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How To Get from Tulum to Bacalar (4 Ways)

Wondering how to get from Tulum to Bacalar? Whether you have a rental car, are on a budget, or looking for a comfortable transfer between the cities, you’ll find all the alternatives in this post. Check it out!

Bacalar is a town located near the border with Belize. It’s particularly known for being home to the Bacalar Lagoon, a narrow stretch of insanely blue waters that’s also known as the 7 Colors Lagoon. It’s one of the bluest and most impressive bodies of water in the world!  

It boasts beautiful beaches, but it’s also a great village to catch a glimpse of how life was in Mexico in the old days and discover the history of the area. Bacalar is a very authentic town and retains its original charm, which allows visitors to get a sense of its past. 

Image of Bacalar lagoon, with palm trees and thatched-roof cabins on the shore, inserted in a post about getting from Tulum to Bacalar

In the past few years, it’s also become a hub for adventure sports, drawing in people eager to get their adrenaline pumping on the fast zip lines, boat trips, and whitewater rafting

Relaxing on the local beach, going for a leisurely swim, or shopping for souvenirs are also great activities. So regardless of your interests, Bacalar is one of the best day trips from Tulum (and fantastic to stay for a few days if you’ve got the time!)

The distance from Tulum to Bacalar is approximately 134 miles, and there are several ways to make the trip. Whether you have your own rental car or depend on public transportation, you’ll find them all covered below. Read on!


Bacalar Tours from Tulum

Visiting Bacalar is one of the best things to do in Tulum, even if it’s just for a day. If that’s your case, and you’d rather avoid the hassle of driving or going through bus schedules to get there, I’d recommend booking a tour.

You’ll be taken to Bacalar from Tulum and back, and have all the activities included. Below you’ll find the best options!

➤ The 7 Color Lagoon Tour is a full-day excursion that includes the use of kayaks and swings, a boat trip around the lagoon, an à la carte lunch, and a visit to a cenote. It departs from Tulum and Playa del Carmen. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ This Tulum to Bacalar Day Trip is a private sailing experience that takes you and your group on a 12-hour excursion. You’ll navigate across the lagoon, discover Bacalar’s history, snorkel, and enjoy a scrumptious lunch onboard. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Private Transfer from Tulum to Bacalar

The overall best and most comfortable option is to book a private transfer to get to Bacalar. While it might also be the most expensive alternative, it’s definitely cost-efficient if you’re traveling with a group! 

You’ll be picked up from your hotel by an English-speaking driver, so you don’t have to deal with language barriers. You’ll then be taken directly to Bacalar in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle. 

I highly recommend pre-booking your transfer in advance, and doing so with a trusted company. This way you’ll make sure the ride from Tulum is hassle-free and insured. 

Image of a luxurious car used for private transfers, one of the best ways to get from Tulum to Bacalar

The one I recommend is the company I personally use when I travel in Mexico, so you know you’re in good hands. You can book a regular transfer, a group service, or a luxury one, depending on your needs (or fancy!)

To find the prices and book your journey on the website, you’ll have to select the one-way – hotel to hotel option. Even if you’re not spending the night in Bacalar, choose a hotel in town to access the page with all the transfer info and book yours.  

➤ The private transfer is for up to 3 passengers, so it’s great for couples or small groups. You’ll have a bilingual driver, travel in a completely insured vehicle, and even get to choose the departure time.

The cost is $475 for one way at the time of writing, and $880 roundtrip (slightly less if you’re coming from Tulum Downtown), so it’s more convenient to book both journeys at once. All taxes are included in the price, so there won’t be any hidden fees. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ If you’re in the mood for something fancier or celebrating a special occasion, you can book the luxury transfer to travel in a Suburban vehicle or similar. You’ll enjoy VIP service, and a stress-free, fully enjoyable experience. 

The cost for the luxury transfer is $754 one way, and $1330 roundtrip. It accommodates up to 6 people and includes all taxes, insurance, door-to-door service, and a bilingual guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ If you’re a larger group, then you’ll be much better off booking the group transfer that accommodates up to 16 people. The vehicle is exclusive to your party, and it also covers insurance, taxes, and a tailored experience.  

The price for the group transfer is $754 one way, and $1330 for the roundtrip. If you’re indeed 16 passengers, the one-way trip ends up being less than $50 per person, which is a very good deal. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Take the ADO Bus from Tulum to Bacalar

The most affordable option is to get from Tulum to Bacalar by bus. ADO is the main bus company in Mexico, offering transfers to pretty much anywhere in the country, and it has direct routes to Bacalar several times a day

The number of daily buses varies between 11 and 13, but if you’re only going to Bacalar for the day, you should get the earliest possible route to make the most of your time there.

