Laguna Bacalar: A Lake Bluer than the Sea

Lake Bacalar, just 25 miles north of Chetumal, is incredibly close to San Pedro and is incredibly beautiful.  Looking out over the lake, it is hard to believe that it is fresh water and not the Carribbean.  Bacalar is the second largest fresh water lake in Mexico (the largest is Lake Chalapa southeast of Guadalajara), the bottom is limestone and the lake sparkles. There is definitely a good reason that they call this laguna the Lakes of Seven Colors.  It could not be more blue.

But, as usual, let´s back up a bit.  Early in the morning, I took the San Pedro Belize Express from Ambergris Caye to Chetumal, Mexico.  (Did you know that they are running a special for Belizeans and Belize residents?  Only $85bzd round trip.  The regular cost is $135bzd.)  We were all ready to leave right on time at 7:30am when a boatload of 46 European tourists, a few different tour groups, arrived from Caye Caulker to go through immigration.  Oh my…we ended up leaving over an hour late.

My two friends, Dani and Cesar were picking me up at the boat terminal.  Two friends that are driving from Washington, DC to Argentina.  Yes, you heard me.  DRIVING TO SOUTH AMERICA.  I am super jealous.  They have a blog (of course) – CapitolSouthbound.  I am lucky enough to tag along for a few days…

The drive to Bacalar is easy.  About half an hour along the main highway and we pulled into the small town.   There is a small plaza, some restaurants and stores but not too much to see.

The Fort of San Felipe (built in 1733) sits over the lake.  You can pay to go inside but there didn´t look like there was too much to see.  The fort was built by the Marhsall of the Yucatan to fend off pirates and to shield the region from harassment from traders in Campeche wood.  (Or at least that is what the sign said.)
We headed to a local taco stand for a quick lunch.  They offered chicken tacos or the black taco below.  I was the only one to order the negro taco. I had to be a tough guy.
I won´t be ordering that again.
Off to the lake and my home away from home.  I love this little tent. If I lay diagonally, I can just fit.  I am going to buy one and start camping around Ambergris Caye.  Good idea, right?   And look at the view.
This is not normal camping.  As you can imagine, Dani and Cesar have quite a bit of equipment for a year on the road. Their truck is fully kitted out for the trek…from a stove to a roof top tent to a hammock to an extra tent for me…I can think of very few things that are not in that truck.
They are not alone in this sort of adventure. At the same camp site, this family from Belgium (2 parents, 3 young girls and a dog!) are coming north from Argentina and travelling around the world for THREE YEARS!  The Americas to Oceania to Asia to Africa…Makes you feel like a stick in the mud, doesn´t it?
The campsite was $70 pesos per person.  It was equipped with a bathroom but no sink or shower.  It was perfectly adequate…
It offered a 5 set of uber-cute puppies and their parents.  We couldn´t get enough of these puppies…
And a pretty good looking sunrise.
Get yourself to Lake Bacalar!  A perfect long weekend from San Pedro.
Something to skip:  On your way into Bacalar, there is a sign for the Cenote Azul. Touted by my guidebook as one of the biggest in the Yucatan and a stop to make, I disagree. It is clearly a place where huge tour groups stop.
The restaurant and facilities are HUGE.
But the cenote is more small lake and less stalagmites and cool rock formations.
Why stop at this swimming hole when one of the most beautiful lakes in the world is within minutes?  LOOK AT THIS LAKE!
I apologize for my lack of blogging but internet service is not available at most campsites.  Right now we are parked right on the beach about 30kms north of Tulum…and it is gorgeous.  I will be back to my regular schedule soon.  And I will fill you in on the whole trip.



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  • What a lovely lake! The camper-vans are super cool, and the puppies…well, I’d be in heaven! The black taco, not so much. You are a brave woman!