I had always purchased bus tickets a day in advance in Mexico. It ensures you get a cheaper rate and will be on the bus you want. I stupidly didn’t buy my ticket in advance for Bacalar. When I got to the ADO bus station at 10:30am the 11am bus I wanted was full. I’d have to wait for the 1pm bus meaning I’d waste my day waiting for and sitting on the bus.
I had two hours to kill before my bus and Campanella was down the street, so what did I do? Got ice cream at my favorite place one last time. Not the worst way to kill time.
Having not really made any friends in Tulum other than my host Efrain and my lackluster lover Edgargo I was hopeful to meet some new friends at my hostel in Bacalar. I chose to stay at a brand new hostel in Bacalar called The Yak Lake House. It’s always a gamble with new hostels. You never know how many people will be staying there. The Yak Lake House ended up being one of the nicest hostels I stayed at on my whole trip. It was completely brand new with super comfortable beds and breakfast included, plus, it’s right on the lake.
When I arrived I quickly threw my things in my room, changed into my swim suit, ran and jumped off the dock into the lake. The lake was shallow and my feet immediately sunk down into the muddy bottom. Gross. Despite the shallowness of the water and the mud on the bottom, the lake was the most amazing shade of aquamarine. Lake Bacalar is actually 7 shades of blue, depending on the depth and material at the bottom. There are also cenotes in the lake.
Two people jumped in the lake shortly after me and we started talking. Celia and Edgar are French students studying in Guadalajara. They are on a break from school so they decided to fly to Cancún, rent a car, and drive all over the Yucatán Peninsula. I really admired their courageous and adventurous spirits. They invited me to join them on their road trip the following day.
After a few hours of swimming I decided to go and try and find some dinner. Bacalar is a small town with not much to do besides relax at the lake. It was a Friday night though and there was some weird holiday event going on at their center square. Women were dressed up in sexy Santa outfits and singing out-of-key Christmas songs.
I wandered around aimlessly until I found a quesadilla place to grab dinner. After dinner, I was still feeling pretty lonely, so I started texting with friends back home. I was texting on my phone not looking where I was walking when all of a sudden my foot fell into a giant two foot hole and I fell, hard. My legs, my hands and my chest were all scratched up and bleeding. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. No one saw me and I was all alone, bleeding in the street in Mexico.
I hobbled back to my hostel and cleaned myself up. From that point on I vowed to never text and walk again. I don’t know how well I have kept up with that promise but it’s a good thing to be reminded of.
The French couple and I decided to do a guided tour of the Lake Bacalar in the morning then drive back to Tulum where I would spend my remaining two days before flying home for the holidays.
The tour of Lake Bacalar was arranged by the hostel and cost around $200 MXN to $300 MXN ($10 to $15 USD). On the tour the guide shows you the 7 different shades of blue in the lake and explains to you what causes the varying shades. In parts of the lake the bottom is actually an underwater cenote with a bottom so deep no one knows what’s actually down there. The water in this part of the lake is dark blue almost black. In other parts the water is a light aquamarine color caused by the shallowness and white limestone bottom.
In part of the tour they take you to a shallow area of the lake where you can cover yourself in the limestone as kind of a exfoliating body scrub.
If you’re in Bacalar I highly recommend doing the lake tour. There isn’t much else to do there and you’re able to not only learn a great deal about the lake but also see more of it than you would on your own.
Where to stay:
The Yak Lake House was brand new when I stayed there, the atmosphere and staff were great. I highly recommend it. It is located at Avenida 1 entre Calle 24 and 26.
Where to eat:
The quesadilla place, I don’t know the name, is located on the corner of Calle 7 and Calle 18. The quesadillas are cheap and delicious.
The only other place I ate at was Taqueria El Jarocho located on Avenida 9 and Calle 20. I ordered a giant sope here for about $40 MXN ($2 USD) and it was delicious.
What to do:
Boat tour of Lake Bacalar. Any hostel you stay at can arrange a tour for you. I believe I payed between $200 and $300 MXN ($10 – $15 USD) for the three-hour tour. It takes you to see all the different shades of blue in the lake as well as to a place you can cover yourself in mud.