Top 13 Things to Do In Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

Top 13 Things to Do In Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

Top things to do in Bacalar Lagoon 2023

Bacalar Lagoon is an amazing experience worth checking out if you find yourself in the state of Q.R. We find ourselves there pretty regularly. From day trips to hidden gems, we’ll give you the rundown on the best things to do in Bacalar.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled visit or a relaxing getaway, Bacalar Lagoon has it all. Before we get into our top picks for things to do in Bacalar, we decided to give you a quick glimpse of what you can expect from this magical little town.

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Getting To & Around Bacalar Lagoon

Bacalar Lagoon is located in the state of Quintana Roo (Q.R.) on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s fairly easy to get to and not too time-consuming of a destination from traditional tourist spots like Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

From Playa del Carmen or Cancun to Bacalar Lagoon

If you’re in Playa del Carmen or Cancun and want to head to Bacalar, Mexico, it’s pretty easy to do so. There are tons of buses that leave multiple times a day. Buses can fill up quickly during high season (Dec-April) so book well in advance.

Depending on the bus (and the amount you want to pay) the trip from:

  • Cancun to Bacalar can take anywhere from 4.5 to 6 hours
  • Playa del Carmen to Bacalar can be 3.5 to 5 hours

While prices can vary, the average cost of a bus ticket from either Playa del Carmen or Cancun to Bacalar will range anywhere from 400-600 pesos ($20-$40 USD) per person.

So, what’s the difference in cost all about?

In general, the pricier buses are direct (thus faster) and have more amenities (charging stations, wifi, etc). A bus from Cancun to Bacalar on the “expensive” bus will cost you about 150 pesos ($6 USD) more but will also save you about 2 hours of headache.

Note: Playa del Carmen has 2 ADO stations; Alterna & Touristica. Both are relatively centralized and either one will get you to Bacalar. Just be sure to know which one your ticket says when booking so you head to the right one for your departure.

Don’t have a ton of time but still want to visit Bacalar Lagoon from Cancun or Playa del Carmen? Consider booking a full-day tour to Bacalar Lagoon.

From Tulum to Bacalar Lagoon

The most common way for travelers to get from Tulum to Bacalar (and back) is via bus. There is an ADO bus terminal in central Tulum that will drop you off at the main road (307) in Bacalar. From there you can get a taxi to your final destination.

It takes about 3-hours to get from Tulum to Bacalar via bus. Tickets are approximately 370 pesos ($18 USD) per person. ADO buses are generally comfortable and have amenities such as:

  • On-Board Movies
  • Air Conditioning
  • Cozy(ish) Seats
  • Wifi (Occasionally)
  • Bathrooms

Note: When booking your bus ticket from Tulum, be sure to select “Terminal Autobuses” not ADO “Tulum Ruins”. Otherwise, your trip could be ruined (see what we did there?). Additionally buses can fill up quickly (especially in high season) so book well in advance when possible.

Don’t want to bus it from Tulum to Bacalar? Your hotel can sometimes find you a private taxi but it will cost you quite a bit more for one-way transport. Door-to-door transport from Tulum to Bacalar Lagoon is also available for those that want to book in advance.

From Chetumal Airport to Bacalar Lagoon

Chetumal has a national airport located just 45-minutes from Bacalar Lagoon. The airport is small and easy to navigate with only one departure gate. Once you’ve gotten your baggage, head to one of the many desks boasting taxi services. They’ll ask you several questions, and send you on your way.

  • Private Transportation – If you’re anxious to get to your destination and don’t want to wait for a collective transfer to fill up, you can expect to pay around 600 pesos (approx $30 USD) to get there without any stops.
  • Shared Transportation – Budget-conscious travelers can get a shared van from the airport to any number of hotels in Bacalar Centro for 200 pesos (approx $10 USD) per person.

If your Spanish isn’t great, there’s usually someone around who will be willing to help translate and make sure you get to your final destination – just be sure to offer a propina (tip) for this service.

getting to Bacalar Lagoon

You can also pre-book transportation online from Chetumal airport to Bacalar Lagoon. The cost is slightly higher (approx 900 pesos or $45 USD) but you can avoid the hassle of haggling for your journey. Just give your driver the flight number and they’ll be waiting outside for you.

