Having an open travel itinerary and no hard plans has its massive pros. For example, you can always include a place someone recommended you few days ago. This story is an example of how being open and flexible and listening to other travelers’ and locals’ advice can turn into a highlight of your trip. The story of how we found Laguna Bacalar and Bacalar Pueblo Magico (you’ll understand why it’s so magical below).
Having only 2 months in Central America, we knew that even the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico is impossible to be completely explored. But hey, we’re not here to cover and fully iterate nice places at all. So from our second day in Mexico, when we hitchhiked from Ik Kil cenote to Valladolid after visiting Chichén Itzá, we had a new spot in mind.
Laguna Bacalar. The guidebook says it’s nice and chill, but it was that photo the person whom we hitched with showed us! It looked like a tiny bit of paradise during an amazing sunrise. So we were sure that we’d do anything to put this place on our itinerary.
And here we are, in the town of Bacalar, well, Pueblo Magico de Bacalar, in a charming room with a palm frond roof in a campsite facing the lovely lagoon. Ever since we arrived we are indulged in harmony, cool views and simple happiness.
Highlights of Laguna Bacalar and Bacalar Pueblo Magico
Laguna Bacalar has sweet water but it also used to have some pirates crossing in from the bay. Canal de los pirates comes to prove that – nowadays you can find a ship-bar which is closed to prevent polluting the lagoon. It is built in the shape of a ship from which you can jump.
But first, let’s take care of the skin. The lagoon has a bottom that offers a first-class sulfur mud and it’s up to you to mud yourself well and make your skin shine. Of course, reaching the mud spots can be…let’s say challenging experience, as you can drown in it fast. Just joking, it’s a muddy but funny journey!
There are also other cleaner ways to move around the lagoon. By boat, kayak, catamaran (as we did) and swimming. The lagoon is about 46 kilometers long and 2.5 km wide so you have a lot to explore. Nearby the coast it is super shallow so you can walk and hang out for unlimited time.
There is also a small island La Isla de los pajaros which features a variety of birds. Sadly it was closed for passing that day. We still had lunch in the water, our catamaran was the table and the view of the vivid flora and fauna was the entertainment.
There is the typical for that region sinkholes, or cenotes, too. We snorkeled in Cenote Negro or de la Bruja (The Witch Cenote). There’s just 180 meters or deep dark nothingness inside it. So we were so happy to have the life jackets with us as the dramatic underwater jump from a shallow rock, roots of trees and water lilies into a dark hole could be literally breathtaking and terrifying.
The colors. Oh, those colors. Starting from emerald green and azure blue in the shallow, going to dark blue in the deep and dramatically evolving under the changing skies. That is what would worth the whole trip to the lagoon. Place where all filters become unnecessary and ridiculous.
The Bacalar Lagoon and its life
We started cruising the lagoon on a cloudy day, it’s rainy season here. The sun gave us a few kisses making the day bright and the shadows playful. Then just as we were approaching our pier, a big rain came. The colors were even more unbelievable as well as the sharp lightning over the shore.
It was clear that the warm waters of the lagoon are our best friend so we stayed for another dip just to keep our bodies warm as we were watered by the fresh rain. We wish we had more days with that “bad” weather.
And as it was pouring, the garden was flourishing. We heard the palms growing, the flowers smiling, the geckos hiding under our roof. People may be bored with bad weather but the rest of nature doesn’t seem to feel the same. We even forgot about the nasty mosquitoes for a while.
Time passed. We left our palm-frond-roofed room to see what’s going on. There was the romantic couple on the pier, staring at the lagoon, there were all the birds singing and all the greenery shining. And of course, the two parrots in the garden were still whistling and laughing at people and still trying to eat everything around them.
Yes, paradise in Mexico has a name – it’s called Laguna Bacalar. Now we know why the other day a local guy was telling his friend that it has always been his dream to visit Bacalar lagoon. Whose dream is it not to visit heaven while still being alive?
What is your favorite paradise off-the-beaten-path place? Do you dream of just visiting it or moving there? Do you believe paradise exists?