Mexican Caribbean – Bacalar
- Duration: 7 Days (6 Nights)
- Tour Type: Lake Coastal & Crossing, Reef Ocean Swimming
- Average Daily Swim: 5 km (3 miles)
- Accommodation: Hotel in Bacalar
- Escort: Boats and Kayaks
This unique Caribbean adventure takes us swimming along the forested flatlands of Bacalar, over the freshwater springs, in the blue cenotes and even over the Mexican Caribbean reef in Mahahual! As part of the local history, we also explore the large temple of Mayan archaeological ruins in Kohumlich.
This tour is suitable for all levels of open-water swimmers, with three separate boat and kayak escorts for the safety and enjoyment of all guests. Please see our FAQs regarding the expected swimming speed. Friends and family members are welcome to join us and be part of this adventure.
- swimming in the warm freshwaters of the Bacalar Lagoon
- swim-exploring the blue cenotes
- swimming over the Caribbean reef
- tasting great local Mexican cuisine
- exploring the ancient Mayan ruins
Local Operational Policy
Trips are run out of Bacalar town and the team of guides, boat pilots, van drivers include local members from the area who are experienced and knowledgeable of the local waters, the main swimming routes, roads, and the alternatives as well as a fluent local language speaker.
Included in the price
Fully guided tour with comprehensive safety escort (boats, kayaks, vans, swimming guides, local boat pilots, drivers), open water swim stroke analysis, Mayan archaeological site entry fee, 6 nights accommodation, all breakfasts. Each guest receives a silicone swimming cap. Should you require other swimming gear please bring it with you.
Travel to and from the start of the tour, lunch breaks, evening meals and gratuities. Optional hotel single room supplement from $240 USD.
Photo Gallery from our 2022 trip
Aires hotel is a small boutique hotel located very close to the main square in downtown Bacalar and just a few steps away from the lagoon. It serves as our ideal spot for daily trips out and exploring a variety of restaurants in the evenings.
Rooms are TWIN-DOUBLE (Two queen-size beds) and SINGLE (One queen-size bed). All rooms are spacious and each has air conditioning, a terrace with a hammock, a private bathroom with hot water, mini-bar, and WiFi.
Hotel Aires Bacalar
Avenida 3 esquina calle 26 s/n
Colonia Mario Villanueva
77930 Bacalar, Q.Roo, Mexico
+52 983 834 22 16
+52 983 834 21 82
+52 983 112 46 56 (whatsapp)
We meet everyone for a trip briefing at 6.00 pm in the hotel lobby.
After a hearty breakfast, we board our boat to take us to the first swim location in the Bacalar Lagoon. After a short acclimatization swim, we begin our first 2.5 km swim from Punta Muniz to Canal de los Pirates. Lunch in a nearby local restaurant on the lakeshore.
Our afternoon 3.0 km swim takes us from the Bird Island to the Beach Club Blu area where we finish our first day. Transport back to the hotel.
We take a short 15 min van ride to reach the source of the Bacalar Lagoon water system. The water quality of the entire Bacalar is the cleanest right here! Our local boat takes us from Xul-Ha to Balneario Lago Azul where we swim along the coast for about 2.3 km to the Club de Playa area. Lunch and break for about 2 hours.
We film your swimming stroke with our underwater video camera. Our afternoon second swim starts at Rancho Alegre and we swim coastal until we reach Playa Kin-Ha point. Drive back to the hotel followed by a video stroke analysis session before dinner.
Today is the crossing day when we do a longer morning swim across the Bacalar lake width and back covering about 3.0 km.
After some break, we take an hour’s van drive to visit the Kohunlich Mayan Ruins. This large ancient city is located in the middle of the jungle and offers a unique insight into the historical Mayan settlement dated back 200 BC. We spend there about two hours before returning back to Bacalar. Free evening time for dinner and rest.
Today is the day for ‘The Rapids’ and blue cenotes swimming. We take a short drive to Laguna Bonaza where we swim through the ‘’Los Rapidos’’ narrow section all the way to Sac-Ha. Los Rapidos area offers current assistance and it makes our morning swim a bit faster. Lunch break at Sac-Ha beach.
We cannot leave the Bacalar area without visiting the blue cenotes. We stop at Cenote Azul and swim two or three 360 loops around to make it up to 2.5 km. You experience a proper wild swimming adventure being surrounded by the Mexican jungle. Return to the hotel.
We travel by van to the Caribbean Sea in Mahahual where we board a boat to take us to the reef area. We swim in the warm ocean water over the amazing reef while spotting the incredible marine life this area has to offer. The Mahahaul region is known as an incredible diving destination with stunning visibility.
The Mahahual reef is part of the Mesoamerican Reef which extends over 1,000 km from the northwest of the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) and continues through Belize and Guatemala to the Bay Islands (Honduras).
