjoy it by heading out on to the pontoons, either private at your hotel or public and free for anyone.

You have to take a tour out on the lagoon to experience it fully, it is a complete dream! the best tours are: Bacalar: Group Sailing Trip with Swimming and Drinks, Bacalar Lagoon Sightseeing Boat Tour with Open Bar & Snack and Bacalar Lagoon Sailing Tour with Open Bar and Mexican Lunch.

Swim in the Bacalar Lagoon (Lagoon of 7 Colours)

Some of the best access to the lagoon is found at Balneario Municipal El Aserradero. This is a great spot as there is lots of room, these pontoons can become busy!

Another spot we loved was really close to the main town, Muelle 18 (Pier 18). This rickety pontoon was a local favourite and spending the afternoons here was so much fun. We spent afternoons here swimming and listening to the locals play guitars and flutes while singing songs in Spanish. It was a really lovely experience. Everyone bought drinks and snacks and enjoyed the afternoon together. The mornings were so quiet and magical. We would arrive around 7am each day and usually have it 1to ourselves for about 3 or 4 hours, sometimes joined by a person here and there. That was my favourite part of the day.

You can also take a paddle board or a kayak tour to get out further on the lagoon and explore. These were our favourites:

Bacalar Sunrise Stand Up Paddle Board Tour with breakfast – Explore the calm, clear waters of Bacalar Lagoon during the early morning hours on this sightseeing stand-up paddleboarding tour. Discover the Black Cenote (also known as Cenote La Bruja), an open sky cenote at the deepest point of the lake. Plus, mix up an exfoliating mask with sulfur mud. The tour also includes coffee and juice, as well as a light breakfast and snacks.

Sunrise Paddleboard Tour with Floating Picnic – a guided paddleboard tour through Bacalar’s islands, canals, and cenotes at sunrise. Swim in the crystal clear waters and enjoy a floating breakfast picnic at the Island of the Birds.

Clear Kayak at Bacalar Lagoon – Clear Kayak Experience: glide through this eco-park estuary landscape. Enjoy Bacalar Lagoon, the second-largest natural body of freshwater in Mexico. Tate a delicious Mexican lunch one panucho, salbute and one empanada per guest

Bacalar Pueblo Magico – stroll through Bacalar town

Bacalar Pueblo Magico – Bacalar is one of Mexico’s magic towns due to the unique lagoon and charming town. In the Zocalo you will find street art and great restaurants at every turn.

This is a town that really comes alive on a weekend! From Thursday to Sunday there is just a different buzz in town. More shops are open and there is a market in the zocalo square. You will find handicrafts for sale, mangoes, ice cream vendors and the incredible rope men! Dressed in traditional outfits the men play pipe music and climb a very tall pole, when sitting at the top they then spin the pole around and hang by their feet until they reach the ground. It really is a sight to see!

Restaurants and cafes line the square and fill up around 6.30pm. It feels like a town that sleeps in and then wakes up in the afternoon when the day cools down. There really is a vibe in the zocalo after 5pm. During the day it is pretty quiet. Check out all the pretty little stores selling clothes and souvenirs.

See the Fortress of San Felipe

The Fortress of San Felipe sits right at the edge of the zocalo overlooking the lagoon. It’s the biggest landmark in the area and dates back to the early 1700s. First built to deter pirate raids from across the water. It offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding areas. You can pay to go inside to a small museum dedicated to the history and pirate raids.

Boat Trip to Pirates Channel

Canal de los Piratas is a waterway cut between the main lake and the Laguna Mariscal. It was once a trading channel for the Mayans. Following this a Welsh pirate, Henry Morgan, used it to sail his ships up for repairs. You can swim and relax here. The mud is also believed to be full of minerals so make sure to slather it all over yourself to get a little spa treatment.

Bacalar Cenotes

Bacalar cenotes are very different to those around Merida and Tulum but definitely worth visiting. The Baclar cenotes are open and located right on or in the lagoon. It really is a unique visit.

Cenote Azul Bacalar

This is usually the first cenote you will visit and the most iconic in Bacalar. It is best to go on a bright sunny day as it glows a beautiful dark blue when the sun lights it up. It really is an sight, you can see trees growing under the water and fish swimming in them.

Cenote Negro

Cenote Negro is really amazing, it is surrounded by the bright water of the lagoon and is actually in the lagoon! You can only see it by the colour change from blue to dark black and that is when you know you are at the cenote. It is not possible to swim in this cenote as it is too dangerous, but you can take a boat over it or kayak.

Cenote Esmeralda

Another Bacalar cenote is Cenote Esmeralda. Again it is the darker water that comes with the deep water that lets you know you are at the cenote. Swimming is not allowed here, the extreme depth gives people vertigo and drownings have occurred. There are some shallow areas where you can swim as well as lots of kayak rentals to head out on the cenote.

Big Bacalar sign

There is the usual town sign to have a photo with, you will find it right next to the fortress at the zocalo.

Bacalar Beach Clubs

There are loads of beach clubs in the Bacalar area, these are a few that many people go to:

Bertilla Lagoon & Beach Club– really lovely beach club. It is 400MXN to enter and 300MXN is redeemable on food and drinks.

Bacalar Beach Club is a newer option, it is clean and service is good.

Club Naval Bacalar – closer to Bacalar town and nicely maintained this club is not too expensive to enter and the grounds are lovely.

