Are you looking for an exciting new destination in Mexico that will literally take your breath away? Bacalar and its Lagoon of Seven Colors is located in the south of Quintana Roo state near the border of Belize and after staying here for eight days myself I honestly can’t recommend it enough!
In this article, I would love to share with you my experiences here and provide some key information for your visit. Hopefully by the end of this article you will be inspired and ready to book your trip! But first, a little bit about me. My name is Dominika and everyone calls me ‘Mish’. I grew up in Poland and at the age of 16 my family and I moved to Cambridge, UK.
They wanted us to go to good schools that would give us opportunities in life. At the time I hated it but when I look back now it was the best decision. As a little girl it was my dream to become a journalist and travel. My parents were involved in our Christian community and would send us four kids to different places around the world to attend Christian camps.
From here my passion for travel grew. As I got older, I learnt to save money better and spend it on travel! I graduated from nursing school in 2012 and started working full-time at Cambridge University Hospital. My job allowed me to take long holidays and discover more of the world, little by little.
During the end of 2020, I decided to try and find a way to support myself financially while on the road. My partner Adam has a friend who was making side income teaching online and so we decided to give it a go.
Since then, I have completed 600+ hours of teaching English online to a whole range of different nationalities. It wasn’t something I saw myself doing but with the skills I built through nursing and my experience traveling, it seemed to work well. I am still teaching English to this very day.
Meeting my Partner Adam in Sri Lanka
I met Adam almost two years ago in Sri Lanka. That year I quit my job and started my solo travels around the world. Funnily enough, Sri Lanka was the first country I visited after a short stopover in the UAE. Usually I like to travel slow, experiencing new cultures and tasting all the local flavors – but with Sri Lanka I was a little apprehensive about doing it on my own.
I decided to look online to see if there was a package trip I could do and that’s when I found – feelfreetravel.com. The Sri Lanka trip seemed to cover everything and the age range was perfect, so I went ahead and did it! Little did I know that I would meet Adam who was actually the owner and tour leader of this particular trip. We like to believe it was ‘love at first sight’.
Photography is something that I developed later on. I am lucky that some of my friends are professionals. Watching them gave me so much motivation to try it myself. Eventually I bought my first camera which was a Fujifilm X100F and from that moment I was in. What was even better was that Adam also enjoyed photography and it became a common passion.
Highlights of our Mexico Trip
Mexico actually wasn’t a country at the top of our wishlist but with all the COVID restrictions we weren’t really spoilt for choice. However, lots of super cool Mexico content started to come out at the end of 2020 and it caught my eye. So we decided to entertain the idea and give the country a go.
We had little knowledge of Mexico as a whole other than a few Instagram worthy spots that we added to the wish list. But what has made our trip so easy is the amount of time we have to explore. Our trip in total is at least four months – we were originally going to split it between here and Costa Rica but after spending less than a month in Mexico we realized how big of a country it is! Below is an outline of the places we have visited so far:
- Playa del Carmen: Cenote Azul, Main Beach
- Tulum: Cenote Corazon Del Paraiso, Kaan Luum Lagoon
- Bacalar: Bacalar Lagoon, Los Rapidos
- Isla Holbox: Punta Mosquito, Hiring Golf Buggies and Bicycles
- Valladolid: Traditional Experience making Cochinita, Chichen Itza
- Merida: Day Trip to Izamal, Exploring the City by Foot
- Palenque: Palenque Ruins, Misol Ha Waterfall, Roberto Barrios Waterfall, Agua Azul Waterfall
- San Cristobal de las Casas: Day Trip to El Chiflon Waterfall, Exploring the Cobblestone Streets of San Cristobal.
As you can see we have visited quite a few places so far with us spending on average a week at each place (Tulum a bit longer). Next to each place above I listed a few experiences that were highlights. One of the biggest standout experiences for us was the traditional experience in Valladolid. We stayed in a 300 year old property on Airbnb with amazing hosts!
Chichen Itza was wonderful and far less touristy than we expected (Adam said the Taj Mahal was much busier). We really enjoyed Roberto Barrios Waterfall and the Palenque Ruins. Bacalar, of course, was a highlight that I will discuss below! Tulum was a bit of an anticlimax but Isla Holbox was a pleasant surprise with its chill vibe and turquoise waters.
Eight Amazing Days in Bacalar
Adam actually came across Bacalar while he was doing product research for Feel Free Travel. He was looking at the places some of his competitors were visiting and he told me about the stunning Lagoon of Seven Colors. Naturally, I looked on Instagram right away and got some mad inspiration. This place quickly went to the top of our Mexico bucket list.
