Perched on the edge of a large fresh water lagoon, Bacalar is a small town largely untouched by the upscale tourism which is rampant across large swathes of the Yucatan. Although this appears to be slowly changing, a day spent at the waters edge is both peaceful and relaxing.
This is an underrated gem that is largely skipped over for the more well-trodden gringo trail. However, for those that have a little more time or enjoy avoiding the crowds that congregate around the coast, Laguna Bacalar should not be missed.
You are negotiating Central America in 5 weeks, the sprint to Belize may mean smaller towns such as Bacalar simply have to be missed.
There are a number of budget options if staying overnight in Bacalar, each with their own lake-side access, but if only visiting for the day, the best public access can be found approximately 3-4km out of town. Simply turn into the clearing marked 'Cocalitos' where you will find a small bar from which small tours are run, and access to the crystal clear water. If not using any of the services offered by Cocalitos, it was a little unclear if there was a fee for swimming but an awkward moment is easily avoided by purchasing a couple of bottles of ice-cold beer ($20 pesos each).
All 2nd class buses between Cancun and Chetumal will stop in the centre of town, with the 1st class routes dropping off on the highway on request.All 2nd class buses between Cancun and Chetumal will stop in the centre of town, with the 1st class routes dropping off on the highway on request.
A single to Bacalar from Chetumal is $25 pesos each way. (buses leaving from 2nd class station), dropping off on Calle 5, and picking up on Calle 7 – stop is sign-posted and outside Agencia el Estudiante with buses departing about once an hour.
budget breaker of maker?
Both. If done as a day trip, the cost is very reasonable, and although hostels are not grossly-overpriced, they were some of the more expensive we came across in Mexico.