If there’s one prediction we can make for 2022, then it’s that Bacalar will be one of the most trending destinations of the year! And certainly it will become one of the most sought-after places within the Yucatán peninsula of México.
The fresh water lagoon
Before this trip we had no idea that apart from the beaches there was also this very unique sweet water lagoon in Yucatán – with water as clear and turquoise as it can get. Bacalar is becoming one of the most sought-after areas of the Yucatán peninsula and we can fully understand why it’s getting more and more popular.
The water is equally beautiful to (if not even clearer than) the ocean, but it’s all fresh water, which makes it really comfortable to swim in. Also there’s no sargasso or sea weed problem here, which can adversely affect a beach holiday in Yucatán sometimes. Now having said that we wouldn’t replace a beach holiday, but it’s a perfect addition to complement a trip to the region!
Where to stay: Habitas Bacalar
During a visit you can stay in the town of Bacalar (where they have some really nice boutique hotels as well), but we opted for the brand-new Habitas Bacalar eco retreat, that’s located about 5 miles South from the town at a private stretch of the lagoon’s shoreline. Upon arrival you leave your car at the gate and then take a golf cart through the jungle to arrive at the lagoon, where a small group of A-framed houses are located.
It doesn’t get more secluded than here!
Set between the Mayan jungle and a crystal clear fresh water lagoon is where you can find bliss. The small collection of A-framed cabins is located at the lagoon in absolute privacy, serving as holistic retreat – with meditation rituals, swimming in between stromatolites, that are the basis of all life on earth, and sunrise yoga sessions on the deck or on SUP boards on the water.
We stayed here for two nights as part of a press invite, but I would recommend to make it at least three nights to fully immerse yourself in this tranquil oasis.
Our suite: Jungle room at Habitas Bacalar
There are three room types at Habitas Bacalar – the lagoon rooms, that are set directly at the shoreline, the mangrove rooms, that are located at small streams of water behind the lagoon rooms and then the jungle rooms, that are hidden away in the back of the property.
While the lagoon rooms are the most expensive room category, we enjoyed the feeling of extra seclusion and privacy that we got in the jungle rooms.
Each tent comes with a king size bed, an open bathroom (but with a separated toilet), an outdoor shower, a writing desk, a small veranda and some cushions for comfort and coziness. Of course there’s not just the fan, but also a proper AC for those hot nights in the jungle of Bacalar.
Oh how I miss sleeping in these tents, surrounded by mystical jungle sounds and just a few steps away from the replenishing lagoon.
I went for sunrise dips every morning and snorkeling during the day, the rest of the days were spent on the deck watching flocks of birds fly by and just letting my mind go quiet.
This is what a place like this can do.
Vegetarian & vegan delights: The food at Habitas Bacalar
Let’s be honest: We didn’t leave the property during our three days there – and we believe most guests don’t (except for boat rides or SUP tours). So we had breakfast, lunch and dinner at Habitas Bacalar. As vegetarians that often means, that we’d have to repeat dishes or that the selection would be a bit repetitive. Not at Habitas Bacalar! The choices of vegetarian and vegan dishes is extremely rich and the quality and creativity of the dishes is beyond anything we have found in Yucatán!
Seated at the lagoon we ordered from an extensive à la carte menu for breakfast. From coconut chia puddings to vegan parsi with homemade roti bread, sourdough brioche to banana and amaranth pancakes, let us tell you – you’ll be spoiled here! Dinner is served at Siete restaurant, that is located in a rustic two story thatched roof wooden structure, that overlooks the jungle and the lagoon. Our favourite dish: The heirloom spiced carrots with spicy marinade, carrot hummus and toasted sunflower seeds! Heaven on a plate, really.
I guess by now you know how much I loved this place as I can’t stop raving about it!
Practical tips: How to get to Bacalar
We came to Bacalar directly from Mérida, so it was a 4,5 hour long drive through half of Yucatán – but on empty roads. Outside of the cities there’s almost no traffic in Yucatán and driving couldn’t be easier. We also found the roads to have much improved since our last visit in 2017, allowing for quite relaxed drives.
From the airport in Cancún it’s a 4 hour drive to Bacalar and this is also why it’s not as popular as other destinations at the coastline. The relatively remote location makes it an off-the-beaten-path destination for most Yucatán visitors! But we believe it’s worth the extra drive.
If you want to break up the journey we recommend to spend a few days in Tulum and then make your way down to Bacalar.
In any case we would definitely recommend to rent a car and go on a road trip in Yucatán. While you probably won’t need the car in Bacalar, you can drive further to the West from here to also visit Calakmul in neighbouring Campeche state. In any case we would suggest to stay at least 3 nights in Bacalar to really get to immerse yourself!