K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Bacalar is an up-and-coming destination in Mexico just north of the Belize border on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s a destination for nature lovers and far from the party scene in Cancun, some 200 miles north. It’s a place to discover authentic Mexican culture, but the star attraction here is La Laguna de los Siete Colores, a stunning lagoon in brilliant shades of blues and greens. To get there, you can fly into Cancun and drive or fly into Chetumal International Airport and catch the bus or a shuttle.
Catering to all types of budgets, the hotels here make an ideal base for enjoying the scenery and the wealth of outdoor adventures that await in Bacalar.
Nestled in the jungle, Hotel Rancho Encantado is a great choice for those who want to be right along the shores of the lagoon. It includes a pool surrounded by loungers, a hot tub, a pier that makes it easy to leap into the lagoon, and a spa with a thatched palapa for massages right over the water. Unique treatments and rituals like an antioxidant ritual using fiber from the agave plant can be enjoyed, while the palapa restaurant and bar sit along the shorefront offering exquisite cuisine. Some rooms face the lagoon for dazzling views – if you’re looking for one of the best, book the Laguna Suite Superior, which has a terrace with a Jacuzzi on the upper level and a deck with direct access to the water from the lower level.
If you don’t mind a location a bit farther from town and being surrounded by the area’s natural beauty is a priority, book a room at the Mia Bacalar Luxury Resort & Spa. It enjoys a secluded spot on the lagoon, immersing guests in nature while offering stress-melting treatments at its full-service spa, including various massage options and a cocoa & mint stimulating wrap ideal for rejuvenation. Enjoy exceptional gastronomic experiences at its signature restaurant, Hunab Ku, and large and luxurious accommodation, some of which include a beautiful large in-room tub. All come with air conditioning and minibars.
Just north of the center of Bacalar, Mi Kasa Tu Kasa Bacalar sits along the lagoon and offers easy access to the enticing water from a pier. A gorgeous boutique hotel, the rooms are surrounded by a lush garden, with the Master Suite featuring a king-size bed with luxe bedding, a Smart TV with cable channels, Wi-Fi, and an en-suite bathroom with a rainfall shower. Complimentary kayaks and paddleboards are included, and pampering spa treatments can be enjoyed upon request. The on-site restaurant gets rave reviews, and guests also enjoy a free daily breakfast.
Habitas Bacalar is a five-star hotel that arguably offers the most exclusive stay in all of Bacalar. It overlooks the lagoon and combines sustainability and environmental preservation with plenty of luxuries, with a focus on wellness and restoration. The lavish spa offers authentic treatments, temazcal ceremonies, and floating meditation. Yoga, free diving, kayaking, paddle boarding and catamaran cruises on the lagoon can all be enjoyed. The on-site restaurant serves a menu of delectable seasonal dishes using the freshest ingredients available, while the tented rooms look out to the lagoon, designed to seamlessly blend with the breathtaking natural surroundings. All are air-conditioned and include free Wi-Fi, minibars, and en-suite bathrooms.
Just a short walk from the main square, restaurants, and nightlife in Balacalar, and only two blocks from the lagoon, Casa Chukum is a boutique hotel renowned for its friendly, helpful staff. It offers colorful, quirky rooms that include handmade tiles, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and mini-fridges. Some include sliding doors with direct garden access or balconies. The grounds feature an outdoor pool and leafy trees for shade, and daily breakfasts, a sumptuous buffet that includes eggs cooked to order and omelets are complimentary.
If you want to be within a fairly short distance of the restaurants and shops in town while enjoying a stay on the lagoon, book a room at Hotel Carolina. It has a private lakefront area with swings in the water, located about a 20-minute walk or a quick taxi ride from downtown. Made up of thatched-roof buildings, prices are reasonable and the rooms are elegant, with wood-beamed ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and decks, some with lagoon views. Air conditioning, Smart TVs and Wi-Fi are all included, and there’s an excellent restaurant on-site along with a swimming pool. Kayak rentals are available too.
Tucked into the jungle right along the shores of the lagoon, Akalki Hotel is a luxury boutique property and one of the first built in Bacalar. It offers all-inclusive packages with accommodation in thatched-roof cabins run on solar power. Most come with direct access to the lagoon and all feature comfy beds with 350-thread-count sheets, alternative feather pillows, Wi-Fi, binoculars, organic amenities, a water dispenser, sandals and a bag for use during your stay. It also hosts a world-class spa, yoga classes, watersports facilities and a fabulous restaurant facing the lagoon. Dishes are focused on fruits and vegetables from the hotel garden with homemade tortillas and bread.
Villas Ecotucan is surrounded by nature featuring secluded casitas that are immersed in the jungle just steps from the lagoon. Enjoy an eco-friendly stay in harmony with the environment with amenities that include private terraces with hammocks. Wi-Fi is available in the restaurant, where a complimentary breakfast is served. Various activities can be arranged, including sunrise kayak excursions, bird-watching tours, and guided jungle walks. There’s a vast garden by the water and a pier provides easy access for memorable swims.
A hidden gem in Bacalar, BoaBoa Bacalar is just steps from the lagoon, providing easy access to swimming. Kayaking and sailing excursions are available too. There are just a half-dozen cabins, all with stylish rustic decor and some with jaw-dropping views over the lagoon. Each one is uniquely designed with features like private terraces for watching the glorious sunrises, while the common spaces include hammocks, gardens, two docks, and a bonfire area.
The Yak Lake House is a high-end hostel with rave reviews located right on the lagoon near plenty of good restaurants, just two blocks from the city center and the famous St. Felipe Fort Museum. Comfortable accommodation is offered in both private rooms and shared dorms, all of which include private bathrooms, powerful fans, and air-conditioning to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. Enjoy access to the private dock, which stretches into the water, a perfect place to be mesmerized by the colorful sunrises. Enjoy a free welcome bar at the drink upon arrival, daily activities like yoga classes, Spanish lessons, and bonfires with live music. There’s a bit of a party vibe, with drinking games occasionally hosted too. The on-site restaurant offers tasty dishes that include healthy smoothie bowls, shared plates, salads, tacos, and burgers.