From Costa Maya Cruise Ship Terminal

The Costa Maya cruise ship terminal is located in Majahual, Mexico – a short drive (approx 1-hour) to Lake Bacalar. While there are plenty of transportation options once you have your feet on the ground, it can be a bit overwhelming choosing which to take.

Friends of ours opted to book this all-inclusive tour that provided transportation, sightseeing, cenotes, and lunch. They found it was the easiest option and were happy to have it pre-planned into their cruise.

If you’re considering going this route, here’s what you can expect:

  • Hassle-free transportation to/from cruise ship terminal
  • 6-hour tour available in Spanish, English, and German
  • Visiting 3 Cenotes in Bacalar on our things to do in Bacalar list
  • Stop at beach club for snorkeling, swimming, and lunch

If you’d rather do things on your own terms, we suggest speaking with multiple guides once you land at the Costa Maya cruise ship terminal before making your final decision. This will ensure you’re getting a good deal rather than potentially scammed by the first person you come across.

Getting Around Bacalar Lagoon

Getting around Bacalar Lagoon is fairly easy. There are generally tons of taxis in Centro and on the main road to take you from one destination to the next. In most cases, you can wave a taxi down and hop in.

Bacalar Lagoon taxis are white with blue lines. Between the main road and the town square you should expect to pay around 25 pesos ($1.25 USD). Taxis in and around Bacalar Lagoon are not metered so ask up front what it’ll cost from point A to point B.

Top things to do in Bacalar Lagoon 2023

In the main square, there is a convenient Sitio Taxi stand – that’s just an area where taxis park and wait for passengers. These site taxis are often slightly more costly but shouldn’t break the bank. This is the best spot to grab a ride to some of the things to do in Bacalar that are further out of town. 

Tips for Getting Around Bacalar Lagoon: 

  • Negotiate a price before you get in
  • Have exact fare or close to it (when possible)
  • Ask the driver for the best “local” spots to eat/drink/relax
  • Don’t forget to give a few pesos for a propina (tip)

We also recommend, if you’re going further out of town, get Whatsapp info from one (or more) taxis while you’re in town. That way you have a backup in case taxis are limited where you’re going.

Bacalar Weather

When it comes to Bacalar weather, most people prefer cloudless skies full of sunshine. If you want a rain-free vacation in Bacalar Lagoon, we recommend visiting between January and April. But if you’re okay with a little afternoon downpour rather than sun, sun, and more sun, you’ll likely be able to save some serious money on accommodations and excursions.

Visiting Bacalar Lagoon is spectacular year-round. While you’ll be more likely to see rain early on in the season (April-May-June), there are still plenty of things to do in Bacalar. In fact, we recently visited Bacalar Lagoon in April and while it did rain quite a bit – it was still a relaxing and enjoyable trip!

We’ve got some great things to do in Bacalar Lagoon regardless of when you decide to visit the state of Quintana Roo. Bacalar weather shouldn’t hold you back too much.

Is Bacalar, Mexico Safe?

is bacalar mexico safe?

Yes – in general, Bacalar, Mexico is safe. We have been to Bacalar Lagoon many, many times and have never had an issue with safety. That being said, we typically practice the Colombian “No dar Papaya” rule of thumb. Essentially, it means “Don’t leave yourself open”.

In most cases, crimes in Mexico are those of opportunity rather than actual malice. An expensive cell phone left out, for example, might be likely to disappear if you’re gone long enough. But that’s the kind of thing that happens anywhere.

“Safety” tips for traveling Mexico (and anywhere):

  • Only take as much cash as you’ll need for the day (or night).
  • Confirm taxi prices before getting in.
  • Avoid flashing expensive jewelery or electronics.

There aren’t the typical scams in Bacalar Lagoon as you’d find in more touristy areas of Mexico. Instead, you’ll find a more relaxed, small-town vibe where people are generally helpful. So, is Bacalar Mexico safe? We sure think so!

