Discover Bacalar Mexico with new flights to Tulum
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Bacalar: Mexico’s Hidden Gem, Now from Tulum Airport

Discover the hidden gem of Bacalar, a serene paradise now accessible via the new nonstop flights to Tulum. Yes, the Tulum airport just opened to U.S. flights in 2024! Just a short drive from the Tulum airport, Bacalar and its nearby cenotes offer a tranquil escape from busier tourist spots like Cancun and Tulum. Known as the “Lagoon of Seven Colors,” its crystal-clear waters offer a spectrum of blues that rival the Caribbean Sea. This is not one to miss if you want an off-the-beaten-path (but tourist-ready) Mexico beach experience. Most hotels are conveniently located with lagoon views, this is a must-have for your visit.

Bacalar is an ideal choice for a relaxed vacation. You can enjoy activities like sailing, kayaking, or simply unwinding by the lagoon with a drink. The new direct flights to Tulum make a visit convenient for travelers. With its engaging cultural history and beautiful natural surroundings, Bacalar offers a quiet getaway for those looking to escape busier tourist destinations.

Travel to Bacalar is an opportunity uncovered by using flight schedules to plan your vacation. We will continue to find and feature these opportunities for you. So, pack your bags and get ready for a quicker, more convenient trip to one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets!

Why travel to Bacalar Mexico?

Be the first of your friends to learn this hidden secret. It was now easily accessible from the new Tulum Airport (TQO), officially known as Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport. It opened its doors on December 1, 2023. International flights, including flights from the U.S. to Tulum, began on March 28, 2024. This means, the best way to Bacalar, Mexico is now by air through Tulum! Yes, you could stay in Tulum, but we prefer the unique experience of Bacalar.

Bacalar, Mexico is home to the enchanting Laguna de los Siete Colores (Lake of Seven Colors). Imagine kayaking on crystal-clear waters, surrounded by lush greenery and gentle waves. Visit Fuerte San Felipe, an 18th-century fortress perched on the lagoon’s edge. Its cannons once guarded against pirates, and today, it provides panoramic views of the water and surrounding landscape. Bacalar’s relaxed vibes, magical sunrises, and pristine cenotes make it a perfect family getaway. Whether you are lounging in a hammock, enjoying a fresh coconut, or diving into underwater caves, Bacalar encourages you to unwind, connect with nature, and make unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

The only heads-up we’re giving you is that we hear the WiFi isn’t great, so plan accordingly.

Tulum has a new airport

The new Tulum airport, the Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport, was inaugurated at the tail end of 2023. This airport has made travel to the Yucatan Peninsula’s destinations, like Bacalar, much more accessible.

Fares are generally competitive to flights into Cancun International Airport (CUN), especially with the introduction of new routes. Your side-by-side fare comparison will vary by airline, by time of booking, and based on your starting airport, but overall the new airport’s opening has introduced more options and potentially better deals for travelers as airlines establish their presence and seek to attract passengers to the new hub. When airlines invest in flying aircraft into a new city, they are always keen to make it work and will make efforts (including lowering prices) to send the planes out full to the new hot spot. That’s good news for you.

Getting to Bacalar

As mentioned, traveling to the enchanting town of Bacalar has become a breeze with the opening of the Tulum Airport (TQO), the closest airport to Bacalar. Previously, a journey from Cancun Airport (CUN) to Bacalar could take approximately 4.5 hours by car, or even longer by bus. Now, with the new Tulum airport, the drive to Bacalar is reduced to around 2.5 hours. This significant cut in travel time not only makes Bacalar more accessible but also allows for more leisure time to enjoy the “Lagoon of Seven Colors” and the town’s serene beauty.

Taxis are prevalent within Bacalar, so if you don’t take a car with you hailing a cab is an option. You can also rent a bike at one of the many bike shops.

Flights options at the start of Tulum airport (TQO) service

As of March 2024, the following flight plans are available.

