This has already been our second visit in Bacalar, a small village close to the Belizean border. The first time we had only been here on a day trip with a rental car from Tulum (click here). But the village was one of our highlights of last year`s trip, so we decided to go again this year and actually stay a few nights to explore the area properly.
One of the best things about Bacalar is the huge lagoon, just next to the village. It is officially known as the Laguna de Siete Colores, indicating the water`s seven different shades of blue. It`s the cristall clear tourquise water and the green nature around it, that make it look so incredible. The lagoon is huge, we never actually tried to cycle all the way around, so I`m still curious what other amazing spots are hidden around there. If you ever manage to do so, please let me know!
There are a couple of tour operators trying to sell boat trips around the lagoon, however, we decided the price was unreasonable and we are better off enjoying the water by ourselves. Last year we found a little spot with a pier and just a few locals hanging out there. We actually got back this time and it was still as beautiful as we remembered. It is so nice to be away from the tourist crowds with only local people around you.
Even though we went swimming and sunbathing and simply enjoying the great view every day, we also explored the village a little more. On our first night, we discovered a vegan hamburger place! Of course we stopped for dinner. The burger was delicious and we ordered an Agua Fresca, which is simply fresh blended fruit of your choice mixed with water. A truly refreshing and energising option. We ordered a small one each, but there smallest size was still huge, like one liter maybe. I can highly recommend that place! Everything was prepared freshly plus it was so cheap – a hamburger was 35 pesos! It doesn`t really have a name, but there is a local gym next to it and it`s located somewhere on 18th street I think (locals will know). They also offer Quesadillas, Sandwiches, Hot Cakes and more.
Even though many Mexican towns haven`t really adapted to some travellers being health orientated eaters or even vegetarians / vegans, Bacalar for sure has. We were pleasently suprised when we discovered more of those places by simply walking around the village. Chiich was another cafe / restaurant, we really loved! We`ve been two times and absolutely satisfied with what we got. One day it was burger day again and the other time we had breakfast. Babe ordered a big vegan Torta (something like a breadroll filled with tons of grilled veggies) and I had eggs and beans, which came with tortillas. So, so good and highly recommended – whenever you`re in Bacalar, check out that place! Av 5 between 22nd and 24th street. The owner was super nice, too and very flexible when it came to making changes to the meals. Also, if you are looking for a place to work on your laptop, they have a good wifi connection!
We stayed in a very central guesthouse located three blocks from the lagoon and within 5 mins walking to all the great cafes and restaurants. The place is called „Szapot Hotel“ (calle 7 between 20th and 22nd), they offer great value for very little money. We had a clean, spacious double room with two large beds and a nice bathroom and even though they don`t have a communal kitchen, they were very helpful with coffee or hot water whenever we asked. And as there are so many amazingly cheap Fruterias (fruit stalls) around the corner, we pretty much only ate bananas and mangos and went out for a hearty meal once a day.
Bacalar is definitely a place you shouldn`t miss when travelling on a budget around the Yucatan peninsula. ADO and Mayab buses connect the village to several other towns. We came from Cancun and took an ADO as Mayab would have taken ages to get down there. The whole journey was between 5 to 6 hours and very convenient with only a few stops along the way. Collectivos and taxis take you to Chetumal in case you are also planning on taking a boat over to Belize. We were too unpatient and couldn`t wait for a collectivo to come along so we ended up going by taxi, which was 230 pesos one-way. We haggled a bit as the initial 300 were way too much for our small budget and he finally agreed to take us for 70 pesos less. The ADO bus stop in Chetumal is located on the other side of the city from the dock where we took the ferry, so that wasn`t really an option. We would have had to take a taxi anyway, so we decided it`s way easier to just go by taxi from Bacalar.
As we hadn`t booked any ferry tickets in advance, we went really early and were there around 10am. The ferry leaves at 3.30pm every day, but we just wanted to make sure everything would work out. They still had space for us and the immigration procedure only starts at 2pm so we had a couple of hours before departure. Luckily it was possible to drop off our backpacks straight away. Still a little nervous about the immigration thing as we didn`t have any proof of onward travel, we went for breakfast in Chetumal and sat around the dock for the rest of the time with cold drinks from the Oxxo nearby. Time actually passed amazingly fast and it was our turn to go through immigration. In the end everything went really smoothly. We just showed our passports, got our stamp and had a police dog sniff around our bags. That`s it. All the horror stories I had read online were just bullshit. Everyone was super friendly and relaxed.
The ferry ride itself was super cool, I was sitting right in the back of the boat and had a great view over the ocean. The journey took around 1h45mins. Remember that Belize is one hour behind Mexican time, so you get an hour extra on your arrival day to Belize. In case you are heading to Caye Caulker, you get off together with all other passengers when arriving in San Pedro and do the immigration there. Afterwards to get back on the boat and continue your trip to Caye Caulker.
Curious about our adventures on the Isla Bonita? Stay tuned for my next blogpost and follow me on instagram. Have you ever been to Bacalar or did the ferry ride over to Ambergris Caye / Caye Caulker? Share your amazing pictures with me using my hashtag #jotravelholic – I would love to here how you liked it!
Love, Jo ♥