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Laguna Bacalar is a perfect weekend trip from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, or anywhere in the Riviera Maya. The colors of the water are stunning, the sleepy town is the perfect relaxing getaway from the crowds, and all the food we ate here was amazing too.

Crazy enough, this is actually a lake. Seriously. Have you ever seen such clear water and beautiful turquoise colors in one before? I was definitely surprised when I first heard about this destination and decided that I needed to see it for myself.

It lived up to the hype (that I built in my head, at least) and honestly exceeded it. What’s not to love about this beautiful place? I promise these photos will have you itching to escape the salty beaches and spend the weekend in Laguna Bacalar!

[Save time planning your Mexico trip with my two-week itinerary]


the blue waters of laguna bacalar


How to Get to Laguna Bacalar from Playa del Carmen

Laguna Bacalar is three hours from Tulum, four hours from Playa del Carmen, and five hours from Cancun by bus.

In Playa del Carmen, you can take the ADO first class bus from the station on Calle 12 and Avenida 20. The cost is 322 pesos (about $17 usd) for a one way trip. The buses leave every two hours, and you can see the full schedule here. There are also second class busses called Mayab that run the route. These cost 222 pesos ($12 usd) if you’re really on a budget.

I strongly recommend choosing the first class bus. It’s more comfortable, has a bathroom, and most importantly… it’s faster. We missed the first class bus on our way home and hopped on a Mayab instead. It ended up taking an extra hour because of all the stops added in (and it was late too…) so honestly I’d rather spend the extra five bucks for a faster trip.


Shores of laguna bacalar


What to do for a Weekend in Laguna Bacalar

The number one activity in Laguna Bacalar is relaxing. However you like to unwind, you can do it here.

Swimming? Check.

Water swings? Yep.

Hammocks, sun chairs, quiet restaurants? Yes, yes and yes.

Come to Laguna Bacalar to spend your days by the gorgeous fresh water lake. The colors are seriously stunning, and I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Even when it was cloudy and storming, the turquoise water seemed to glow with an ethereal look. To be honest lakes are not usually my favorite place to be, but this is the clearest, cleanest, most beautiful water I’ve ever seen.


girl on water swings in laguna bacalar


We stayed in a hostel called Yaxche Centro which had a shuttle to their own private spot on the beach where we spent two days swimming, kayaking (100 pesos per hour), reading, and relaxing on the water. There are also plenty of beachfront hotels and campsites, so there’s something for every budget here.

Click here to book your stay at Yaxche Centro!

One of our two days was super rainy so we spent them both on the water, but theres so much to do to fill a weekend in Laguna Bacalar. Rent stand up paddle boards, visit the San Felipe Fort, day drink, do a boat tour (sold on the street corner by the fort, 250 pesos per person), snorkel, check out the nearby cenote Azul, or even go down a giant water slide into the lake.


Jumping into laguna Bacalar


Where to Eat at Laguna Bacalar

I was surprised because every meal I had in this small town was delicious. I shouldn’t have been, though, because this is Mexico and the food is just consistently on another plane from the rest of the world.

We got the shrimp ceviche and beef tacos at Mexico Gourmet (so good), enjoyed the sopes and burritos at Ojitos La Catrina, and tried the vegan burgers and milkshakes at Mango y Chile, which also had a beautiful view of the lake.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to snack at Akira Ice Rolls, sooo I guess I’ll just have to come back for another weekend in Laguna Bacalar someday!


View from Mongo y Chile cafe


Nightlife in Laguna Bacalar

Laguna Bacalar is a pretty quiet town, so don’t expect some Playa del Carmen level parties.

I recommend having a few beers and watching the sunset at La Playita restaurant, located in a jungle ambiance right on the water. Afterwards, just walk down the street to enjoy live music and cheap drinks at Ojitos La Catrina, which was packed both nights we stopped in.


Have I convinced you to add a weekend in Laguna Bacalar to your Mexico bucket list?

This place is definitely off the beaten path but it’s so worth taking the time to explore! You will never see a more beautiful lake than here, I promise. If you want to disconnect from the real world and recharge, a weekend in Laguna Bacalar is definitely the place to do it. Enjoy!

Ready to go? Click here to book your stay at Laguna Bacalar!


Looking for more off-the-beaten-path destinations in Mexico? Learn how to go hiking in Izta-Popo National Park, take photos at a stunning & futuristic library, visit the natural blue pools at the colonial town of Taxco, or spend a day exploring ruins and underground cenotes

[Save time planning your Mexico trip with my two-week itinerary]


  1. Alejandro

    where exactly are the Swings in the Lagoon? I’m taking my GF for her B-Day in June, so I want to know the perfect pic spots and I have already pin the restaurants you recommeded.


    • Di Minardi

      Our hostel (Yaxche Centro) had a private beach with the swings you see pictured here but they aren’t the only ones on the lake. I saw more when we were kayaking as well. If your accommodation has a beach ask if they have swings and if not they may be able to tell you where you can find public ones.


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