Still not well known by international tourism, Bacalar is a little piece of paradise located in the southern state of Quintana Roo. Named as one of Mexico's 'Pueblo Magicos' (Magic Towns) it's also known as the lagoon of 7 colours for its stunning shades of greens and blues. Bacalar is the ideal tranquil location for those wanting to detach from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Surrounded by nature, you'll be woken each morning by a host of chattering birds and animals, and we promise you'll return home truly refreshed and ready to go. Here are some of our top tips for your stay.
WHERE TO STAY
Akalki - Akalki is the most luxurious option of places to stay in Bacalar. Set upon one of the prettiest spots of lagoon front, the water is crystal blue, and the surrounding jungle means that you won't be disturbed by noise or neighbours. Akalki has 11 rooms, several of which have their own private deck onto the lagoon, perfect for a morning swim. They also have a nice large communal deck, a healing centre offering holistic therapies, and a restaurant which offers a range of healthy dishes on site.
Rancho Encantado - Another great option, Rancho Encantado is popular with families, also situated on the lagoon front it offers a collection of spacious cabanas. The restaurant is open daily from 7.30am - 10.00pm and serves a range of dishes, using local ingredients, many inspired by the Maya. They also offer boat trips of the lagoon and have kayaks available should you want to explore. The Rancho is not closely surrounded by other hotels which makes for a peaceful and relaxing stay.
WHERE TO EAT
Bacalar is a sleepy town and there are not a huge amount of good quality restaurants. This is slowly beginning to change however, and if you decide to venture out to town to eat here are two of our best recommendations.
Mango y Chile - New in town and our number one favourite is Mango y Chile. The menu is 100% plant based and they create the most amazing burgers, delicious tacos, smoothies, organic cold brewed coffee, and desserts. The vegan doughnuts with an array of different frostings are a must try. Everything is prepared on site from scratch using high quality ingredients. Take in the great view from the hilltop overlooking the lagoon and enjoy the breeze whilst you eat. Open from 1pm - 9pm you'll find them just next door to the San Felipe Fort in the centre of town.
La Playita - La Playita is the ideal place to enjoy some nice cold beers and a snack by the lagoon. Open for lunch and dinner they have a varied menu with something for everyone. With a dock leading out to the lagoon you can take a boat trip to or from the restaurant. Kids will enjoying climbing the huge tree which sits in the centre of the outdoor terrace.
WHAT TO DO
The lagoon is the focal point when visiting Bacalar, explore on a kayak, take a sailboat tour, try out some water sports, or just enjoy swimming in the crystal clear water.
The Fort of San Felipe (Fuerte San Filipe) - located in the town centre just in front of the main square the fort was built to defend the town against pirate attacks. Surrounded by a deep moat and several canons, it now houses a small museum. Kids will enjoy seeing the pirate skeleton inside the museum and peeping out over the canons to view the lagoon from up top.
Kan Kin Zip Lines - If you're daring, fly over the Mayan jungle on the Kan Kin ziplines.
Cenote Azul - Take a refreshing dive into Bacalar's beautiful cenote.
OTHER TRAVEL TIPS
How to get there - Fly to Quintana Roo's capital of Chetumal, it's 30 min drive from there. Taxis are available from the airport. Alternatively Bacalar is great to visit as part of a road trip of the Quintana Roo area.
Be sure to take repellent, jungle surroundings mean there are often plenty of mosquitos.
There are no banks in Bacalar, though there are cash points, make sure you make any necessary trips to the bank before your stay. Alternatively there are banks in Chetumal.