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How to Visit Bacalar in Mexico

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Bacalar is one of the hidden gems of the Yucatán Península! Come here to discover some of the most beautiful waters of Mexico, and explore the other great things it has to offer. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Bacalar in Mexico.

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Where is Bacalar, Mexico?

Bacalar is in the bottom of the Yucatan Peninsula, which is in the south east of Mexico, just north of Belize. This small town is 2 1/2 hours from Tulum, and 4 1/2 hours from Cancun.

Where is Bacalar, Mexico

Bacalar is located in the southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Visiting Bacalar in Mexico: How to Get There

Bacalar, Mexico is a great place to get away from a few days. Here are the most popular ways to get here:

What is the Closest Airport to Bacalar in Mexico?

Bacalar does not have an airport itself, so the closest airports to choose from are either Chetumal, or Cancun. Chetumal is just over a half hour drive from Bacalar, making this the easiest option. The only two cities that do this flight are Mexico City or Houston.

The other option can be to fly into Cancun, and rent a car to get to Bacalar (a 4 1/2 hour drive).

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Mexico". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination!

Search for a flight to Chetumal or Cancun:

Rent a car from Cancun:

Visiting Bacalar From Tulum

If you are visiting Tulum, Bacalar is just three hours away. We got here on a bus from the main ADO station. Here you can get tickets in person (cash only), or you can book right online. They have a few departures a day, and the ride takes about 3 1/2 hours, with tickets costing between $10-15 USD.

Want to book your tickets in advance? Here are 2 different options:

Coming from Tulum and want to know some of the best things to do there? Check out our full article below!

There are so many things to do in Tulum, and it's becoming one of the biggest hotspots in Mexico! It's no wonder why when this trendy beach town is located just two hours from Cancun, and is surrounded with so much charm and beauty.This place is growing fast, so take

Read More

Visiting Bacalar On a Cruise

The reason we actually learned about the beautiful place of Bacalar was while we were working on a cruise ship. Costa Maya is one of the most popular cruise ports, and is only an hour and a 1/2 from Bacalar!


You can visit Bacalar on a stop to Costa Maya on your cruise.

Visiting Bacalar in Mexico On Your Own

When exiting the port area, you will be absolutely bombarded by people trying to get you to go to Bacalar, Mexico. They will try to convince you to take you for $50-$100 per person which is INSANE. DO NOT accept these offers! Go further and you will find taxi drivers offering to take your group for extremely high rates as well.

How to Get to Bacalar in Mexico from Mahahual (Costa Maya)

Unfortunately from Costa Maya there are no rental cars, or public transportation, so the only way to get here is by excursion, or by a taxi.

Excursions from Costa Maya

Excursions are much more expensive, but are definitely the safer way to visit, as you will be limited on time visiting here. Despite this, we usually went in taxi, and in a large group so that it would be more affordable.

What we suggest, is walking to the end where the taxis are and bargaining HARD. DO NOT GO TO TOUCAN TOURS. They are hands down the most corrupt and rude group of individuals we have ever met, and we would much rather pay a taxi van to take us. The best taxi rate we got was $12 USD/person with 8 of us. (Expect to pay a little more, as we were repeat customers).

Visiting Bacalar From Chetumal

Another popular destination that people visit Bacalar in Mexico from is Chetumal, which is all the way south near the border of Belize. This is a larger town, and is one of the places that you can easily get to Bacalar from, as it is only 35 minutes away.

Here you can rent a car, or hop on buses that run a few times a day. The buses will take about 45 minutes, and they are only about $2 USD for a ticket. Cars are of course a little pricier, but will give you much more flexibility.

Want to book an excursion to Bacalar from Costa Maya? We've picked out a few for you to check out:

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Entry Requirements for Mexico

Whenever traveling to another country it's important to know exactly the requirements for visiting. Here is all you need to know for when it comes to entry requirements in Mexico.

Visa Entry Requirements

Back in the day, Americans were able to travel to Mexico without passports. It's been a while since that has changed, but we think it's important to address since I have met hundreds of travelers thinking they could travel without a passport. Whether you are visiting Mexico via cruise ship or on your own, you will in fact need your passport to enter.

Covid Entry Requirements

From day one Mexico has been much more accepting to letting people in during times of Covid. Luckily conditions around the world have just kept getting better, and there aren't any restrictions to enter Mexico due to Covid.

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Local Adjustments

Whenever traveling somewhere new, there are things that you'll need to know before you go. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Bacalar, Mexico.


