Bacalar Growing In Popularity As The New Tulum -

Bacalar Growing In Popularity As The New Tulum

Bacalar Growing In Popularity As The New Tulum


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For years, Tulum has stolen the highlight because the trendiest place to take an unforgettable trip within the Riviera Maya, as a result of its shut proximity to sandy seashores and iconic Mayan sights. However, having suffered from overcrowding and unsustainable tourism within the final decade, all eyes are actually on Bacalar, a trendier, way more quaint city simply two hours south.

There’s no denying the Mexican Caribbean is America’s favorite vacation spot. Being a brief two to four-hour flight from a number of U.S. cities, and relatively safer than different sunny retreats in different components of the nation, its recognition has stored rising despite the well being disaster and may very well be reaching a new peak this winter.

The solely draw back to this outstanding success? In some locations, it hardly appears like Mexico anymore, which leads some to query:

Has Overtourism Ruined Tulum?

Young Female Tourist Gazing At The Tulum Ruins And Beach Below, Riviera Maya, Caribbean Coast Of Mexico

Overtourism has turn into a severe subject the world over’s prime locations, pushing up rental costs amid an inflow of overseas funding and slowly erasing their identification. Serving as a gateway to the Mayan World, Tulum is actually no exception: as different senior Americans who’ve been touring to Mexico for many years will have the ability to affirm, it was as soon as an off-path village not that many vacationers had been even conscious existed.

In the 90’s, previous to being ‘discovered’, Tulum had a inhabitants of simply over 2,000 inhabitants. These had been principally native fishermen, artisans, and land staff who led a peaceable life, shielded from the hustle and bustle of close by Cancun and its overwhelming internationalization.

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Busy Beach In The Caribbean, Caribbean Travel

By the 12 months 2000, they’d already jumped from a two thousand people-strong tight knit group to 12,000. An irreversible transformation had been set into point out, and within the years that adopted, amid the surge in high-caliber lodge growth and the fading demand for price range journeys, Tulum’s small, Mayan city magic was misplaced.

Others weren’t so ‘lucky’:

Is Bacalar The New Cool?

Aerial View Of Bacalar Fort And Bacalar Lagoon, Bacalar, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Located solely a two and a half hour drive south of Tulum, or alternatively, a shorter 23 miles northwest of Chetumal Airport, a Southern Mayan airport that hosted its first-ever direct flights from the U.S. this year, there’s a sleepy, largely missed city that continues to be considered one of Mexico’s greatest hidden secrets and techniques – not less than for now.

A Pueblo Mágico straddling the Lake of the Seven Colors, Bacalar dates again to the colonial interval of Mexico Featuring an 18th century army fort, an enthralling downtown space the place heritage buildings could be discovered, and most significantly, natives stay in to at the present time, it’s the ‘quintessential Mexico’ we thought had been misplaced endlessly.

Traditional Souvenir Shops In Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Latin America

Visiting Bacalar, Kashlee Kucheran, who’s a journey knowledgeable primarily based in Mexico and CEO of Travel Off Path was quoted saying she felt ‘safer’ strolling in Bacalar, even at night time, than most cities in Quintana Roo. Moreover, she observed locals haven’t been ‘pushed out’ by the inns, and the specter of crime, which led Cancun authorities to deploy more patrol units on seashores, is unquestionably ‘low’.

Mrs. Kucheran added that whereas Tulum has loads of ‘magic, charm and intrigue’ – it’s, in spite of everything, an Ancient Mayan port – it’s being ‘spoiled’ by consumerism. Bacalar, alternatively, hasn’t been tarnished by the lots: ‘Bacalar is a breath of recent air for people who find themselves nonetheless in search of nature, group, and all the sweetness that the Yucatán Peninsula has to supply.

What Can You Expect Vacationing In Bacalar?

Lake Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico

If you’re seeking to splurge, occasion arduous, and stay your greatest ‘Instafluencer’ life, Bacalar isn’t for you: it’s an emergent resort city recovering from a pure phenomenon that turned its well-known lake’s pristine waters brown for a couple of years, and also you actually gained’t discover your ultra-niche eating choices or a Plaza Las Americas right here.

