Bacalar, Mexico is the perfect stop for those who love quirky, off-the-beaten-path destinations with a past as colorful as the scenery.
Lakeside Town on the Lagoon of Seven Colors
This little lakeside town is a breath of fresh air in the tourist-laden state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Named one of Mexico’s 111 “Pueblo Mágicos,” Bacalar is packed with natural beauty, rich culture and a buccaneering history. It’s best known for the “Lagoon of the Seven Colors,” thanks to its breathtaking multi-hued blue lagoon, whose various shades are augmented by the lake’s white limestone bottom and crystalline water.
Things to do in Bacalar, Mexico
Bacalar is a water-lovers dream and an ideal place for snorkeling, diving and fresh-water swimming. For travelers who prefer to experience the beauty above water, take a paddleboarding, kayaking or sailing tour to discover the hidden corners of Lake Bacalar.
There’s plenty to discover here—Bacalar’s history dates back to the 17th century when pirates entered the lagoon through “pirates canal” and ransacked the town. Even the infamous pirate Diego Los Reyes made a go until the Spanish Crown got savvy and build San Felipe’s Fort in 1733, finally deterring the pirates’ entrance into the lagoon. Today, San Felipe’s Fort houses a small Pirate Museum where you can learn the in-depth history of long-gone figures, along with viewing the spectacular colors in the lake.
Los Aluxes Bacalar Restaurant might not offer the best seafood in town (that would be La Playita), but it does have the most Instagrammable swing, suspended over the colorful lagoon looking off into the horizon. Guests clamor for their turn as a hoard of sunbathers watches nearby. Arrive early, be patient and photograph quickly if you want to get your shot.
What to Eat in Bacalar, Mexico
Thanks to being off the tourist trail, Bacalar boasts many accommodation options at much more reasonable rates than it’s better-known neighbors, as well as delectable culinary offerings. Anywhere along the lagoon will serve you seafood, but if it’s home-style Mexican you’re after, try Christan’s Tacos for a taco fix, or hit up Orizaba for Mexican classics with a laid-back vibe. Even vegetarians and vegans will rejoice—Mango y Chile is the first and only all-vegan eatery in town and it even has an epic lakefront view.
Before you leave, be sure to visit one of the nearby Mayan sites—we recommend Kohunlich, one of the largest and most impressive of the region. Then, it’s a quick dip (or dive) in nearby Cenote Azul to round off your perfect stay in the magical town of Bacalar.