This town is an old Spanish settlement here before Chetumal and now is a little local resort; with an old fort in the heart of town called “Foerte de San Felipe Bacalar”.
Bacalar as it turns out is quite a nice little town located just north of the Belize border on Hwy 307 between Chetumal and Cozumel, Mexico. It has everything you need; ATM, hospital, bars, restaurants, street vendors, souvenir shops, one campground that is right on the lake, hostels, hotels all on a great seven color lagoon. The lagoon is big enough for motorboats, water-skiers, jet-skies, sightseeing watercrafts, sailboats and much more.
This fresh water lagoon is known as “Las Lagunas de Siete Colores” (The Lagoon of 7 Colors) and is landlocked. It is very shallow with a light reflecting bottom that changes colors depending upon time of day and lighting conditions. It is an excellent place to swim and camp.
The water is beautiful, clear and with colors changing from white to the deepest blue. At this location there are special live formations called Stromatoites that date back some 3,500,000 years. At night the moonlight prances on the water like thousands of fireflies were dancing on it. An added bonus is right now there are not many mosquitoes or other biting insects to spoil the night’s enjoyment.
Cenote Azul (Blue Sinkhole) is separated from Laguna Bacalar only by a narrow strip of land but entirely different and reported to be more than 175 feet (57 meters) deep. For M$10 you can access this great swimming hole through the restaurant. Spending a hot sunny day in a cool deep blue sinkhole is great way to spend time and have a bite to eat.
Sinkholes here are caves of soft limestone that collapsed and exposed the freshwater rivers within. There are more that 6000 of them and are unique to the Yucatan peninsula; the freshwater within is considered to be sacred waters. The Mayans thought that the underground rivers and streams that are found in these cenotes are gateways to Xibalba or the underworld. Another theory is that some 65 million years ago the Chicxulub meteor impacted the area and a huge proliferation beginning at a radius of more than 100km (62 miles), but looking at a map the cenotes are not in that area. This meteor is the one that is thought to be the start of the ice age and causing the extinction of the dinosaurs.
My first plan was to stay for just a few days then head on up to Cozumel where I had planned to sell my two scuba tanks and maybe a wetsuit to one of the dive shops. That would have given me some extra cash then I could afford to snorkel with the whale sharks ($150US) and do a few other things, but that has fallen flat. Now I am planning where to go next.
The Balneario Cocalitos Campground is $7.50US per night for me; it is lovely and right on the lake. I need to stay a bit longer to balance out my month and money, and then I will be on the road again.
Belize gas prices were $6US per gallon and I got bad gas millage too. Mexico gas is run by the government so it will be the same price throughout the country at $3.80 per gallon, I can sure use a price break.
I am very much looking forward to getting back home…the grass being greener as they say.