Bacalar, Mexico

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Bacalar, Mexico: All You Need To Know

Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.

a dock in Caribbean waters. The Lagoon of Seven Colors, Bacalar, Mexico
The Lagoon of Seven Colors, Bacalar, Mexico.

Bacalar is in the South-Eastern part of the Quintana Roo state, is a beautiful hidden gem for locals and tourists alike.

This is a nature lover’s perfect getaway: Bacalar is known for the shores of the Lake of the Seven Colors, or Lago Bacalar. Striking colors of the lake mixed with its long history enriches Bacalar’s boundless entertainment and relaxation opportunities for retirees.

Also, the low cost of living in the region of Quintana Roo, makes Bacalar, Mexico, a prime destination for any expat.

So, here is everything you need to know about Bacalar, Mexico…

Cost of Living in Bacalar, Mexico

The cost of living in Bacalar, Mexico, is amazingly low for the features offered by living there.

Given that the town is charming and walkable, there is always something to do in the lake or on land.

And, the fact that Bacalar, Mexico, is cheaper than most places in the United States makes it a wonderful place to move to.

Two people can get away with a budget of approximately US$1,500 to US$2,000 per month. This is based on current prices in the nearby city of Chetumal, and rental estimates for the town of Bacalar, Mexico.

The further you live from the shores of the lake, the cheaper rental prices will get, although you would definitely need a car to get around.

Rental prices in Bacalar, Mexico, for a two bedroom apartment come out to upwards of US$1,000 per month.

In short, you can find similar apartments further outside the city center for as low as US$500 per month.

But, if you are more interested in buying a place in Bacalar, Mexico, or the surrounding areas, the real estate prices are very fair. You can find a two bedroom apartment in the center of Bacalar with a lagoon view starting at US$150,000.

Worth A Look

While Bacalar, Mexico, is still relatively a beaten off the path destination, it is gaining more and more popularity and is worthy of checking out from an investment standpoint, as well as a lifestyle standpoint.

Your basic utilities (gas, water, electric) set you back on average US$100 per month. A good internet plan is US$30.

And, since you can walk everywhere within Bacalar, Mexico, there are easily accessible lake activities a few blocks from wherever you are staying. So, there are not many transportation costs within the city itself.

That being said, you wil fnd plenty of activities in the nearby regions that require driving a car to get to. Especially because the closest international airport in Chetumal is about 45 minutes away.

Renting a car for your visit definitely gives you more freedom and makes your life easier.

You can find options for car rentals from the Chetumal airport starting at US$380 for seven days.

Using local car services can be risky, so it’s best to go with a chain you recognize.

Groceries in Bacalar will end up costing US$400 per month for one to two people. You can find great fresh local products at the markets, and there will always be locally sourced seafood.

Eating out in Bacalar is very affordable on a budget. Here you find great restaurants to choose from. You will find local seafood dishes, grilled meats, traditional Mexican delicacies, and international options.

An inexpensive meal will run you from US$15 up to US$20 for two people. A nicer place will cost upwards of US$50.

When it comes to entertainment, there are countless things to do in Bacalar, Mexico.

For example, you can explore for yourself, on barely a dime. Or take guided tours which start upwards of US$35 per person.

The cost of living in Bacalar, Mexico, is perfect for someone on a budget.

Plus, the perks that come with the location are incomparable. Especially for Americans looking for a great place to retire.

Check foreign currency exchange rates here.

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Time For Adventure

San Felipe Fort in Bacalar Mexico

Things To Do In Bacalar, Mexico

The name ‘Bacalar’ comes from the original name ‘Siyan Ka’an Bakhalal’ when the Mayas settled the area in the 5th century A.D.

Referring to its surroundings, ‘Bacalar’ originally means “place of reeds”.

The things to do in Bacalar are mostly activities offered to you by the lake itself, the surrounding nature, and areas, as well as hotspots that show the vast ecological and historical importance of this place.

The Spanish conquistadors set up a fort, Fuerte de San Felipe, in the 17th century to help ward off English, French, and Dutch pirates.

Nowadays, it’s a viewpoint with the best panoramic views of Lake Bacalar in the area. It is also the leading pirate museum of the area and is a must see.

It costs US$6.10 to enter the Fort of San Felipe, and you can spend quite a good amount of time exploring the castle, learning about the area’s history, and enjoying the views.

Explore Landmarks

While walking around is easy and very pleasant in this tropical setting, renting a bike will allow you to get a feel for the land and explore new landmarks. Also, you could stop by the Church of San Joaquin, a local parish built in the 18th century.

You could also visit the local Cultural Center, the Casa de la Cultura offers a variety of local exhibits, offers dance classes, and is also where you can find theater pieces being performed.

Above all, be sure to check out the local Bacalar town sign next to the fort, it makes for a great picture opportunity.

When you feel like grabbing a bite to eat, be sure to try the seafood since most come from nearby regions.

