So you’re thinking of going from Tulum to Bacalar but not sure how to get there? No problem, in this post we’ll cover the best and easiest ways to get there.
Bacalar is a small, quiet town right next to a stunning large lagoon that is fed by underground rivers and called the “Lagoon of 7 Colors” (Laguna de Siete Colores). It’s about a 2 and a half hour drive south of Tulum, around 215km (134 miles).
Popular for eco-tourism, it’s much smaller than Tulum and a lot less developed, you won’t see any resorts or fancy shops here, but mostly a peaceful village – and the locals want to keep it that way. With that being said getting from Tulum to Bacalar is quite easy and we’ll outline that here.
Best ways to get from Tulum to Bacalar
Travelling by car is hands down the best option, not just for Tulum to Bacalar but also for other locations in the Yucatan Peninsula. Travelling by car at your own pace allows you to stop at attractions and sites along the way, and maybe you’ll find hidden gems.
You can discover the town of Felipe Carrilo Puerto along the way and also some interesting nature spots with spectacular views before heading into Bacalar.
There are many care rental places in Tulum, but renting online is the best way to get a car rental, and sometimes it’s cheaper – especially if you book well beforehand.
The drive to Bacalar is very safe and easy, simply head south down the 307 highway which will go through the towns of Felipe Carrilo Puerto and Pedro Antonio Santos.
One thing to note is that there aren’t a whole lot of gas stations on the way to Bacalar so make sure you fill up in Tulum just to be safe.
Bacalar is small but quite spread out, so having a car is a great way to get around and be able to see all the best spots along the lagoon and “balnearios” (lake clubs) on the way.
By far the cheapest way to get from Tulum to Bacalar, simply take the ADO bus from the downtown bus terminal in Tulum which leaves approximately every hour and takes around 3 hours to reach Bacalar.
You can book the tickets easily online here: https://www.ado.com.mx/ or buy them in person at the terminal. The price varies from $300-350 pesos depending on the time of day you leave.
It is possible to book a private shuttle in Tulum to get to Bacalar, which can typically hold up to 6-8 people. It’s cheaper if you have a group of friends so you can split the cost. These can be booked in town at tour agencies or online.
The most convenient way to get to Bacalar (if you’re not driving) as you can leave at any time, however, it’s going to be the most expensive around $2000 Mexican pesos ($100 USD) or more. We don’t recommend taking a taxi from Tulum to Bacalar but if money isn’t an obstacle, then go for it.
Flying to Bacalar
While it’s not technically from Tulum and not within Bacalar itself, you can fly into the neighbouring Chetumal town which is only 40 km away. You can fly into Chetumal from Cancun with several airlines such as Vivaerobus, Volaris, or Aeromexico.
Once in Bacalar
On reaching Bacalar, take some time to settle in and get accustomed to your surroundings. The town is relatively small, making it easy to navigate on foot or by bike, which can be rented from various spots.
The must-visit attraction in Bacalar is, of course, the Laguna Bacalar, also known as the ‘Lake of Seven Colors’. Spend a day swimming, kayaking, or simply soaking up the spectacular views. The town’s other attractions include the San Felipe Fort, Cenote Azul, and numerous local eateries serving authentic Mexican cuisine.
For accommodation, Bacalar offers a range of options from budget hostels to boutique hotels. Most places provide tours and activities around the lagoon, such as boat trips and stand-up paddleboarding.
Check out our extensive guide for things to do in Bacalar here.
How long should you stay in Bacalar?
I recommend staying in Bacalar for no more than 2 days. Doesn’t seem like that long but that’s because there isn’t a whole lot to do here other than going on boat tours and swimming in the lagoon.
The town is cute and there are some nice shops and restaurants to see, but depending on what you prefer you may get bored pretty quickly. Some people love the peaceful, quiet atmosphere surrounded by nature and end up staying for months. So, in the end, it’s really up to you.
Tulum to Bacalar Conclusion
Venturing from Tulum to Bacalar is not merely a change of locations; it’s a transition between two contrasting yet equally fascinating experiences of the Yucatán Peninsula.
While Tulum offers an immersive journey into the region’s ancient history against a backdrop of lively nightlife, Bacalar provides a serene retreat by its multicolored lagoon, urging you to slow down and admire nature’s masterstroke. Together, they craft a travel narrative that marries the past’s mysteries with nature’s elegance, promising an unforgettable expedition in the heart of the Yucatán.