Los Rapidos Bacalar – A Complete Guide (2023)
Los Rapidos Bacalar, nestled in the enchanting town of Bacalar, Mexico, has truly left mark on me as one of the most incredible places I’ve been able to explore. This hidden gem is a well-kept secret within the state of Quintana Roo, located in the southeastern region of Mexico.
“Los Rápidos” in Bacalar is a popular attraction known for its natural water currents and rapids in the Bacalar Lagoon. It’s like a natural lazy river. Visitors can experience a fun and relaxing float down the gentle currents of the lagoon, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of Bacalar. It’s a great way to spend a day in Bacalar while enjoying the clear, turquoise waters of the lagoon and connecting with nature. Los Rápidos is getting more popular each day, so make sure to arrive at opening time (more on that later).
The color of the water is incredibly beautiful – with many different shades of blue and green.
As you float down the river, you will notice ancient stromatolites (big, white/beige structures that grow upwards from the bottom of the lagoon) and mangrove formations that go on for several hundred meters, forming a channel. You can either walk on the wooden platform to the end of the canal, or float all the way back thanks to the gentle currents. There are also kayaks that you can rent by the hour. Just make sure that you DO NOT hit the stromatolites with your kayak and don’t step on them when getting in or out of the water.
How much does it cost to visit Los Rapidos Bacalar?
To enjoy the beauty and fun of this stunning natural spot, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee. The cost is 150 Mexican Pesos or $7.50. When you pay your entrance fee right after the parking lot, you get a bracelet that gives you access to Los Rapidos for the whole day. This is also where you’ll be able to rent a kayak and a locker. The price for the kayaks are: 200 Mexican pesos/hour for a single kayak or 400 pesos/hour for a tandem. We heard that it was also possible to rent stand up paddleboards, but they weren’t offering SUPs for rent on the day that we visited.
How to get there:
Bacalar doesn’t have its own airport, and there are no direct flights from Cancun to Bacalar. One option is Chetumal International Airport (code: CTM), which is located approximately 35-45 minutes away in Chetumal, Mexico. However, many travelers prefer to fly into Cancun Airport since it offers a wider range of direct flight options from the USA and other countries.
Most people visit Los Rapidos and Bacalar during their trip to Tulum or Cancun. That’s also what we did, but it’s quite a long drive.
- From Cancun to Los Rapidos the drive is approximately 4 hours, 43 minutes
- From Tulum to Los Rapidos it’s approx. 3 hours
You should definitely rent a car, if you feel comfortable because the drive was quite smooth and easy. Just make sure to fill up the car with gas in Tulum, because there aren’t many gas stations between Tulum and Bacalar.
Once you arrive to Bacalar, just type “Los Rápidos de Bacalar” into the GPS and you’ll find exactly where you need to go. The parking is free and there’s a huge parking area.
* If you don’t rent a car, you can go by taxi or a tour.*
What time does Los Rapidos Bacalar open?
Los Rapidos is open Monday – Sunday from 10 am – 6 pm. It’s worth noting that tour buses typically arrive around 11 am or noon, so if you prefer a quieter and less crowded experience, it’s advisable to arrive at opening time. This will give you a chance to fully enjoy the place before the larger crowds arrive. Additionally, if you have a drone and want to capture photos or videos, the early hours can be an ideal time to fly it, as there will be fewer people around to disturb your shots.
Is there a place to order food and drinks?
Los Rapidos is not only a place with fun outdoor activities, but it also has a restaurant with a HUGE seating area all along the rapids. Take a break from the sun, chill out under a big shaded area, and order some food and drinks. The menu items range from 60-160 Mexican Pesos ($3.50-$15). We ordered some cold Coronas and the nachos. Surprisingly, the nachos were NOT good (I don’t recommend them, unless you love cheese sauce instead of normal cheese haha). Lots of other things from the menu looked good though! *The guacamole was amaaazing 10/10 recommend. We hope to get back to this paradise soon to float the day away and try some other dishes.
Tips for Responsible Enjoyment of Los Rapidos and Protecting the Environment
✅ Please avoid touching, climbing, or sitting on the Stromatolites, and refrain from striking them with any object or yourself. Maintain a respectful distance to prevent any potential harm. They may look like rocks, but they are literally living fossils.
✅ Refrain from using sunscreen while swimming in the lagoon. Even biodegradable sunscreens can harm the nature, causing changes in water color. Instead, wear a rashguard or take frequent breaks in the shade.
✅ Don’t forget to pack a mask and snorkel for your visit. The underwater realm offers an equally captivating experience as what you can observe at the surface. You’ll be able to see the stromatolites beneath the water’s surface and encounter different fish species.