Bacalar is one of the two officially designated Pueblos Mágico in the state of Quintana Roo (Isla Mujeres is the other one) and when you get here you’ll see why. The pastel colored houses, quiet streets, murals, piers with grass thatched palapas and the blue cenotes and lagoons give it a tran-quil, magical air, making it the perfect spot for a quiet romantic getaway.
The town is built around the church of San Joaquin, the patron saint of the town. Bacalar is home to artists and writers, and the outer walls of the houses along the Ruta de los Murales are coved with paintings depicting its history and natural beauty.
There are no crowds, large hotels or nightclubs in Bacalar. Instead you’ll find find small restau-rants, organic food, craft stores, cafés where you can play a round of dominoes with the regulars, and small bars.
Accommodations consist of smaller hotels, hostels and cabins.
At a Glance
- Visit the San Felipe Fort in the downtown area for spectacular photographs of your honey-moon and views of the Pueblo Mágico. The fort was built in 1729 to protect the town from pi-rates.
- Visit the famous Laguna Bacalar, also known as Laguna de los Siete Colores or Lagoon of the Seven Colors, where the sun-warmed tropical waters come in seven shades of blue. One of the best ways to see the lagoon is by boat, and motor boats and sailing boats are available for hire. You can also go paddle boating or swimming, jumping off the piers that are built around the lagoon.
- Relax in the hammocks and swings suspended over the lagoon.
- Go swimming, scuba diving or boating in the Blue Cenote. Cenotes are natural sinkholes and are considered sacred in the Mayan culture.
- Visit the Mayan ruins at are Chacchoben, Dzibanché and Kohunlich. The sites and the sur-rounding jungles are free of crowds and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the mysterious atmosphere.
- Stay at a beachside hotel, B&B or cabana. Relax in your own personal tropical paradise.
- Indulge your inner child with a visit to the Pirates’ Channel, which the pirates actually used to reach Bacalar and loot the town. Give yourselves a full body mud pack with clay from the floor of the channel. It smells of rotten eggs but is supposed to be good for your health.
- GETTING THERE: The nearest international airport is Cancun, about four hours drive. Che-tumal Airport is closer and has service from major Mexican cities.
- GETTING AROUND: A rental car is useful to get around Bacalar but you can also see it on foot or on bikes. Stop for seafood tacos and cold beer when you need some refreshment.