21 Things To Do In Bacalar: Guide To The Costa Maya’s Magic City (With Videos)

There is no way to do any justice to the incredible beauty of Bacalar’s iconic lagoon with words. It is known as the ‘7 Color Lagoon’, but even that name doesn’t accurately describe the one-of-a-kind beauty of this stunning natural wonder. Imagine a harmony of tropical blues, emerald greens, and cloudy whites that create an image that can only be described as magical.

We were lucky to spend a week enjoying the many amazing things to do in Bacalar. And we can tell you that this town isn’t just a place for refreshing swims in heavenly waters. There are so many awesome experiences that await you in Bacalar! With lazy days on the lagoon, sunrise kayaks, and sunset cocktails, this town is 100% worth exploring during your visit to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Are you ready to discover all the unforgettable things to do in Bacalar? We’ll share the best things to do in Bacalar’s famous lagoon. And we even go beyond the ‘7 color lagoon’ to include awesome cenotes, the best ways to enjoy the town of Bacalar, ancient Mayan ruins, and unique experiences. Let’s go!

Table Of Contents
  1. What To Know About Bacalar Before You Visit
  2. 21 Magical Things to Do In Bacalar, Mexico
  3. Best Things To Do On The 7 Color Lagoon
  4. Great Things To Do In Bacalar Town
  5. Top Cenotes To Visit In Bacalar
  6. Epic Mayan Ruins To Explore From Bacalar
  7. Other Unique Things To Do In Bacalar
  8. Final Thoughts ABout Bacalar, Mexico
  9. Is Bacalar Worth Visiting?

Estimated reading time: 30 minutes

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21 amazing things to do in Bacalar

What To Know About Bacalar Before You Visit

Where Is Bacalar, Mexico?

Bacalar is a small town located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula near the border of Belize. This idyllic paradise is located just a few hours from the more visited and, in our humble opinion, less charming destinations of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

Map Of Bacalar, Mexico

How To Get To Bacalar, Mexico?

Getting To Bacalar By Bus:

Bacalar is very straightforward to get to by bus. Luxury bus operator ADO connects most of the Yucatan Peninsula’s main tourist destinations. These buses are comfortable and safe, and from our experience, they run on schedule.

WOTW Tip: sometimes you can find deals online that are unavailable when booking at ADO’s local offices.

Flying To Bacalar, Mexico:

The closest airport to Bacalar is Chetumal International Airport. Despite being an international airport, Chetumal mainly serves domestic routes. Except for a few weekly flights from Miami.

Cancun International Airport or the newly opened Tulum Airport will therefore be your most convenient points of entry when visiting Bacalar.

Can’t Wait To Check The Bacalar Lagoon? Just Hit Play!

Where To Stay In Bacalar?

There is a range of different lodging options available to visitors. Being an up-and-coming vacation destination, you will find incredible boutique options to spend your vacation in style. But there are also plenty of affordable options for travelers exploring the best things to do in Bacalar on a budget.

In other words, Bacalar has places to stay that will suit the needs of any type of traveler.

Perfect Waterfront Hotels We Would Love To Visit:

  • Pucte 13: want your own waterfront palapa? But also want a private toilet and shower? Pucte 13 has beautifully upgraded huts literally within crawling distance to the Bacalar lagoon.
  • Villa Marilu B&B: beautiful bed & breakfast with easy access to the lagoon. There is a lovely terrace for relaxing next to the lagoon.
  • Khaban Bacalar Boutique Hotel: luxurious and private waterfront hotel. If you are looking for serenity in a remote part of the lagoon, this is your place. Note that Khaban Bacalar is located about a 10 minute drive from town.

Top Boutique Hotels In Bacalar For Eco-Chic Vibes:

  • Hotel Casa Hormiga: described as a ‘jungle sanctuary,’ this beautiful hotel has gorgeous rooms, a swimming pool, and sacred rituals. Yea, I just casually tossed that in there…but seriously, they do have sacred rituals!
  • Zensus: clean and modern bungalows with a nice pool in a super relaxing environment. This place gets a 9.8 rating!
  • Hotel Aires Bacalar: a sustainably managed property with a swimming pool and bar. Rooms include balconies with beautiful lagoon views.

