June 4 - 9, 2019
After our wedding, we ventured south for three hours with my parents and sisters to Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Bacalar is a town in southeastern Mexico near the Belize border.
It’s on Lake Bacalar (Laguna de Bacalar), also called the Lagoon of Seven Colors due to its incredible shades of blue and turquoise! I have never seen a lake so pristine in my entire life. And what I loved most about it was that it was freshwater. The water in the Caribbean has similar coloring, but the water is yucky after a while. You can swim all day long in Bacalar Lake, and open your eyes underwater. This water is so clean, cool, and refreshing! It is also a great temperature in June.
We stayed at an adorable Airbnb called Casa Del Arbol right on the water. It is a three-bedroom private villa featuring Mexican architecture, which my mama loves, fresh fruit, and a backyard full of water toys (blowup flamingos/donuts, paddleboards, and kayaks). We even had on-site maids who cleaned for us each day. We look forward to returning here one day!
For our family, this was the perfect vacation because there were activities for everyone and enough space to spread out and really relax. Our villa had seven hammocks and lots of lawn chairs for reading or sunbathing.
And our back door led straight out to our personal dock which was great for swimming, snorkeling, or water sports 24/7. At night they lit up the dock with different fun colors that attracted cool catfish.
The wildlife was beautiful. There are lots of birds in the area, my mom and sister saw an alligator, different colored fish and tons of geckos and frogs! On our trip, we saw a family of tejons, also known as Coati (see here), which were adorable. These animals can hang from tree branches by their tails.
And nearby there were lots of things to do to or see. The zócalo (city center) of Bacalar was about 10 minutes by car and we fetched our groceries there. Tulum is about an hour and a half north as well.
Thanks to my mama for planning and sponsoring this whole soirée. I get it from my mama -- my writing skills as well as my independent adventurous soul. Thanks, mom! This is one for the books. <3
Things To Do
South of our house about ten minutes is Cenote Azul. We went snorkeling there and it was almost scary how deep the pool went. This entire part of Mexico is known for its cenotes (see-note-ehs).
And cenotes are essentially underwater caves. According to Wikipedia: a cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings.
Lots of our friends went on cenote tours where they snorkeled deep into the caves. But we were able to kayak to the tops of a few right in Bacalar lake. They are everywhere!
If you like watersports, this is paradise. The water on this lake is fresh and clean as well as relatively calm. People are out on this water playing at all hours of the day. Lots of people did sunrise paddle expeditions. Ras and I did an hour-long kayak to Pirates Cove, quite the workout for him LOL.
About an hour kayak from our house is a super cool spot called Pirates Cove. In this cove there are a bunch of sunken restaurants or pirate ships, so they say. And for some reason the mud here is magical.
Around the mangroves, there is deep, ooey googey, sticky white mud that is supposedly great for your skin! We had to try it a few times. After it dries you can dive into the thigh-deep water and watch it dissipate.
This was my first time ever on a catamaran. There are lots of sailboats on this lake, and there was even a sailing race during our stay. We went on a beautiful three-hour sunset sail around the lake while we enjoyed some Montejo cervezas. This is a great way to see the vastness of the lake which stretches 42 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide.
Our villa had four hammocks on the rooftop, two off the bedroom deck and one out on the dock. You aren’t really relaxing until you’ve experienced a hammock in Bacalar.
The snorkeling around our dock was great, I think Rasmus went at least three times a day. At different times of the day, you could find different kinds of fish. The water in front of our house was a sanctuary that was protecting the delicate ecosystem.
Bacalar is home to the world's highest concentration of stromatolites, coral-like organisms found in only a handful of places around the globe and considered among the earliest lifeforms on earth. While in the water we used an environmentally friendly sunscreen to help preserve the stromatolites.
An hour North of Bacalar is a cute port city called Mahahual. My dad booked a great snorkeling tour for us there! I was on a mission to see a turtle, and our guide found us a great spot. We came upon two Tortuga Carey’s or Hawksbill Sea Turtles.
Sadly, these ones are critically endangered due to fishing and global warming. These turtles love to live in lagoons and among the coral reefs. These guys reach maturity at 20 years old, and their lifespan is unknown. They were very cute and curious and went about their business munching on the seafloor.
This was a fantastic restaurant that we went to in Bacalar that features a Latin fusion menu, with a specialty in finger food. We had some fruity cocktails and enjoyed their atmosphere. This restaurant has a dense jungle vibe that opens out to a dock with hammocks to enjoy the lake.
We enjoyed our last night on vacation at this spot. I had a delicious salmon dish. And we shared a few pitchers of sangria. They grow and catch all their food locally and there on their property and have a very memorable rustic fine dining ambiance.
Check out the GoPro video I made during our trip:
Overall, we adore Bacalar! And we really cannot wait to return.