Americas | Bacalar | Mexico

How To Get To Bacalar Mexico – Cancun to Bacalar & Tulum to Bacalar

If you’re looking for how to get to Bacalar Mexico, you must have already decided to spend a couple of days in the magical Bacalar Lagoon. And I guarantee, you won’t regret your choice!  

Bacalar is one of the most special destinations in Yucatan. It is known for the 7 Colors Lagoon, which resembles a Caribbean island with its incredible shades of blue ranging from emerald green and turquoise to deep blue. 

how to get to bacalar

One of the best things to do in Bacalar is sailing, kayaking, paddling, or swimming in the gorgeous lake. What’s also great about Bacalar is that it is still an off-beaten track destination, so you won’t find here hoards of tourists. 

But how do you get to Bacalar Mexico? In this post, you will find all the best ways of getting to Bacalar Mexico, including Cancun to Bacalar & Tulum to Bacalar. 

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How To Get To Bacalar Mexico Summary

OptionWhy choose?CostHow to book?
Private Comfort$120 per personBook direct
Rent a carFlexibility$20 – $60 per dayBook with Discover Cars
Go by busAffordabilityfrom $22 per personBook with BookaWay
Take a day tripWhen you short on timefrom $139 per personBook with Viator

Where Is Bacalar Mexico On The Map?

Bacalar Maps:

Bacalar is situated in the state of Quintana Roo in southwestern Mexico, near the border with Belize. The nearest big city to Bacalar is Chetumal, and the distances to other bigger cities are below:

Cancun to Bacalar | 346 km, 4.5 hours drive

Tulum to Bacalar | 215 km, 2.5 hours drive

Playa del Carmen to Bacalar | 279 km, 3.5 hours

Merida to Bacalar | 345 km, 4.5 hours drive

How To Get From Cancun To Bacalar?

cancun to bacalar
Sunrise over Lagoon Bacalar

#1 Cancun Airport To Bacalar 

The best way to get to Bacalar from Cancun International Airport is by private transfer. Private transfer is a personalised door-to-door service, which is super convenient and secure. A driver will meet you at the airport and will take you to your Bacalar accommodation. 

It makes a lot of sense to book the transfer in advance if your flight arrives late and outside of the bus schedule or you’re travelling in a group and can easily spread the cost of the transfer amongst yourselves.   

Here is the company that I recommend for Cancun airport transfers: 

Apart from the direct transfer, you can also take a bus. Please note that there is no direct Cancun airport to Bacalar bus or Bacalar to Cancun airport. 

You will first need to take a bus to Cancun city centre and then change to the Cancun to Bacalar bus. The buses between Cancun Airport and the city frequently operate during the day between 8 am and 11:30 pm, and additionally, there are a couple of buses during the night. 

Check BookaWay for the up-to-date bus schedule.

#2 Bus From Cancun To Bacalar

bacalar murals

If you’re travelling from Cancun city, you can take an ADO bus Cancun Bacalar. ADO terminal is located in the Cancun city centre, and you can either pop into the bus station to get your ticket or book online. 

If you have a Mexican payment card, you can use the ADO website, and for the rest of us, the best way to get your ticket in advance is through the BookaWay site. 

The Cancun Bacalar trip takes 4 hours 30 minutes, and there are multiple departures per day, starting from 6:10 am until midnight. The tickets start at $35. 

#3 Cancun To Bacalar Drive

Cancun to Bacalar

Quick Facts: 

Distance | 346 km 

Drive Time | 4.5 hours drive

If you’re planning on renting a car in Mexico, I recommend you use a reputable car rental comparison site such as Discover Cars to browse for the best deals and avoid hidden costs and other car rental scams. 

You can either pick up the car at the airport or get it delivered to your hotel in Cancun.

Driving in Yucatan is safe and straightforward, and having a rented car will give you a lot of flexibility and freedom. Renting a car also makes sense if there is more of you and you can divide the cost between two couples, for example.

The drive between Cancun and Bacalar is as straightforward as it gets! You will basically follow one highway, number 307, along the coast. On the way, you will go past Playa del Carmen and Tulum and two less touristy towns – Felipe Carillo and Pedro Antonio, all of which are perfect for taking a driving break.

how to get to bacalar

How much does it cost to rent a car in Mexico?

The cost of renting a car in Mexico will depend on the following factors:

Age of the driver (under the 30s, pay more)

Driver’s licence origin 

Time of the year (higher prices during high season)

Rental duration (the longer the rental period, the lower the cost per day) 

The car rental price, including full coverage, which I recommend, can vary from $20 to $60 per day, depending on the above factors. I recommend entering your preferred dates on the Discover Cars website to find out the exact cost based on your preferences. 


You will be required to give a deposit 

Most car rentals in Mexico require a deposit even if you opt-in for full insurance. The deposit amount depends on the rental duration, but you can expect around $350 for a week of rental. This money is returned in full when you return the car. 

The best practice is to provide your credit card details as a deposit. If you use a debit card, the money will be taken and refunded within 5-7 days after you return the car. If you use a credit card, the money is not taken but just frozen for the duration of the car rental. 

Some rental companies require a credit card as a condition of rental.


Full cover and why you should get it 

Whenever I rent a car abroad, I always go for full coverage to protect myself from extra costs, and I strongly advise you to do the same. The basic cover only protects you from accidents caused by a third party, which is not much protection, and often it is hard to prove who is at fault.  

The full cover protects your deposit from deductions for any damages to the car that occurs from your fault, theft, or loss of key, towing fees, damages to wheels and windows and any other admin fees that the rental company may want to charge you.   

