Lake Bacalar – the lagoon of seven colours, Mexico

“You have to visit Bacalar”… “Bacalar, Bacalar, Bacalar…” that is all I’ve been hearing on the backpacker grapevine lately. Well of course I had to see for myself what is so special about this lakeside destination. My initial route changed after hearing this, and instead of cutting across to Valladolid,  I continued South near to the Belize border to access this lake which is hitting the backpacker trail hard.

I arrived and it really was like an air of calm washed over me. The hostel I’m staying in- the Yak Lake hostel is right on the edge of the lake with its own pier jutting into the clear blue water (apparently there’s seven shades of blue in the water… not so sure about that, but there’s certainly some amazing shades).

Lake Bacalar
Pier from Yak Lake House overlooking Lake Bacalar

My first day was spent relaxing by the lake and getting a coffee and lunch in a really cute cafe through a kind of art gallery/shop. I was exhausted- maybe the combination of fresh air and heat, so I had an early night after seeing the moon rise over the lake- this was an incredible sight as the moon started off gigantic and an orangey red colour. Beautiful. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was gone!

Lake Bacalar
Lake Bacalar

Lake Bacalar - view from Yak Lake House
Lake Bacalar, Mexico – view from Yak Lake House

I woke up just in time to catch the remains of the sunrise over the lake and so I went outside to enjoy the colours of the lake changing as the sun emerged. I love the water when it glitters as the sun shines on it. I then got chatting over breakfast to a Mexican who currently lives in America, and he and some others were getting a taxi to the cenote Azul nearby so I decided to join them and save on the taxi cost. We spent a few hours there not doing a whole lot other than swimming and relaxing. There were only a few other people, and when we first arrived nobody else was swimming at all. This cenote was huge. I went for a swim over to the other side, and suddenly started having visions of a crocodile biting my leg from under the water lake placid style- this cenote was deep and not so clear. I quickly turned and swam back to safety!! Definitely watch too many horror films!

I had only booked one night with the intention of going to Chetumal in the evening for my overnight bus to Palenque. However, the Mexican guy told me I should book in advance… I took a taxi to the bus station to check availability and the buses were sold out for tonight. I instead booked a bus for tomorrow night and another night at the hostel. Not a hardship to spend another night in paradise but I do need to make tracks if I want to get to Mexico City by the end of the month!

My German amiga from Tulum was also heading to Bacalar for one night so we arranged to meet for food in the evening  and went to this really cute Italian place. I had an aubergine veggie lasagne- it was really good and also had a nice glass of Malbec wine. It was really nice actually! Then today we arranged to meet to go to this “incredible, amazing, fantastic” spot by the lake called Cocalitos that a girl in Tulum had told us about. She really sold it hard so we were super excited to go. We got there and… it was nice but didn’t quite reach the sky high expectations of paradise that we had pictured! It was pretty though, however when the sun came out the place transformed into a little slice of heaven, the water transcended from a murky blue to a clear turquoise. There are also these cool rocks under the water… excellent I thought- a fab photo opportunity for me to stand and gaze into the horizon haha, and so off I waded onto the rocks… until a guy starts shouting like crazy and waving his arms around at me. Not sure what he said as it was all in extremely fast Spanish but I’d definitely made some faux pas oops. I quickly got off and smiled innocently like a dumb gringo tourist..but later found out these rocks or ‘stromatolites’ are some of the earliest forms of life on the planet and are made up of bacteria which emit oxygen.. sorry rocks.

So Chrissie and I said our goodbyes so that she could catch her afternoon bus and I headed off in search of some food. I found the most amazing (albeit a bit pricey) Mexican vegan restaurant called Mango y Chile. It’s set on a hill top and has outdoor seating so you can watch the passers by below and glimpses of the lake in the background. They have a simple menu on a chalk board and their iced coffee with coconut, almond or soya milk- wow! Much better than Starbucks or Costa that’s for sure! I highly recommend coming here whether or not you’re vegan/vegetarian as the food is so good and in a lovely spot too. They also do vegan burgers that genuinely taste better and meatier than a beef burger…and full of condiments with plenty of extras!! Sooo good and filling too!

I also highly recommend the quesadilla stands in the main plaza where I watched the lady knead flour and water into a dough in front of me to make my avocado quesadilla for 18 pesos each!

Well I’m off to enjoy my last few hours or so in this beautiful place before the dreaded overnight bus to Palenque…wish me luck!!! Ciao for now xx

About The Author

Dubai Dreamer

Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.



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