Bacalar Lagoon floating huts in Mayan Mexico

Things to do in  Bacalar

Livin’ laguna loca

A quick hop from the Mexico-Belize border is Bacalar, home to one of the biggest freshwater lakes in Mexico. Once a haven for pirates, this laid-back town is today an eco-tourism paradise. Lake Bacalar—also referred to as the Lagoon of Seven Colors—and its spectacular cenotes may take the prize as the area’s most popular attraction, but there are plenty more things to do in Bacalar. Highlights include the 18th-century Fort of San Felipe (built to keep out said pesky pirates), Bacalar Ecopark, sailing, kayaking, birdwatching trips through the mangroves, and colorful handicraft markets.

Top 2 attractions in Bacalar

Quintana Roo

One of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, Quintana Roo is the gateway to the Mexican Caribbean. Palm-lined beaches, Mayan ruins, and family-friendly nature parks characterize this east coast state where you can snorkel coral reefs, cool off in ancient cenotes, and party in the nightclubs of Cancún and Playa del Carmen.More


The state capital of Quintana Roo, Chetumal is a vibrant port city on the Yucatan Peninsula’s east coast. Surrounded by jungle and just minutes from Maya ruins, Chetumal sits on the border with Belize and serves as a jumping-off point for trips to the Belize Cayes and Tikal in Guatemala. Between the two countries is a duty-free shopping zone.More
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All about Bacalar

When to visit

Bacalar is best visited during the dry season—November to April—when the dry weather keeps the lagoon looking its colorful best. The warm temperatures and lower humidity levels are also perfect for lake-based activities like swimming and sailing. While December and January are the busiest months of the year, if you’re desperate to avoid any crowds, the shoulder months of October and May can also be a great time to visit—but it’s worth bringing an umbrella, just in case.

Getting around

As Bacalar is fairly small and easy to get around, most visitors tend to walk or rent a bicycle to zip around town and then take boat or kayaking tours out on the lagoon. While some travelers may opt to rent a car—especially when planning to head further afield to places like Los Rápidos and the archaeological sites of Dzibanche, Kohunlich, and Chacchoben—you can also join day trips, take taxis, or organize private transportation.

Traveler tips

The beauty of this pueblo mágico (magic town) extends into the realm of eco-tourism. Protecting the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem—which includes cenotes, mangroves, and stromatolites—is a top priority for many tourism operators, partly due to the recent growth in visitor numbers to the area. Destinations such as Bacalar Ecopark, where you will find a laboratory and outdoor exhibits, are a great way to learn more about what makes Bacalar so special—and what tourists can do to help protect it.


People Also Ask

Is Bacalar worth visiting?

Yes, Bacalar is well worth visiting. While historically, most visitors used it as a jumping-off point to get to Belize, Bacalar has become a popular destination in its own right, with its Lagoon of Seven Colors and eco-tourism ventures bringing more sustainable-minded travelers to the region.

How many days do you need in Bacalar?

Most travelers tend to spend just a couple of days in Bacalar: one to explore the town and the fort and another to explore the lake and cenotes. If you have time to spare, though, there’s plenty more on offer, including nearby archaeological sites like Dzibanche, Kohunlich, and Chacchoben.

Is there much to do in Bacalar?

Yes, there are a few fun things to do in Bacalar. The town’s main attraction is Lake Bacalar, with the majority of visitors coming to marvel at the crystalline lagoon’s mangroves, cenotes, stromatolites, pirate canal, and Los Rápidos. Alternate land-based activities include visiting the Fort of San Felipe, Bacalar Ecopark, and several nearby Maya archaeological sites.

Is it safe to swim in Bacalar?

Yes, Lake Bacalar is safe to swim in, especially in the dry season (November to April), when it's at its cleanest and clearest. While many lagoon tours include swimming stops, you can dip into the water from public swimming beaches and jetties or head to Los Rápidos to cruise down the lazy river.

Is it safe to walk around Bacalar?

Yes, Bacalar is a fairly safe town to walk around, especially during the daylight hours. The town itself is quite small and pretty walkable on foot, with many visitors opting to get around town on foot or by bicycle rather than renting cars or using taxis.

Which is better, Tulum or Bacalar?

Tulum and Bacalar are very different places. Bacalar is a chilled-out town known for its picturesque lagoon and aquatic activities. Tulum is a bustling coastal city that attracts a year-round crowd of visitors coming to play, party, and visit one of Mexico’s most visited archaeological sites: the Tulum ruins.

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