4 Ways to Get From Tulum to Bacalar in 2023

Wondering how to get from Tulum to Bacalar Mexico? If you are planning a trip to Bacalar Lagoon in Mexico and you are figuring out a way to get there, you have come to the right place.

I have been to Bacalar several times and in many different ways and in this post, I am going to share all the possible ways to get from Tulum to Laguna Bacalar so that you can choose what fits best for you.

Tulum and Bacalar are connected, and you need to pass by Tulum to get to Bacalar unless you are flying into Chetumal, which is also another option.


5 ways to get from Tulum to Bacalar

Getting to Bacalar by car

The easiest and more comfortable way to get from Tulum to Bacalar is by car without a doubt. It’s only 2hrs 30-minute drive, the road is beautiful and well paved.

Just keep in mind that there are not many gas stations along the way so make sure your tank is full, either from Tulum or Felipe Carillo Puerto.

Other than that it’s very safe to drive from Tulum to Bacalar.

You can pick up your car in Tulum or at Cancun airport when you arrive.

However, I would suggest you should book your car rental in advance so that you make sure you will take the time to do your search and find the best car rental deal.

I would recommend using an aggregator such as Discover Cars since it will show you all the possible rates available from different companies in a specific time frame.

Just make sure that once you select your rate and car rental company you read their policies because those ones are all different for each car rental company.

Car rental

Discover Cars Mexico Review

Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.

Bacalar is a very small town but to get from one “balneario” (like a beach club but on the lake) to another or to explore the surrounding area you will need a car unless you want to rely on taxis.

The Lake Bacalar itself is quite extended and therefore you will need a vehicle in order to get from one site to the other.

That’s why having a car is my favorite option to get from Tulum to Bacalar

Bacalar platforms and cabañas

Getting to Bacalar by shuttle

You can rent a private shuttle to get to Bacalar, which is an air-conditioned minivan with a driver for up to 6 people.

This option is convenient only if you are a party of 4 to 6 people to share the cost. Otherwise, it can be very expensive.

Tulum to Bacalar by bus

Getting to Bacalar from Tulum by bus is the cheapest and easiest way if you don’t feel like driving.

ADO busses leave from Tulum Bus station downtown every hour and it takes around 3 hours to get there.

ADO offers a first-class bus (ADO) and the budget busses called AV.

The difference is minimum and you will be more comfortable on the first-class bus.

Bacalar lagoon sunrise

Tulum to Bacalar by taxi

I have included this option to get from Tulum to Bacalar by taxi because it is an option indeed. However, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I have no idea about the price but it will be expensive. I would say about 2000 mxn, but you would need to check with a taxi driver.

If you want to go for it, ask your homeowner or hotel concierge if they know a trustworthy taxi driver, and make sure you agree on the fare before confirming.

To go back to Tulum you will find plenty of taxis available in Bacalar.

Bacalar aerial view
Bacalar aerial view

Tulum to Bacalar by airplane

The closest airport to Bacalar is Chetumal. It says international airport but in reality, there are direct flights from Mexico City and Cancun only.

However, if you are flying internationally you can always get to Chetumal by connecting through Cancun or Mexico City with a local airline, Vivaerobus, Aeromexico, or Volaris.

Domestic flights to Chetumal are very cheap, you can find something as cheap as 30 USD for a basic fare.

From Chetumal to Bacalar there are 40 km. You can also rent a car from Chetumal airport and start your road trip from there.

Unmissable things to do in Bacalar

Bacalar is one of the most beautiful and still well preserved natural resorts in Quintana Roo Mexico, close to the Belize border and to the precious Calakmul site.

It used to have a few sewage issues that were contaminating the water of the pristine lagoon but it seems they are fixing it to preserve this precious gift of nature.

There are several ways to enjoy Bacalar, although the most fun attraction is taking a boat tour in the lagoon. Here below I am offering a list of the best things to do in Bacalar and tours

✔ Take a tour around the lagoon stop to swim and snorkel in the pirate canal and visit a cenote within the lagoon. ► BOOK THE TOUR NOW

Bacalar Kayaking

✔ Visit the old fort

✔ Check out one of the Balnearios, local beach clubs on the lagoon where you can relax and enjoy the cool water

✔ Take a sailing tour along the lagoon – ► BOOK NOW

✔ Paddleboard at sunset – ► BOOK NOW

✔ Take a private catamaran tour – ► BOOK NOW

Read more about the things to do in Bacalar in my dedicated post.

Bacalar Palapa hammocks

Where do you fly into for Bacalar Mexico?

As I mentioned above you can get to Bacalar by flying to Chetumal either from Cancun or from Mexico City.

You could also fly to Cancun and then get to Bacalar by car making a nice road trip itinerary from Cancun to Bacalar.

Or you could just take a private transfer from Cancun airport to Bacalar which is the best option if you don’t feel like renting a car.

From Cancun to Bacalar there are 346 km (214miles)

Book your transfer from Cancun to Bacalar

Cancun Bacalar

Do I need a car in Bacalar?

You don’t NEED it, but it would definitely be more convenient for you to explore Bacalar beaches and the beautiful locations along the lagoon. In my opinion, renting a car to get to Bacalar is the best option.

If you are concerned about driving in Mexico check out my dedicated posts:

Driving in Mexico, all you need to know
Renting a car in Mexico: how not to get scammed

Bacalar lagoon

Can you swim in Bacalar?

Yes, you can definitely swim in Bacalar, although there have been issues of contaminated waters in the past it seems that it’s been recovering but people are swimming with no issues.

How many days do you need in Bacalar?

This is indeed a difficult question. It really depends on what your travel plans look like.

I’d dare say that to see Bacalar highlights, which is a sailing tour, swimming in the cenote, spend some time in a Balneario, admire some sunrises and enjoy the small village vibes, two full days may be enough.

However, if you really want to take it all in and do multiple tours, or stay in a beautiful resort and relax by the lake, then, I would suggest you should stay a little longer if time permits.

Bacalar lagon sunrise

Is Bacalar worth visiting?

In my opinion, it is indeed worth visiting and it is one of the best places in Mexico to include in your bucket list destination in Mexico.

As you can see from this aerial view picture it’s a one-of-a-kind destination with incredible views and outdoor activities.

The village is pretty and with many lovely restaurants and in the surrounding, you can visit archeological sites and other interesting Mexican historical sites.

Bacalar estromatolitos

Is Bacalar close to Tulum?

Bacalar is located only 215 km from Tulum which is 2hrs and a 30-minute drive.

Is Bacalar near Cancun?

No, Bacalar is quite far from Cancun, being on the opposite side of Tulum. Bacalar-Cancun distance is 346 km (214miles), which is 4 hrs 30 minutes drive approximately. (Depending on how many stops)

Are there crocodiles in Bacalar Lagoon?

There are crocodiles in Bacalar if you are wondering, but they usually are in remote, out-of-reach areas where we wouldn’t go swimming.