Tip: If you’re still worried about safety in Bacalar, Mexico, you can opt for nomad insurance through SafetyWing. They offer great rates for both short and long-term trips. You can read our full blog on the benefits of SafetyWing here!

safetywing ambassador

How Long Should You Stay in Lake Bacalar?

The central area of Bacalar Lagoon isn’t exactly huge. You could probably hit the entire town and feel like you’ve “seen Lake Bacalar” in an afternoon. However, there are tons of activities to do in and around town if you’re looking to spend more time. Hell, some people never leave.

Our general preference is to slow travel places so we can really get a feel for a specific location. We spent 6-months there a few years back and never found ourselves bored. In fact, we love the relaxed atmosphere so much that we regularly vacation in Lake Bacalar.

things to do in Bacalar Lagoon

If you’re on vacation and a bit more pressed for time, we recommend anywhere from 2-5 days in Bacalar Lagoon. That should give you plenty of time to relax, enjoy some of the activities on our list, and take in the local vibe without feeling overly rushed.

Where to Stay in Bacalar Lagoon

Lake Bacalar Mexico (Laguna Bacalar) has a lot to offer. Depending on what you’re interested in, there are a lot of options to choose from. There are 3 main areas visitors might decide to look for accommodations:

  • Town Center (Centro) – This is where you’ll want to be if you’re into shopping, eating, and enjoying nightlife. There’s always something going on in the square. Just remember, it can get a bit loud especially on the weekends.
  • Main Road – The main road in Bacalar Lagoon is about a mile from the water. You’ll find some more affordable hotels and accommodations – along with a more local vibe when it comes to restaurants and shopping. You can easily walk to the lake or grab a taxi when you’re ready to hit the square.
  • Around the Lake – Many visitors opt for cabins or accommodations outside of town center. This allows you a more tranquil atmosphere where you can connect with nature. Many lakeside options offer private docks, kayaks, and loungers free of charge.

Remember, getting around Bacalar Lagoon is fairly easy. So, if you’re not sure where you want to stay just yet, don’t worry! 

There are available accommodations for just about every budget when visiting Lake Bacalar, Mexico. A quick search on will yield plenty of results regardless of where you want to stay in Laguna Bacalar.

Co-Living & Co-Working Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

While there aren’t a ton of options when it comes to co-living and/or co-working in Bacalar Lagooon, Mexico, it’s still a great place for working digital nomads. Because Lake Bacalar is becoming a more popular tourist hub, more and more options are popping up seemingly daily.

We really like working in Bacalar for several reasons;

  • The WiFi is usually pretty great in restaurants, hotels, and hostels – many have Fiber Optics.
  • There are tons of spacious cafes that don’t mind you working all day.
  • There’s free WiFi in the main square with plenty of picnic tables if you want to work alongside nature.

Some of the most popular places for co-living and co-working in Bacalar include;

  • CHE Hostels – This spot offers a variety of living options for those living the digital nomad life. Amenities include 24-hour desk, tons of work spaces to choose from, a huge pool, and a bar/restaurant that are perfect for networking!
  • The YAK House – If you’re looking for something slightly outside the main square where you can connect with nature while working lakeside, this is the spot for you. Boasting great WiFi, tons of scheduled activities, a full bar/restaurant, and access to town, the YAK House really has it all.
  • Blue Water Co-Living – This luxe community offers everything a digital nomad needs for short or long-term living. Amenities include a gym, infinity pool, elevators, co-working spaces, laundry, a spa, and even it’s own water treatment facility.

If you’re more into working from your own place, you can find tons of options on Just remember to always double check WiFi speed with your host before booking.

Top 13 Things to Do In Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

things to do in Bacalar Lagoon

Some of the things on our list can be done in a few hours while others may take the entire day. The best way to determine how long you should stay in Lake Bacalar is to decide what you’d like to do on your trip, then plan accordingly.