Also, you can still find small fresh water fish and snorkeling is not a bad option in Bacalar.

So, before filling all your days with lake activities, be sure to check out not only what the town has to offer, but the other entertainment options that are Quintana Roo, Mexico.

You can visit the nearby Tulum ruins, Akumal for snorkeling or to see turtles, Chetumal for a change of pace to a more expensive bigger city full of history right on the Caribbean and enjoy spelunking for caverns or diving into the ocean.

More Than Swimming

While there may be lots of things that Quintana Roo has to offer, Bacalar, Mexico, is a jewel onto itself. Swimming in the waters of the lake is like a relaxing spa treatment onto itself.

The water is great for your skin, and the sulfur rich mud makes for a great face mask. While it may be hard to find access to the lake that is not private, it is still possible.

Boats and people waiting to take you on some sort of tour of the lake and the cenotes (deep natural pits underwater), and if that is your preferred way of discovering things then they can be great and take the hassle away from roaming around on your own.

It is still possible to discover the lake for yourself and rent a kayak or paddle board (around US$22 per person for the day). However, you may want to plan ahead a little so as not to miss any of the wonders the lake has to offer.

Is Bacalar, Mexico, safe? The short answer is yes. But we always advise to use common sense in any new place.

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Visa And Residency Information

Moving To Bacalar, Mexico

Bacalar, Mexico, and the nearby cities have top level amenities. There is excellent health and medical care, good infrastructure, resources, and ample entertainment.

Moving to Bacalar, Mexico, will be the best decision you have ever made if you are looking for a hidden tropical jewel with a lower cost of living.

Getting to Bacalar is relatively easy by car. Especially from other better known big cities in the area. The drive from Cancún is five hours, the drive from Tulum is two hours and a half, and the drive from Chetumal is only 45 minutes.

Plus, if you are traveling by plane and out of country instead of driving from Mexico or Belize, you will likely choose to land in the Chetumal International Airport.

The taxi fare is about US$15 to US$20, although most people think that the bus is more dependable and can be cheaper.

Mexican Residency

If your plan is to move to Bacalar full time, then you will need to get a Mexican residency.

You can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days on a tourist visa. Any trip longer than that and you will need to get temporary or permanent residency visas.

Getting residency or a visa in Bacalar should be started before getting to Mexico at your nearest Mexican embassy or consulate. Once you get there you can continue the process.

A temporary residency visa can last up to four years and is usually given to volunteer missionaries or people who are looking to work in the country.

Most importantly, a permanent residency visa usually never expires once you have it, and it is the preferred choice for retirees headed to Mexico.

People older than 50 can receive benefits from the retiree visa in Mexico, be sure to check out all your visa in Mexico options here.

Climate Information

Weather in Bacalar

Weather In Bacalar, Mexico

The weather in Bacalar, Mexico, is perfect for someone who loves basking in the sun and never being chilly.

During the rainy season expect more rainfall between May and November.

The rest of the time you will be in the dry season in Bacalar, and you can reap all the benefits from the warm weather activities.

Depending on the time of year, the temperatures in Bacalar, Mexico, go between 67°F and 90°F (20°C and 32°C). Most people decide to visit the area from January to April.

The hottest months in Bacalar are at the beginning of the rainy season (May-June), and the coldest months are at the beginning of the dry season (December-January).

In short, the best time to visit Bacalar, and also the rest of Quintana Roo, is when it is a little cooler and not raining as much.

It is the time of year when the water is at its warmest is towards the end of the rainy season (September-October).

The wind usually comes from the east and averages up to five miles per hour.

Above all, the humidity in Bacalar is usually around the 80th or 90th percentile, meaning that it can get very muggy.

Expats who retire to Bacalar will enjoy a comfortable heat, with a lower chance of rainfall most of the year, and with an abundance of natural wonders. In short, moving to Bacalar, Mexico, is the thing to do.

Bacalar, Mexico - FAQs

Is Bacalar, Mexico, Worth Visiting?

Bacalar, Mexico, is a great place to visit. Given it is a little secluded, and a lesser-known destination, you can enjoy all the natural wonders of the Mexican Caribbean coast with less people around and for a cheaper price.

What is Bacalar, Mexico, Known For?

Bacalar, Mexico, is known for its Mayan history and ruins, a huge number of natural underwater pits, and of course the Lake of Seven Colors (which is more akin to seven noticeable different hues of blue and green).
There is also an enormous number of fossils in the lake.

Is Bacalar A Good Place To Retire?

If you are looking for a warm and welcoming location, with a slower lifestyle, yet still full of wonder, then retiring to Bacalar is the move for you.

From a real estate investment perspective, prices in Bacalar are very low right now for what the town has to offer.

Why Should Americans Move To Bacalar, Mexico?

Americans should move to Bacalar, Mexico, if they feel as if they want a new adventure. While you will be slightly detached from the modern world, you will still just be a hop, skip, and jump away from home.

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Is Mexico Your Dream Destination?

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