Your quick guide to Bacalar

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My boyfriend and I went to Bacalar for a quick 4 day getaway to unplug, relax and take in the natural beauty of the lagoon. I was completely blown away by the waters' vibrancy and now understand why it has been dubbed "laguna de los 7 colores"/ "lagoon of 7 colors". I couldn't recommend visiting this pueblo magico more and read on for tips on getting there, what to eat, where to sleep and what you can do to occupy your time at the lake.

GETTING THERE

We took an ADO bus from Playa Del Carmen to Bacalar which took about 4 hours. You can also take an ADO bus from Cancun or Tulum to Bacalar (Cancun being further away and taking about 5.5 hours and Tulum being closer, around 3 hours). 

WHERE WE ATE

We tried to pack as much food as possible since there was a kitchen at our hostel but we still ate out a few times. Here is where we ate and where I can recommend you go:

El Manatí- This restaurant is set in a garden (also has indoor seating) and has amazing food! I had the empanadas with mole (vegan friendly) which was incredible. The restaurant is also connected to a cool art gallery with clothes, books and other gift items.

La Piña- We got the warmest welcome as we went into this restaurant and the food was some of the best in Bacalar--while also at a great price. The menu has something for everyone and the service was incredible. It is set in a nice garden area as well and is pretty close to the town square. Definitely recommend!

Woman selling hamburgers- Between Blue Monkey Hostel and Casa Lahar is a woman who sells hamburgers from her cart. It is one of the cheaper places to eat and she has vegetarian options available. Delicious!

Mango and Chile- This restaurant is vegetarian friendly and has amazing fries! Not the cheapest around but an easy place to go and check out the views of the lake.

Playita- Playita has food for both carnivores and vegans and has a beautiful outdoor area. The last few photos of this post are taken outside on their deck area. 

Porque No- This restaurant has a great beer and wine selection and is definitely for the carb lover. Plenty of pasta dishes and breads to chow down on.

Lulu's- I wanted to check this place out as it was right next door to Blue Monkey and is known for their healthy dishes. It also has a nice bar and is a good place to relax. 

WHERE TO SLEEP:

Blue Monkey Hostel - We stayed at the Blue Monkey hostel which has a great location and the view from our balcony was amazing! Aside from the view, it was your standard hostel with both private and dorm rooms.

Casa Lahar- Right nextdoor to Blue Monkey is Casa Lahar which is a wonderful hostel. Though we didn't stay there, we ended up going there for breakfast once and also hung out on their grounds while waiting for our tour to depart. The women who run the hostel are super friendly and helpful and would probably stay there next time we go to Bacalar. Has private rooms, camping and shared dorm available.

The Yak House- The Yak House is supposedly one of the better hostels in Bacalar and has both privates and dorms.

Aluxes- If you want to stay at the more popular Aluxes hotel/restaurant and get access to the swings before the crowds come in, this is a good option. It is a little pricier than the hostels but still pretty affordable if you are not pinching pennies.

**Rancho Encantado-- I am updating my list here as I just went back to Bacalar with a friend and we stayed at this hotel. It isn't for the penny pinching but it is an incredible place to stay and enjoy the surroundings. Comes with free breakfast and every little corner of this place is beautiful. Definitely recommend if you want to indulge a little and relax on the lake. They also have kayaks and paddle boards to take and their own tour to check out places along the lake. Take a look at our stay here.

ACTIVITIES

Amir AdvenTours- We went on a tour with Amir AdvenTours and would definitely recommend them! It's a great idea to go on a tour because you simply can't check out all the different points of interest via kayak unless you want to put in lots of time and are pretty fit. Unlike some of the the other tours we were looking into, they really were able to give you plenty of time at each site we visited (about 45 minutes) and had good knowledge of the lagoon. They also had a beautiful fruit platter to snack on with never ending beverages;) The crew was incredibly friendly, offer both english and spanish guides and leave from Casa Lahar.

Paddle boarding- Blue Monkey hostel does a paddle board tour and you can also rent your own paddle board to check out the lake.

Kayaking- There were tons of places to rent kayaks but we ended up going to Casa Lahar as it was right next door. I'd recommend going out first thing in the morning so you can have the calm, first light of day and be out before all the boats get on the water around 8am.

Swimming- You can jump in the lake almost anywhere you are and the water is the perfect temperature to swim in.

Reeelllaaxxx- This is a beautiful place to simply chill and read all day. I definitely recommend bringing a good book in case it rains or if you just want to sit in the shade and dive in to a good story.

 

Check out my photo diary of our trip below!

Views of the lagoon from our balcony

Views of the lagoon from our balcony

Our balcony at Blue Monkey Hostel

Our balcony at Blue Monkey Hostel

Such vibrant blues!

Such vibrant blues!

Some of the paddloe boards at Blue Monkey

Some of the paddloe boards at Blue Monkey

Plenty of places to relax including the hammocks right by the water

Plenty of places to relax including the hammocks right by the water

Yes, you can also sleep in that school bus!

Yes, you can also sleep in that school bus!

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Caught making my lunch

Caught making my lunch

Early morning kayaker

Early morning kayaker

A cute corner at Lulu's

A cute corner at Lulu's

Just after finishing breakfast at Lulus

Just after finishing breakfast at Lulus

I found my dream car!

I found my dream car!

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Art everywhere at El Manati

Art everywhere at El Manati

El Manatí, garden restaurant

El Manatí, garden restaurant

First light on the water

First light on the water

Views of Casa Lahar from our kayak

Views of Casa Lahar from our kayak

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First stop on our tour with Amir AdvenTours!

First stop on our tour with Amir AdvenTours!

First look at Cenote Negro, the deepest part of the lagoon.

First look at Cenote Negro, the deepest part of the lagoon.

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The wonderful fruit spread (or what remained after it was already attacked)

The wonderful fruit spread (or what remained after it was already attacked)

Our wonderful guide, Balam, pulling us into bird island

Our wonderful guide, Balam, pulling us into bird island

Cooling off at Bird Island

Cooling off at Bird Island

This was our last stop of the tour

This was our last stop of the tour

After the tour we decided to get a bite and check out Aluxes' swing set

After the tour we decided to get a bite and check out Aluxes' swing set

Hanging out amongst the trees

Hanging out amongst the trees

Perfect (and crowded) place to relax in the afternoon

Perfect (and crowded) place to relax in the afternoon

Last sundown in Bacalar

Last sundown in Bacalar

Morning lookout on our last day in Bacalar

Morning lookout on our last day in Bacalar

The mistiest morning of our stay

The mistiest morning of our stay

Ethan heading out for his last swim

Ethan heading out for his last swim

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Last bit of hammock time before checking out

Last bit of hammock time before checking out

The paddleboarders coming back from their tour

The paddleboarders coming back from their tour

La Piña garden restaurant

La Piña garden restaurant

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Taking in the view at Playita's

Taking in the view at Playita's

Have you been to Bacalar? Did I miss anything? Comment below and let me know what you think!

Katie MedowayComment