Quintana Roo is a southeastern state of Mexico, better known for being home to Cancun and the Riviera Maya. But it is also where you will find a magnificent and secluded hidden gem of the Caribbean Sea, Bacalar.
Enjoy a Sunrise or Sunset in the Lagoon
The main attraction of Bacalar is its magnificent lagoon of 7 colors; its name comes from the different shades of blue you can appreciate, from crystal clear to turquoise. The best way to start your day is by admiring the beauty of the sun rising above the lagoon. You can enjoy the calm waters of this lagoon during the day and stay for a breathtaking sunset. Many accommodations feature private docks to have front-row views, but if yours is not located on the waterfront, you can visit public docks such as those found in Calle 14, 16, and 18. If you prefer to watch this natural spectacle from the water, kayak and sailing are wonderful options.
Visit the Cenotes
The Yucatan Peninsula is known for having around 6000 cenotes; four of them are located near Bacalar. A cenote is a sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone, exposing underground water for Mayan Cenotes were a source of water and sacred places. Cenote Azul is one of the deepest along the Riviera Maya; you can explore by kayak, swim, or relax. You will find many restaurants in the area, which makes it an excellent place for families. Cenote Cocalitos is also a family-friendly location, surrounded by vegetation, camping sites, restaurant, and tours. Cenote Esmeralda gets its name from the emerald color of the water, and it’s 230-feet deep. And finally, Cenote de la Bruja or Witch Cenote is a unique one in the area, with dark waters contrasting against the clear blue lagoon.
Visit a Spanish Fort
Bacalar has a long history; it was one of the first Mayan cities. Due to its strategic location in the central area of the Mayan territories, it quickly became a place of interest. When the Spanish arrived in 1543, Bacalar was the first territory they conquered, but pirates quickly targeted it during the 1600s. That is the reason why the Spanish built the Fort of San Felipe. Nowadays you can visit the Fort ruins which stand in the center of the town near the central Plaza, and even enter the museum and watch the amazing exhibit of preserved artifacts.
Zipline Over the Mayan Jungle
For those who find new and exciting experiences rather than chilling on the lagoon, Bacalar offers the Tirolesas Kankin. This zipline allows you to enjoy the amazing lagoon and local wildlife from the sky. The experience can last from two to four hours, depending on how many lines you choose to enjoy.
Kayak rental services are available around the lagoon; it is a unique and exciting way to explore the beauty of this magnificent location. Since the water around the lagoon is very calm, you do not need to be an expert to enjoy the ride, and it is also an affordable way to have amazing views of the seven-color lagoon; rentals begin around USD 10.00.
Visit Mayan Ruins
For those who love a good trip into the past and the jungle, the ruins of the Mayan city of Kohunlich are an ideal option. They are located an hour away from Bacalar, and you will be able to witness the majestic buildings dating back to 200 BC. The incredible thing about these ruins is how well preserved they are; you can still find beds standing untouched within the residential portion of the city. And the surrounding jungle is a natural spectacle where you will be able to watch and hear howler monkeys.
Taste the Local Food
Mexican cuisine is world-renowned, and Bacalar offers many different options for everyone. Since it is located on the coast, seafood is something you should try; La Playita is a popular restaurant located right in the lagoon with a laid-back vibe and a superb beachfront terrace. Mango y Chile must stop for vegan dishes with a Mexican touch, located near the Fort; it is the perfect spot for lunch. And if you are looking to try fusion and local dishes, Los Aluxes is a restaurant and hotel with a fantastic location and unique dishes.
This location was granted government recognition as Magic Town in 2006, and there are plenty of things to do in Bacalar to keep you entertained during your stay. Come and visit one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com