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There’s a reason this travel spot is known as the Maldives of Mexico

An affordable alternative to the Maldives

Color graded picture of a pier with clouds and blue water at the Laguna Bacalar, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Fotos 593 / Adobe Stock

Picture pristine turquoise waters stretching as far as the eye can see, surrounded by lush greenery and white sandy beaches. This luxurious scene isn’t just a dream reserved for far-off destinations like the Maldives. Situated in the southeastern corner of Mexico lies a hidden gem that rivals the beauty of its distant Asian counterpart: Bacalar. 

Bacalar, often referred to as the “Maldives of Mexico,” is a gorgeous destination renowned for the Bacalar Lagoon, otherwise known as the “Lagoon of Seven Colors.” Bacalar, Mexico’s crystal clear waters, resemble the famous hues of the Indian Ocean surrounding the Maldives. But what sets Bacalar apart isn’t just its striking resemblance to the Maldives—it’s the accessibility, affordability, and unique experiences it offers travelers without the lengthy journey. So pack your bags and head to Mexico.

Where is Bacalar, Mexico?

aerial view of turquoise pirates channel at Bacalar Lagoon with boats and sandbars, blue sky, white clouds
Andreas / Adobe Stock

Bacalar is located in the southeastern region of Mexico, specifically in the state of Quintana Roo. It is just 25 miles north of the popular tourist destination of Chetumal. Additionally, the municipality is only a few miles away from the Belize border.

Surrounded by dense jungle vegetation and nestled within the Yucatan Peninsula, Bacalar, Mexico, offers a serene and secluded setting that feels worlds away from the busy resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. However, its proximity to major transportation hubs makes it easily accessible for travelers looking to take a fun day trip out of Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

What makes Bacalar so special?

Bacalar aerial views with drone
Daniel Bouquets / Shutterstock

Recognized by the Mexican government as a Pueblo Magico (Magical Town), Bacalar, Mexico, is a sight to be seen. While Bacalar may feel like a beach town, there is no actual beach in the area. Instead, the gorgeous colors in the water are a part of the giant freshwater lagoon known as the “Lagoon of Seven Colors.” The lagoon’s crystal-clear waters, varying depths, and limestone formations create an enchanting atmosphere for visitors. Travelers are encouraged to swim, kayak, and sail along the waters in the lagoon.

In addition to the lagoon, there are several other natural wonders to explore. Bacalar is nestled within an incredibly diverse ecological region, surrounded by jungle vegetation and dotted with cenotes, which are natural sinkholes filled with freshwater. Bacalar is also quite peaceful and serene, unlike the bustling tourist hotspots nearby, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a quiet vacation.

Bacalar vs. Maldives: why Bacalar is the better choice

Kayaking in Bacalar
Daniel Bouquets / Shutterstock

While the Maldives undoubtedly boasts its own allure, Bacalar offers several advantages that make it a compelling alternative for travelers seeking a tropical paradise closer to home.

  • Accessibility: Bacalar, Mexico, is much more accessible for many travelers compared to the Maldives. Bacalar can be reached via direct flights to Cancun, followed by a scenic drive into the municipality. Heading to the Maldives typically requires long-haul flights and multiple layovers.
  • Affordability: Traveling to Bacalar tends to be more budget-friendly compared to the Maldives. The Maldives is known for its luxurious resorts and high-end accommodations, while Bacalar offers a wide range of lodging options to suit different budgets. You’ll also find dining and shopping to be more affordable in Bacalar. 
  • Diverse activities: While both destinations offer crystal clear waters, Bacalar has a greater diversity of activities for vacationers to take part in. In addition to the Bacalar Lagoon, visitors can enjoy nearby cenotes, hike through the jungle, and enjoy shopping in the center of the community.

Book your trip today

Woman swimming in lagoon.
Loes Kieboom / Shutterstock

With its accessibility, affordability, and rich cultural heritage, Bacalar offers travelers a captivating alternative to far-away destinations like the Maldives. While Bacalar is a great destination all year around, the municipality is at its best weather-wise from December through March during the community’s dry season.

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