Don’t get us incorrect: whether or not you’re into carne asada otherwise you’re a faithful vegan, you’re actually spoiled for selection right here, however then once more, don’t anticipate finding the similar selection of high-end eating places and American type diners you’ll in Northern Quintana Roo. Lots of eating places and retailers within the central district are family-owned, and Spanish continues being a lingua franca on the streets, proving group comes first, and tourism second within the space.

Pier Stretching Out Onto Lake Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The similar can’t be stated about an more and more internationalized Tulum. Here are some execs and cons of visiting Bacalar as an alternative:


  • Bacalar is tidier than Tulum: the latter’s potholes and overflowing rubbish don’t exist right here, and the restricted variety of vacationers helps maintain it that method;
  • All 12 months, low or excessive season, there are fewer guests round and you’ll take pleasure in a higher sense of exclusivity and calmness;
  • The locals are those residing and operating companies on the lakefront, together with eateries and small pensiónes, in comparison with Tulum’s over-developed lodge zone, stuffed with Americanisms and foreign-owned vacationer complexes;
  • It is arguably safer and extra family-friendly, missing Tulum’s loopy occasion scene and rising crime rates;
  • 30 miles lengthy, the warm-water, crystal-clear lagoon is ideal for swimming, training water sports activities, and boat excursions;
  • A luxurious and wellness scene is growing they usually need to construct a status and entice extra company, which means costs could be extra enticing.*

*The boutique Casa Hormiga Hotel, considered one of Bacalar’s five-star presents, has a jungle aesthetic and it’s a true nature oasis, with rooms ranging from solely $236.25 per night.

Aerial View Of Bacalar, Lake Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico


  • It is not a seaside vacation spot;*
  • It’s tougher to get to and nonstop flights to Chetumal, the closest airport, are presently solely obtainable from Mexico;**
  • Bacalar’s nightlife is merely a fraction of Tulum’s, missing main nightclubs and the latter’s well-liked seaside events.

*Nonetheless, it’s dwelling to a lagoon with the bluest of waters and it’s situated a one-hour drive from Mahahual Beach;

**Flights between the U.S. and Chetumal had been axed final summer time as a result of low demand

DJ At A Beach Party

As you may see above, except being ON the ocean is non-negotiable, you’re financially ready to pay among the highest taxi fares on this planet, and hallucinogen-ridden raves on the seaside are your vibe, Tulum doesn’t have a lot going for it.

Not anymore.

What The Future Holds

Woman Doing Paddle Boarding In Lake Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Tulum might have turn into a regional capital for luxurious tourism, however some would possibly argue it’s sacrificed its essence within the course of. Luckily, there are a variety of different settlements left across the Yucatán Peninsula which have managed to advertise tourism, all of the whereas retaining the authenticity that made them well-known within the first place. Bacalar is considered one of them.

When flying to Mexico, the overwhelming majority of worldwide guests have their hearts set on seaside getaways: 25 million of them would usually choose the Cancun-Tulum resort strip over anyplace else, and we completely get it. There are tons of extra flights touchdown in Cancun, the coast – when it’s seaweed-free – is completely beautiful, and lodge facilities keep getting better.

Tropical Beach, Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

The drawback is, as soon as once more, mass tourism.

It has completely altered Tulum in character, turning it right into a soulless resort city suffering from taxi scams, potholes, and densely populated. We don’t know what the long run holds for Bacalar’s as soon as it’s formally ‘outed’, but it surely’s a reality it’s not fairly there but, and it nonetheless makes for a way more stress-free, extra genuinely Mexican trip.

Tips For Visiting Bacalar

  • Fly into Chetumal airport the place you may take a 35-minute taxi to Bacalar for 300 pesos ($15 USD) as an alternative of the lengthy automobile trip from Cancun airport.
  • Don’t put on sunscreen, bug spray, fragrance or make-up if you enter the lagoon, as the fragile pH stability must be preserved to take care of its beautiful teal and blue colours.
  • Stay in inns which are making efforts to minimize their ecological affect, particularly ones which have lagoon entry

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