The official language in Bacalar is the same as the rest of Mexico, which is Spanish. It definitely helps to learn a bit of the language beforehand when it comes to bargaining, especially for excursions. Don't worry though- if you do not speak Spanish it's nothing to worry about. Being such a highly touristic area, many people do speak English as well.


The currency used in Mexico is the Mexican peso. Currently (March 2023) the exchange rate is 20 Mexican pesos for every 1 USD. In Cancun it is very common for places to accept USD around the hotel zone. However, if you have Mexican pesos things will actually be much cheaper. We always go to the ATM to take out local money, and there are plenty around the city that you can go to.


Mexico uses the same outlets as the rest of North America, which are for plug types A & B. The standard voltage in Mexico is 127 V with a standard frequency of 60 Hz. If you are from the US you will be able to use your electronics without needing an adapter or energy converter.

Water Potability

The water is pretty notorious for not being very safe to drink in Mexico. While I've drank the tap water, and had ice in my drinks with no issue, it is always advised to stick the bottled water here.

Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in Mexico varies a bit, but is pretty similar to the US. it is common to tip between 15-20% in restaurants, and for services such as massages.

Things to Do in Bacalar, Mexico

First things first, why choose Bacalar? Well this place has a number of cool places to explore, as well as some fun activities. Here are just a few of the things you can do while visiting Bacalar in Mexico.

Laguna de Siete Colores

This is what Bacalar, Mexico is famous for and just can't be missed while visiting. This body of water is called "the seven colored lagoon" due to the many different shades of blue that you will find here. The water is absolutely stunning, and the best part? It is actually fresh water! Giving you the Caribbean vibes, but without the saltiness.

The lagoon can be accessed from many different locations, from private beach clubs  to public piers. So don't worry, because if you don't want to pay, there are plenty of ways to access the lagoon free of charge.

Swing in Bacalar in Mexico
Seven Colored Lagoon, Lakes in mexico

Seven Colored Lagoon, Bacalar

Cenote Azul

This cenote is located right in Bacalar, and just minutes away from the lagoon! This fresh water sinkhole has some of the bluest waters you will see, and makes for an awesome spot for crystal clear underwater photos. 

You can access here by the main entrance, which costs 100 pesos (about $5 USD), where you will have access to bathrooms, a restaurant, souvenir shop, and pier. We also found that locals access this cenote on the back end, which is right off the side of the main road that runs parallel to the seven colored lagoon.

Cenote Azul Bacalar in Mexico

Cenote Azul is a freshwater sinkhole in Bacalar.

Canal de los Piratas

This spot in Bacalar Mexico is one of the most interesting places that we visited! Here you can find a large sandbar that includes an abandoned building covered in art, a small boat like structure to jump off of, and a shallow area to swim or even just walk around.

There is also a thick mud here, that can be applied onto your skin, making for the perfect DIY spa treatment. Canal de los Piratas can only be accessed by boat, so you will have to rent one or go on a shared excursion to reach here.

Canal de los Piratas Bacalar in Mexico

You can give yourself a natural mud bath in Canal de los Piratas.

Cenote Cocalitos

This cenote is rather unique, because it is actually located on the Southern most end of the seven colored lagoon.

Cocalitos is famous due to its sanctuary of the 350,000,000 year old stromatolites. Here you can find hammocks, picnic tables, and a restaurant, making for the perfect place to hang out for a few hours,

Cenote Cocalitos Bacalar in Mexico

Cenote Cocalitos has formations that are hundreds of thousands of years old.

Go on a Boat Ride

One of the best ways to experience Bacalar Mexico is by boat. All along the lagoon you can find locals advertising trips around the lagoon, usually lasting around an hour. This is a great way to see some of the highlights such as some cenotes, as well as the Pirates Channel (Canal de los Piratas).

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They usually do trips per person, and the more people you have, the less people will be charged. There is no set rate for this, so make sure you bargain well to get the best deal for your group.

Want to book an boat excursion in advance? Here are a fun options you can look at:

Go Rafting

If you want to experience the lagoon in a more exciting way, you can actually go on a rafting or tubing trip through the river and down through the lagoon! Some cruise ships have this as an excursion from Costa Maya, but we're sure you can also find this if you're traveling separately from ships.

Other Cool Spots Nearby

The last time that we visited Bacalar in Mexico, we were pretty unlucky. Due to the huge storm that had passed, all of those beautiful shades of blue that Bacalar is famous for, had darkened greatly.