Best Hotels For Budget Travelers:

  • Guarumbo: an adorable little hostel with a beautiful garden and lounge area. Your stay also includes breakfast and free WiFi!
  • Gran Jaguar Hotel: a no-frills hotel with fantastic reviews. Located a short walk from the Bacalar lagoon.
  • Delmar Hostal: basic hostal located in the middle of town. A perfect combination of affordable price and location. And they are famous for their breakfasts!

WOTW Note: because we stay in places for extended periods, we usually try to find apartments with kitchens and working spaces. This way, we can save money by cooking for ourselves, and it allows us to get more work done! However, if we were on vacation, we would definitely choose to stay in Bacalar’s amazing hotels!

If interested, you can take a look at where we stayed in Bacalar.

21 Magical Things to Do In Bacalar, Mexico

For the sake of organization, we have grouped the things to do in Bacalar in the following sections:

  • Best Things To Do On The 7 Color Lagoon
  • Great Things To Do In Bacalar Town
  • Top Cenotes To Visit In Bacalar
  • Epic Mayan Ruins To Explore From Bacalar
  • Other Unique Things To Do In Bacalar

Best Things To Do On The 7 Color Lagoon

1. Take A Dip In The Famous Bacalar Lagoon

Things to do in Bacalar lagoon.
  • Price: entrance fees to enter waterfront parks range from 0 – 50 MXP ($2.50 US). To rent a tiki hut (palapa) costs between 50 – 70 MXP for the day ($2.50 – $3.50 US).
  • Hours: private access areas are open around 9 am – 6 pm.
  • Time needed: depends how shady your spot on shore is.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

I mean, this is the reason everybody comes to Bacalar, right? The lagoon’s stunning mix of colors is a sight that really never gets old. And the easiest way to experience this natural wonder is from one of the town’s many ‘balnearios’ (this is the common term to describe entry points to the lagoon). Check out the bullets below to find some of the top balnearios located in Bacalar.

Note that the lagoon is a shallow body of water of freshwater. And there are no natural beaches in Bacalar! But it is super easy to climb into the refreshing crystal-clear water from the grassy shore or from one of the many docks. And don’t worry, there are no crocodiles in the lagoon 🙂 You can enjoy all the great things to do in Bacalar in peace.

WOTW Tip #1: the lagoon’s ecosystem is very delicate. Please do not enter the water with sunscreen, mosquito repellent, perfumes, etc. We realize that no sunscreen is a lot to ask for, but everyone has a responsibility to try and keep the Bacalar lagoon as pristine as possible.

WOTW Tip #2: newsflash, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula gets hot! And because you shouldn’t wear sunscreen, you might be in a position to leave the lagoon with a devastating sunburn. Be careful and find a shady spot!

2. Go For A Sunrise Kayak Or Paddleboard Adventure

  • Price: kayaks start at 100 MXP per hour for self-guided adventures ($5 US). Stand up paddleboard tours start at ($25 US).
  • Hours: check out sunrise times while you are there. We got on the water at 6:45 am and made it in time.
  • Time needed: 1 – 3 hours, depending on how much you want to explore that morning. Or 3 hours for the tours.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

We were literally the only ones on the lagoon when we paddled out to see the sunrise from our kayaks. All we could hear were the birds waking up as we drifted towards the nature reserve on the east side of the lagoon.

There wasn’t a ripple of wake on the water, so the sunrise reflected beautifully off the lagoon’s surface. In our opinion, this is the most epic thing to do in Bacalar!

If you prefer to share your sunrise adventure with more friends, there are highly rated sunrise paddleboard tours and kayaking adventures. Or if you’re just not the type to get out of bed at 6 am, you can also explore the seven-color lagoon by kayak or SUP at sunset. In fact, you can do it at any time of the day…

I didn’t need to explain that, did I?