A Bacalar beach club that many people head to is Balneario Cocalitos (Cocalitos Beachclub). Located near Cenote Azul it was closed for sometime but is now reopened. The current price is 50MXN however some people report they were charged 100MXN instead, this is a scam. You need to take your own drinks and snacks and there is not a lot here extra.

A great way to combine the a beach club and boat tour is the 3 hour pontoon boat and beach club access tour.

Los Rapidos de Bacalar

Just a 20 minute drive from Bacalar, Los Rapidos de Bacalar is a pretty spot with a fun restaurant and bar. Set on the banks of a crystal-clear river. The entry fee is 200MXN, this gives you access to the river and the life jackets. There is a cafe there and a walkway that you can use to wander along until you want to get in the water. The current will float you down stream, hop out walk back and do it again.

Sailing boats Bacalar Lagoon

Sailing on the Bacalar lagoon is a really beautiful experience. There are some brilliant ways to do this, these are our picks:

Sailing Tour through the Laguna de los Siete Colores – Enjoy the blue and green waters of Bacalar’s Seven Colors Lagoon on a boat tour. Join a small group and board a boat for a relaxing cruise across the lagoon, stopping at various spots to swim and soak up the warm sun. You’ll quickly see why this area is called the ‘Maldives of Mexico’ as you explore the crystal clear waters of the lagoon. Enjoy the magical landscape of the Bacalar lagoon and a delicious brunch aboard your sailboat.

Sailboat tour in the seven colors lagoon of Bacalar – Sail by the force of nature and traverse the lagoon in a sustainable fashion! Swim at the Pirate’s Channel, and also the bird island plus be amazed by the awesomeness of the Black Cenote and the emerald Cenote! Along the way , you will listen to the stories and anecdotes that make Bacalar unique. Included: Vests, fruits, water, 2 beers per person.

Bacalar – Gourmet Tour in Private Catamaran with Cocktails Included – The Luxe option! Surprise your senses with four extraordinary dishes served by a chef aboard a comfortable private boat. You will navigate through the most beautiful places in the lagoon while enjoying a variety of cocktails prepared at the moment by a mixologist. You will swim in crystal clear waters and enjoy the lagoon with a unique service in Bacalar.

Calakmul Ruins

These ruins were once the most powerful Mayan Kingdom, it is located in the jungle near to the Guatemalan border. It makes an excellent day trip, Calakmul Ruins: Guided Day Tour From Bacalar is a good one.

Where to eat in Bacalar?

We found the best empanadas at a little stall in the entrance to Balneario Ejidal Mágico Bacalar. This is a big beach club to the left of the main Bacalar town. As you walk down the driveway to it you will find our lovely empanada lady and her daughter. They make the best empanadas, they’re fresh and cooked on the spot! 

We ate here everyday and became obsessed with her pollo tamales (25MXN) and carne or quasi empanadas (12MXN).

We ate here everyday, ploughing through 4 empanadas for our lunch before heading off to swim. They are made of corn and as a coeliac I had no trouble at all with them. They were so good, we loved visiting each day.

Next to her stall is a lovely couple selling mangoes, try them like the locals with chilli salt and a squeeze of lime if you date, or like us just fresh!

Next to the mangos you’ll find one of the many many waffle marquestita stalls. They are everywhere in Bacalar. This is the kindest lady and her waffles are delicious. Sadly as a coeliac I couldn’t eat them but Mike loved it and it self delicious. The price varies depending on the topping you choose but approximately start around 50MXN.

Bacalar Restaurants

We also loved Antojitos Orizaba restaurant which is right in town. It’s cheap and full of locals come evening so you know it’s good. You can get 3 salbutes for 60MXN/$6AUD/$3USD and they’re good! Ignore the bad reviews on google. The food is good, the service is a little slow but no problem.

Birrieria Cocina Tradicional sells the best quesobirra tacos in town. They advertise opening from 8am to 10pm but we found they were only opening up on Thursday-Saturday. Delicious and you’ll get 2 for 85MXN.

Nixtal is rated as one of the best restaurants in town however it is pricey. The atmosphere is upbeat with live music.

There’s tons of mini markets to grab drinks and snacks all over Bacalar but the best supermarkets are Bodega mi Favourita. Well organised and prices on everything. The ice cream fridge is properly cold and priced too! We stopped here for milk and water also buying ice creams twice a day!

Super Willy’s was our other supermarket for what we couldn’t find elsewhere. They have most things priced and similar pricing as the bodega. 

The ice cream store on the corner of the square, Annie ice cream is popular for either a scoop 35MXN, an ice block 20MXN or a creamy ice block 25MXN.

Where Next?

Things to do in Tulum

Is Tulum Expensive?

Mexico Travel Itinerary

Things to do in Merida Yucatan Mexico

Best hotel in Merida Mexico

Mahahual Mexico

Things to do Isla Holbox

Valladolid Yucatán – all the best things to do

Tequila Tasting Tulum

Snorkeling in Costa Maya

Best hotel in Mahahual Mexico is Inkanto Luxury Hotel

Ragga Sailing Adventures – must do in Belize!

Caye Caulker must visit destination in 2025

The Lodge at Jaguar Reef – the best place to stay in Belize

The best itinerary for Belize!

You may also like

Leave a Comment