The Ultimate Bacalar Visitors' Guide

Bacalar is fast becoming a must visit destination in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It is a sight to behold with its awe-inspiring freshwater lake known as The Lagoon of Seven Colors. This guide will explain all you need to know to visit this quaint town, rich in history and natural beauty.  

Where is Bacalar

Located in the southern part of Quintana Roo State, Mexico, Bacalar is only one hour north of Belize and 4 hours south of Cancun. It is about 2 hours from other popular destinations in Mexico such as Tulum and Playa Del Carmen and 4 hours from Merida.

When to Visit Bacalar

Seasonal Highlights

Bacalar enjoys a tropical climate, offering warm temperatures year-round with a manageable rainy season. The best time to visit is between January and February when the weather is near perfect, though you may find higher prices and more visitors. The spring months bring sunny, breezy weather with fewer crowds, especially in April, while June introduces the summer heat. Fall, from September to November, presents a mix of pleasant temperatures and the year's highest rainfall, making it an ideal time for those seeking solitude.

Journeying to Bacalar

Arrival Options

The closest airport to Bacalar is the small Chetumal International Airport, less than 45 minutes away, requiring most travelers to connect through Cancun, Mexico City, or Guadalajara airports. The most popular and largest airport for international travelers is the Cancun International Airport (CUN) which offers many direct flights from the United States and Canada. The newly opened Tulum Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport (TQO) offers additional routes via Mexico City and the United States.

Getting Around

Private transfers from Cancun or Tulum provide a convenient but pricier option. For those looking for independence, renting a car from Cancun International Airport allows for exploration at one's own pace, with rentals averaging $25-$50 USD per day. Alternatively, the ADO bus offers an affordable way to travel, though it's the slowest option and takes almost double the amount of time. It is easy to do at the kiosk at the airport once you clear customs, but expect large line-ups and waits. Soon, the newly constructed Tren Maya will provide another alternative straight from the airports at a reasonable price and the shortest amount of travel time. It is expected to open in the Spring of 2024.

You should book your transfers in advance which can be done on-line. This gives you the benefit of set prices, and discounts for round trips. Most of the major rental companies are available to book in Mexico for anyone with a valid driver's licence over the age of 21.  If you choose to drive, avoid driving at night, but the roads are easy to navigate.

Once you are in Bacalar, you can use taxis or the local shuttle buses, although it is a walkable town if you are staying near the center.

Must-Do Activities in Bacalar

Exploring Nature and History

  1. Boat Tours of Bacalar Lagoon: Experience the lagoon's full beauty and historical sites, including the Pirate's Channel which was a major trading channel within the Mayan Empire. It is pristine with all the beautiful colors of blue and you can wade through the water with a drink in hand. There are also many other inlets to explore.
  2. Cenote Azul: Dive into the clear waters of this open-air cenote with a lake-like feel; a natural wonder just a short distance from town.  It has a restaurant on site so that you can spend the day.
  3. Cenote Esmeralda: Marvel at the stunning turquoise waters of this deep cenote at a depth of 70 meters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. This cenote water meets the lagoon and you can see the depth of the cenote when the color of the lagoon changes from light to dark blue.
  4. Stand Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking: The calm waters of the lagoon are ideal for paddleboarding and kayaking. There are many rental places throughout the town and at local restaurants and beach clubs on the lagoon.
  5. Los Rapidos: Relax in the natural lazy river or engage in water activities for a fun-filled day. There is a riverside club on the river that feeds into the lagoon where you can spend the day relaxing in hammocks or lounge chairs and order food and drinks.
  6. Relax at Beach Clubs: Enjoy the serene ambiance of Bacalar's beach clubs, offering overwater hammocks and delicious local cuisine.
  7. Fort San Felipe: Learn about Bacalar's pirate history at this 17th-century fortress which is near the main square of the town. There is a small museum with a small entrance fee and many coffee shops and restaurants nearby.
  8. Visiting Mayan Ruins: Kohunlich, just an hour's drive from Bacalar, offers a glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization. You will see a pyramid with human like mask carvings.


Bacalar is a destination that offers a blend of historical richness, natural beauty, and tranquil escapes. Whether you're an adventurer looking to explore the depths of its clear waters or a history enthusiast eager to learn about its past, Bacalar provides a serene backdrop for an unforgettable journey. As it grows in popularity, now is the perfect time to visit and experience the magic of Bacalar for yourself.