  • Location: we rented kayaks from a nice man named Fidel. Fidel sleeps in a thatched-roof hut (known as a palapa) with its own pin that you can find on Google Maps. You can just walk in and holler for him when you arrive at sunrise. It sounds weird, but we promise it’s legit. The place is technically called ‘Balneario de la SAARCH’.

3. Visit Pirates Canal For The Best Views Of The Lagoon

Pirates Canal Things to do in Bacalar
Image source: Canva
  • Price: you have to take a boat tour, or kayak/paddleboard to reach here. Those prices vary.
  • Hours: the colors are more impressive when the sun is high.
  • Time needed: 45 – 90 minutes.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Pirates Canal will definitely be one of the stops if you explore the lagoon on a tour. But if you are skipping the tours, you still need to find your way to Pirates Canal. This area where the Hondo River meets the lagoon is known for its shallow water, where you can find all seven colors in one place. It’s the perfect spot for taking epic photos, going for a swim, and just soaking in the calm waters.

Like many places in the Yucatan Peninsula, the town of Bacalar was constantly under attack from pirates. And, fun fact, Pirates Canal is where they entered the lagoon to plunder the city. And even more fun facts, the canal was originally built by the Mayans to connect Mayan communities on the peninsula to those in Central America.

How about that for adding a little bit of history to your adventures!

WOTW Tip: Pirates Canal is one of the areas on the lagoon that can get busy. If you want it for yourself, then you better head out early. But note that you won’t get the impressive colors until around 10 am when the sun is higher in the sky.

Has Bacalar convinced you to visit the Yucatan Peninsula? Read about these other epic spots:

4. Peacefully Cruise The Bacalar Lagoon On A Sailboat

Sailboat trip in Bacalar
  • Price: see list of available tours below.
  • Hours: morning or afternoon options available for pre-booked tours.
  • Time needed: see list of available tours below.

If you read our ‘WOTW Tip’ in thing to do #1, you’ll remember that the Bacalar lagoon is a sensitive environment. That makes sailboat tours perfect for reducing pollution and waves created by gas-powered boats. And honestly, what better way to explore the lagoon than gliding peacefully over the turquoise waters on a beautiful sailboat.

Sailboat excursions are one of the most popular things to do in Bacalar. There are a variety of tours to choose from, ranging from group tours to fully private expeditions. Here are some of the highest-rated available options:

5. Avoid A Visit To Los Rapidos While In Bacalar

Image source: Canva

This is a picture of Bacalar’s famous stromatolites. If you see them, please do not touch them or sit on them. They are living organisms similar to ocean coral. And like coral, they can die from being touched.

  • Price: 150 MXP ($7.50 US)
  • Hours: 10 am – 6 pm
  • Time needed: 0 minutes

A visit to ‘Los Rapidos’ is an activity to take off the list of things to do in Bacalar.

Los Rapidos is no doubt one of the most famous attractions in Bacalar. Translated to ‘the rapids,’ this area of the lagoon is only about 15 feet wide, creating a funnel of slightly faster-moving water. The unique conditions have made the area one of the best places to see Bacalar’s famous stromatolites.

So why shouldn’t you visit Los Rapidos? Described at a very basic level as fresh-water coral, stromatolites are one of the oldest living organisms on earth. And just like coral reefs, stromatolites are very sensitive organisms that should never be touched.

At Los Rapidos, the staff turns a blind eye to people touching, sitting, and standing on these organisms vital to the Bacalar Lagoon’s ecological health! Please support responsible travel and don’t give them your business. Check out the negative reviews here.

Have you heard of Isla Holbox, Mexico? Well, we think you should add that to your places in the Yucatan Peninsula to avoid. Find out 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Isla Holbox – A Paradise Lost.

