Once a hidden Mexican Caribbean gem only known by the most adventurous travelers, Bacalar has evolved into one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s most popular destinations.
Located about a 4-hour drive from Cancun, Bacalar is best known for its mesmerizing blue lagoon and its laid-back, bohemian atmosphere.
These attributes, added to its multiple cultural and historical offerings, have earned it the prestigious ‘Magical Town’ designation.
However, as tourist numbers in the region continue to skyrocket, local authorities are taking measures to bolster security and reduce crime rates.
As part of the C2 Command and Control Center project, managed by the municipal police, 40 video surveillance cameras will be installed at strategic locations with the aim of establishing continuous monitoring.
Local businesses are also being encouraged to join the initiative by connecting their security systems to C2.
These efforts, along with the construction of new facilities for the local police, are expected to be completed by February 2024.
Is Bacalar Safe For Travelers?
While these measures might sound alarming to some travelers, it’s worth noting that crime rates in Bacalar are quite low.
In fact, Bacalar enjoys one of Quintana Roo’s most stable and positive security indexes.
However, with the town’s growing popularity at both national and international levels, ensuring security has become a top priority, as emphasized by Bacalar Mayor José Alfredo Contreras Méndez.
This summer, Bacalar experienced a significant influx of visitors, prompting local authorities to take preventive safety measures.
Some of these measures included the implementation of the tourist police, including bilingual officers to assist international tourists, and the support of the Mexican Navy and Chetumal’s harbor master’s office.
More recently, Bacalar added a total of 200 new law enforcement elements with the aim of ensuring safety for both locals and tourists and deterring criminal activity.
Again, these measures, though substantial, are not a response to higher crime rates but part of a broader security policy implemented across the entire Quintana Roo state by Quintana Roo’s Governor Mara Lezama.
Inside Bacalar’s Skyrocketing Popularity
The fact that local authorities at Bacalar are taking significant measures to bolster security despite low crime rates only evidences how important its reputation as a tourist hotspot has become.
As mentioned earlier, a few years ago, this destination was pretty much unknown to most travelers, so this achievement is nothing short of remarkable.
But to be fair, given Bacalar’s stunning natural scenery and cultural attractions, it was only a matter of time before it started to draw visitors.
And with its designation as a ‘Magical Town’ back in 2006, the destination received significant investment, with substantial infrastructure development and the opening of numerous hotel boutiques, spas, and restaurants.
Nevertheless, much of the town’s popularity has to do with its mesmerizing lagoon, nicknamed the ‘Lagoon Of The Seven Colors’ due to its beautiful turquoise hues.
A Truly Unique Destination
Beyond its stunning aesthetics, Bacalar boasts a rich history, deeply rooted in Mayan heritage and marked by daring pirate incursions.
Bacalar’s standout historical attraction, the San Felipe Fort, was built in the 1700s to protect the town from pirate attacks.
Yet perhaps Bacalar’s most famous tourist attraction is ‘Los Rápidos’, where you’ll witness something truly special: the presence of stromatolites, the oldest living lifeforms on our planet.
These unique structures make Bacalar Lagoon the largest freshwater bacteria reef in the world, yet they face the unfortunate challenge of pollution and increased tourist activity, posing a threat to their delicate ecosystem.
Fortunately, Bacalar’s growing reputation as an ecotourism hotspot has prompted several of the town’s hotels, restaurants, and tour providers to adopt sustainable tourism practices.
So, there’s no doubt that Bacalar is an absolute must-visit for travelers seeking an idyllic and unique Mexican Caribbean experience.
And as this Magical Town’s popularity skyrockets, it’s clear that both tourists’ safety and the environment are high on the town’s priority list.
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