In today’s blog we are going to tell you about one of the region’s hidden gems: Bacalar, one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Town). It is a 2 hour and 41 minute drive south from Gate48, but despite the distance is highly recommended as a trip worth making while visiting in the Riviera Maya.
Origin of Name
The name Bacalar is derived from the Mayan “B’ak Halal,” which means surrounded by reeds. This name was already in use in the 16th century when the Spanish first arrived.
The water here is a mix of fresh water and saltwater, sitting on a bed of pure white sand and limestone. It displays a range of seven tones of blue, from clear blue to turquoise, and is crystal clear. Aside from swimming, you can explore the lagoon by taking a boat tour with a local company that will also provide you with information about the local plant life, species and the environment of the lagoon. You can also try kayaking around the lagoon, rentals are available at some of the hotels or with local lake-fron rental shops.
Those of you like to snorkel will love this open cenote, located on one side of the lagoon. It’s one of the deepest in the region and receives a constant supply of fresh water that is clear and cool. It’s aquamarine color shifts dramatically to dark blue in the area where the lake bed drops.
If you prefer to take it easy you can float along the gentle currents and view the fish. There are also many visual splendors to take in like stromatolites, the world’s oldest fossils.
The Canal de los Piratos
Here you can immerse yourself in dense, sulfur-rich mud, to naturally exfoliate your skin and give yourself a full body mask treatment.
Bacalar is surrounded by many sites that are worth visiting, including Chacchoben, Dzibanché and Kohunlich, which is a 1 hour drive from Bacalar and has pyramids, courtyards, and plazas.
Fuerte de San Felipe
This is the town’s main historical site, a 17th century Spanish fortress that wasbuilt after the pirate Diego de los Reyes wreaked havoc here. Not only did this provide security to the town but it also offers a terrific view of the Bacalar lagoon.
Church of San Joaquín
Located next to Bacalar’s main square, this is 18th-century church is named after the patron saint of the town, San Joaquín (Saint Joaquín) . On July 15 and 16 celebrations are held to honor him with regional dances with performers dressed in traditional costumes.
For those of you looking for something that will get your heart racing visit Torolesas Kan Kin and spend a few hours zip-lining over the jungle canopy.
Whatever you decide to do in Bacalar it will
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