6. Head To Xul-Ha For Better Options Than Los Rapidos

Things to do in Bacalar Xul Ha
  • Price: 30 – 50 MXP entrance ($1.50 – $2.50 US). 50 MXP for a palapa ($2.50 US). 150 MXP per hour for a kayak ($7.50 US).
  • Hours: no official hours. Usually open around sunrise if the owners are awake.
  • Time needed: 1 – 4 hours
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Xul-Ha is a small community located just south of Bacalar and Los Rapidos. There are several access points to this more narrow part of the lagoon where you can swim, rent kayaks and observe the unique stromatolites without crowds of uninformed people interacting with them.

Besides being a great place to see the stromatolites, Xul-Ha is also an off-the-beaten-path location for enjoying the Bacalar Lagoon. Most visitors don’t come this way, so you can enjoy this piece of paradise in a more tranquil setting.

WOTW Tip: Rancho Alegre and Laguna Bonanza both have on-site restaurants.

Great Things To Do In Bacalar Town

7. Get Your Pirate Fix At Fort San Felipe & The Pirate Museum

Things to do in Bacalar Fort San Felipe
Image source: Canva
  • Price: 110 MXP for foreigners ($5 US).
  • Hours: 9 am – 7 pm (ticket office closes at 6:30 pm per a hand-written sign).
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • WOTW rating: 4/5

Looking for things to do in Bacalar that don’t involve the lagoon? A visit to the San Felipe fort in the center of town is a great option when you start feeling soggy after many hours of enjoying the refreshing waters.

Constructed in 1733 to deter pirate attacks, Fort San Felipe is now the most iconic structure in town. While it won’t overwhelm you with its size or beauty, the fort is an excellent way to spend some time as the sun sets and Bacalar begins to cool down.

The entrance fee also includes access to a small pirate museum located inside the fort. Who doesn’t like to learn about these swashbuckling scoundrels?

8. Find A Trendy Spot For Dinner & Drinks

  • Price: $8 – 10 US for an entree. $2.50 US for local beers. $7 – 8 US for cocktails.
  • Hours: 5 pm – 11 pm (some places stay open later).
  • Time needed: no judgement here, order another round!
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Bacalar is becoming a ‘trendy’ town, for lack of a better word. While there are pros and cons to the increasing number of visitors enjoying this ‘pueblo magico,’ one of the pros is definitely the number of cool dinner spots available. You won’t be short on options when looking for the perfect place for grabbing a delicious bite and a well-crafted margarita.

Picking the best place for dinner might be the most difficult decision you make during your time in Bacalar. Choose wisely!

Our dinner & drink recommendations:

  • Damajuana Bacalar: upscale bar with live music on the weekends. Known for their mezcal selection. Yes, please!
  • Bote de Leche: cozy little restaurant with unique and delicious dishes. Really a game changer when you need to switch things up after a week of taco dinners.
  • Barbanegra: time for tacos again 🙂 Barbanegra is a hip taco joint with cool vibes and a good drinks menu. Oh, and the tacos are great!
  • La Playita: a Bacalar institution. Great place for dinner and drinks located right on the 7 color lagoon.

9. Enjoy An Evening Of Live Music

This place had live music.
  • Price: $2.50 US for local beers. $7 – 8 US for cocktails.
  • Hours: music usually starts around 5 pm. But it varies by venue.
  • Time needed: up to you, party animal.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

There’s nothing better than enjoying the warm Mexican nights with a cool beverage and live music! Bacalar has some great (and at times interesting) live-music options. We listened to some super-eclectic music that was very entertaining and surprisingly enjoyable.

Don’t expect any Mexican cantina vibes at these establishments. These outdoor venues all cater to visitors looking for a cozy spot to end the day. Nevertheless, listening to some live music is one of those perfect things to do in Bacalar to wind down your day.

