DISCOVER BACALAR FROM A TO Z
Bacalar was founded in 1544, with the name of Villa de Salamanca, the town was always a place coveted by corsairs and pirates who permanently harassed the eastern coast of Yucatan. Bacalar was taken on several occasions by pirates. Bacalar is the head of the ejido of the same name, in the Official Gazette of the Federation dated May 13, 1936, it is established that it has a land grant of 1750 hectares and currently its extension is 56.214 hectares. Bacalar has a kindergarten, elementary school, high school, upper secondary education and a Regional Center for Normal Education. The most representative of its popular festivals is the fair in honor of Saint Patron Saint Joaquin, which is on August 16.
Diving in the blue cenote
Visit the San Felipe Fort Museum
Fort of San Felipe de Bacalar
The Fort of San Felipe Bacalar was begun in 1733, under the supervision of Captain Alonso de Figueroa y Silva, who was its first commander, in response to pirate attacks and incursions by illegal cutters of palo de tinte, a large international demand at that time, when Quintana Roo was part of the province of Yucatan.
The first stage of its construction included: a plant in the form of a star with four rhombic points; four bastions called San Arturo, San Joaquín, Santa Ana and Santa María; a rectangular building (the High Knight), at that time the highest building of the building, which received the name of Jesus Mary, equipped with chapel, gunpowder store, grocery store, commander's room, troop lodge and weapons room .
From this citadel departed expeditions to what is now the country of Belize, in pursuit of English cutters of palo de tinte. However, from 1733 to 1745 the government of Yucatan did not care to maintain this strength in acceptable conditions, and only by Royal Order of June 1, 1745, the governor of the province, Antonio Benavides, traveled the section from Chunhuhub to Bacalar and in his reports to the Crown he pointed out the need to consolidate this redoubt, in the face of the danger that represented the British settled in what is now Belize came to seize Bacalar.
Over time, a moat with its drawbridge was added to the fort, embankments for the bastions, the parapets were improved, the number of cannons and the guard increased; likewise, the facilities of the Caballero Alto were improved and increased, the curtains of the fort were raised and new sentry boxes were built. From its watchtowers, you can appreciate the lagoon extension that the lookouts covered.
On March 21, 1901, federal troops commanded by General José María de la Vega occupied Bacalar, but the town was practically depopulated. With the decree that established the Federal Territory of Quintana Roo, on November 24, 1902, Bacalar became the head of the Southern Subprefecture, to which, among other communities, Payo Obispo, Xcalak, Ramonal, and Icaiché belonged.
This circumstance allowed that Bacalar was repopulated, until being at the moment a remarkable cultural center, with its House of the Culture, its International House of the Writer and its Regional Center of Normal Education "Javier Rojo Gómez"; these last two institutions with large and efficient modular buildings on the edge of the Laguna de los Siete Colores. It has also been highlighted as a focus of ecological tourism. With the rescue of its Historical Center, the cultural attraction is added to the natural gifts of Bacalar.
The Fort of San Felipe became a Museum of Local History on March 23, 1983. Twenty years later, it was necessary to undertake remodeling and renovation works that incorporated the technological advances to its museum function and that updated the information according to the data accumulated in that time lapse; as well as to maintain its functionality.
Thus, now the Fort Museum of San Felipe has environmental sound and six video screens where recreations of the tape and pirate attacks occurred in Bacalar. Also, since navigation is a decisive factor in history.
In the same way, the various events included in the historical stage known as the Conquest, which in Quintana Roo was meant by the integration of Gonzalo Guerrero into the Mayan culture, to the point of formally marrying a noblewoman of Chactemal, are evoked in this Museum. the legitimate miscegenation and die in defense of their new values, fighting against the hosts of Pedro de Alvarado.
With regard to Bacalar, it is reported in this section of the Museum that, in 1526, just five years after the conquest of Tenochtitlan, captain Francisco de Montejo obtained authorization from Emperor Charles V to colonize the lands of Yucatan; but the spirit of resistance of the Mayas prolongs the beginning of this enterprise for 20 years.
