Bacalar lake tour

The 14 best things to do in Bacalar

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Welcome to Bacalar, an unknown destination for many travelers that is considered a hidden gem. This quaint Mexican town is located right next to the beautiful Lake Bacalar and impresses visitors with its clear blue waters surrounded by palm trees and magnificent nature. The area offers a great selection of activities both on the lake and in the surrounding areas, making it the perfect vacation spot.

In this article we share the 14 best things to do in Bacalar and Bacalar tips on where to stay, eat, and more!

Bacalar Lake

Things to do in Bacalar?

Get ready for an unforgettable experience. With its breathtaking views, serene atmosphere, and stunning natural environment, Bacalar offers plenty of activities for all types of travelers. From water sports to cultural attractions, there is something here for everyone! Here are our recommended 14 things to do in Bacalar.

Tip: use the map below to see where the best things in Bacalar are located. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. You can show or hide different categories on the map. You can use this map to navigate when you are in Bacalar.

#1 Discover Lake Bacalar by a boat trip

Discover the beauty of Lake Bacalar by going on a boat trip! This is one of the best things to do in Bacalar and will allow you to experience its seven colors, which can be seen at different points of the lake. You’ll also visit the cenote, bird island, and pirate channel. During your tour, your guide will provide you with interesting facts about the environment, including the animals that inhabit it.

In addition to taking in the sights and sounds of Bacalar, there will be plenty of time to relax too. You can swim at various spots, listen to Mexican music and enjoy snacks and drinks on board. A boat trip is a great way to spend time in this unique place, so book your tour today and explore the beauty of Lake Bacalar! Check current prices and availability for a boat trip here.

bacalar lake view

#2 Sailing on the lake

Sailing on the lake is one of the most popular things to do in Bacalar. It offers travelers a chance to get out onto the lake and explore it at their leisure, without any engine noise disturbing them. The sailboat can take you around the lake’s cenote, bird island, and pirate channel. On board, you will be given a knowledgeable guide who can explain the history of the lake and its surrounding region.

The sailboat offers an entirely different experience from the traditional motorboat tour. Depending on your preferences, one may be better than the other. If you choose to sail, you must ensure that there is enough wind to keep up your speed. In the calmest parts of the lake, you may have to switch to a motorboat in order to reach your destination.

Whatever type of boat tour you choose, you are sure to come away with wonderful memories of Bacalar and its surrounding landscape. Check here for availability and prices on sailing tours.

bacalar boat trip

#3 Paddle tour during sunrise

Discovering the beauty of Bacalar is best done with a paddle tour during sunrise. With a small group, you can explore the lake together with an experienced guide who will take you to all the hidden spots, allowing you to enjoy stunning landscapes and unique experiences. The unique thing about this activity is that you are on the water when everything is still quiet and the sun rises.

The water is calm, making it safe and comfortable for everyone to enjoy this activity. You can admire the great views of sunrise while listening to all the birds singing. This is why a paddle tour during sunrise should be one of your top Bacalar tips if you are looking for a memorable experience. Check prices and availability for the paddle tour here to book a spot!

paddle tour

Looking for a nice place to stay? Check out our recommended accommodations in Bacalar

Option 1 Location & Affordable: Yak Lake House
Yak Lake House
is the best hostel to stay in Bacalar. Here you can book a room with a view of the lake that is not expensive. The location is perfect, next to the lake. In the evening you can relax by the water on your private beach. You can stay in a private room or a dormitory if you are traveling on a tight budget.
Check actual prices and availability for Yak Lake House here.

Option 2 Great value for money: Azul 36 Hotel
Do you want something different? Then go and stay at Azul 36 Hotel, this hotel is beautifully built with a thatched roof. The courtyard of the hotel is great for relaxing, there is also a swimming pool which makes it even more beautiful. Rooms have air-conditioning and excellent beds, so you’ll sleep very well.
Check actual prices and availability for Azul 36 Hotel here.

