Bacalar, Mexico: The Best Way to See the Lagoon of 7 Colours
Visiting Bacalar, Mexico
I had seen some amazing photos and videos of Bacalar before visiting but I never imagined it would turn out to be one of my favourite places in all of Mexico. Bacalar's lagoon is known as the Laguna de Siete Colores which translates to the Lagoon of Seven Colours. The town of Bacalar is about 3 hours drive from Playa del Carmen, easy to reach by bus and well-worth the trip. As soon as I caught my first glimpse of the lagoon, I couldn't believe the colours. With so many shades of vibrant blue hues, the name is quite fitting and it wasn't long before we started contemplating whether or not we should extend our stay in Bacalar (which we did).
Sailing with Veleando Ando Bacalar
A sailing excursion is the perfect way to experience Bacalar’s beautiful lagoon. Veleando Ando offers several options to enjoy the beautiful shades of blue but we opted for their popular Premium Tour to make the most of our day on the water. One of my favourite things about travelling with Wes is being able to share so many of his 'first' travel experiences and (sure enough) it wasn't until we were about to board when he tells me this would be his first time on a sailboat! We spent the afternoon with a family visiting from Mexico City and it was just 6 of us with our two captains for three relaxing hours on the Lagoon of Seven Colours.
Our stops for the day included a bird sanctuary and Cenote Esmeralda but the best was saved for last. Our swim at the Pirate Channel in Bacalar was the highlight of our sailing trip with waters so shallow, it felt as if we could have walked all the way to the adjacent lagoon without getting our hair wet. Before heading back, our captains transformed a basket of fruit into a beautiful fruit platter and we had some drinks to stay hydrated. Wes says I was smiling all the way back to shore and I don't doubt it. Despite all of the beautiful cities we've seen throughout our travels, I'm definitely happiest on the water and everything about the lagoon of Bacalar made it so hard to leave. We even ended up adding 2 more nights to our stay after this sailing trip!
Other Ways to See Bacalar Lagoon
There are at least 4 public docks located in the town of Bacalar that allow you to enjoy the views at little or no extra charge. We popped into the Tourism Booth at the main square for a map highlighting the areas open to the public.
BY KAYAK OR STAND UP PADDLE:
There are a few eco-friendly options in Bacalar like Veleando Ando offering hourly rentals for the active travellers and hostels/hotels usually have rentals as well or at least some sort of connection in town for their guests.
WATERFRONT RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS:
If you've scored a hotel with a private dock, good on ya! There are also restaurants, bars and even a small water park (Balneario Ejidal Magico Bacalar) for those looking to spend the day by the water. La Playita has a great waterfront patio though we can't vouch for the food since we only stopped in for a drink.
Protecting Bacalar, Mexico
After our sailing trip, Wes and I left feeling slightly torn. Do we spread the word far and wide and let everyone know about this slice of paradise or do we keep our mouths shut and hope that Bacalar stays as it is? We love inspiring others to see more of the world but we've seen firsthand the destruction that mass tourism can bring to a beautiful place. Sudden growth in crowds can inevitably lead to pollution and affect the natural habitats of those species who call the lagoon home. It was really great to see that the town has brought together travellers from all over the world who have decided to settle here and are really taking initiative to preserve and protect this part of the world. With so many ways to enjoy the beautiful colours of Bacalar's lagoon, I hope future visitors will realize how their choices affect the fragile environment. Motorboats in town may be cheap and readily available, but after smelling their fuels and seeing the grey cloud behind each one, I knew it wasn't worth it. Bacalar is only one of over a hundred 'Pueblos Magicos' or 'Magical Towns' throughout Mexico and I really hope this one never loses its magic.
This experience was made possible by the wonderful team at Veleando Ando but all opinions expressed here will always be our own.
Carretera Federal 307, Km 22 - Bacalar, Quintana Roo
P: +52 983 110 0415