Depending on your vantage point and the time of day, Lake Bacalar—or Laguna de Bacalar as it is known in Spanish—can appear turquoise, royal blue, sky blue. or light blue. Lake Bacalar’s ever-changing color palette inspired locals to name it the Lake of Seven Colors. Located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Lake Bacalar is a relatively narrow lake that features several dreamy swimming holes. Lake Bacalar is so relaxing, there are numerous swings and hammocks situated in the waters of the lake which allow visitors to sway back and forth while gently submerged in Lake Bacalar’s waters. If you’re feeling energized, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard from one of the local swimming holes and explore a sizable stretch of the lake’s azure waters.
In the 1700s, Lake Bacalar was a prime spot for smugglers and pirates who were attempting to import illegal goods into Mexico. A fort built to curb piracy on the shores of Lake Bacalar now serves as a museum that details the heated clashes between pirates and Mexico’s colonial Spanish government. Lake Bacalar’s visitors can hail a boat to retrace the smuggling routes of high profile pirates.
Lake Bacalar is home to a large colony of stromatolites. Scientists believe that stromatolites are some of the oldest lifeforms on Earth. Stromatolites are similar to coral, in the sense that to the naked eye they don’t appear to be alive. To the untrained observer, stromatolites look like fields of puffy pastry crusts molded out of dirt. Conservationists ask that visitors of Lake Bacalar refrain from wearing certain brands of sunscreen that contain harsh chemicals, and keep motorized boat traffic to a minimum to help protect the lake’s increasingly rare colony of ancient stromatolites.
Aside from the occasional crocodile sighting (it is worth noting that the locals claim that the crocodiles are shy and have not been known to attack people) Lake Bacalar is a picturesque paradise that doesn’t receive nearly as much tourist traffic as other Mexican hotspots like Tulum and Cancun. The nearby town of Bacalar features eclectic street art, delectable street food, and several charming bars and restaurants. The town of Bacalar offers numerous spots to sip on a cerveza and watch the sun set over the sapphire waters of Lake Bacalar. Lake Bacalar is the ideal destination if you want to blissfully soak in several shades of brilliant blue water without a care.