We’ve broken our list down into the following categories so you can easily find what interests you:

  • Water-Based Activities & Sports
  • Experience Bacalar Lagoon Town Center (Centro)
  • Top Cenotes Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

We’ve highlighted our favorites from each category for you to check out below.

Remember, Lake Bacalar itself is quite large. Many of the best things to do in Bacalar Lagoon are outside of what would be considered “Centro”. But don’t worry, taxis can easily be found (both in town and on the main road) to take you to your destination of choice!

Water-Based Activities & Sports

Of course, we had to start our list with water-based activities in Bacalar Lagoon. To get the most out of the cenote-fed lake, you’ll have to get in it at some point!

#1: Hire A Sightseeing Boat Tour in Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: Varies

Duration: 1-4 Hours

Because Bacalar Lagoon is, well, a lagoon, there are a ton of varying boat tours available. But don’t just go hopping on any random boat! It’s important to choose the right tour if you want to get the best experience possible. A friend of ours wanted a nice snorkel tour with sightseeing – but ended up on a party boat that wasn’t as relaxing as she expected.

For the most part, there are three types of boat tours available in Lake Bacalar, Mexico:

  • Sightseeing Tours – We’re big fans of this Private tour of Laguna Bacalar, where you’ll experience all the things Bacalar Lagoon has to offer – many of which aren’t included in other boat tours we’ve found on the lake.
  • Sailing Tours – If you want a luxury experience, you can Charter a Private Sail Boat where you can opt to learn some sailing basics – or laze on the deck and enjoy the 7 colors of Laguna Bacalar.

Bacalar Lagoon is fairly calm making boat tours easy even for those that aren’t huge “boat people”. If you have someone in your group (like myself) that tends to get seasick, this shouldn’t be much of an issue for them. But, if a boat tour isn’t for you, we’ve got plenty of other things to do in Bacalar, Mexico!

#2: Go Windsurfing in Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: Approx $1000 pesos

Duration: 3 Hours

If you’re into adventure, we definitely recommend renting windsurfing equipment in Bacalar Lagoon. The water is calm, the breeze is always perfect, and there’s an abundance of things to see. Some sights that might interest you include;

  • Pirates Canal
  • Bird Island
  • Cenote la Bruja (the deepest point in Bacalar Lagoon)
  • Gorgeous Coastlines

While most of the water activities on our list are group tours, this Windsurf Board Rental is perfect for individuals who want to explore on their own. Rental is super easy too. Book online, meet at the convenient location (between Hotel Carolina and the Beach Club Bacalar), get a quick rundown of the equipment, and off you go!

Tip: Ask your rental company for their favorite secret spots that you can snorkel away from the traditional tourist areas. They’ll be happy to help!

#3: Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) in Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: $500-600 pesos

Duration: 2-4 Hours

While you’ll likely be able to rent paddle boards from your hotel or hostel, we tend to prefer guided tours when it comes to Bacalar Lagoon – at least at first. Why? There’s just too much to explore on your own.

Guided tours provide the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure. You can go at your own pace or keep up with the group and meet some good friends along the way. Most SUP tours in Laguna Bacalar are planned around keeping you out of direct sun too.

There are typically 2 types of guided SUP tours in Bacalar Lagoon:

  • Sunrise Tour: If you’re a regular paddleboarder, you know there’s no better way to wake up to the day than a sunrise SUP tour. We like this Sunrise Stand Up Paddle Board Tour because you get a few extras compared to other tours – like exfoliating sulfur-mud mask followed by a light breakfast!

Tip: Once you learn your favorite secret enclaves, snorkel spots, and hidden gems along the Bacalar Lagoon coastline, go out and explore for yourself!

#4: Kayak Canal de los Pirates in Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: $600 pesos

Duration: 3 Hour 40 Minutes

If paddleboarding isn’t your thing, you can give your legs a break and opt for a Kayak tour of the Bacalar Lagoon instead. If you haven’t tried a transparent kayak like these before, you’re in for an extra-special treat!

