Pit stop to the Lagoon of Seven Colours: Bacalar

Posted on August 9, 2013

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2augSS_2En route back from Belize to Cacun we made a pit stop at Lake Bacalar, also known as the lake of seven colours. It’s a spectacular expanse of fresh water, dotted with ceynotes, channels and mangrove swamps.

Ideally we would have had two days here but we missed a daily boat back from Belize, then the crossing took 5 hours rather than the 90 minutes we’d been told. Arriving at Magico camping at 1.30pm, we checked into our simple Eco hut and got a quick guided tour from the passionate Italian owner. We then hopped in a cab to get to Active Nature Bacalar, where we would start our kayak trip across the lagoon with a German carpenter. He stopped in that spot with his girlfriend when their car broke down seven years ago and hasn’t yet found the desire to move on. I can see why. The lagoon is tranquil and during our four hours on the lagoon we didn’t see another sole. There isn’t a huge amount of wildlife in the lake aside from the odd shy crocodile and sting ray, but it is rife bird life including a snail kyte. My friend and I like the large flying grasshoppers, some of whom didn’t quite make it across. We were proud of our aid of one, helping him onto the canoe for him to dry out before flying off a few minutes later.
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Not feeling like our usual (relatively) fit selves we rowed slow and I inspect we didn’t get as far as he was planning to take us. About two thirds of the way through we stopped for a fresh fruit picnic and a swim. It’s rumoured that the soft mud is good for your skin although with the amount of rowing we felt that we am out looking ten years older rather than younger.
The German couple gave us a couple of restaurant suggestions: Playita near our camping, and the Italian on the main square. Our host made crispy fish tacos with home made habanero sauce which looked delicious so combined with the likelihood of mosquito attack (we were mauled earlier in the day), we decided not to venture out.
It’s a beautiful relaxing spot and would be easy to spend a few days (with some good mosquito repellent packed!). Magico Camping is a hospitable place and the outside toilets and shower are rustic but done well. Preferring my creature comforts I’d probably go more upscale from our $45 room next time, but I did enjoy the experience and the friend I am travelling with absolutely loved it.

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Bacalar is one of those rare places in the world that is stunning, near other tourist destinations, but seems to have been missed from the guide books. If you are travelling in the area it would be a shame to miss.
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