Bacalar and the Cenote Azul!

Here I am back at you at another marvel of nature in peaceful Balacar! Where I came following visits to family just north as you can read in previous posts.

So we go on with some exotic parts of Mexico lindo y querido. Not taking you to the popular areas anyone can do that, I like to take you to seldom and little seen Mexico down in a popular State of a well known region but a bit south of it all towards Belize. I will be talking about Bacalar in Quintana Roo, Yucatàn, Mexico.

And naturally beautiful Cenote Azul. To recap the history I like on this marvelous spot of Mexico!

Bacalar is bordered on the east by the lagoon of Bacalar, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea.  The name Bacalar is believed to have gotten its name from b’ak halal, or ‘surrounded by reeds’ in Mayan, with a lagoon, the Laguna de Bacalar or ‘Lake of the Seven Colors’  to the east of the city. Bacalar lies a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Tulum and around a 40-minute drive from the city of Chetumal (see post) which sits on the border to Belize.

balacar hotel laguna lake jul14

The first inhabitants of the place are the Mayas in pre-Columbian times. In 1543, the city was taken and occupied by the Spanish conquistadors. In 1545, it was  established a Spanish town in the same place and baptized it Salamanca de Bacalar.  In 1848, during the Caste war, the rebel Mayans based in Chan Santa Cruz (the current city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto) took the city. The Mexican army reclaims it in 1902.

Bacalar is a relaxing city. The streets and buildings are simpler than in Tulum, the prices are fairer and the smiles more spontaneous. We have indeed left the Riviera Maya and its hordes of tourists.  The main appeal here other than the fortress (see post) is that it sits on the rim of Cenote Azul, a 90 meters deep by 182 meters in diameter cenote that is crystal clear and good for diving when the Caribbean is too rough. Because the water is so clear you can easily see quite deep. It is the largest and supposedly the deepest Cenote in the Yucatan. Its arguably one of the cleanest. However, get advise from the locals if diving as many spots it is very thick with vegetation and rocks difficult to dive/swim.  The most unexpected are the nuances of colors. The water is intensely clear in places, then very dark a few meters away, depending on the depth of the lagoon.

The Lake Bacalar with many watersports offers with kayaking across the lake one of the favorites. But you can ,also, do jet ski, waterski, swim, fish and sail.

bacalar hotel laguna lake steps jul14

The Bacalar Lagoon includes several cenotes, and this one will be presented to you as the must see of the local attractions. The cenote has a very large diameter, swimming is pleasant, but the color of the water is quite dark compared to other places in the lagoon. Cenote Azul is the darkest of the four cenotes in Bacalar. And for good reason, it sinks abruptly, without warning, to a depth of 90 meters. The cenote itself, the hole, is about 30 yards away, where the water suddenly darkens. You will  discover stromatolites. It looks like blocks of stone, it’s hard as a rock, but it’s alive. Rest assured, they will not bite your toe as their only movement is to grow 0.4 millimeters per year!

bacalar cenote azul entrance park jul14

What is a Cenote? Well, Yucatan is a large riverless peninsula made primarily of limestone. There are thousands of underground caverns, many running with underground rivers. Occasionally these caves will collapse leaving an opening. If the cavern is running with water, it will create a cenote. The Mayans used these for sources of water and would even build cities around them. Cenote Azul is a mature cenote and is documented as the largest in the Yucatan.

bacalar cenote azul inside jul14

The webpage on Zona Turistica on the Cenote Azulhttps://www.zonaturistica.com/en/things-to-do/quintana-roo/bacalar/cenote-azul-blue-sinkhole

The government site in Bacalar on the history of Bacalar: http://www.bacalar.gob.mx/historiabacalar.html#

The Mexico tourist board on the cenotes of Bacalar: https://www.visitmexico.com/en/quintana-roo/bacalar/cenotes

A private site Cenote finder on the best cenotes in Bacalar: https://cenotefinder.com/cenotes-in-mexico/bacalar-cenotes/

Another good site En Yucatan on the Cenote Azul of Bacalar in Spanish: https://en-yucatan.com.mx/costa-maya/cenote-azul/

There now you are loaded with info and I have updated the text , hope you enjoy this beautiful tranquil part of Mexico. Bacalar is awesome!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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