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Once a relatively unknown town in the Mexican Caribbean, Bacalar is trending on TikTok as a cheaper, less crowded alternative to TulumWith each passing day, more and more Americans become aware of this hidden gem and its cultural value, and regular visitors and locals alike are left wondering.
Officials have certainly welcomed a surge in demand for beach holidays in Mexico’s Mayan heartland, but after 30 million guests registered in 2022 alone, they have moved to a setting of mass tourism for historic sites. Concerns have been raised about the impact of , placing the region as one of the fastest growing. destinations around the world.
Many admit that Tulum, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, etc. are already “lost” to gentrification. Could quaint Bacalar be next?
Bacalar is a hot topic right now
@yosoyviajera Segundo día en Bacalar! #Viaje #tipsdeviaje #yosoyviajera #Bacalar ♬ Love grows (where my rosemary goes) – Edison Lighthouse
Bacalar is a small inland hamlet in southern Quintana Roo, straddling Lake Bacalar of outstanding natural beauty. Thirty miles long and one mile wide, the lake is also known as the Lake of Seven Colors because of its many shades of turquoise blue. The pale teal green of the water. Certainly not in the Caribbean, some argue that there is even better.
For example, in Tulum and Playa del Carmen, rising sargassum levels often confuse tourists each year, but Lake Bacalar is crystal clear all year round. After all, it is a freshwater lake, and extensive conservation efforts have ensured pollution. Minimal. unfortunately, The same cannot be said for northern Quintana Roo.
On TikTok, Bacalar racked up millions of views overnight after newcomers began sharing their vacation experiences in the region.
@tui.benelux 📍Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico 🇲🇽 #tui #mexico #bacalar #bacalarlagoon #paradise #lagoon #tiktoktravel #travellife #livehappy #travel #foryou #fyp #foryoupage ♬ Original sound – Owen
In response to the clip above, other TikTok users who have been to Bacalar are quoted as saying, “This is a true paradise” and “a great place to relax.” People who had never been there seemed to be surprised by the actual blueness of the sea and said they would like to visit again. Amidst the flood of comments, one reaction in particular caught his attention.
‘Well there is this hidden gem‘, @wikid.
Will Bacalar just become Tulum?
Tourism in Bacalar has grown steadily in recent years since it first became popular as ‘Southern Tulum’. However, it hasn’t yet been overwhelmed by the Instagram hordes, the party scene is relatively benign, and the city’s safety levels are much higher. Historically, retiree destination And Mexican locals looking for peace and quiet.
Today, the demographic is changing, with more young people seeking off-grid travel experiences and preferring cultural destinations rather than relaxing for a full week at an all-inclusive resort. As a result, Bacalar has risen to prominence as one of Quintana Roo’s strongest competitors, and millions of dollars have been poured into the city to prepare for the influx of visitors.
@kristinacors The color of the water might make you think you’re in the Maldives, but it’s not. Have you heard about this place?! .
While this may sound worrying to some, especially to American customers who prefer their beloved Bacalar “hidden”, judging by the latest statement provided by the Government of Quintana Roo (QR), Bacalar is fine But Heir to Tulumfor one reason that’s all: The authorities’ goal is not to turn it into yet another overpriced tourist city.
Mayor José Alfredo Contreras Mendez stressed that growth must take place in an orderly and sustainable manner. He was supported by QR Tourism Secretary Bernardo Cueto Liestra, who reaffirmed Bacalar’s development strategy.”does not refer to all-inclusiveeffectively ruling out the placement of major resort brands on the lakefront.
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Instead, Bacalar is touted as a safe haven for high-priced travelers who insist on privacy and seclusion. From 62 hotels and 573 rooms to 90 and 1050 respectively between 2018 and 2022, most developed place Regarding the hotel infrastructure of the “Grand Costa Maya”.
Judging by the calm waters of Lake Bacalar, the limited number of expats who have moved to the area since then, and the long-standing traditions of the community, the increased demand and construction of accommodation facilities has put locals at a disadvantage. It has not been proven to cause any disruption to their lives. way of life. In other words, Bacalar tourism expansion is fully sustainable.
Is Bacalar protected from overtourism?
Bacalar is often overlooked by sunbathers vacationing in the Mexican Caribbean. The main reasons are Bacalar’s lack of coastal proximity and its remote location in the Nether province of Quintana Roo, where the main airport serves the only domestic flight. 211 miles south of Cancun, the main entry point into the province. It’s not exactly a day trip destination.
Due to both its geographical features and the lack of direct international flights, construction of resorts and leisure centers on Lake Bacalar has been somewhat limited, in contrast to the development boom in North Quintana Roo over the past decade. increase. I’m not saying that the amenities are suboptimal or lack strong tourism initiatives.
on the contrary.
Bacalar retains its small-town charm
There are no ultra-luxury mega-resorts or galore entertainment options here, but there are several boutique hotels and guesthouses along Lake Bacalar that offer an idyllic escape from the chaos of the modern world. It’s a fraction of Tulum’s ridiculously high prices.
@yosoyviajera Hote Blue Bird en Bacalar! #Viaje #hotelesdelujo #bacalar #yosoyviajera ♬ One Day / Reckoning Song (Wankelmut Remix) – Radio Edit – Asaf Avidan & The Mojos
If you’re looking for relaxation, Bacalar is where you should head. astonishingly pastoral A Riviera Maya destination and still the heart of Mexico. Don’t expect an abundance of world cuisine, much less an American-style diner, to cure a week of homesickness. real Mexican food.
Inhabited since time immemorial, when the Maya people ruled the Yucatán as part of a vast empire spanning Central America, the surrounding area was occupied by Spanish conquistadors as early as 1543. It was my first city. The legacy of the Iberians and later European settlers will not disappear.
Construction of colonial buildings and massive forts soon followed, claiming a Hispanic domain to the territory, but Mayan Legacy Couldn’t Be Completely ErasedSeveral remnants of pre-Columbian architecture can be found within driving distance of downtown Bacalar, including the town of Kohunlich, the Limornes complex and the Chanchoven Step Pyramid.
As you might expect, as a cultural destination, Bacalar is very Please do a lot.
According to the Minister of Tourism, the proposed project in connection with expanding Bacalar’s tourism offer aims not only to protect its rich heritage, but also to cater to large consumers with a “more sustainable and exclusive As such, we do not know how overtourism will affect the lake in the near or distant future.
@hacks.travel Bacalar, Mexico! #bacalar #mexico #moldives #travel #hiddengems #beachtrip #clearwaters #views ♬ Island In The Sun – Weezer
When discussing Bacalar’s newfound fame, Can’t help but compare with Tulumformerly a small Mayan fishing village, has rapidly transformed into a featureless and overly internationalized hotel zone in a short span of two decades. is logical – If not bad.
But there are three factors that put the brakes on this undesirable course.
- the authorities simply not interested Make Bacalar a new all-inclusive resort destination
- Limited flight options to South QR, which helps keep tourism levels down (at least for now)*
- Lake Bacalar is not a sea and excessive pollution from mass tourism can cause irreversible damage to the water and change its tonality
*The opening of the new Tren Maya, which will connect Cancun to Bacalar and all major tourist attractions in the Yucatan Peninsula, could further increase tourist numbers.
yes there is always risk can It happens especially in the age of TikTok, but Bacalar’s downfall is highly unlikely, regardless of trends or viral videos. long quite far away.
traveler alert: Don’t forget your travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com.