#4 Discover independently the lake by kayaking

Do you want to maximize your visit to Lake Bacalar and explore what the area has to offer? One of the best activities is to rent a kayak and discover the lake independently. Kayaks can be rented for 1 or 2 people. You can rent your own and explore at your own pace. It will give you the chance to explore the lake without any experience.

Paddles, life jackets, and instructions are all included in the rental and you can also get a map that will help you to map out your own personal route. Whether you prefer to have a leisurely activity or an adventurous journey around the shoreline, kayaking is the perfect way to discover what Bacalar has to offer. Plus, you can rent kayaks for 24 hours, giving you plenty of time to explore!

If you would like to book a kayak rental in advance, it’s easy – simply book your kayak here. Let your adventure through Lake Bacalar begin and start discovering all the amazing sights this area has to offer. Kayaking is a great way to explore and find out what to do in Bacalar. Have fun!

bacalar kayak

#5 Private catamaran tour

On a private catamaran tour, you can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Lake Bacalar from the comfort of your own boat. The tour takes you to all the popular spots on the lake such as Cenote Azul, Bird Island, and Pirate Channel. You will have plenty of time to explore these areas at your own pace, with the captain providing commentary throughout. Plus, you can even ask the captain to go faster on some stretches for a thrilling ride!

This activity is great for groups of 6 or more people as it allows them to divide the costs among themselves. You can of course do it with the two of you, but it costs more money per person than when you are with a larger group. If you are looking for exciting Bacalar things to do, this catamaran tour is sure to be a memorable experience. Just make sure to check the prices before booking the catamaran tour!

#6 Discover the historic center

If you’re short on time and want to make the most of your day seeing as much of Bacalar as possible, you can follow a sightseeing tour. During this tour, you will visit Lake Bacalar and Bacalar itself.

In Bacalar, you can visit the fortress of San Felipe and admire colonial buildings and a museum. The fortress of San Felipe served to protect the Maya community against attacks by English, French, and Dutch pirates. Today you can visit the upper part of the fortress that was used to store gunpowder at the time.

The fun fact is that the fortress used to have 34 cannons of which there are now 11. Today the fortress has become a museum where you can admire colonial archaeological artifacts. The museum and fortress are recommended to visit as it is imposing due to the architecture of the building.

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#7 Visit Dzibanche and Kohunlich

If you are looking for things to do in Bacalar, two of the most fascinating places to visit are Dzibanche and Kohunlich. These ancient Mayan sites will give you a glimpse into the pre-Hispanic history and the impressive architecture from this era.

Dzibanche is located in the south of Mexico and is one of the largest Mayan cities. This impressive building is located in the jungle and can be explored on foot, or with a guided tour. Inside you will find hieroglyphs carved on the stairs which tell stories from this ancient civilization.

Kohunlich is the site where you will find the Temple of the 27 Steps and the Temple of the Masks. It is an amazing experience to stand in front of these impressive monuments and appreciate the level of detail that went into creating them. With a guided tour, you can learn more about what life was like for this ancient civilization.

Both Dzibanche and Kohunlich are located around 45 minutes drive from Bacalar and are best visited with a tour. This way, you can ensure that you get the most out of your experience while also having transport arranged for you. For more information continue reading here.


#8 Relax at Cocalitos

One of the best things to do in Bacalar Mexico is to enjoy the peacefulness and serenity that this amazing place has to offer. If you’re looking for an ideal spot to spend some time reflecting and relaxing, then look no further than Cocalitos. This public beach is situated right on the lakefront, providing stunning views. The entrance fee is 50 MXN / $2.71.

Here, you can take a dip in the refreshing waters or simply lounge on the sandy beach with a good book and your favorite beverage. There is also a small restaurant serving up local delicacies, making it an ideal spot for lunch or dinner.

