Bacalar: Mexico’s secret treasure
When my friend Jennifer and I set out to plan a weekend away from the chaotic Playa del Carmen the hidden paradise of Bacalar seemed like the perfect destination.
Bacalar is a small town a sude of the Yucatan region famous for its crystal-clear water lagoon and incredible natural beauty.
The Lagoon of Bacalar
Bacalar Lagoon is known as the "Lagoon of Seven Colors," thanks to the different shades of blue in its waters, this lagoon is a true paradise for nature lovers. You can explore it by taking a boat trip as we did, swimming in its crystal clear waters or just relaxing on the beach and enjoying the breathtaking view. Don't forget to try the famous "Cenote Azul," a natural swimming area with crystal clear waters and a variety of tropical fish.
History of Bacalar
Bacalar’s history is rooted in the pre-Hispanic period. The ancient Maya considered this area sacred and called it “Bakhalal,” which means “lugar de carrizos” or “place of reeds.” During the colonial period, Bacalar was an important stopping point for ships crossing the Caribbean Sea. The town became an important trading center and a military base to protect the region from pirate attacks. Today, the ruins of an old fortress, called Fort San Felipe, bear witness to Bacalar’s compelling history.
Activities and excursions
Besides enjoying the beauty of the lagoon, there are many other activities and excursions you can do in Bacalar. You can visit the historic center of town and admire the colonial architecture, take an excursion to the nearby Chacchoben archaeological site, or relax at one of the many spas that offer rejuvenating treatments. If you are a water sports lover, Bacalar is also a great place to go kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding.
During your visit to Bacalar, you cannot miss the delicious local gastronomy. Try typical dishes such as “cochinita pibil” (slow-cooked pork with spices), “pescado tikin xic” (fish marinated with achiote and grilled) or “tacos de camarones” (fresh shrimp tacos). Don’t forget to accompany your meals with a traditional drink called “agua de chaya,” made from chaya grass, rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
Bacalar is truly a hidden treasure in Mexico, a place that will leave you breathless with its beauty and fascinating history. If you are planning a trip to Mexico, be sure to include Bacalar on your list. You will not regret it!