Los Rapidos Bacalar: Everything You Need to Know

 Bacalar is a hidden jewel of the Yucatan Peninsula, boasting its Lagoon of Seven Colors and its mesmerizing electric blue water. This tranquil town, situated in the south of Quintana Roo, is home to one of the Yucatan’s most memorable activities - Los Rapidos, Bacalar’s very own natural lazy river. If you are looking for a day of leisurely floating down a river of warm, turquoise water with the backdrop of swaying palm trees, then Los Rapidos Bacalar should be on your bucketlist. Here is all the information you need to plan your visit to Los Rapidos Bacalar.


In my view, Los Rapidos is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Bacalar. Despite the fact that this spot (and the entire town!) has largely gone unnoticed by the vast majority of tourists, let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This hidden gem is a fantastic opportunity to experience something truly unique and extraordinary.


Frequently Asked Questions about Los Rapidos Bacalar

What is the Lagoon of Seven Colors in Bacalar?

 If you're exploring the Yucatan, you've almost certainly heard about cenotes, sinkholes created by the porous limestone bedrock which have filled with groundwater. It is believed that the cenotes may have been caused, in some way, by the asteroid that hit the Yucatan, leaving the Chicxulub crater and leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs. For thousands of years, cenotes have been essential to the people who lived in the Yucatan - they were a dependable source of freshwater for the Mayans and were used in religious ceremonies, including those that included human sacrifice. Nowadays, they are used for less extreme activities, with travelers flocking to the cenotes near Tulum and across the Yucatan for scuba diving, cliff diving, and just cooling off in the hot Mexican sun.

 The Bacalar Lagoon is actually a group of cenotes, such as Cenote Cocalitos and Cenote Negro, which caved in on each other, forming the largest freshwater body of water in the entire country, covering a distance of 26 miles. Its waters are clear and have beautiful shades of blue, thanks to the white sand on the bottom of the lagoon and the varying depths throughout, ranging from a few feet to three hundred feet deep.

 What is Los Rapidos Bacalar? 

Los Rapidos is a picturesque channel in the Bacalar lagoon, lined with stromatolites and mangroves. Its waters flow at a gentle pace, making it the perfect spot for kayaking and simply floating along. For those who wish to access this tranquil spot, Los Rapidos Bacalar is the place to go. Here, visitors can pay a fee of 160 MXN (or $8 USD) and enjoy the turquoise water all day


What are stromatolites?

 You'll find these peculiar rocky shapes along the border of the Bacalar Lagoon, adding to the beauty of its vivid colors. But these formations aren't rocks at all - they are actually the oldest living organisms on the planet, known as stromatolites. These ancient creatures have been around for millions of years, and still exist today, a testament to their remarkable resilience. 


Stromatolites are one of the oldest living organisms on Earth, and they are incredibly important to our planet. While my husband Justin and I were taking a road trip around the Yucatan, I had never heard of these microbial reefs before. They are formed by tiny photosynthesizing organisms called cyanobacteria, and as sand and other sediment move and settle in shallow water, the cyanobacteria binds the particles together, until a rock-like formation is created.

 Bacalar is one of the few places on Earth where you can see these stromatolites, and they produce a large amount of oxygen, making them just as important to our environment as forests. 


Given that the stromatolites of the Bacalar Lagoon are deserving of protection, here are a few things to keep in mind. Much like the Cenote Azul Bacalar, it is prohibited to wear sunscreen in the lagoon as the chemicals present in it can disrupt the pH balance of the water, potentially leading to the destruction of the stunning hue and the deterioration of the stromatolites’ habitat. 

Furthermore, visitors should avoid stepping on the stromatolites that line the Los Rapidos canal, as indicated by the numerous signs in the area. Instead, find a safe way to enter and exit the water without causing any damage. 


Lastly, the lagoon's still waters can be easily contaminated by urine, so do your part and keep it clean for the sake of the stromatolites!

How to Get to Los Rapidos Bacalar

 If you’re looking for the best day tours on Bacalar , we recommend GetYourGuide!

They have high rated tours that visit many of the best sights like Lagoon, Pirate Canal, Stromatolite Day Trip .

 These tours usually include free hotel pickup and drop-off from most of the popular areas in Bacalar.

We’ve used this company for lots of day tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended 

Book Now:  3 Hour Boat Trip

Things to do at Los Rapidos Bacalar

 1-Once you pay the entrance fee to Los Rapidos Bacalar, you can spend the rest of your day in a variety of entertaining ways. For example, you can take advantage of the long wooden boardwalk that runs alongside the river and enjoy a leisurely float down the river. It's a great way to relax and take in the stunning turquoise water. Plus, you can do it over and over again - it's so much fun! If that isn't enough, you can also explore the area and enjoy the various sights and sounds of the natural surroundings. No matter what you choose to do, you're sure to have an unforgettable day at Los Rapidos Bacalar!