  • American Airlines: twice daily service from Dallas/Fort Worth and daily from Charlotte and Miami
  • Delta Air Lines: daily service between Atlanta and Tulum
  • JetBlue: daily service from New York’s JFK will begin in June
  • Spirit Airlines: daily service from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando
  • United Airlines: daily service to Tulum from Newark, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston

Let’s also look at that same information in terms of the cities that now have nonstop flights to Tulum, the closest airport to Bacalar. If your home airport or city isn’t on the list, you will hopefully have a connecting flight through one of these airports.

  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (EWR, JFK – June)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Mexico City (MEX)
  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Orlando (MCO)

Stop at Chaachoben on way from Tulum to Bacalar

When heading from Tulum to Bacalar, consider a stop at Chaachoben. Located conveniently on your route, the Zona Arqueologica De Chaachoben provides a valuable glimpse into the Mayan civilization. Here, you’ll find impressive ruins, including pyramids and temples that offer insights into ancient times.

The site is easy to access and doesn’t require a long detour, making it an ideal quick stop. You can thoroughly explore the main attractions and take some photos in just an hour or two. If you have a bit more time, spending up to three hours allows for a more relaxed visit and a deeper appreciation of the history.

Including Chaachoben in your itinerary as you travel from Tulum to Bacalar is highly recommended. It’s a great way to enhance your journey with a touch of history and culture without taking too much time out of your schedule.

Top 3 attractions in Bacalar

On a 3 to 5-day trip to Bacalar, there are three must-do activities and excursions. Spend as long as you would like in Bacalar to fully recharge and relax, but make sure you experience each of these on your trip.

Bacalar Mexico from Tulum Lake of Seven Colors
Photo by Camila Vázquez on Unsplash
  1. Explore the Bacalar Lagoon / Bacalar Laguna: Known as the “Lake of Seven Colors,” this stunning lagoon offers crystal-clear waters. 
  2. Fuerte San Felipe: Visit this historic fort, which dates back to the 18th century. It’s located right by the lagoon and offers great views.
  3. Cenote Azul: Take a dip in this natural sinkhole with vibrant blue waters. It’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Top tours and excursions in Bacalar

While some sights are easily explored by yourself, these top local tours are perfect for getting out on the water and fully taking in all that Bacalar has to offer. Taking a boat tour is a must-do as a Bacalar excursion.

Top tour options:

  • Boat tour to the Cenotes: This is a top option and is noted as popular, it may sell out. Small groups set out on the Lagoon of Seven Colors and explore the Cenote de la Bruja.
  • Private boat tour: Great option if you prefer private tours to get away from crowds. On this tour you will swim in the waters and see more quiet locations. Kids are welcome. After the tour you can hop in a kayak until sunset.
  • 4-Hour Lagoon Tour: We love this tour option if you want all the add-ins — open bar, snacks, 3 cenotes, 3 spots to swim, etc. This is the option we prefer.
  • Sailing tour: This 2-hour sailing tour is great for those who prefer sailing, or have never been on a sailboat.

We recommend starting with a guided boat tour to learn about Bacalar’s secrets, then venture out on your own to soak up the tranquility and discover hidden corners.

Cenotes in and near Bacalar

A cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes the groundwater underneath. They are stunning and ideal for divers and explorers as they can have an extensive underground cave system. Originating from the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, cenotes were vital to the ancient Maya for water supplies and sometimes for sacrificial offerings. They are typically found in low-altitude regions and can vary in size, with some being large open-water pools and others smaller, sheltered sites.

Bacalar cenotes are beautiful to explore. Here are four notable ones near Bacalar:

  1. Cenote Azul: One of the deepest cenotes in the Riviera Maya, Cenote Azul resembles a small lake with a depth of 90 meters. Surrounded by vegetation and the turquoise waters of the Laguna, it’s perfect for swimming, kayaking, or simply relaxing.
  2. Cenote Negro: While not as deep as Cenote Azul, Cenote Negro is still a fascinating spot. Its dark waters create a unique contrast against the vibrant blue of the lagoon.
  3. Cenote Esmeralda: As the name suggests, this cenote boasts emerald-green waters. It’s a peaceful place to cool off and enjoy the natural beauty.
  4. Cenote Cocalitos: Another gem near Bacalar, Cenote Cocalitos offers clear waters and underwater caves. Snorkeling here is a must!