Thus, after numerous historical episodes, in 1544, still within a hostile environment, the Villa de Salamanca de Bacalar was founded on rubble and corpses.
Cenote Negro (Black Cenote)
This cenote is inside the open-air lagoon located in what is the Regional Education Center "Javier Rojo Gómez" on the coastal avenue with 8th street and which we can access through the main door of this house of studies, or by means of a boat from the lagoon, this cenote is the smallest in diameter of the four with 130 meters approximately and the closest to the city but like all with a depth that exceeds 15 meters from the shore around it we can find abundant vegetation.
Church of San Joaquin
Colonial style construction of the eighteenth century, recently restored, with the vaulted ceiling divided into naves. In the town of Bacalar, the Fiesta de San Joaquín, the patron saint of the place, is held every year in August, which includes national motorcycling competitions.
Bacalar has important colonial vestiges that at the same time played a decisive role in the Caste War. The Fort of Bacalar with its four bastions had the function of defending the population from the pirate attacks that trafficked with the dye stick. In addition, inside it, there is a regional museum that testifies all these historical facts. The church belongs to the colonial era and still works for religious purposes.
Cenote Azul (Blue Cenote)
Incomparable body of deep waters. Due to its extension, it is considered the largest in Mexico at ground level, it is 200 m wide and more than 90 m deep, it is located 30 km northwest of Chetumal.
Through underground veins, it connects with the Bacalar lagoon and receives its name due to the turquoise color of its waters. The word Cenote comes from the Maya tzonot, "abyss". In all the peninsula is denominated to the deposits of deep water. Sometimes, at the bottom of the cenotes, there are strong currents that are part of a complicated network of underground rivers. But in the Blue Cenote, you can swim and dive taking the usual precautionary measures, as well as practice placid rowing and boating if you take the necessary implements.
The ancient Mayans gave cenotes different uses: while some served them to supply water, others had exclusively ceremonial purposes. In them, they honored Chaac, the god of water and rain, in addition to considering them the entrance to the underworld. On the shore, there is a restaurant whose specialty is dishes based on fish and seafood.
International House of the Writer
The International House of the Writer of Bacalar was inaugurated in 1990 by the Government of the State of Quintana Roo and for its operation signed a cooperation agreement with the General Society of Writers of Mexico and the National Council for Culture and the Arts.
It was inaugurated in 1990 with the aim of providing a space to comfortably house writers, poets and artistic creators in general in the region, the country and abroad.
It is located in the town of Bacalar, of ancient Mayan roots, on the shores of the Laguna de Siete Colores, guarded by a portentous and elegant colonial fort of the same century that houses the Fort San Felipe Bacalar Museum.
It has hosted important national and international events such as the First National Meeting of Film Writers, the First National Meeting of Film Directors, First International Diploma for Writers, among others.
Because of its enviable geographical location and the attractions of its surroundings, it offers the optimal conditions to carry out artistic and cultural production through exchange programs with various institutions and organizations for the realization of production, dissemination, training, updating, and research in the various fields of culture.
Its beautiful gardens, the tranquility of the area in which it is located and its location next to one of the most beautiful lagoons in the country, combine a climate of tranquility and beauty in harmony with nature, which invites creativity and inspiration.
Regional History Museum
The Fort of San Felipe became Museum of Regional History on March 23, 1983. Today it has a room that tells the story in its five phases: pre-Hispanic era, the conquest, piracy in the Caribbean, war of castes and the different stages through which the peninsula crosses, until becoming a Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo.
Historical and archaeological collection with pieces of vessels, cannon grenades and an iconographic exhibition of the history of the place. It has ambient sound and six video screens where recreations of pirate attacks occurred in Bacalar. Likewise, given that navigation is a decisive factor in history, it also has a small collection of boats of the time.