Buses are air-conditioned and equipped with toilets and reclining seats to make your journey more comfortable.

You can get your tickets at the bus station, or even buy them from the driver on certain routes, but you would be risking the availability on your chosen schedule if you show up before departure. That’s why I suggest booking your trip in advance for your desired day and route.

➤ The ADO bus from Tulum to Bacalar departs from the bus station located on Highway 307, between Calle Jupiter Nte. and Calle Alfa Nte, right in the center of Tulum. You’ll arrive at Bacalar’s ADO Bus station, which is on the town’s main road and close to many restaurants and hotels.

The trip from Tulum takes a little less than 3 hours, and there are services almost every hour from 9 AM to 7.40 PM. One-way ticket costs $20 on average at the time of writing. ➥ BOOK IT HERE  

Tulum to Bacalar by Car

The drive from Tulum to Bacalar lagoon takes close to 2.5 hours, and it’s a great way to get there if you’re planning on renting a car for your holidays. You’ll also have the flexibility to choose your travel schedules and indulge in any stop you want to make along the way. 

If you’re renting a car in Tulum, though, there are some things you need to know in advance, as unfortunately scams aren’t infrequent when it comes to car rentals in Mexico

Car rental companies might try to trick you into buying insurance, which you absolutely don’t need as long as you have your own credit card or travel insurance. They’ll insist that it’s mandatory, but they’re lying. If they get too persistent on the subject, it’s better to walk away and find a new place to rent your vehicle. 

Once you’ve rented your car, one of the most important tips you should follow is to take pictures of the vehicle. Otherwise, you might end up being charged for damages or scratches that were already there. And you won’t have a way to prove it wasn’t you! 

My advice is to book your car online ahead of time. I use Rentalcars to compare prices and search for the best deals. It’s also very safe and will save you a lot of time and hassle, compared to trying to avoid scams and being overcharged at the airport or city rentals.  

Can You Fly to Bacalar?

If you’re looking for flights to Bacalar, you can sort of find some depending on where you’re coming from. Bacalar’s closest airport is 24 miles away, in Chetumal. You can get a domestic flight to Chetumal from Cancun or Mexico City

If you’re going to Bacalar from Tulum, though, it won’t be possible to fly there, so you’ll have to use one of the other means of transport.  

An alternative is to fly to Cancun and then use one of the previous options to get to Bacalar.

➤ The private transfer from Cancun Airport to Bacalar takes approximately 4 hours, and costs $355 for one way and $655 roundtrip. 

The vehicle accommodates up to 3 passengers. You’ll be welcomed at the airport by your bilingual driver, and taken directly to your destination in Bacalar, so it’s a very smooth experience. As always, the transfer is insured and vehicles include A/C. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ If you’re on a budget, you can take the ADO Bus from Cancun to Bacalar. You’ll first have to make your way from the airport to Cancun Downtown, also by ADO Bus, and from there catch the bus to Bacalar. 

The duration of the journey is a little over 5 hours, and tickets cost $35 at the time of writing. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Tulum to Bacalar FAQ

Is Bacalar worth visiting?

Bacalar is a beautiful place, surrounded by nature and with a laid-back vibe that makes it worth visiting for a relaxing few days.

Is it safe to drive from Tulum to Bacalar?

It’s very safe to travel from Tulum to lake Bacalar by car, and the road is well-paved.

How much is a bus from Tulum to Bacalar?

The bus Tulum to Bacalar costs an average of 15-20 USD, and you’ll arrive in a little less than 3 hours. The same goes if you’re taking the bus from Bacalar to Tulum.

How long to visit Bacalar?

Travelers usually spend an average of 3 days in Bacalar. That’s a great number of days to see everything in town and enjoy the lagoon.

What’s the best way to get from Tulum to Bacalar?

One of the ultimate ways to get to Bacalar is by private transfer. This allows you to enjoy a personalized trip and manage your own schedule. You can also take a Tulum-Bacalar bus, or join one of the tours to the lagoon.

How far is Bacalar from Tulum?

Tulum and Bacalar are 134 miles apart, and it takes about 2.5 hours to cover the distance by car.

How to get to Bacalar from Tulum?

There are several ways you can make the journey. You can take the ADO Tulum to Bacalar Bus, which takes around 3 hours to get there. Otherwise, you can book a private transfer or join a tour for a hassle-free Bacalar day trip from Tulum.

Is there a car rental in Bacalar?

Yes, there are car rental options in Bacalar.

Can I get from Tulum to Bacalar by colectivo?

There are no colectivos that cover the distance between both cities. The closest option is the ADO bus.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.