Bacalar is a moderately small town right next to the Bacalar Lagoon, also known as the lagoon of seven colors. Right next to my hostel, there’s a fort called Fuerte de San Felipe. It was built in 1733 to protect Bacalar from pirates! Now I understand why my hostel is called Mesón del Pirata!
Unlike the Mexican sea coast, where it’s always free to swim anywhere, this lagoon is chopped up by different owners. This means that in order to fully appreciate what Bacalar has to offer, one either has to take a boat tour on the lake, or pay for the entrance at decent spots to swim.
There are supposedly free spots too, and I went by bike to find them.
All along the road that goes parallel with the coast, there are people trying to sell tours. I said I wanted to find a place to swim for free, and they told me I could go down here. Nope, not the best place to swim….
My second attempt was even worse. How did this floor even break?!
At least this part looked nice, but it was just a pier for boats. Some kids jumped into the water from there, but it just didn’t seem appealing at all.
I was about to give up. “Should I just go back to the hostel to take a shower instead?” I wondered.
Seven colors? Maybe three..
But no, couldn’t give up! I kept biking along the side of the lagoon and eventually left the village. This was the most hilly road I’ve encountered so far, and thought it was probably good practice. I can imagine that Guatemala and Honduras will be crazy.
Found quite a nice beach that charged 25 pesos for the entrance, but along the way, I had seen signs of a “cenote” (sweet water holes) not far away. I asked the teenage girls (who happened to be in charge of the entrance) which place was best to swim. They said both, so I decided to just continue to the cenote, which is called Cenote Azul.
It ended up being 5.3 kilometers from central Bacalar. It’s a nice little trip if you have a bike, but too far to walk.
And it’s a nice place! Using life vests is apparently obligatory, because it’s so very deep. No one stopped me when I got into the water without one though. Breaking the law, once again!
There’s an overpriced restaurant in the area as well, and WiFi! With a friend, this could have been a nice place to chill for many hours, but since I went alone, I was done after an hour and biked back home again.
This view over the lagoon was quite pretty!
Food in Bacalar:
At calle 7/calle 18-20, there’s a very authentic restaurant called Tacos El Socio, and there were only locals eating there. And me.
I ordered a torta (a sandwich basically) for 22 pesos, and it’s a lot more filling than two tacos, which is what you get for the same price. Everything else was cheap too, so it’s definitely a go-to place if you’re staying for a while.
There are no supermarkets in the town, only small privately owned stores. I bought a 5 liter water container for 23 pesos and bananas for 12 pesos/kg, to be eaten on my trip tomorrow.
Visa card update:
So my bank requires that I make a phone call when ordering a new Visa card. And it’s been impossible to find a place that does international phone calls! Maybe I’ll just have to survive without one. So far it’s been fine.
Flat tire update:
I went to a bike/motorbike shop at calle 7/calle 28-30, to see if I really had a flat tire or not. Nope! It would be super flat if there was a hole, they said. They pumped my tire nice and hard and charged 2 pesos for it. Problem solved!
When the sun was already down, I talked to a Spanish backpacker who said that there is a pretty nice place to swim nearby for free. We took a stroll there, but by then it was already closed.
We then continued to one you normally pay for, and she just walked confidently right past the guards (who were looking in the other direction at the moment), and we got in.
She was such a master thief! I’ve got a lot to learn, I thought.
The place was nothing special. Water, quite warm, nice to swim.