story & photos by Susanna Starr
Known as the lake of the seven colors by the ancient Maya, Laguna Bacalar is still relatively unknown by most tourists but….it’s changing.
When I first arrived in 1985, Laguna Bacalar was an undiscovered treasure. With the same striking beauty of the Caribbean ocean, so dear to my heart, this was a body of water that felt similar but much more gentle. I found the water of Laguna Bacalar to be fresh water and, instead of sand beaches, the grassy and wooded areas rolled down to the water’s edge.
Now, Casa Estrella, the home we built on the water’s edge has been our own private retreat. Situated on a small cove and located next to Rancho Encantado, the resort we created over two decades but sold ten years ago, it offers privacy, seclusion and tranquility. Sharing an entrance with the Rancho allows us the feeling of complete privacy and the long driveway through old growth trees leads to lovely landscaped gardens. It’s proximity to Rancho Encantado encourages us to have lovely lunches on its deck, romantic dinners in its spacious palapa dining room and visit wit friends staying at one of its beautiful accommodations.
Now that Laguna Bacalar has made its appearance on the world stage with visitors seeking out the discovery of this small town located on its shores, we find that the sleepy village of the nineteen eighties has changed into a village which is now becoming a destination. There are wonderful new restaurants with outdoor dining and views of the spectacular colors of the Laguna as well as the sidewalk cafes that line the parque, the center of town.
Located in the southern-most part of the Yucatan Peninsula, it is one of the last areas to be developed, so we still enjoy the lack of commercial tourism that pervades most of the Yucatan Peninsula today. In this relaxed atmosphere, you can spend days in the sunshine reading, swimming, and just restoring. Or, you can hire a boat and tour the Laguna or drive to one of the nearby major archeological sites, still relatively unvisited. Although just little more than a half-hour from the city of Chetumal, there’s never a need to leave the village of Bacalar which, with it’s small market and variety of grocery stores, provides just about everything that’s needed to enjoy an “off the beaten track” vacation.
Stays at Casa Estrella de Bacalar may be reserved from this site or Airbnb or Travel Advisor