A Day Trip to Lake Bacalar - Mexico
I took a day trip to Bacalar, roughly about 250 kilometers away from Playa del Carmen, Peninsula de Yucatan; Mexico and almost at the border of Belize. We left at around 7.00 am with my friends Stefano and Marisa, an Italian couple living in Switzerland. We drove in a small car through lush rainforest on a muggy hot day. The roads were actually in good shape and the traffic wasn’t bad. After driving kilometers and dozing off a few times we entered “ road trip mode" and dozed off while watching the deroded structures of buildings, plantantions and small fruit stands. Stands with pithaya, chayotes, pepitas and honey. At a given point we hit a short sequence of stands that only featured pineapples; lots of them all ripe, incredibly perfumed and of all different sizes. Three for $60 pesos; evidently we were hitting a pineapple producing region.
As the road kept going south so did the intensity of the lush vegetation. We crossed Tarantulas the size of a fried egg and a few other unrecognizable creatures.
After a few pit stops and about two hours driving the vegetation changed to a more savannah-like type with more palm trees and less jungle. We started getting closer to our destination: Bacalar.
Bacalar is a fresh water lake, being its main attraction the seven different colors you see in it. Breathtaking light turquoise waters contrasting deeper blues and sections of deep mediterranean blue. We took a small boat for a tour. The waters of the 70 kilometers long lake are fed by five different cenotes - underground rivers - that emerge through the holes at the bottom of the lake to the surface; essentially springs.
Our guide took us to a spot - the cenote gris - in which you are sailing over half a meter of water (light turquoise) and suddenly you enter this very deep blue section which drops to 90 meters in depth (deep blue) . The operator stopped, tied the boat and let us jump in to swim. It was fantastic to see the drop while snorkeling noticing the eroded rock bottom and suddenly seeing the drop to an infinity of blue with no notion of the floor. Fantastic and breathtaking.
After about two and a half hours of boat ride we returned to the pier and were perfectly ready for lunch.
We found a spot which featured “comida casera” just the type of food I wanted. Home cooked, typical fare and reasonably priced without getting hit by exorbitant prices nor trying to offer you european food.
We sat down in El Pez de Oro on an outdoor table under a roof and watching the bay, birds, turquiose of the lake and the boats.
We ordered many cervezas Dos Equis while I spoke to Gloria the chef, which she told me exactly what to order and so we did: Octopus Cebiche as an appetizer that we shared. Simple tender octopus, onions, tomato, cilantro and lemon with a few dashes of Worcestershire english sauce. Then came the first pescado al mojo de ajo; deep fried whole fish with garlic sauce, also a dish of camarones al ajo; sauteed shrimp with garlic. Both dishes served with a very small helping of refritos, cabbage salad, grated carrot and lemon wedges. After several more dos equis we realized we could do with a little more food and oredered our last dish, breaded fried Shrimp; served the same way. Nine beers, one large seviche, three main courses $50 US dollars.
We left el Pez de Oro very happy ready for our nap, instead decided to take turns driving another three hours back to Playa del Carmen, sleepy, sunburnt but very tummy happy; my kind of lunch.