The lagoon was not what we knew it to be. But luckily we learned that the water is fed from two nearby lagoons, which are really hidden gems.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

Bacalar in Mexico Pin
Bacalar in Mexico Pin
Bacalar in Mexico Pin

Laguna Bonanza

Just 15 minutes from Bacalar is the next lagoon, Laguna Bonanza. This gorgeous spot is barely touched at all, which will guarantee that you will have the place almost to yourselves! There are a few beach clubs that will charge a small fee to go in, but will include tables, bathrooms, and a restaurant on site.

Laguna Bonanza, Bacalar in Mexico
Laguna Bonanza Bacalar in Mexico

Laguna Xul-Ha

Just a few minutes further than Laguna Bonanza, you will find the lagoon that actually feeds both Bacalar and Bonanza. Xul-Ha is a tiny town that has a lagoon with the most stunning waters!

It is pretty hard to find a restaurant or anything going on here, but if you bring your own food and drinks, this is truly a gorgeous place to enjoy the quiet and beautiful tranquil waters of Xul-Ha.

Laguna Xul-Ha Bacalar in Mexico

Food in Bacalar

When it comes to food, all of Mexico has different specialties. Here are a couple of special recommendations we have while visiting Bacalar.


Being that it is close to the water, the seafood in Bacalar, Mexico is like no other. Many restaurants along the lagoon will serve fresh fish, as well as full platters of assorted seafood, accompanied by rice, salad, and tortillas. We suggest if you are with a group to get large platters and enjoy all the seafood that Bacalar has to offer.

La Cabanita Grill & Cantina

Being that there are so many restaurants to choose from when traveling, it can be hard to figure out where to go. We found one restaurant that we absolutely LOVED while visiting. 

Even though it isn't on the water, it is just a short walk away, and we highly recommend it for a nice dinner. Not only is the food incredible, but the presentation and atmosphere is unrivaled in this area. 

The owner of this restaurant has the best hospitality out there, and we even got a free cocktail while dining. The cocktails were so unbelievably good that we just couldn't stop ordering!

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Getting Around Bacalar in Mexico

Bacalar is a very small town, and doesn't have much public transportation. The only buses that you will find are on the main highway, and they run to the nearby towns, not directly within the town.

Most of the town is walking distance. However, to get from one end of the lagoon to the other can take longer than expected (and is very uncomfortable due to the heat and humidity).

You can either get taxis within town by calling, or you can move around by car. There are no rental cars inside Bacalar in Mexico itself at the moment, but if you are coming from Tulum or Chetumal we definitely suggest renting a car from there, so that you can get around easily once in Bacalar.

Here is a company we use for renting cars:

Visiting Bacalar, Mexico: Where to Stay

Bacalar is a pretty small town, but the lagoon is pretty big. We suggest staying inside the town, so that you have plenty of dining options, and can walk around the streets. If you'd like to check the different accommodation options, you can simply check the map below:

Is Bacalar Safe?

While many people get super nervous about safety in Mexico, we can say that Bacalar always felt safe for us, both day and night. Of course take care of your belongings, and always be aware of your surroundings though.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Bacalar, Mexico

Now you know almost everything you need to know about visiting Bacalar, Mexico. But here are a few other things to keep in mind.

Weather in Bacalar, Mexico

Bacalar is located in the Caribbean area of the country, so it gets very hot and humid there. Actually, it never gets cold at all. However, there are two seasons in this area of the country- rainy and dry. The dry season in Bacalar runs from mid to late October until April. The rainy season runs from May to October, with the later months being prone to large storms such as hurricanes.

The Best Time to Visit Bacalar, Mexico

The best time to visit Bacalar is definitely in the winter time, which is the dry season. Months like January and February have hot sunny days, and are the perfect time for a tropical getaway. 

We definitely suggest avoiding the months of September and October, as the Caribbean is notorious for having hurricanes at this time. Also, the lagoon doesn't have the bluest waters after storms, so it's also best to avoid this.

Laguna Xul-Ha Bacalar, lakes in mexico

The water is bluest in the dry season.

What to Pack For a Trip to Bacalar, Mexico

Bacalar is a place to enjoy the seven colored lagoon, and the cenotes around it. Here are a few things that we suggest bringing with you when visiting:

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Bacalar, Mexico is a true beauty of the Yucatán península and should definitely be added to your bucket list! We suggest spending a day or two to enjoy all the lagoon has to offer.

Want to see some other awesome spots near Bacalar that are worth checking out? We have a ton of travel guides about the Yucatán Península, and other areas of Mexico as well.

Need help planning your next trip? We got you covered! Unlike most travel agencies, we work on a small flat fee, and and don't bank on you spending more for us to earn more. We want you to save, while exploring more. Want to learn more? Take a look at the different travel planning packages that we offer.

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