Inland from the Costa Maya and some 35km north of Chetumal, the gorgeous Laguna de Bacalar stretches along the east side of Hwy-307. If you haven’t checked a map, it’s easy to mistake it for the Caribbean, glinting through the trees in flashes of colour from palest aqua to deep indigo. About 45km and 1km wide, it’s the second largest lake in Mexico (after Laguna de Chapala, south of Guadalajara), but still attracts only a small number of Mexican tourists and a small expat community with a bent for ecology and yoga. The birdlife here is exceptionally vibrant.

The small town on the edge of the lake, Bacalar, was once a key point on the pre-Colombian trade route, and unexcavated Maya remains surround the lake. The Chilam Balam of Chumayel, one of the Maya’s sacred books, mentions it as the first settlement of the Itzá, the tribe that occupied Chichén Itzá.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Mexico features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The colours of Mexico captured in 14 pictures

The colours of Mexico captured in 14 pictures

Travel photographer Tim Draper has shot images for more than 20 Rough Guides guidebooks, visiting far-flung corners around the world. Here he shares some of h…

21 Jun 2016 • Tim Draper insert_drive_file Article
Marvellous Mexico: 8 insider tips from our authors

Marvellous Mexico: 8 insider tips from our authors

Surviving 42ºC (107ºF) desert heat, tramping hurricane-battered Pacific beaches and scaling lofty volcanoes, our hard-travelling authors have visited every co…

06 Jun 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Cozumel: an insider's guide to Mexico's Caribbean jewel

Cozumel: an insider's guide to Mexico's Caribbean jewel

Most people visit Mexico's Isla Cozumel for one of two reasons: to scuba dive, or to kill time with food and drink before their cruise ship takes off again. Eve…

03 Jun 2016 • Mandy Gardner insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month