Our Live Music Recommendations In Bacalar:

  • Galeon Pirata Centro: funky bar on the north side of town. One of the coolest spots in Bacalar. Go ahead and just add this place to your list of things to do in Bacalar.
  • Patio de Aguacate: nice outdoor patio with a chilled-out ambiance and great service. And as a bonus, they serve delicious pizza!
  • La Catrina Bacalar: ready to dance the night away? This is the spot for live salsa music where you can get your groove on until 2 in the morning.

10. Visit The Mango Guy And Stroll The Zocalo

  • Price: 35 MXP ($1.75 US).
  • Hours: we can confirm he is there around sunset time.
  • Time needed: 15 minutes to enjoy the mango while strolling through the square.
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

I freaking love mango! It is one of my passions in life. So I’m not apologizing to anyone for adding this to a list of things to do in Bacalar. We literally stopped by the mango guy 45 times during our visit. You’ll find his little cart stacked high with ripe mangos in Bacalar’s zocalo.

The traditional way to enjoy the freshly-sliced mango is by adding a seasoning blend of salt and chili powder, followed by a squirt of lime juice. The harmony of sweet, sour, and salty flavors makes this popular Yucatan street food highly addicting. You have been warned!

11. Stop By The Chicken Lady For A Local Experience In Bacalar

  • Price: 180 MXP ($9 US) for two people.
  • Hours: 8 am – 6 pm (but get there around 11:30 pm. They sell out!)
  • Time needed: 30 minutes
  • WOTW rating: 5/5

Again, not apologizing for adding a personal favorite to the list. Eating lunch here was a life-changing moment. And it was perhaps more memorable to me than experiencing the 7 Color Lagoon. Okay, not really. But I started digging into Bacalar real estate after eating at Pollos Chingones.

The main avenue that runs through Bacalar is a world away from the more manicured streets near the lagoon. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go check it out! We loved experiencing small-town Mexican vibes at Pollos Chingones. And the people that work there are super friendly!

I would put this first on our list of things to do in Bacalar if Aimara didn’t proofread my posts.

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Top Cenotes To Visit In Bacalar

Cenote is the Spanish word for a sinkhole. There are thousands of cenotes to explore in the Yucatan Peninsula. And luckily, there are several great ones in the area that you should totally add to your list of things to do in Bacalar.

12. Jump Into The Deep End At Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul Bacalar Lagoon
  • Price: 25 MXP ($2.25 US).
  • Hours: 10 am – 6 pm
  • Time needed: 1 – 2.5 hours
  • WOTW rating: 4/5

Well, that was a different experience. Bacalar’s Cenote Azul is a massive open cenote, meaning that the surrounding limestone has completely collapsed. Unlike the more famous cenotes, Cenote Azul isn’t encircled by any cave walls. It basically resembles a small lake. The cool water has a deep blue color that’s distinct from the tropical hues of the nearby lagoon.

But what makes Cenote Azul worth visiting is that it’s one of the deepest cenotes in the entire Yucatan Peninsula, at nearly 300 feet deep (90 meters)! There are zero shallow areas, and the edges of the cenote drop immediately into the depths below. Bring your snorkel, and if you are like us, you will experience a bizarre sensation of underwater vertigo. It looks like there is no bottom!

WOTW Tip #1: Cenote Azul has an on-site restaurant that serves good-enough food and drinks. There are also bathrooms where you can change into your bathing suit.

WOTW Tip #2: this is a popular place for free diving. If you know how to free dive, definitely give it a try at Cenote Azul. It’s super weird descending into the depth with zero depth perception.

Save This Things To Do In Bacalar Post To Read Later!

21 Fun Things To Do In Bacalar Mexico

13. Check Out Cenote Cocalitos For More Stromatolite Action

Visiting Bacalar Stromatolites
Image source: Canva
  • Price: 50 MXP ($2.50 US).
  • Hours: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Time needed: 1 – 4 hours.

More stromatolites? Hell yea! Cenote Cocalitos is a favorite hangout with locals enjoying Bacalar’s ‘laguna de siete colores’ (seven colors lagoon). In full transparency, you probably wouldn’t know that Cenote Cocalitos is an actual cenote if you just showed up there. It is part of the Bacalar Lagoon and basically blends in with its surroundings.

