Activities out on the water, shooting in gorgeous dresses and my top 3 tips if you are visiting Bacalar.
When Fandango Sailing contacted us inviting us to the lagoon for a long weekend of activities we had just finished spending a whole month at Caleta Tankah (that post is coming soon, watch this space).
We were craving movement and to mix things up a bit, So from solitude down on the quiet beaches of CT we rented a car, picked up my pal Lauryn (and her two little dogs) and drove three hours east to the well known small tiny town of Bacalar.
Those who have followed me for a while will know that this is place I have visited on various occasions over the last decade and I even have a post from a couple of years ago right here. But this time it was going to be different, our main focus was going to be staying out on the water, and whilst this time we were not able to be sleeping on the sailing boat we were going to be eating, drinking, shooting and sailing all day both days whilst visiting.
So for general information and food spots check out my last post because this ones about the water.
Fandango Sailing is run by a friend of ours, tailor made trips out to the lagoon are their speciality, you can have breakfast and watch the sunrise out on the boat if you wish, then stay out and be given the full tour of the 42km long lagoon that proudly sports all sort of blues. Mario the captain sufficiently calculates snacks and meals for you to never worry about getting peckish. Plates of fresh fruit are passed out all day, gorgeous salmon based lunch with fresh bread from the local bakery, and tuna steak cooked in fresh lime juice for the afternoon as the sun sets over the back of the town.
But the “menu” is always available to be altered so don’t let that deter you.
We began the day by cruising around, whilst we got familiar with being on the boat, lapping up every moment to take photos and videos. It is is a magnificent sight watching the blues change before your eyes as the sun dodges in and out between the clouds. Mario then lead us to the canals on where we jumped off the boat and onto the paddle boards, a personal favourite of mine, off we went Lauryn and I exploring the nooks and crannies of the lagoon whilst lunch was preperaed.
Mario has a a great setup and although its not a huge sailing boat it has ample space for him to cook and prepare meals for more than three and all whilst being an excellent host. There is an inside area to shield from the sun, or you can lay down the front where and sun soak and the back with a table, benches to sit and eat. Hungry after paddling around we jumped back onto the boat and tucked into the freshly made lunch, followed by beer and wine on tap (or fizzy water if youre me). We digested the food, sunned on the deck as we sailed to another part of the lagoon.
The water was much shallower here and we could play with the tornados. Now if you have never had a chance to play with these things and you have a frustrated child inside of you like myself I would highly recommend.
Whilst these ones were not exceedingly powerful we were able to be pulled through the blue waters and didn’t stop laughing solidly for at least 30 minutes.
We got the pups into the water and did some more shooting, surprise suprise haha, and marveled in the incredible drone footage we were able to take. I cannot wait to share the video with you all, if you thought these photos were impressive, the video is incredible. (Make sure you are following me on Youtube where I will be sharing more of my videos from my trips).
Mario has been a resident of Bacalar for more than a decade so is the ideal person to contact when you visit or if you are planning to head down to the South East of Mexico. Now I feel it is important to be transparent, much like the glowing blues of the lagoon, if youre looking for jetskis, loud music and getting wrecked on a boat this is not the place for you. Pop on some Moby, sip on your bubbly and sail into the waters whilst marveling in nature, that’s the vibe of Bacalar.
Right now Bacalar is in a criticle moment in regards to preserving its future and not damaging its waters any more. Not only is it important for the locals to minimize time on the water but also partake in conscious tourisim education, educating people on the care they should take whilst visiting the small town. The rapid growth and popularity of the town thanks to the internet has already had major implications, so I knew that by coming to visit once again and experiencing it with Fandango Sailing would also give me a chance to see what I think needs to be mentioned when suggesting visiting such an idyllic location. There is a fine line between loving a place and wanting to shout about it and creating unwanted movement to a destination so fragile.
So I have whittled it down to the top 3 things I think you should take into consideration when you visit Bacalar:
1. Whilst its obviously an extremely picturesque place that throughout the day offers you various moments, colours and spots for getting the perfect snap, it's vital to not destroy the natural habitat or the wildlife which are vital parts of the ecosystem of the waters. I am specifically talking about the stromatolites.
They are ancient structures that are often found in shallow waters, and look alot like rocks, BUT YOU CANT SIT/STAND/POSE/DANCE ON THEM!
They are considered the earliest sign of life on earth, which is pretty neat, and are essential part of keeping Bacalar looking the way it does. SO preserving these natural treasure, structures made by bacteria, is a must, they can die if touched and with some over 9,000 years old it is foulish and ignorant to clamber all over them ruining the lagoon as it is and for everyone to come.
2. Protection!! Its hot, I know we are in the caribbean, and if you're visiting from out of town and not used to the strong sun it can be of importance to you to lather up on the suncream, but by protecting yourself with chemical based creams and lotions you are in fact polluting the lagoon. So please be extra conscious of the products you use when you're planning a day, weekend or week jumping in and out of the wáter. Hairsprays, perfumes, strong sun protector you get the jist are affecting the wildlife, so opting for a more natural protection or even throwing on a hat and a t-shirt to stop those shoulders getting burnt might be the better option.
Every action has a reaction, so the choices you make today can creating a better tomorrow for everyone.
3.Respect. not-so-conscious tourism is everywhere all over the world, but as a traveller it is imperative to learn about a place before partaking in activities. A quick search on the internet shows many articles speaking of the fears of Bacalar changing, and getting out and talking to locals you really do understand some of their concerns. Make sure you book your tours, activities and experiences through a company who have the lagoons best interests at heart. There are certain activities that have been deemed as bad taste, such as scooping up the sulfur rich base of the lagoon and rubbing it all over your body. A once highlight of many tours is now being removed as the damage is ruining the área in more ways than one.
And whilst many tours have taken the initiative to better the lagoon for the many there are still companies who promote these sort of activities in their days out. I think just getting out on your first day and getting a sense of the town, its people, its visión and organizing your activities with someone who has a heart for the preservation of Bacalar is the way to go. And if its not with my friend Mario that's totally ok, but be a respectful visitor and make sure your leaving Bacalar better tan when you arrived.
Dressed in the absolutely beaut dresses from AFRODITA
Thanks to everyone who made this weekend away possible
Activities: Fandango Sailing
Dressed in: Afrodita
Photography: Gerardo Arteaga