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This Gorgeous Area South Of Cancun Is Among World’s Best Free-Entry Attractions

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As travel prices continue to rise in 2023, finding an affordable vacation deal requires careful planning and flexibility. 

While finding budget-friendly flights and accommodation options is essential, the cost of tourist attractions can quickly add up and strain your travel budget.

Fortunately, the Mexican Caribbean offers a wealth of stunning tourist attractions that won’t break the bank. 

Bacalar - aerial view

One outstanding example is Lake Bacalar, often hailed as Mexico’s most beautiful lake, located just under a 5-hour drive from Cancun, near the city of Chetumal.

In a recent report by vacation rentals and property management company Casago, this tropical paradise earned the fifth spot in a list of the best free-entry tourist attractions worldwide, based on top-rated TripAdvisor reviews from travelers.

With a remarkable rating of 91.62%, Lake Bacalar now stands alongside iconic attractions such as Canada’s Horseshoe Falls, the National Museum of the US Air Force, and Belgium’s Luc Vanlaere Harpist Mini Harp Museum.


Keep reading to learn more about this gorgeous lake and why it keeps captivating the hearts of travelers from all around the world.

What Makes Lake Bacalar Such An Enchanting Attraction

Lake Bacalar is locally known as ‘La Laguna De Los Siete Colores’, which translates to ‘The Lake Of Seven Colors.’

With crystal clear waters showcasing a mesmerizing array of blue hues, the name is undeniably fitting.

The lake’s unique color is a reflection of its varying depths, with the darker shades of blue being attributed to natural sinkholes, with the famous Cenote Azul being the most prominent.

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However, what truly sets the lake’s color apart is the presence of stromatolites, literally living fossils composed of microorganisms over 3,500 million years old. 

Unfortunately, the lake’s growing popularity as a tourist destination has led to some damage to these formations, primarily due to uninformed visitors inadvertently stepping on them.

Experts warn that excessive damage​ to these stromatolites could jeopardize the lake’s signature blue shades. 

The good news​ is that you can still appreciate the lake’s beauty and enjoy​ a wide range​ of water activities without causing harm​ to these unique formations.

@travelsbytash Make sure to visit Bacalar on your next trip to Mexico! The colour of the water here is insane 😍 #backpackingmexico #solofemalebackpacker #bacalarmexico #visitmexico🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽 #mexicotips ♬ Walking On a Dream – Empire of the Sun

As established, access​ to the lake​ is completely free, with various public docks sporting swings and hammocks, inviting you​ to take​ a dip​ in the lake’s refreshing waters.

For​ a small fee, you can level​ up your experience​ by renting​ a kayak, sailboat,​ or paddleboard​ to navigate the breathtaking natural surroundings. 

Alternatively, hop​ оn​ a boat tour​ tо explore the iconic ‘Los Rapidos.’ This narrow stretch​ оf the lagoon​ is flanked​ by stromatolites and features​ a gentle current, ideal for kayaking​ оr boat exploration.

Not only are these tours budget-friendly, but often they also include visits​ to the lake’s cenotes and provide treats like fresh fruit, snacks, and even beer.

Aerial view of a boat on a colourful lagoon in Bacalar

A Magical Destination

While Lake Bacalar​ is the top tourist attraction​ in the area, Bacalar town also offers travelers numerous cultural, culinary, and wellness experiences.

This charming town holds the prestigious title​ of being one​ of the Riviera Maya’s “Magical Towns,”​ a distinction reserved for destinations with exceptional historical, natural, culinary, and hospitality features. 

With its laid-back and rustic vibe, Bacalar​ is perfect for exploring​ by bicycle, which you can rent for​ a modest fee.

San Felipe Fort - Bacalar

In your exploration, you’ll encounter the legendary San Felipe fort, constructed​ in the XVII century​ by the Spanish​ to fend off pirates who ventured into the lake seeking plunder. 

And with​ an entrance fee​ оf about​ $5 USD, this historical gem​ is​ an absolute must-visit​ on any Bacalar itinerary.

The heart​ of the town lies​ in its main plaza, where you’ll find the finest restaurants, bars, and artisan shops.​ 

At Restaurants such as Nixtamal and La Playita, you’ll find a delightful blend of international and local cuisine, complemented by expertly crafted cocktails. 

A couple on hammocks in a palapa over the water in Bacalar, Mexican Caribbean.

Finally, no Bacalar experience is complete without indulging in one of the town’s several wellness offerings, which include various treatments, rituals, and Mayan ceremonies.

Spas such as the Massage Spa Kuxtal Bacalar offer relaxing massages and treatments right by the lake – all at an affordable price.

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