The full cover costs between $5-$12 extra per day but gives you peace of mind, which is priceless. 


Mexico car rental scams

If you decide to rent a car directly from the airport or any car rentals in Tulum or Cancun, be aware of the common Mexico car rental scams! The most common is the low price advertised online and the hidden costs you get to pay when you show up at the car rental. If you see car rental prices advertised as $5 per day, you should know it’s a scam, and you will end up paying a much higher price. 

This is why I recommend booking your car in advance through Discover Cars, which is a reputable car rental comparison website.  


Car rental insurance in Mexico

Another common scam is requiring Mexican car insurance in addition to the insurance you may already have back home through your credit card insurance or life insurance. Again, the way to avoid it is to book your car online through a reputable provider such as Discover Cars, which can look after you even if you run into a dispute with the local car rental in Cancun. 


Record the condition of the car

Before you drive away from the rental car shop, take photos of all dents & scratches, and go around the car and record a video. This is a good practice whenever you rent a car abroad, which will protect you from unjust claims against you. Also, make sure you drop off your rented car with plenty of time to spare before your flight in case there is a dispute.   


International Driving Licence

US driving licence is valid in Mexico, and if your driver’s licence comes from another country, make sure you have your international driving licence on you at all times when driving. 

#4 Bacalar Excursion From Cancun

boat tours bacalar

If your Yucatan itinerary does not have space for a few days in Bacalar, it is possible to make a day trip to Bacalar from Tulum, Cancun or Playa del Carmen. 

Here is a good option for you:

How To Get From Tulum To Bacalar

tulum to bacalar

#1 ADO Bus Tulum Bacalar

ADO buses also operate in Tulum, and a bus from Tulum to Bacalar takes just under 3 hours, and there are 16 departures per day starting at 9:00 am. A one-way ticket starts at $22. 

ADO terminal in Tulum is located in the city centre on the main road number 307 that runs through town. Again, you can either pop into the bus station or book in advance through the BookaWay site. 

#2 Drive From Tulum To Bacalar

Tulum to Bacalar

If you’re renting a car and driving from Tulum to Bacalar, the route is the same as driving between Cancun and Bacalar but shorter. You will join Highway 307 and continue on it for around 2.5 hours. 

Most hotels in Bacalar offer complimentary parking, but just in case, contact your host to make sure you have a safe place to leave your rental car. 

Use Discover Cars to browse for the best deals on car rental in Tulum and get it delivered directly to your hotel.

How To Get To Bacalar Mexico From Playa Del Carmen, Merida & Mexico City 

bacalar mexico

#1 Playa Del Carmen To Bacalar

How to get to Bacalar from Playa del Carmen? It is super easy! If you’re not driving, you can take one of the Bacalar Playa del Carmen buses from Playa del Carmen ADO terminal that operate between the two cities multiple times a day from 7:40 am to 9:45 pm.

The trip takes about 4 hours, depending on traffic, and the bus fares start at $30 each way.

#2 Merida To Bacalar

Merida Bacalar bus takes around 6 hours, and there are only four connections per day, so it makes sense to secure your seat in advance. The departure times are 8:40 am, 1 pm, 6 pm, and 11 pm. 

ADO Merida is also located in the city centre, on Calle 69, two blocks away from the central square.  

#3 Mexico City To Bacalar

The best way to get from Mexico City to Bacalar is to fly to Cancun and then continue to Bacalar by bus. 

#4 How To Get From Chetumal To Bacalar

Chetumal to Bacalar ADO bus takes just under an hour, depending on the traffic. If you’re arriving in Chetumal, you will have a couple of options for getting to Bacalar Mexico. From the ADO terminal, you can either catch an ADO bus or a local colectivo

Colectivos typically serve short-distance routes, are super cheap and look like vans. 

How To Get To Bacalar Mexico FAQ

The main square in Bacalar.

How Far Is Bacalar From Cancun?

The distance between Cancun and Bacalar is 346 km, which takes around 4.5 hours to drive. Some of the easiest ways how to get to Bacalar Mexico are driving a rental car or getting an ADO bus.

How Far Is Bacalar From Tulum?

There is  215 km between Bacalar and Tulum, and it takes 2.5 hours to get from Tulum to Bacalar. Some of the easiest ways how to get to Bacalar Mexico, from Tulum are driving a rental car or getting an ADO bus.

Best Time To Visit Bacalar?

The best time to visit Bacalar Mexico is during its dry season, between November and May. The temperatures are hot all year round, ranging from 28 to 33 degrees Celcius (82 to 91 Fahrenheit). 

The rainiest months are June, September and October, and the busiest is December, around Christmas and Easter. 

How Many Days In Bacalar?

While this is always a tricky question, which depends on your travel style and the places you want to visit, I recommend spending at least 2 to 3 full days in Bacalar

This time will allow you to visit the Bacalar highlights such as  Cenote Cocalitos, Cenote Azul Bacalar, Los Rapidos and the Pirate’s Channel.

Is It Safe To Drive From Cancun To Bacalar?

Yes. The road between Cancun and Bacalar is well-marked, modern and safe. 

Are there Flights To Bacalar Mexico

If you’re looking for flights to Bacalar, you must know that the closest airport to Bacalar Mexico is located in Chetumal.  

Where To Stay In Bacalar Mexico?

hotels in bacalar mexico
Blue Palm Bacalar via Booking.com

BEST MIDRANGE PICK

Blue Palm Bacalar is a mid-range adults-only hotel located a 7-minutes walk from the city’s main square. The hotel boasts modern suites with a patio or balcony and ensuite bathroom. 

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