This unbelievable tour offers a view of Lake Bacalar unlike any other. Beginning at 5:30am, you’ll have the opportunity to catch some shooting stars before watching the sun rise for the day. The tour includes;

  • 2-Person Transparent Kayak
  • Light Breakfast
  • Snorkel Dives (with equipment)
  • Uncrowded Views of the Lake
  • Dry Bags

Tip: Bring sun protection – including sun hat, long sleeve shirts, and/or glasses. You shouldn’t ever swim in Bacalar Lagoon with sunscreen on as it can have a negative impact on the flora and fauna.

#5: Visit Los Rapidos in Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: $200 pesos Adults ($100 pesos Children)

Duration: 2+ Hours

Los Rapidos is a perfect excursion for small groups or families looking to kill a few hours. Just a short drive from the main square in Bacalar proper, you’ll find a relaxing oasis unlike any other.

Los Rapidos, Bacalar Lagoon is a full-service facility that offers;

  • Restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and snacks
  • Dock access to Bacalar Lagoon where you can swim, snorkel, and relax
  • Kayak rental (at additional cost – approx $100 pesos per hour)
  • Use of lifejackets and safety equipment
  • Use of bathroom and shower facilities
  • Free parking for visitors

We really like visiting Los Rapidos because it truly has something for everyone. You can hang out in the hammock area with a good book in the shade, or be more adventurous and opt to ride the “rapids” in a tube, kayak, or paddleboard.

Los Rapidos is open every day (Monday to Sunday) 10am to 6pm.

Tip: If you’d like to get a more chill experience with fewer people, we recommend visiting during the weekdays. You’re more likely to have the place to yourself!

Experience Bacalar Lagoon Town Center (Centro)

Town center (Centro) is where most of the action happens in Bacalar Lagoon. You’ll have easy access to just about everything you need within walking distance from food to shopping to activities. Let’s take a look!

excursions from Cancun

#6: Fuerte de San Felipe de Bacalar

Cost: $50 pesos

Duration: 1-2 Hours

The Fuerte de San Felipe de Laguna Bacalar is not very large but it is full of unique history. It’s located right in the town center near the main square (you can’t miss it) and is definitely worth a visit even if you only have a day in Bacalar.

This marvel of a fort was completed in 1733 and is well-maintained to this day. While the military fort has had many uses in the past, it became a National Historical Heritage Site in 1965. While it was closed for many years during an extensive restoration project, the museum reopened its doors to the public in 1983.

This is a great place to kill an hour or two when in Bacalar Lagoon. Whether you take a quick stroll through the Fuerte de San Felipe de Bacalar or opt for a guided tour, you’ll be mesmerized by the large collection of Mayan archaeological pieces and objects from the colonial era, such as weapons, ammunition and everyday utensils, as well as plans, maps and informative certificates.

Tip: Keep in mind, the fort has some pretty specific hours and is only open to the public Tuesday to Sunday, 09:00am – 7pm. The fort is also closed for all Mexican holidays so it’s a good idea to check in advance.

#7: Hang Out in the Main Square of Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: Free

Duration: 1-3 Hours

The main square of Bacalar Lagoon isn’t exactly huge but it is absolutely worth a visit. There’s a good mix of restaurants, shopping, and cafes. The square itself is also quite beautiful offering a decent-sized park full of unique flora and fauna, stunning views of San Felipe Fort and the crystal clear waters of Laguna Bacalar.

One of our favorite places in the main square is a local ice cream shop where they have dozens of different flavors made daily. You’ll also find a wide selection of fresh “augas” and popsicles to cool you down in the heat of the day.

Most of the restaurants in the square are higher-end places designed to accommodate tourists. You’ll find things like;

  • Vegetarian/ Vegan Restaurants
  • Wood-Fired Pizza
  • Italian Restaurants
  • Gastro Mexican Grub
  • Cocktail Bars

If you’d like to grab a quick taco without breaking the bank, we recommend heading outside the square where you’ll find plenty of quality cheap eats. The area isn’t huge so you can easily take a quick walk around and spot a place where the locals are. Or, simply ask a taxi to take you to his favorite local spot!