The canal is shallow in most areas and the current is rather tranquil, but it is still wise to don a life jacket, which is included in your ticket price! This way, you can truly just drift along and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Wearing a life jacket ensures that you stay safe and can relax and take in the sights without worry.

2-Grab your snorkel gear and dive into the depths of that crystal clear water. You may not find a treasure trove of sea creatures, but the underwater landscape of mangroves and stromatolites is a sight to behold. Even if you don't spot a single fish, the experience of gliding through the tranquil waters is an unforgettable one. So don your gear and explore the mysteries of the deep - you won't regret it!

3-Experience the thrill of kayaking or paddleboarding here! Rent a single kayak for 200 MXN, a double for 400 MXN, or a paddleboard for a similar price. Set off and paddle upstream, admiring the stunning crystal turquoise water and the awe-inspiring mangroves and stromatolites. Then, let the current take you back to the beach club, feeling the breeze on your face as you drift along. 

4-Soaking up the sun, the beach club offers a great selection of hammocks, lounges, and tables with views of the canal to sit back and enjoy the warmth of the sun. You can pay for the more comfortable lounge chairs, daybeds, or hammocks if you want a place to stay for the day, but there are also plenty of other seating areas at the restaurant where you can relax, sip on a Corona, and take in the beautiful scenery.

A few things to note:

Many visitors have noted the requirement of a 300 MXN minimum spend to sit at any of the chairs in the restaurant area. Although we left our towels on two chairs near the lagoon all day and purchased some food and drinks, we were never asked to move our belongings or told about any kind of minimum spend. If you’re on a tight budget, this is something to keep in mind, especially during busier times of the year such as December, when these rules are more likely to be enforced.


 In addition, numerous reviewers have commented on the poor quality of service they received at the restaurant. When we were there, the service was a bit slow, but otherwise, it was quite pleasant. It is advisable to go in with the expectation that you’ll be on beach time, and you just might be pleasantly surprised!   


 In addition to the amenities already mentioned, this facility also offers changing rooms, bathrooms, and showers (all free of charge) as well as lockers (which require a 50 MXN rental fee plus a 50 MXN deposit). Unfortunately, you'll need to bring your own towel since they don't have any to rent here.

 Tips for Visiting Los Rapidos Bacalar

When planning a trip to Mexico, don't forget to pack your swimsuit and towel in addition to some extra sun protection. The Bacalar Lagoon is a beautiful destination, but you won't be able to wear sunscreen there, so don't forget to bring a rashguard and a baseball hat to avoid getting sunburnt like I did! Here's a great option for women and men to keep you safe in the sun!

The Bacalar Lagoon is a remarkable place, boasting a kaleidoscope of colors and the fascinating stromatolites. So please, show this special spot the respect it deserves! Don't anchor yourself or navigate through the mangroves and reeds, as they are home to many species of birds and snails, which are essential to the lagoon's ecology. Likewise, steer clear of the chivita snail, which is vital in keeping the waters of the lagoon clean. Most importantly, don't attempt to touch or disturb the stromatolites in any way. It would be akin to kicking a puppy, so don't even think about it! There's no reason to, so just leave them be.

The safety of Los Rapidos Bacalar's environment is of utmost importance, and it should be taken seriously by all who visit. To ensure this, it is essential that visitors follow the signs and warnings posted, but also take extra steps to protect the environment - such as taking a shower beforehand to remove any lotions or oils, which is a common practice in other cenotes in the area. Additionally, having a staff member on-site to remind visitors to stay off the stromatolites would be an effective way to ensure the preservation of the environment. Ultimately, the responsibility to protect the environment falls on everyone, so let's all work together to leave it better than we found it!

 Additional question from visitors :

What is the age limit for Los Rapidos – Bacalar?

The age limit for Los Rapidos – Bacalar is 18 years old. Individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult in order to ride the attraction. Additionally, all riders must meet certain height and weight requirements in order to safely ride the attraction. All riders must also abide by the posted safety rules and regulations.

What is the best time to visit Los Rapidos – Bacalar? 

The best time to visit Los Rapidos – Bacalar is from late November to early April. During this period, the weather is mild and the humidity is low, making it a great time for outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing, and kayaking. During these months, the average temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) with an average humidity of around 70%. The days are usually sunny and the nights are cool and comfortable. The water temperature of the Bacalar Lagoon is usually quite warm, making it a great spot for swimming. Additionally, the area is filled with lush vegetation, making it a great spot for bird watching and nature hikes.

Is Bacalar, Mexico Safe?

As towns and tourist spots in Mexico go, yes, Bacalar is safe. Dan and I didn’t encounter anything amiss. But, as always when travelling, don’t be flashy with any valuables and stick to the main streets.





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