Interested in a 5-star Airbnb Experience of Bacalar’s lagoon and cenotes? Visit three cenotes and learn about the area’s history with a local guide! Note that the tour is typically offered in Spanish, but the guide can explain things in English, if needed.

If you are looking for a more lively place to visit the lagoon, Cenote Cocalitos might be your spot. There is a ‘beach park’ providing visitors access to the lagoon, a restaurant, restrooms, showers, some swings and hammocks.

WOTW Tip: don’t touch the stromatolites! 🙂

14. Take A Dip In Cenote Esmeralda

  • Price: N/A (included as a stop with most tours).
  • Hours: 8 am – 6 pm
  • Time needed: 20 – 60 minutes.

Cenote Esmeralda is a popular stop along the boat routes touring the lagoon. Similar to Cenote Cocalitos, Esmeralda is part of the lagoon. However, at Cenote Esmeralda, it is more apparent that there is a hole in the earth because of the circle of dark water.

It is possible to visit Cenote Esmeralda on boat tours or with your own kayak. Just know that it is a decent distance south of the central part of town. So depending on where you rent your kayak from, you might be in for a bit of a paddle.

WOTW Tip: it is mandatory to wear a life vest when swimming in Cenote Esmeralda.

15. Paddle By Cenote Negro For Beautiful Views

Things To Do In Bacalar Cenote Negro
Image source: Canva
  • Price: entry is not permitted into the actual cenote.
  • Hours: N/A
  • Time needed: 10 – 20 minutes to check out from your kayak or paddle board.

Cenote Negro is a beautiful blend of Cenote Azul and Cenote Esmeralda. While it is technically part of the lagoon, it forms a little cove that makes it very apparent that there is a crazy vertical drop underneath the water. How crazy, you ask? Close to 325 feet (100 meters)!

While you can not actually go into the cenote, it is a great spot to explore from the lagoon. The deep blue water creates a striking contrast with the milky-blue waters of the lagoon. Unfortunately Mexico doesn’t allow visitors to enter with standard-sized drones, so we couldn’t take those awesome pictures ourselves.

Epic Mayan Ruins To Explore From Bacalar

WOTW Tip #1: we rented a car during our day trips from Bacalar, and it was a total pain. The only rental agency we could find in Bacalar had a minimum rental period of 48 hours. We rented from Enterprise in Chetumal (40 minutes from Bacalar), but the location we rented from was closed when we arrived. Agghhhh!! We ultimately took a taxi to another office in the Chetumal Airport and spent too much money. You’ve been warned.

WOTW Tip #2: don’t forget to bring your passport to the car-rental agency if you rent a car.

16. Have The Kohunlich Ruins All To Yourself

climbing pyramids at Kohunlich Mayan Ruins
  • Price: 85 MXP ($4.25 US).
  • Hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm
  • Time needed: 1 – 2 hours
  • WOTW rating: 4/5

In the middle of the Yucatan jungle are the beautiful ruins of Kohunlich. Located only an hour from town, this Mayan ruin is definitely not on most people’s radar when it comes to things to do in Bacalar. This site is most famous for its incredible 8-foot tall carved masks dedicated to the sun god. And if you get there early, you’ll hear the howler monkeys screaming from the top of the jungle canopy.

Guided tours to Kohunlich or Kohunlich & Dzibanche (below) are available. These are great options if you want to ensure having a guide and don’t want to deal with the hassle of organizing your own transportation to these sites.

Kohunlich isn’t as grand as more famous ruins in the Yucatan. But what it lacks in grandeur, it makes up in remoteness. We almost had the entire place to ourselves! It really was an epic feeling just being alone on ancient Mayan pyramids surrounded by lush jungle and screaming howler monkeys. For us, this was one of the most memorable things to do in Bacalar.

