Bacalar Mexico is a small town situated on one of the loveliest freshwater lakes on the Yucatan Peninsula, Lake Bacalar. A bit off the tourist radar (four hours south of Cancun and just north of the border with Belize), it is a sleepy, relaxed place and generally not crowded with visitors, which adds to its appeal. Those who travel to Bacalar find a treasure trove of attractions to keep them there—the eighteenth-century Spanish fort of San Felipe, the azure waters of Bacalar Lagoon, one of the largest cenotes (limestone sinkholes filled with fresh water) in the Yucatan, and luxurious eco-resorts right by the lake. If that weren't enough, there are also many Mayan ruins nearby, many of which are as spectacular as the more famous sites, but are often curiously devoid of tourists.
Lake Bacalar is known as the lake of seven colors because, due to different depths of the water as well as other factors such as mineral composition, the water in the lake is colored several different shades of blue. Tourists who travel to Bacalar often stay at a resort with villas right on the shore of the lake, perfect for hanging in a hammock and relaxing with a book, or for swimming, water sports, or fishing. You can also head out onto the water in a catamaran, for which your hotel can help arrange a guide, and explore the many-colored waters of the lake itself. Restaurants right near the water serve a variety of fresh fish and other local dishes.
Located in the center of town, the eighteenth-century fort of San Felipe is an intriguing attraction, with stunning views of Lake Bacalar. The fort was built in 1733 to protect the inhabitants of Bacalar Mexico from the marauding pirates of the Caribbean. It is now restored and open to the public, with a history museum on-site where visitors can learn about past events in the area. The fort's walls are shaped like a star, and the structure is surrounded by a moat that is thirteen feet deep. You can also view the cannons, drawbridge, and other historic features of this stone fort.
An excellent place to go swimming while on travel to Bacalar is Cenote Azul, or the Blue Cenote. Cenotes are quite common on the Yucatan peninsula, and they are formed when the limestone on top of an underground water reservoir collapses. Cenote Azul is one of the largest cenotes in the Yucatan, measuring 300 feet deep and 600 feet wide. The water is crystal clear, allowing swimmers and divers to see deep into its blue depths. Right next to Cenote Azul, a restaurant bearing the cenote's name serves excellent seafood dishes.
Tourists who stay in Bacalar Mexico are also well-placed to see some of the spectacular Mayan ruins in the area. Some of the amazing archaeological sites here include Dzibanché, the ruins of a large Mayan town, and the nearby ruin of Kohunlich, which is particularly known for its Temple of the Masks, a stone edifice covered with carvings of masks. Many other ruins can be seen in the vicinity, and travelers to this area will be gratified to see that few other tourists venture to these beautiful sights, just off the beaten path.