Bacalar Mexico Travel Guide

Where to Stay in Bacalar

We highly recommend a lagoon view accommodation. The lagoon (or “laguna”) is the main attraction and you will certainly wake up and want to see the view. If you are not able to get a lagoon-front property, stay close to the Centro area near Avenue 1, especially if you did not rent a car.

Hotel Rancho Encantado – This perfect lagoon-front hotel has not only an excellent location, but the bungalow room types are perfect for families or larger groups. They have an airport shuttle to get you from the airport to the hotel. You will be spoiled on this trip.

Khaban Bacalar Hotel Boutique – This wonderful boutique hotel has a pool, terrace, and restaurant on the property. Splurge for a lagoon view room! Couples highly rate this property, and it’s every vibe you’re hoping to have.

Hotel Amainah Bacalar – Another great couples option, and we love that it has an airport shuttle as well as the option to book a car once you’re on the property. Chill out, and enjoy the lagoon at this property.

Overall, Booking.com is a good place to look for single-residence, vacation properties. A range of properties are available that host either small families or large groups. Each one looks unique!

Best Bacalar Restaurants

For a serene and relaxed dining experience in Bacalar with great food, we recommend La Playita. It’s a laid-back beachfront restaurant known for its excellent views and its diverse menu includes seafood, vegan, and meat dishes. The atmosphere is perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring Bacalar, and the service is highly rated. 

Another great option if you want more relaxed and quick dining is Mango y Chile, a delightful vegan restaurant with a beautiful view of the lagoon, offering a variety of healthy (vegan and gluten-free) dishes.

We love the lagoon views and feel of this highly-rated restaurant, Bertilla Lagoon & Beach Club. They are vegetarian-friendly and are open all meals of the day. Great for a date night!

FAQs of Travel to Bacalar

Where is Bacalar, Mexico?

Bacalar is located in the Quintana Roo State, Southeast Mexico. It lies about an hour north of the Belize border and approximately 2.5 hours south of Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula.

What is the best time to visit Bacalar, Mexico?

You’ll experience ideal weather in January and February, with highs in the low 70s, although crowds are higher. Spring brings sunny days and crowds thin out around April with temperatures in the low 80s. Guidance is to avoid hurricane season from August to October or be able to tweak your travel plans if a storm is approaching before your trip. Peak season is December, and you’ll see higher prices during this time.  

Where to go after Bacalar?

Tulum: Head north to Tulum, known for its stunning beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and bohemian vibe. Explore the Tulum Ruins, swim in cenotes, and indulge in beachfront dining. 
Chetumal: If you’re curious about local culture, visit Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo. Discover museums, markets, and the Museum of Maya Culture. 
Mahahual: For a laid-back beach escape, drive east to Mahahual. Relax on its sandy shores, snorkel the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, and savor fresh seafood. 
Holbox Island: If you’re up for an island adventure, head northwest to Holbox Island. It’s a car-free paradise with pristine beaches, whale shark tours, and vibrant street art. 

Is Bacalar safe?

Bacalar is generally a safe destination for tourists, with Tulum and Cancun experiencing more crime. Serious crime is relatively uncommon, and it’s known for its natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere. You may check for any Mexico Travel Advisories before your trip.

Petty theft can occur, so secure your belongings and remain vigilant. Luckily, the remote location reduces cartel violence.

Final thoughts: Travel to Bacalar

Travel to the beautiful and unique city of Bacalar is now more feasible through flights to the new airport in Tulum. Getting away from the larger cities of Cancun and Tulum and heading to Bacalar will have you postcard-ready with views and excursions that will leave you amazed and charmed. Explore with confidence with our easy International guides.

Breezy Summary – Fly into Tulum and make the easy drive or shuttle to Bacalar. Stay in a property with lagoon views, and book a tour that gets you out on the lagoon and exploring cenotes. Enjoy the food and escapist feel of Bacalar, before it gets more touristy! We recommend 3 to 5 days.

Cheers and happy, breezy travels.

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