Tip: The main square of Bacalar Lagoon makes an ideal place to start or end your day. However, if you’re looking for a quiet sleep – you may want to stay just outside the square. Avoid bar and restaurant noise by booking a spot a few blocks away.

#8: Chill on a Dock Lakeside in Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: Food & Drinks

Duration: 1-4 Hours

One of our favorite things to do in Bacalar Lagoon is go to Kai Pez – a well known seafood restaurant right in town. While there are tons of other docks you can visit to enjoy the pristine waters of the lake, we always enjoy our time here. Why? 

Kai Pez is;

  • Walkable from town center
  • Has delicious food and drinks
  • Offers great service from employees
  • Has a covered dock perfect for lounging, swimming, or snorkeling
  • Ideal for people-watching
  • Has clean bathrooms for use

Best yet, they don’t mind you hanging out all day (pending you tip accordingly)! You should note however, that outside food and drinks are not allowed within the facility.

Kai Pez is open from 8 am to 10pm daily. Keep in mind that they are closed on Tuesdays.

Tip: Grab a palapa and hang out for an hour or two – hitting the dock for a quick cool down as needed. Just remember to order food and drinks sporadically and, of course, always tip well!

#9: Check Out the Market Municipal in Bacalar Lagoon

Cost: Free

Duration: 1-2 Hours

We absolutely love visiting markets in whatever town we find ourselves in. The Laguna Bacalar Market can be found just outside of town near the futball field. You can easily walk there in about 10 minutes from the main square – or just hop in a taxi.

While the market in Bacalar Lagoon isn’t extremely large, it can be quite the lively experience – especially on the weekends. Here you’ll find all types of vendors selling a variety of goods from fruits and veggies, freshly butchered meats (and fish), alongside souvenirs and ready-made foods for you to nosh on as you explore.

If you’re staying a while in Bacalar Lagoon and plan to do any cooking of your own, this is the place to grab your goodies. It’s also the perfect way to see how locals in the area go about their day to day lives.

Markets in general are more of a morning thing so be sure to get there early (before 12-1pm).

Tip: There’s also a more traditional grocery store located next to the market where you can find most of the staples you’ll need for your visit to Bacalar Lagoon.

Explore Cenotes Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

My absolute favorite thing to do when on vacation is relax! If that sounds like you – or part of your group – cenotes in Bacalar Lagoon won’t disappoint.

We love cenotes! Some of our favorites can be found in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend checking some of them out!

#10: Cenote Azul Bacalar

Cost: $25 pesos ($50 pesos for life jacket rental)

Duration: 2-4 Hours

Visiting Cenote Azul Bacalar is a must if you’re in the area. There’s an abundance of activities you can take part in from swimming, snorkeling, diving (5 meters!), and taking in the flora and fauna.

Cenote Azul Bacalar is open year-round, every day of the week from 10am to 6pm. However, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, we recommend getting to Cenote Azul Bacalar right when they open as opposed to later in the afternoon.

Additionally, Cenote Azul Bacalar is busier on the weekends – as is with most tourist attractions in the area – so try to visit during a weekday if possible.

Cenote Azul Bacalar is a well-equipped facility that includes;

  • Full service restaurant
  • Picnic areas (you can bring your own food – but no alcohol)
  • Shaded palapas
  • Life jackets and safety equipment
  • Use of bathrooms, showers, and changing areas

Tip: Bring your own snorkel gear. While occasionally you can rent snorkel equipment at Cenote Azul Bacalar, it’s not the best, and often runs out fast. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on snorkeling in Cenote Azul Bacalar!

#11: Cenote Negro (Cenote de la Brujas)

Cost: Varies

Duration: 1-2 Hours

Cenote Negro (Cenote de la Brujas) is definitely worth a visit while in Lake Bacalar. With a dark navy color, the cenote has a somewhat ominous feel to it. However, at the same time it can be a very magical place.

Cenote de la Brujas is the deepest point in Laguna Bacalar with a depth of 90 meters – that’s nearly 300 feet!