Other than the small amount of research we did online via blogs and Instagram, we didn’t have too many plans when arriving in Bacalar. We Had about eight days in total there with our first three nights in an Airbnb and the remaining time in a beautiful boutique stay called Agam Hotel.
Most mornings until the early afternoon we were working but in the afternoons we went exploring which was great as Bacalar is an extremely safe and peaceful place. We stayed about 10 minutes walk from the central square, so we had lots of different options for dinner and drinks.
Our time in Bacalar was amazing and we wish we stayed longer (we only left when we did because we had some commitments in Tulum). From the moment we arrived we knew we fell in love with this cute little town that runs at a very slow pace. I also loved the variety of places to eat and drink. No matter what kind of food you wanted, you could get it in Bacalar!
One of the best days we had was celebrating Adam’s birthday. We took the whole day off, woke up for sunrise and walked to the jetty, had a bit of a lazy morning and checked out El Manati for brunch. In the afternoon we had so much fun on the jet skis, swimming around the lagoon and taking photos.
The weather was nice and it made the day very special. In the evening, we rented bikes and cycled to Nixtamal for dinner. Enjoying the night with steaks, mezcal and live music was a great way to cap off the day!
Favorite Place in Bacalar: Los Rapidos
Both Adam and I agree that Los Rapidos was our favourite place. It was pretty easy to get to. We took a colectivo and hitchhiked for the last stint of the journey in the back of a local truck! It’s a beautifully maintained area that has some small rapids, almost like a lazy river. The incredible blue and green colors were amazing to experience! But this wasn’t the only special experience in Bacalar. Below I will outline my top 5 things to do.
Best Things To Do in Bacalar
- Spend the Afternoon at Los Rapidos: A super chilled place to spend an afternoon on the water. Enjoy the lazy river vibes, rent a kayak and explore the nearby areas of the lagoon to your heart’s content.
- Take a Boat Trip on Bacalar Lagoon: We took a jet ski* and explored the lagoon on the incredibly blue south side. It would be just as epic on a boat trip. You can explore areas of the lagoon like Canal de los Piratas.
- Stroll around the Town and Fort: Take one afternoon to enjoy getting lost in the central square area of the town. The fort overlooking the water is beautiful and there are lots of shops and places to eat here.
- Watch the Sunrise at the Public Pier: Wake up early and visit the public pier. Get there early because others will have the same idea. We did it for Adam’s birthday and it was a pretty special experience.
- Check out the Street Art: Rent bikes and go on a little adventure in search of street art. There is tons of cool artwork dotted around town.
*We rented some jet skis for Adam’s birthday. Just be aware that you need to stay away from stromatolites and respect protected areas of the lagoon.
Where to Stay in Bacalar
We stayed at two places in Bacalar. The first was an Airbnb run by a guy from Belize. It was a small place with six rooms. We enjoyed the homestay feel and David (the host) was great. The breakfast was basic but full of flavor – homemade bread, marmalade and locally brewed coffee.
The second place was Agam Hotel. We moved because we wanted a pool and better Wi-Fi. Plus there was a deal on booking.com – so it was a no brainer. We loved the pool area, fast Internet and nice breakfast. For us it was perfect and we would happily go back there. Highly recommended!
More Places to Explore in Quintana Roo
We have heard about a place called Mahahual which is just over an hour away from Bacalar. It looks like a little beachside spot. Lots of people we met said it’s one of the best beaches they have visited in Mexico. We are hoping to rent a car at the end of this trip and go back to Bacalar and check out Mahahual. It sounds like a place worth visiting and we can’t wait!
Tips for your Visit to Bacalar
Bacalar is quiet and less touristy than other places. If you are looking for beach bars, parties and shopping you won’t find it here. It’s a perfect place to unwind and relax. Make sure to bring some cash. We actually found two cash machines but at times they weren’t working which made things tricky. It’s always best to be prepared on your travels in Mexico!
If you plan on renting a jet ski, be respectful of the lagoon and stay away from the shallow areas. The locals want to protect this ecosystem and you should too. Don’t wear sunscreen while swimming in the lagoon, not even biodegradable sunscreen. Again, this is to protect the environment.
We found there to be quite a lot of mosquitos near the lagoon in the early morning and late evening – so be sure to have repellent. Also this is why we preferred to stay in town, instead of staying at a hotel on the lagoon. One of our favourite places to eat lunch was Madre Masa. They have delicious sandwiches with homemade bread, great cinnamon buns and good coffee!