With its serenity, beauty, and convenience, Cocalitos is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience one of Bacalar’s best attractions. So when you’re wondering what to do in Bacalar, make sure you add Cocalitos to your list. You won’t regret it!

Tip: plus, if you’d like to experience swimming as the locals do, you can head to the piers and jump into the lake – an activity that’s totally free and just as much fun!

Looking for a travel route through Yucatan? Check our Mexico itinerary.

#9 Discover the local cuisine

Discovering the local cuisine is one of the most exciting Bacalar activities! In Bacalar, there are many wonderful restaurants and places to eat. Our favorite place to eat is Enamora. This small restaurant offers a few tables where you can sit comfortably in the shade of its trees. The dishes and drinks are all healthy and delicious.

We’ve visited a few times and highly recommend the toast with fresh vegetables. The tropical smoothies with passion fruit are also heavenly! You can immediately tell that everything is made from fresh ingredients, and for just 200 MXN / $10.85 you get a full breakfast or lunch. Opening hours are from 7:30 am-10:00 pm daily. Enamora is located on a small side street off the main square, and it is definitely one of the best restaurants in Bacalar!

bacalar best food

#10 Romantic evening at La Playita

If you want to have a romantic evening in Bacalar go to La Playita. This restaurant is located next to the lake making it an amazing place to eat. During dinner, you can enjoy the great view.

It’s romantic to have dinner here because candles are burning and you’re surrounded by the jungle. When you open the menu, you will find it difficult to choose because there is so much to choose from and everything looks tasty.

We recommend taking the seafood with noodles, very tasty! This place is different than most restaurants where you eat in Mexico which makes it fun.

Bacalar la playita
Bacalar la playita food

#11 Snorkeling at Rapidos

One of the best things to do in Bacalar is definitely snorkeling at Rapidos. Located in the south of Bacalar, this restaurant is situated on a narrow channel with strong currents that provide a perfect opportunity for you to observe and explore a variety of fish species. You can simply let yourself be carried away by the rapids, so no swimming is required. When you reach the end, you will have to walk back to the restaurant where you can go snorkeling again or just relax and take in the sights.

The entrance ticket costs only 130 MXN / $7.05 and it’s worth visiting for at least an hour to get the best out of your visit. So make sure not to miss out on this unique experience and take the plunge into Rapidos for a truly unforgettable adventure!

#12 Visit the capital of the Mayan kingdom

A 2-hour drive from Bacalar is the ancient Mayan capital Calakmul. From this capital, the Mayans ruled the region for centuries. Calakmul belongs to the world heritage list and is located in a special nature reserve.

If you want to learn more about the Maya, a visit to Calakmul is recommended. This complex is located in the middle of the jungle, so you will see many different exotic birds during your visit. The buildings are also very impressive to see, especially the famous Estructure II. If you walk up the old stairs you will eventually arrive above the tree line, from the top you can overlook the entire region.

Many visit Chichen Itza, however, Calakmul is just as beautiful. From Bacalar, you can visit Calakmul via a tour. Read more about this here.


#13 Visit Coba during sunset

Visiting the ancient Mayan complex of Coba during sunset is one of the most popular things to do in Bacalar, Mexico. Located a few hours away from Bacalar, this ancient city offers stunning views of its surroundings when you reach the top of its main temple. The huge monolithic structure known as “El Castillo” is the main attraction in Coba, as it gives you a stunning look of the entire city.

If you’re coming from Bacalar and don’t want to miss out on visiting this amazing location, you can take a tour to visit this sight. You can also rent a car via Rentalcars or use public transport to get to Coba. The easiest way is to take a tour. You don’t have to plan anything.

No matter how you get there, a visit to Coba during sunset is an experience like no other and should not be missed out on if you’re visiting Bacalar, Mexico! So don’t forget: when thinking of what to do in Bacalar, Mexico, consider visiting Coba during sunset.