WOTW Tip: Mayan ruins are way more enjoyable when exploring with a guide. Often there are guides at the site that you can hire. According to reviews, Kohunlich does have guides, but there were none to be found when we visited.

Want A Glimpse Of Kohunlich & Cenote Azul? Check Out This Day Trip Video!

17. Add Dzibanche To Your Itinerary Of Mayan Ruins To Visit

Image source: Canva
  • Price: 65 MXP ($3.25 US).
  • Hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm
  • Time needed: 1 – 2 hours

A short drive from Kohunlich are the Mayan ruins of Dzibanche. Dzibanche’s name means “writing on wood” in Mayan. The name comes from a wooden beam carved with glyphs found in one of the temples. 

Want to know more about these incredible Mayan cities? Read our post about the 13 best Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula!

This ancient city is thought to be one of the largest of the early Mayan periods. There are several prominent temples to discover. And just like with Kohunlich, the best part is that you might just have these ruins all to yourself! Both ruins can be explored on the same day if you set out early enough from Bacalar.

18. Spend A Night Near Calakmul To Visit The Most Epic Mayan City In Mexico

Calakmul Yucatan Peninsula ruins
Image source: Canva
  • Price: 180 MXP ($8 US).
  • Hours: 8 am – 5 pm.
  • Time needed: 3 – 4 hours to visit the site; 3.5 hour drive from Bacalar.

Calakmul is the Mayan ruin that all the locals tell you to visit. Unfortunately, it is in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t make for the most leisurely day trip from Bacalar. But even though it’s a pain to get to, you might never have a better chance to visit Calakmul than during your visit to Bacalar.

Calakmul is the best ancient Mayan city to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula if you are looking for epic ruins, a dense jungle setting, and virtually no other visitors. You might be able to have one of the most important Mayan cities in history all to yourself! Not counting the howler monkeys, of course.

Quick Facts About Calakmul:

  • Calakmul is home to one of the tallest Mayan pyramids. ‘Structure 2’ (underwhelming name, right?) stands over 148 feet tall!
  • It was one of the largest and most powerful Mayan cities…ever!
  • It was home to 50,000 people during its prime years.
  • Only a few dozen people visit Calakmul daily, compared with several hundred that visit Chichen Itza each day.

WOTW Tip: your best bet for having the most conformable visit to Calakmul is spending the night in a nearby town. Xpujil has the best lodging options of the surrounding villages.

Other Unique Things To Do In Bacalar

19. Learn How To Make Mayan Honey From Stingless Bees

  • Price: $145 US, per group.
  • Hours: this experience starts at 11 am.
  • Time needed: 2 hours

Want to add some more cultural things to do in Bacalar to your plans? This Mayan-bee experience is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Bacalar. Learn about the history of honey production and visit the hives belonging to the famous stingless bees themselves.

Of course, this tour is not only educational. You also get to try this special honey that is said to have many medicinal properties. And you can sample a sacred Mayan beverage made with the delicious honey. All of this while having views of the beautiful Bacalar lagoon. This popular Airbnb experience gets a perfect 5-star rating!

20. Pretend To Be Sophisticated At An Artisanal Mezcal Tasting

Mezcal tasting experience
Image source: Canva
  • Price: $48 US, including the mezcal.
  • Hours: experience starts at 8:30 pm.
  • Time needed: 1 hour.

Drinks, anyone?

Another special experience available in Bacalar is a women-owned Mezcal tasting experience. So just because you aren’t in Oaxaca, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this wonderful aspect of Oaxacan culture.

Try various artisanal and usually unbranded mezcals with a local expert. Learn about the brand’s history, facts about mezcal production, and of course, sample delicious mezcal! Check out this 5-star experience if you like to combine culture with delicious spirits.

  • Location: the experience takes place in Bacalar’s town.

21. Get Your Salt Water Fix At Beautiful Mahahual

Day Trip To Mahahual
Image source: Canva
  • Price: N/A
  • Hours: N/A
  • Time needed: full-day.

