In 2001, Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism embarked on a mission to embrace and promote the magic of some of the nation’s most beloved towns. The initiative began with just a few towns, now, almost fifteen years later, the Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Villages) program recognizes some 83 villages that embody the beauty and spirit of Mexico. These towns, each of which offer visitors a magical experience, radiate with natural beauty, rich history and a vibrant culture.
Dispersed throughout all of Mexico’s 31 states, these Pueblos Magicos show a different side of the country than the sun-filled beachfront destinations that most tourists are accustomed to. While resort towns, like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, share their own unique magical feeling, it is the quaint size, grand history and unique culture that sets these 83 destinations apart.
In 2006, Bacalar near Cancun was added to the list of Pueblos Mágicos due to its rich Mayan history. As one of the major trading centers in Central America, this seaside village was repeatedly sacked by pirates for both its worldly merchandise and abundance of dye wood. While years have passed since the days of pirates, Bacalar still remains a place of interest for those visiting the Caribbean coast of Mexico.
Much like other destinations in the area, Bacalar is the perfect location for water related activities. The stunning lagoon, situated just in front of city and boasting 7 shades of blue, is ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving and small boat excursions. The picturesque community, featuring stunning natural beauty and quaint Mexican culture, is also a great place to learn about the grand history of the region.
The San Felipe Fort, constructed in 1729, stands as a great reminder to the battles faced against Europeans and the protection needed from pirates. In addition, Bacalar is the gateway to Cenote Azul, an underground network of submerged caverns, and interesting archaeological sites left behind by the once great Mayan civilization.