The Lagoon of Seven Colors
The Lagoon of Seven Colors
The Lagoon of Seven Colors, aptly named for the seven shades of blue and green it reflects throughout the day, is a natural paradise in Mexico.
This 60-kilometer lagoon (which is often called a lake, but is actually a series of waterways eventually leading to the ocean) once offered passage for pirates and traders seeking their treasure in the form of wood from the Campeche tree. Connected to the Caribbean Sea, the lagoon surprisingly boasts fresh water and connects many large cenotes which are sinkholes that often link underground rivers or cave systems. It is unique in the world for its quantity of stromatolites, which look like giant rocks in the water, but are living organisms as old as 3.7 billion years, and are vital to the health of the marine ecosystem, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
Extending along the western side of the lagoon is the small community of Bacalar, a colorful and quaint village which is still a rather unknown tourist destination. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy nature, eat great food, and see new sights.
Spend time in the lagoon - Kayak or paddle board (options to do both at sunrise and sunset are available and unforgettable) Swim, snorkel, dive, or take a sailboat or motorboat tour to the cenotes and the Bird Island in the lagoon.
For a unique experience on the water, 2-3 day kayaking and camping trips are available with Active Nature Bacalar. The tours kayak toward the northern end of the lagoon and through mangroves where waterfowl like herons, egrets, Ospreys can be spotted as well as a crocodile, Spider Monkeys, and Keel Billed Toucan with some luck!
Although the lagoon is the main draw for most people, there are many other activities in the area:
Take a jungle walk - The jungle is a treasure chest of nature's smaller jewels such as insects, beautiful butterflies, birds, snakes and plants. You will learn more about trees and plants as well as animals that inhabit this area and how everything interacts with another.
Take a Tropical Birdwatching Tour - Mexico is one of the most biologically diverse countries on earth. It is home to more than 1000 bird species, 439 mammals, 989 amphibians and reptiles, and about 26.000 plants. The Yucatan Peninsula is high on the list of unique places to visit for birders.
Explore the nearby Mayan Ruins of Kohunlich or the smaller sites of Dzibanche, Rio Bec, Kinicha, and Cachoben
Where To Eat
Mango y Chile - A vegetarian restaurant near the central park with delicious food and juice options.
Pizzeria Bertilla - Just around the corner from the central park, a friendly joint ready to satisfy your pizza craving.
Banana Go - A food truck with delicious and fresh menu options, including unique savory and sweet dishes made with plantains. One block away from the central park, toward the lagoon.
Antojitos Orizaba - Around the corner from the central park, next to the Pizzeria Bertilla, they are a local restaurant that makes delicious empandas, tacos, quesadillas, and more. They have a great selection of vegetarian fillings for all of these options as well.
Due to the slow flow of water into and out of the lagoon as well as the delicate stromatolites, the lagoon is a fragile ecosystem, and we must do our part to care for it when we visit. Here are just a few smart choices we can choose during our vacation:
- Bring reusable water bottles (limit the amount of plastic we purchase b/c the majority is not recycled) Many hotels will re-fill your bottles with purified water.
- Bring reusable bags to use throughout the trip
- Use biodegradable sunscreen or none when entering the water (think of this action x everyone in the lagoon every single day)
- The lagoon is unique in the world for its quantity of stromatolites (they look like rocks in the water) They are living creatures which absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen which is vital to the lagoon's ecosystem. Do not touch, stand on, or sit on them.
- If you opt for kayaks, paddle boards, a non-motor activity over a boating activity with a motor, you're helping the environment
- Choose restaurants and juice bars that utilize reusable dining ware vs. the single-use plastic counterpart (Also ask for no plastic to be used, when necessary)
“The Lagoon of Seven Colors” was written by: Meredith Leigh
Meredith Leigh is an avid traveler from Texas, USA. She studied abroad in Moscow, Russia, which sparked in her the courage to explore more of the world. She has spent the past 8 years living outside of the United States, primarily in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean. You are welcome to follow her travels on Instagram: www.instagram.com/inspired__nomad/