Lunch break at Mahahual. This area offers great body massage services and you may want to take the chance while being there. In the afternoon we either do another coastal swim or return back to Bacalar depending on the sea condition on the day. Final group dinner!
Morning coastal swim of 1.0-1.5 km in Bacalar Lagoon before breakfast. We say goodbye to each other.
Swimming Locations and Distances
|Bacalar Lagoon: Punta Muniz – Canal de los Pirates||1.5 miles (2.5 km)|
|Bacalar Lagoon: Bird Island – Beach Club Blu||1.9 miles (3.0 km)|
|Bacalar Lagoon: Xul-Ha – Balneario Lago Azul||1.4 miles (2.3 km)|
|Bacalar Lagoon: Rancho Alegre – Club de Playa||1.4 miles (2.3 km)|
|Bacalar Lagoon: Return Crossing||1.9 miles (3.0 km)|
|Bacalar Lagoon: Los Rapidos – Sac Ha||1.5 miles (2.6 km)|
|Cenote: Cenote Azul loop||1.2 miles (2.2 km)|
|Caribbean Sea: Mahahual reef||2.0 miles (3.2 km)|
|Caribbean Sea: Mahahual coastal (weather permitted)||1.2 miles (2.0 km)|
|Bacalar Lagoon: Morning coastal swim||1.0 miles (1.6 km)|
|Total:||15.3 miles (24.7 km)|
Sea (ocean) temperature in the Caribbean part is similar to Bacalar lagoon or even a bit warmer. Keep in mind that you can skip any of the swims if you want and stay on our escort boat.
Up to 16 guests (unless agreed differently), plus guides (or kayakers) and boat captains.
In order to enjoy your walks, we advise you to bring comfortable light walking shoes for summer temperatures. Aqua shoes or sandals are recommended to have when we are stepping in and out of the boats on the beaches. For our visit to Mayan ruins, comfortable light shoes are recommended.
In addition to normal items, we recommend the following:
– 2 pairs of swimming costumes,
– 2 pairs of swimming goggles, 1 clear & 1 tinted (anti-glare) recommended,
– A lightweight towel for boat practical use (changing outside),
– Sun Hat, Sunglasses,
– Small Daypack,
– Waterproof sun cream and jacket / fleece / windstopper,
– Walking shoes and sandals or aqua shoes,
– Lightweight and light-colored clothing for outdoor environments.
We provide silicone swim caps and limited safety tow floats for better visibility! If your swimming depends on other items (wetsuit, rash vest, fins, designed swim cap), please bring them with you. Please also bring your own drinking water bottle (marked with your name) for swims, walks, and time on the boat. It is very important to drink enough water and other fluids throughout the whole trip. Use bottled water in Mexico including at the hotel. There are shops in Bacalar to get water easily. Our boats will have large flasks to refill your drinking bottles while out at sea.
Swimming awareness and itinerary changes
Your safety is of utmost importance to us. In the event of adverse weather conditions (wind, storms, thunder) at any of our swimming locations on any day, we may need to adapt our itinerary for safety reasons. Our team always includes local guides who know the safest and most beautiful places to swim, so rest assured you won’t be missing out!
Swimming in the sea is a unique experience, but you may come across certain life such as fish, jellyfish, or sea lice. The water in the sea can be deep and the bottom cannot always be seen. If you suffer from Anaphylaxis or any other allergic reactions, it is important to inform us at the time of booking. Also, please bring with you any personal medical supplies you may need while on the trip.
Bacalar with its ecosystem is one of the very few places in the world where you can still find stromatolites, which are the Earth’s oldest fossils. They look like brown rocky formations on the surface with tiny algae on them that create photosynthesis and are vital to the Bacalar ecosystem. Everyone is advised not to step on them.
The use of regular suncream is NOT ALLOWED in Bacalar Lagoon when going for a swim. We instead recommend using sunblock pills. Or as an alternative bring a rash vest.
You can fly into Chetumal airport (CTM) which is only 40 min drive away from Bacalar. You will need to connect via Mexico City to reach Chetumal. Many other international flights have direct connections to Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. From there, you can travel by ADO bus or private transfer.
Chetumal airport to Bacalar town transfer
It takes about 40 min and our hotel Aires can arrange a private pick-up when you arrive. We will send info for each trip in advance on how to book this service. It costs $15-20 Usd per person.
Rent a car and drive to Bacalar.
The largest bus company is ADO and it connects major towns like Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Bacalar. Bus tickets are available online or on location. They run very often and buses are comfortable with Air Con, etc. See the links below and you can also find the apps on mobile phones to book tickets.
Bus Bud – Book tickets online
Book bus tickets online – Guatego
Cancun to Bacalar: 345 km – 4:30 hrs
Playa del Carmen to Bacalar: 280 km – 3:30 hrs
Tulum to Bacalar: 215 km – 2:30 hrs
Chetumal to Bacalar: 39 km – 40 min
This trip is new for the 2023 season! We will post reviews after we run our first trips there!