Bacalar, Mexico, is the definition of a sleepy little town -- if you're wandering around during siesta, you might not see a soul. Its position in Quintana Roo near the border to Belize makes it a nice place to stop on your way between the two regions, much nicer than Chetumal. Its location on the banks of the spectacularly blue Lake Bacalar gives it an otherworldly feel.
The dusty square of Bacalar has a few outdoor restaurants, fruit shops, grocery stores, and other services of interest to travelers. There you'll also see the old fort, complete with stone ramparts, canons, and a museum of regional history, including information on pirate life.
Lake Bacalar, called the Laguna de los Siete Colores, has an eminently appropriate name -- Lagoon of the Seven Colors. The brilliant blues and turquoises of the water, changing with distance and depth, make you think it has to be part of the Carribean, but Lake Bacalar is fresh water. You can see right down to the white, silty bottom through the perfectly clear water. It's a warm and pleasant swim, and a lot of the merry-makers you run into will be Mexican or Belizean locals. You can also rent a canoe to explore farther down the miles-long lake. Near Bacalar you can also visit some of the region's cenotes, deep natural sinkholes full of clear water, perfect for swimming or snorkeling.
Choices for hostels in Bacalar are limited, but since it's off the beaten track, you'll probably meet the type of hostel travelers who gravitate to small, off-the-radar places like Bacalar.
Hi, I'm Melinda Brasher,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Bacalar hostels. Welcome.