Fall in love with the beauty of this Quintana Roo location where the “sky arises”
From Turismo Bacalar
Those who have been to Bacalar assure to have fallen in love at first sight with this small Quintana Roo destination located about 22 miles from Chetumal, the state’s capital.
The town’s name comes from the Mayan words Siyan Ka’an (where the sky arises) and Bakhalal (surrounded by giant reeds).
By itself, it is a town possessing all the features to be named a Magic Town, a title it received in 2006, with its colonial architecture and history that interweave with the blue turquoise waters of the lagoon with the same name. This lagoon of shallow waters and soft sand, also called “of the seven colors”, is the area’s main attraction.
The peacefulness of its environment and the people’s hospitality make Bacalar a place to enjoy it with family, your loved one, friends or alone.
However, it is common to see couples enjoy a romantic evening under the shadow of palm shelters found along the shore of the lagoon, or at the foot of the kiosk on the Main Square, making it the ideal place to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
This is where the senses converge and get ready to perceive each of the wonders that come by while riding along its streets and roads.
Its proximity to Guatemala and its Mayan roots make this Magic Town a place with delicious dishes, such as the Belizean rice and beans, prepared with coconut oil.
Among the local dishes, one can find the influence of Yucatan’s gastronomy, such as the xpelon tamales (sort of bean tamales), the puchero (a hotpot), the sotobichay (tamales prepared with a leaf called chaya), the dogfish bread and an endless number of stews prepared with seafood and fish.
Bacalar still preserves deep-rooted cultural traditions, which are reflected in the handcrafts created by the native population.
Wood engraving is the most common activity, so one can find items of all shapes and sizes that make very unique mementos of this small earthly heaven.
Clothing dyed with logwood is also found around town, such as colorful hand woven huipiles, blouses, t-shirts and hammocks.
The palm crafts cannot be left out since they are also very popular among tourists.
Due to its small geographic extension, it possesses a limited but nice hotel infrastructure, where eco-cabins stand out due to the opportunity to experience an invaluable contact with nature.
For couples, the eco-romantic Kúuch Ka´anil cabins are available, which include all the necessary amenities to experience an unmatched evening full of love.
On highway 307, which connects to Bacalar, there are several hotels and inns; and other options can be found in the city of Chetumal as well, less than an hour away.
What to Do
Swim in the Bacalar lagoon resort.
Visit the San Felipe Fort and its Regional History Museum, where one can find out more about the site’s past and the era of pirate attacks.
Take a stroll along the Main Square while admiring its central kiosk and breathing in the fresh atmosphere of its gardens. At night, locals and visitors dance at the rhythm of the danzon, and handcrafts and local dishes can be found in the surrounding areas.
Admire the colonial-style architecture of the San Joaquin Parish, built in the 18th century, with a vaulted roof divided in bays.
Take a stroll through the Uchben Kah Eco-park, located on highway 307 a few minutes away from downtown. One can also take a guided kayak tour along the creeks, which are slow-moving tributaries from the lagoon.
Scuba dive or snorkel on the clear waters of the Azul Deep Pool, the most important one in southern Quintana Roo.
Stop at the Jose Maria Morelos market, where one can find handcrafts and regional dishes.
Enjoy to the max the treasures offered by this destination, so the stop becomes an unforgettable memory of the Quintana Roo region.
Bacalar’s Five Routes
1.- Historic Downtown
It covers emblematic spots from this town, such as the San Felipe Fort, the Public Cultural Center, the Writers’ International House, which stands out due to its beautiful gardens, and the San Joaquin Church.
2.- Bacalar Lagoon
It takes visitors to the beautiful waters of this lagoon, going through the water labyrinths connecting this lagoon with other ones, such as the Guerrero and Chile Verde lagoons.
3.- Bacalar Deep Pools
It encompasses a fascinating ride through four beautiful deep pools, which might be considered true aquatic diamonds: the Azul Deep Pool, located 2.5 miles from Bacalar’s downtown, is the ideal site for those who love scuba diving; the Coquitos Deep Pool, located 1.5 miles from Bacalar; the Hotel Laguna Deep Pool; and the Regional College of Education “Javier Rojo Gomez” Deep Pool”.
4.- Ecotourism, coexisting with nature
Consisting of a stop at the Uchben Kah Eco-park, it is designed for hiking and mountain biking in the middle of the jungle; and another stop at the Biomaya Zip Lines Park, where one can be in direct contact with nature.
5.- Archeological sites
Ancient magic is found within this route, leading up to the Chacchoben area, located only 23 miles from Bacalar and where the Temple 24 stands out, which is a tall pyramid that through its architectural details reveals a likely relationship with other Mayan cities. This route ends at Ichkabal, an incipient archeological site possessing a beautiful architecture and a pyramid four times larger than the Kukulcan Pyramid from Chichen Itza.