Oh man guys, this post is a photo-overload for sure, but Bacalar might be my new favorite place that I’ve ever been too. It was our very first stop on our Yucatan road trip and totally perfect. It’s so magical. It’s just so completely blue and bright and the water is surreal. My only hope is that it always stays this magical and that it will always be protected by people who give a damn about the earth. I cannot wait to visit again. So please! Do me a favor and if you ever do visit… don’t wear sunscreen, don’t buy or bring disposable products, and clean up after yourself, k? Cool? Cool 🙂
But yeah, I guess one of the hardest thing about travel, might be knowing if you’ll love the place or not. Originally we had planned to maybe fly west to Mexico City and surrounding areas after Playa Del Carmen, but then we decided that something like that might be better with more time– and maybe we should go ahead and do a Yucatan road trip(like we had wanted to do for a while anyway). But when planning the road trip a lot of things came to mind– like the heat, the comfort levels of the location, and how easy it would be for me to find food options with my dietary restrictions.
I didn’t know much about Bacalar, but I was a bit hesitant to plan a long stay there because I was unsure of how truly big or small the town was and how easy it would be for me to eat here. We also just were sure how much we would like it compared to the other places we had planned to visit. Well, it turns out the town is super small, and the difficulty level for eating wasn’t super high (or super low)— and we would end up liking Bacalar A LOT.
On this road trip I definitely learned that I should have planned to stay more time in Bacalar and while others may totally tell me I’m wrong or that they loved the location— I personally would have only stayed a night or two or maybe even skipped Merida completely — just to spend more time in Bacalar. You live you learn. I don’t regret the trip plan / route, but had I known I would have spent 5 days in Bacalar and only 2 (or less) in Merida. Point is, I’m definitely a beach bum and not a city girl 🙂
A chocolate smoothie anyone? We definitely thought this would be more smoothie-y and less chocolate explosion, but marlowe was happy— until about quarter in when she decided it was too rich for her haha.
And ps. so that no one gives me a hard time— the cups and utensils in the photo above are both compostable– not true plastic 😉
We were suppperrr happy to find Mango y Chile on this trip. They were only open one of the days we visited, but they definitely fed me and my dietary restricted body well. The funny thing is we had left Playa Del Carmen and the three of us all agreed we would be strict fruitarians for the next three days. We got to Bacalar and found this— and well, all three of us decided to skip the fruitarian thing and go for burgers, tacos, and fries. #soclose.
The main attraction of Bacalar is the lagoon— a sweet water lake pouring fresh cenote water into this magical mixture of clear blue water and seven colors. And up until it meets the sea, it’s practically empty— not a fish, shark, croc, or creature to be found. Surreal. And amazing.
As you guys may or may not know– I’m not a water person. But even a scared wimpy thing like myself can handle the lagoon. There are places of the lagoon that are only about a foot deep– or less. And unless you’re in a cenote, the water is crystal clear. Well, I guess technically even the denote water is crystal clear, but the depth of the cenote makes the water much darker. I skipped the denotes and went into the shallow blue torquise part. Magic.
Oh and even better?! Marlowe had finally learned how to swim just before this trip! We had her in a life vest for parts of the time but she was a life vest free little fish the rest of the time.
We paid a tour boat about 10$ a person or so to take us out to five different locations. I think it’s typically more– but you can totally bargain a bit if their trying to fill their boat 😉
I know I filter my photos and so knowing true colors can be deceiving, but the lakes colors are even more magical than this. Also how many times can I write “magical” in one post? Apparently a lot. BUT ARE YOU SEEING THESE BLUES?
So the “sweet water” lake is so clear and empty from life because it’s actually highly sulphuric. Well, thankfully sulphur is a natural element that are bodies use. We were dropped off in one of the more shallow areas in the lake– this is where tourists are told to go grabbed a handful of the sandy muddy sulphuric particles and rub them all over themselves. Then you’re supposed to let it dry and let it detox you. It smells how you would imagine it too… salty with an underlying rotten egg smell. But like tourists do, I rubbed the stinky powder all over me.
Love them. We had such a great time in this warm crystal clear bath water.
Afterwards we went back to the mainland to walk around at dusk. It was perfect. One of the things I loved most about Guatemala was that every morning and every evening, 6AM and 6pm sharp you would hear a chorus of birds. I heard my chorus of birds here too. It made me so happy I wanted to cry.
And we found a rambutan vendor. This made Marlowe especially happy. These things are still her favorite fruit. So happy to visit places that have cart fulls of these funky little fruits rolling around. Please see this post for Marlowe as a one and a half year old eating rambutans.
We learned that a see-saw cannot go up and down with Marlowe and Alex on it haha. One goes up, the other goes down, and then the fun is over.
We stayed at Villa Balu during our stay in Bacalar. It’s not directly on the lake, but it’s perfectly situated right in town– and about 2 blocks from the main square and two blocks from the main fruit vendor in town. And it’s brand spankin’ new — which I guess can be nerve wracking to stay in a place with little to no reviews, but we were super happy here.
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel before heading out to another lake tour. This is the darker/deeper blue part of the lake right in a deep and cold cenote. Marlowe and Alex dived right in— I hung out with the boat driver talking about fruit. Naturally.
Curious waters / One happy and sun kissed lady.
One of the tougher feelings I had in Guatemala was that there was so much beautiful land (and water) and very little protection laws for the wildlife— like turtle eggs being hunted right from their nests and trash being dumped directly into the ocean. There are definitely people out there who want to change the laws, but it’ll take time. But with Mexico, there is already a lot of effort to protect the land (and water). Much the lake was tied off so that people and boats could not enter it. This was they are protecting the natural habitats and the wildlife in the area. It made me very happy.
These two explorers. From what I know, or think I heard, the area that Marlowe is in used to be a restaurant or bar or something in the middle of the lake. But they closed it down because they found it causing too much pollution in the lake. *I think* thats the story anyway. Either way it’s a cool place to hang out and explore — in the same area where they drop you off for your self imposed sulphur spa day.
Almost a family photo.
Afterwards we went for lunch with Marlowe’s new quetzal.
… anddddd then went back in the lake. Also cool (I feel like I’m sharing a lot of facts in this post haha)– but these things that Marlowe is swimming around? Not rocks! They’re actually alive! I guess you could say that they’re like giant stalagmites— but made out of living bacteria! Super cool right? I’ve never seen anything like them. You’re not allowed to touch or play on these things.
And popsicles.. always popsicles. You gotta try one in every town, right?
If you guys remember Pete the pineapple— well then you know that we found this to be AMAZING.
We ended the day in a little taco place on the north side of town called La Pina. I don’t eat corn often — as I definitely feel better without it. But sometimes I can tolerate a tortilla or a few chips. We were definitely a little bit limited on food options since the two vegan/veg places were closed on Tuesday (or whatever day it was) and so I went for the corn. It was delicious (as tacos usually are). The straws were made out of papaya tree stems and the spoons for the hot sauce were made from pineapple leaves.
Again, I’m just so happy to see places embracing more sustainable practices. I seriously hope that Bacalar stays magical forever.
Him and how he decided to pose for my photo.
The next morning we were up bright and early. We had some coffee and fruit for breakfast before packing up our car with our luggage and our giant crate we packed up to fly back home to florida. And we were on the road again.
Forever grateful to have experienced these two days. Flying back to Bacalar from Florida is not exactly the as easy as flying a lot of the other places we frequent– but I’ll definitely be heading back here again. Until next time, Bacalar.
Thank you Villa Balu for our perfect stay and lagoon tour 🙂 You guys are the best! We’ll see you again soon!