#14 Enjoy a cocktail while admiring the sunset

Enjoying a sunset cocktail at one of the many waterfront bars and restaurants in Bacalar is a great way to end a day. Bacalar offers a variety of options for sunset views, ranging from upscale restaurants to more casual bars and beach clubs. Some of the best stops for a sunset cocktail include “La Playita”, a beach club located right on the lagoon, and “La Piña”, a popular bar and restaurant with a large outdoor seating area overlooking the water. Both places offer a great atmosphere and delicious drinks, such as tropical cocktails and ice-cold beers.

Another great option is “Los Aluxes” when you’re looking for something more lively and great cocktails.

How many days in Bacalar?

In order to make the most of your trip to Bacalar, we highly recommend staying at least 2 days (3 nights) in order to explore all the activities this beautiful town has to offer. Explore the breathtaking crystal-clear waters of Lake Bacalar and its 7 different colors, or visit one of many nearby Mayan ruins such as Kohunlich and Dzibanché. Take a boat tour and sail around the lake, or lounge on one of the many beaches. In two days you can do many things to do in Bacalar.

If you want to do a day trip from Bacalar we suggest extending your stay to 4 or 5 nights. But preferably you don’t stay too long in Bacalar as Yucatan and Mexico have many more great places that are worth visiting. No matter how many days in Bacalar you stay, it will definitely be fun!

Where to stay in Bacalar

Although Bacalar is not large, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. When choosing accommodation in Bacalar you can choose between staying in the village or a hotel next to the lake. Both options are fine, but keep in mind that staying close to the lake is more expensive than staying in the village. We recommend the following two accommodations because of an excellent price-quality ratio. Both places to stay fill up fast, so book now to make sure you have a place.

Location & Affordable:
The Yak lake house

The Yak Lake House Hostal

Yak Lake House is the best hostel to stay in Bacalar. Here you can book a room with a view of the lake that is not expensive. The location is perfect, next to the lake. In the evening you can relax by the water on your private beach. You can stay in a private room or a dormitory if you are traveling on a tight budget.

More information

Great value for money:
Azul 36 Hotel

Azul 36 Hotel

Do you want something different? Then go and stay at Azul 36 Hotel, this hotel is beautifully built with a thatched roof. The courtyard of the hotel is great for relaxing, there is also a swimming pool which makes it even more beautiful. Rooms have air-conditioning and excellent beds, so you’ll sleep very well.

More information

Where to eat in Bacalar?

As you have been able to read in activity 9, Enamora is the best place to eat in Bacalar. At this restaurant, you can have a good breakfast and lunch. You can order various sandwiches here that are richly filled. We visited it a couple of times because it was so delicious. Our recommendation is toast with fresh vegetables. Also try the tropical smoothies with passion fruit, really delicious.

Another recommended place to eat in the evening is at La Playita. This restaurant is located by the lake where you enjoy a fantastic view while eating. The noodles with seafood are a must to order, delicious!

Near the main square, another nice place to eat is Mr. Taco, as the name implies, you can eat tacos here. It’s a small local place where only a few people can sit, so you have to be lucky to find a free spot. We especially liked the tacos because they are healthy. Sometimes you have places where the fat drips from the tacos, here you can order vegetarian tacos so you can eat delicious and healthy. You can also eat tacos with meat or fish. You can order 3 tacos for 80 MXN / $4.34.

If you want something different to eat you can go to PUES SI at the main square, this is an Italian pizzeria. Of course, the pizzas don’t taste as they do in Italy but if you don’t want to eat Mexican, this is a great option. A pizza costs about 95 MXN / $5.15.

Travel insurance

World Nomads travel insurance policies offer coverage for more than 150 activities. Get a quote, make a claim, or buy or extend your policy while on the road.

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How to get to Bacalar Mexico?

Bacalar is located in the south of Yucatan and is easily accessible from several locations in Mexico. First of all, it is good to know that it is not possible to fly to Bacalar. You can only reach Bacalar by car, shuttle, or bus.