Laguna de Bacalar
Also called "Laguna de los Siete Colores", it is a huge expanse of shallow water, with very soft white sand. It presents a slight wave of blue tones barely perceptible where the composition of the crystals present, generates a simply fascinating spectacle.
This lagoon is part of a lagoon system approximately 55 kilometers long that communicates with the Chetumal bay through the Hondo River and the Chaac estuary. Along the way, some hotels and private residences have been built, which are usually crowded on weekends and holidays. Within this huge expanse of water, there are areas with some pools that allow very safe diving activities due to its shallow depth.
Located 2 and a half kilometers from the city and with a diameter of 230 meters approximately we can find one of the four cenotes that feed the lagoon, which is located inside it and that to have access to this cenote can be land route at the height of the particular terrain called "Coquitos" on the Costera Avenue or, like three of the four cenotes of the lagoon, take a boat at any of the points where the providers of this service are to reach the place.
Cenote Hotel Laguna
In front of a beautiful hotel with an approximate diameter of 350 meters and 42 meters deep, this cenote is located, which does not have its own name but is located and recognized as being right in front of the Laguna Hotel, from which there is a beautiful view and from there you can leave at any point within the lagoon in search of the other cenotes. You can reach this magnificent place by the same coastal or whether you take a boat at any of the points where the providers of this service are located.
House of Culture
This house dating from the nineteenth century was rebuilt by the government of the State and inaugurated by the President of the Republic in July 1990. Currently offer workshops for people of all ages, such as Folk Dance, Poetry Choral and Theatrical, Crafts, English, and Danzón.
Therefore, it promotes the integration of the community to the different cultural manifestations, through the active participation of the sectors, thus contributing to the use of free time in accordance with the interests.
At the same time, it serves as a coordinating nucleus to support and combine the efforts of other existing organizations in the community that is related to the cultural area and to support the new artistic values through stimuli and concrete actions.
Likewise, it fosters among the community the preparation of a potential audience capable of recognizing and appreciating the diverse elements that make up the artistic manifestations.
It is located in the upper part of the town, next to the fort of San Felipe, the central park has a kiosk and well-kept gardens; This square is the meeting point of all the settlers and official location to carry out the festivities of the town.
Places to see close to Bacalar
16 kilometers south of Bacalar is the hamlet of Xul-Há, Mayan name meaning "end of water". In effect, there is the southern end of the Laguna de Bacalar. A very rustic staircase at the end of one of the streets of the town leads to the edge of the lagoon, where one can take a dip.
Buena Vista Beach & Spa
The Balneario Buenavista is located 25 kilometers from Bacalar and has shallow and crystal clear waters. There is playgrounds and crafts sale. Kayaks and nice cabins are rented.
Uchben Kah Ecotourism Park
From Chacchoben you have to return to Federal Highway 307. At the junction, turn northeast (left) to arrive, 3 kilometers further on, to the town of Pedro Antonio de los Santos. There is this new Ecotourism Park that operates since mid-2006.
The park covers 90 hectares of the northern shore of the Bacalar lagoon. The place is designed for hiking and mountain biking in the middle of the jungle, which is quite complete there. There are also guided tours in a kayak through what in the area called creeks (slow streams subsidiary of the lagoon) and over the lagoon, with the purpose of sighting the fauna of the area, which includes different types of birds, some mammals as deer, tapir, and crocodiles.
There is a nocturnal version of this route in which each traveler carries his lamp on his head and allows to surprise at a distance the crocodiles that are lurking on the shore of the lagoon.
The central facilities of the park occupy what half a century ago was a station that was abandoned over time. The old shop, the administrator's house and the other constructions that are still standing are being adapted to provide services such as restaurant, grocery store, bathrooms, dressing rooms and showers, counters for rental of snorkeling equipment, telephones, ATM and source of sodas. There are also camping areas and sections of the coast for aquatic recreations.