After a few days in the Bacalar Lagoon, you might be feeling the need to get a little salty again. I mean, you are in the Mexican Caribbean, right? The fishing village of Mahahual can be found on the Costa Maya, just over a 1-hour drive away from Bacalar. Pretty manageable for a day trip from Bacalar.

Like our favorite island of Cozumel, Mahahual has access to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Consider enjoying Mahahual’s incredible snorkeling or diving if you have had enough lazy days around Bacalar. Mahahual Dive Center and Amigos Del Mar are two highly-rated operators for diving and snorkeling.

Final Thoughts ABout Bacalar, Mexico

Is Bacalar Safe For Tourists?

People always wonder about safety in Mexico. And it’s fair considering how the media portrays this country. But based on our 70-day adventure through Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, we can confidently say that there is a general misunderstanding about safety in this country.

In all honesty, what you have to worry about in Bacalar are sunburns, heat exhaustion, and mosquitos. But when it comes to personal safety, there is very little to worry about. You can enjoy all the magical things to do in Bacalar in peace and tranquility.

When Is the Best Time To Visit Bacalar, Mexico?

Guess what? Bacalar gets super hot! Good thing there is a lagoon to jump into! There is also a short rainy season that could disrupt your plans for relaxing on the water.

  • Winter (December – February): winter is a great time to visit Bacalar. High temperatures are in the mid-80s Fahrenheit (30 C), and evenings cool down to the low 70s (21 C). There is also minimal rainfall in the winter months. January and February are relatively busier, so lodging prices may be higher.
  • Spring (March – May): the spring months are some of the hottest in Bacalar, with April and May temperatures regularly reaching daily highs in the mid-90s (34 C). It is also windier, which is nice when trying to escape the heat, but more difficult when out on a kayak paddling against the wind (spoken from experience).
  • Summer (June – August): temperatures drop slightly in June and July, making summer a great time to visit Bacalar. Crowds are also lower, so you will find cheaper accommodation and tour prices.
  • Fall (September – November): fall in Bacalar is hot and has the highest chance of rain. If you have spent any time in the tropics, you know that’s a recipe for humidity! The good thing is that fall is also Bacalar low season, so you will have the entire lagoon to yourself to refresh from the searing heat.

WOTW Tip: there are never too many travelers visiting Bacalar at one time. For now Bacalar is still a bit of an undiscovered destination. But get there before it gets discovered!

How Many Days Do You Need In Bacalar?

We don’t like to answer this question because we want to move to almost every place we visit. So our answer to ‘how many days do you need in Bacalar’ is ‘forever many days.’

But for practical purposes, we’ll break it down like this:

  • 3 – 4 nights: good if you are only interested in spending time in the lagoon and enjoying some nights out at cozy restaurants.
  • 5 – 7 nights: our recommended option so you can enjoy the many things to do in Bacalar, like day trips to Mayan ruins, sunrise kayaks, and some unique experiences. We will always recommend staying longer. It’s just that we really like to travel slowly.

Is Bacalar Worth Visiting?

Bacalar’s iconic lagoon is one of the most beautiful natural wonders we have ever seen. We never got tired of walking through town and admiring the amazing views. But Bacalar also exceeded our expectations with its diverse number of attractions and distinctive local feel. Most of Bacalar doesn’t feel like a tourist town. Yet…

So yes, Bacalar is absolutely worth visiting. And the sooner, the better! If you are ready to escape the mass-tourism spots of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, then Bacalar is waiting for you with open arms. We don’t think this place will remain a hidden gem for much longer. So get your butt over here and enjoy all the magical things to do in Bacalar!

Please remember take care of Bacalar’s unique natural environment when you visit!

Thanks for reading!


Are you ready to explore the 7 Color Lagoon? Have any questions about visiting Bacalar, Mexico? Reach out in the comments or DM us on Instagram!

Want to explore more of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula? Read these posts next:

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