The easiest and cheapest way is to use the bus. You can buy a bus ticket from many different places from the bus company ADO. You can buy a bus ticket online or at the station. Check here for actual routes and prices.

Tip: book your ticket in advance to be sure of a seat.

If you are close to Bacalar such as Tulum or Playa del Carmen, you can also check at the accommodation where you are staying if it is possible to take a shuttle bus. The accommodations where we always stayed offered this service.

If you want to fly to Bacalar you first have to fly to Chetumal, which is 45 minutes away from Bacalar. From Chetumal, you can take a taxi or bus to Bacalar. If Chetumal is not possible you can also fly to Cancun and take a bus to Bacalar.

Are you traveling through Mexico by car, you can easily reach Bacalar. If you come from Cancun (345 km), Playa del Carmen (280 km), and Tulum (215 km) you can drive to Bacalar in a few hours. All you have to do is enter Bacalar in your navigation and drive, everything is singed well so it is very easy.

If you travel to Mexico by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

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Bacalar relax

Best period to visit Bacalar

Bacalar can be visited all year round because of the pleasant temperatures. Bacalar has a dry and rainy season.

The best time to travel to Bacalar is between December and March (dry season) when the weather is most stable.

May is the hottest month, on average it gets a maximum of 35℃ / 95°F and drops to 22℃ / 71,6°F at night. December is the coolest month with an average of up to 29℃ / 84,2°F dropping to 21℃ / 69,8°F.

We were in Bacalar in September and loved the weather. The advantage is when you travel in Mexico during the summer that the days are the longest. As mentioned, you can visit Bacalar all year round because the temperatures are pleasant.

Tip: Keep in mind that during the US and Europe school holidays in July and August, it will be busier than usual, causing prices to rise.

Bacalar what to do FQA

1. How much does it cost to visit Bacalar?

This of course depends on what exactly you are going to do. But to give you a rough estimate, Bacalar will cost you 2600 MXN / $140.99 per person if you stay there for 2 days / 3 nights. This is if you travel as a couple.

  • Accommodation: 930 MXN / $50.43
  • Activities: 740 MXN / $40.13
  • Food: 465 MXN / $25.22
  • Transportation: 465 MXN / $25.22

As you can see you don’t have to spend a lot of money in Bacalar to do fun things.

2. What is the most beautiful part of Lake Bacalar?

It sounds silly but it is true, every part of Lake Bacalar is beautiful. There are, however, certain places that you can visit independently that are different.

If you walk from the center to the lake you will see several piers, here it is nice to sit in the evening when the locals come to swim. This is a perfect way to get to know the culture of Mexico because you have to get in touch with the locals. If you sit down at one of the piers, someone will probably start talking to you. They always enjoy talking to people from outside Mexico.

If you walk to Balneario del Sindicato de la SEMARNAT Seccion 39 which can be found north of Bacalar you stand on a pier with only the lake in front of you. This is a nice place for the view. On the map at the beginning of this article, you see where it is located.

Want to see more of Mexico

We hope this article has helped you to give you a clear idea of ​​what to do in Bacalar, where to stay, and more useful tips for Bacalar.

When you have visited Bacalar you can discover more places in Mexico. If you follow our Mexico itinerary, your next destination is Valladolid. Discover here: best things to do in Valladolid.

If you don’t follow our Mexico itinerary, the obvious destination to travel to is Tulum. Tulum is a seaside village where you can admire a beautiful Mayan complex perched on a cliff.

You can also travel from Bacalar to Guatemala by taking the bus to Flores. Flores is the most popular destination in northern Guatemala from where you can visit Tikal.

What do you think of Bacalar? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!

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Hello, we are Cynthia & Alexander, the team behind Travel Your Memories! Traveling is our passion. When it comes to exploration, we love sharing our tips and adventures to inspire you. Welcome to Travel Your Memories, where we share our love for travel with you! Read our story.

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