An amazing lagoon colored in seven shades of blue, palm trees, sun, tropical birds and flowers: today I’m taking you to Bacalar in Mexico for a weekend getaway in a magical setting in the footsteps of the pirats of the Caribbean! Let’s go!
Bacalar is a little tropical gem hidden at the heart of the Yucatan peninsula. “Hidden” because in spite of the incredible beauty of this place, few tourists venture there! This little village nestled by the so-called seven-color lagoon is the perfect place to revitalize yourself. The 42-km-long-and-4km-wide majestic strech of freshwater offers an idyllic and soothing setting to its visitors. Wether you prefer to cultivate Dolche Far Niente or to practice water sports, this little marvel will know how to seduce you!
Wake up each morning to the sound of tropical birds singing, dive into the warm and crystal clear waters of the lagoon, treat yourself to some great seafood and other regional specialities! Change of scene garanteed: we are going to Bacalar!
1. Where to stay in Bacalar?
As usual, we organized this weekend getaway at the very last minute and, even if we were travelling outside of peak season, two days before taking our plane, many hotels were booked up.
With a little bit more anticipation, it is easy to find different sorts of accommodation in Bacalar: camping sites, hostels, hotels, Airbnb, villas… you will easily find an option matching your budget. We were highly recommended to stay at the Pata de Perro hostel located at the heart of Bacalar and a few meters away from the lagoon but all the rooms had already been booked.
So we kept looking and succumbed to the charm of Villa Pehaltun, a group of three lovely little houses (“Casita”, “Palapa” and “Cabana”) located 3 kilometers away from the center of Bacalar that offer a breath-taking view on the lagoon. We opted for “Casita” which happened to be available and we were enchanted with this choice!
Staying at Villa Pehaltun is…
… spending a few comfortable days in an idyllic setting
We did spend a very pleasant weekend in this little house full of vivid colors and perched on a little hill overlooking the lagoon, right in the heart of a luxuriant garden!
We immediately felt at home in this cozy house decorated in warm tones of colors. Air conditioning, free bottles of drinking water, mosquito nets, hot wather… Casita offers us all the comfort we could dream of to have a lovely time in Bacalar.
We even had a little kitchen which proved to be very useful. What makes Villa Pehaltun so special is that the little villas are located away from the city center, to give the visitor the feeling to be staying at the heart of a tropical garden. Since we did not have a car, we had to take a taxi each time we wanted to go to Bacalar (70 pesos = 3.5€). So we bought a few groceries upon arriving so that we would not have to take a taxi to the center for each meal.
… waking up each morning with this stunning view
What made us fall in love with Villa Pehaltun, was the large patio and the beautiful view on the lagoon! We would wake up and have coffee listining to the sound of birds singing and contemplating this soothing scenery. What else could we ask for?
… staying at the heart of a tropical garden
Our little “Casita” was surrounded by all sorts of palm trees and tropical plants. Here is the little trail we would follow to reach the lagoon. A real explosion of colors!
… having a direct access to the crytal clear waters of the lagoon
Another aspect about Villa Pehaltun that we really apreciated was the direct access that the villas have to the lagoon. This is not necessarily the case of all the other hotels in town.
Here is the picture postcard landscape that we discovered when we reached the lagoon… We could stay hours on this deck, in a hammock or deckchair, reading or looking at this beautiful scenery….
2. What to do in Bacalar?
Of course the main attraction in Bacalar is the lagoon! Swimming, taking a boat ride, doing water sports (windsurf, canoe, paddle…)…. it all depends on each person’s tastes. We tried the boat ride which enabled us to discover the different shades of blue of the water.
The colored village of Bacalar is also worth the detour. As I love the little Volkswagen beetles and palm trees, I was delighted!
We chose the sunniest day to take a boat tour to enjoy the beauty of the lagoon at best. The different tones of blue come from the luminosity (if the sun plays hide-and-seak the water will look darker), as well as depth. We found out that the depth of the lagoon varied from a few centimeters to about a hundred meters.
We embarked one of these little boats. The sun was very strong and we were happy to be able to sit in the shade…
And so we started this enchanting three-hour boat ride on the crystal clear waters of the lagoon!
Turquoise, emerald, electric blue, navy blue… The color of the water was constantly changing depending on the depth of the lagoon.
We found out that there were several cenotes in the lagoon, this very strange geological formation that can be found in the Yucatan peninsula and which I was telling you about here. We would go from a depth of a meter to a hundert meter in an instant! We can clearly see the difference of color.
And here is the second cenote that we discovered. This one was less deep than the first one. With a 50-meter depth, the color looked brighter.
Our enchantment reached its climax when we saw the birds island (la isla de los pajaros)! In order not to bother the birds we could not get any closer but it did not matter. Even in the distance, the island looked beautiful!
And then we reached our final stop: the pirats’ canal! It is via this narrow passage that pirats would reach the coast from the closeby Caribbean Sea in the 17th century. We were on the footsteps of the pirats of the Caribbean!
3. Where to eat in Bacalar?
Here are the few places we tested when we did not have lunch or dinner in our little Casita.
It is hard to say whether we prefered the setting or the tacos… Anyway, Kai Pez is a great address to keep in mind if you are visiting Bacalar. You will seat right by the lagoon and have a direct access to the crystal clear waters. What better way to whet one’s appetite than through a swim in the lagoon?
Whether you like sea food or not, Kai Pez will know how to please you. Shrimp tacos and ceviche tostada for the ones, cochinita pibil tacos (typical dish of the peninsula made with chicken and a very tasty sauce) for the others 😉
On the main square, right by the Pata de Perro hostel, we fell for a delicious burrito and fantastic enchiladas verdes!
And last but not least: la Playita! The setting is just magical. You will dine in the shadow of an impressive century-old tree, right by the lagoon. Here again you will get to take a swim if you feel like it! And what’s more, the dishes are delicious. We fell for the guacamole, shrimp tacos and the burger… Do not miss the delicious chocolate cake! I forget to take a picture of it as I could not wait to taste it…
4. How to reach Bacalar?
If like us you are coming from Mexico City, the easiest way would be to fly to Chetumal (Interjet and Volaris have good prices). Once in Chetumal, you will have the possibility to take a bus or a taxi. We took a taxi and reached Bacalar about half an hour later. We spent 200 pesos (10€) by choosing a taxi outside the airport.
Bye bye Bacalar…