There are two ways to access Cenote Negro; by land or via entrance by water.

We tend to recommend taking a tour where you’ll have a guide that can show you the hidden gems of the cenote. Cenote Negro is spectacular to see when coming by water as the water changes colors dramatically.

If you decide to access Cenote Negro via dock, be aware that you’ll need to pay an entrance fee (cash only). Access to Cenote Negro (Cenote de la Brujas) is open from 9am to 6pm.

Tip: Cenote Negro in Lake Bacalar is fairly small. While it is worth checking out, there are larger cenotes that might be better if you’re short on time – like Cenote Azul Bacalar.

#12: Cenote Esmerelda

Cost: Varries

Duration: 1-2 Hours

Cenote Esmerelda is located inside the Laguna de los Siete Colores of Bacalar. It’s the ideal place to take in nature for the entire family. While the pool itself isn’t exactly large (300 meters across), there are plenty of diverse areas to be found within this open-air cenote.

This unique cenote in Bacalar Lagoon offers some of the most shallow areas for swimming while boasting 70 meter depths (approx 230 feet) at other parts.

One of the really neat things about Cenote Esmerelda is the type of sand you’ll find. Many locals use the sand as a relaxing skin exfoliant while visiting and say it has magical anti-aging properties.

The special hue of Cenote Esmerelda allows for some fantastic photo ops unlike any other. You can opt to visit Cenote Esmerelda in Bacalar, Mexico on your own or via a guided tour.

Tip: The next cenote on our list – Cenote Cocalitos – is very near Cenote Esmerelda making it the perfect pairing for people that want to see multiple cenotes in a single day.

#13: Cenote Cocalitas

Cost: $50 pesos (Optional – $50 for life jacket)

Duration: 1-3 Hours

Cenote Cocalitas is full of natural beauty. It’s a cenote in Bacalar Lagoon that’s mostly known by locals and is considered slightly “off the beaten path”. Cenote Cocalitas offers a wide variety of amenities that some of the other smaller cenotes on our list don’t have, including;

  • Campgrounds
  • Bathrooms, showers, and changing areas
  • Life jackets and safety equipment
  • Free parking
  • Small restaurant (varying hours)

Cenote Cocalitas is fairly close to Bacalar Centro. A taxi should cost around $50 pesos if you’re interested in visiting. You can also access Cenote Cocalitas via a 2-hour pontoon boat ride which will cost around $300 pesos per person.

Tip: Be aware that Cenote Cocalitas is closed on Mondays. Their hours of operation are Tuesday thru Sunday from 10am to 5pm – with weekends being the busiest.

Bacalar Lagoon: A Note on Tourism

We have to say it. We’ve been going to Bacalar Lagoon for many years and every single time we go, we notice more and more popping up. The fact is, Laguna Bacalar isn’t the sleepy little town it used to be.

Lake Bacalar is becoming a more popular tourist destination which can be both good and bad. It’s great for the livelihood of locals who thrive on increased tourism. But, it can also be bad for the lake itself.

So, just be aware of your environmental impact when visiting Laguna Bacalar. Some easy things you can do to reduce your footprint include;

  • Avoiding wearing sunscreen or bug spray in the lake
  • Place trash in proper bins (organic/inorganic)
  • Bring reusable bags for shopping
  • Don’t sit, touch, or climb on Stromatolites
  • Avoid swimming, sailing, or touching reeds and/or mangroves
  • Use the bathroom before swimming (no peeing in the lake!)

For a more detailed list of good practices you can follow to preserve the unique landscape of Bacalar Lagoon, check out this guide provided by the  Environmental Protection for the Municipality of Bacalar.

Is Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico Worth the Trip?

Absolutely. Whether you decide to spend a day or a week in Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico, you’re sure to have an amazing time. The views are incredibly stunning, the snorkeling is unbeatable, and the climate is perfect nearly year-round.

Because the lake is becoming more popular for tourists of all types, there’s an ever-growing list of things to do in Bacalar Lagoon. We’ll continue to add to our list as often as possible. Until then, enjoy your stay! 

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