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Why Chetumal And Bacalar Should Be Next On Your Vacation List

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So, perhaps you’ve already visited the beautiful beaches of Holbox, the luxurious resorts of Playa Del Carmen, or Tulum’s exciting nightlife? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere less touristy for your next Mexican adventure? Well, look no further; Chetumal and Bacalar are the next up-and-coming destinations on the Mexican Caribbean Coast you have been waiting for.

Aerial view of lagoon in bacalar with a boat in the water

Looking For An Off-The-Beaten-Path Tropical Vacation Spot This Winter?

Look no further. On the Southeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, on the Mexican-Belize border, lies the tranquil town of Bacalar. Famed for its stunning blue lake ‘Lake Bacalar’, which is so blue in fact, it has earned the title of ‘The Maldives of Mexico’. Its long cerulean strip of lagoon looks like it’s been carved out of the Indian Ocean and placed in the lush emerald-green landscape of the Mexican coast. The Mexican government even named Bacalar a ‘Pueblo Magico’ (meaning magic town) after its magical beauty, natural wonders, and historic sites.

Once you’ve taken in the laid-back vibe of Bacalar, you could find yourself swimming in the beautiful lagoons from any of the public docks, or any of the surrounding beach clubs, cycling around the town, exploring the cenotes, sailing through the sunset, or spending the day diving or snorkeling in the clear crystal waters.

Aerial view Bacalar

Chetumal Is Worth A Visit

Chetumal is a city and the capital of the Quintana-Roo state. It sits on the border of Mexico and Belize and is often used as a travel hub between the two neighboring countries, but it offers so much more than that. It has a Caribbean vibe, boasting a wealth of culture, history, and impressive natural wonders, alongside plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and tourist attractions to suit all budgets and tastes. Key highlights include a visit to the Museum of Mayan Culture or even a day trip to the pre-Columbian site of ancient Mayan ruins in Ichkabal

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 Chetumal Sunset

Why Not Consider Making This A Multi-Destination Trip, Combining The Two?

You could be swimming or kayaking in the warm azure lagoon waters of Bacalar by day and then marveling at the sunset strolling down The Boulevard Bahia in Chetumal by night. The boulevard is the longest in the Yucatan Peninsula. Or you could visit the Zona Arqueológica de Dzibanché and be transported back in time while in awe of the Mayan civilization.

Chetumal Ruins

Being lesser known, these destinations offer more affordable prices. With them being so well connected, it makes for an ideal duo destination vacation. With both hot spots offering so much diversity and contrast, the two pair perfectly. They are close enough for you to take a day trip from either place, for example, a lagoon boat tour day trip, or alternatively, spend a few nights in each destination. To travel between the two, it takes around a 35-50 minute bus ride or a 35-minute drive/taxi. You can take several different bus options, such as the ADO or the collectivo shuttle buses.

After the news that the director of the Quintana Roo Tourism Promotion Council (CPTQR), Javier Aranda, is “enthusiastic about the budget of 700 million Mexican pesos that he will receive this year” going towards promoting Chetumal and Bacalar, it sounds like these two destinations are going to become extremely sought after very soon. So as we head further into winter, the sleepy town of Bacalar and the up-and-coming city of Chetumal are sure to be amazing choices for a less crowded vacation, with all the Mexican charm and attractions of other destinations on the Yucatan Peninsula.

bacalar lagoon

How To Get There

To Bacalar, it’s around a 5-6 hour journey via bus or a 4-hour drive from Cancun Airport, or a 30-minute drive from Chetumal Airport.

To Chetumal, it’s around a 6-hour bus journey or just over 4 hours via car from the Cancun airport. Additionally, you can fly into their local airport, either directly from Mexico City or with a single connection, you can fly from most larger US airports.

chetumal capital quintana roo

Also, with the exciting new arrival of the upcoming Tulum Airport (dates to be confirmed), this could significantly shorten your journey to both of these destinations in the future.

Chetumal and Bacalar may be less accessible than other popular destinations in Mexico, but we think it’s well worth going the extra distance, whether you’re traveling solo, with loved ones, or with your family.

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Tuesday 21st of March 2023

If only Chetumal had thought of what a waste their planning has made of their beautiful bay access. Hotels are not on the water nor are any restaurants and access to beaches. Nil from the City if Chetumal. In order to become what is being marketed that has to change.