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Bacalar Apr 03

Bacalar is a town located 35 km from the city of Chetumal in the state of Quintana Roo and its name comes from the Mayan “bakhalal” which means place of reeds. This town is next to the famous Lagoon of Seven Colors, this town is a picturesque community for lovers of nature, adventure, history and cultural events, through which it acquired the level of Pueblo Mágico.

In pre-Hispanic times Bacalar was the most important town in Uaymil, one of the 16 provinces in which the Yucatan Peninsula was divided before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. It was a prime commercial site as it was a transfer point for various goods brought from Central America, particularly from the region of Ulúa in Honduras. In 1531 were the first contacts with the Spanish conquerors in the area. The Villa became depopulate due to the indigenous rebellions against the Spanish, which increased in 1642 when Bacalar was the scene of the attack by English pirates. Piracy arose after the conquest because of the conflicts between England, France and The Netherlands against Spain for the possession of the American colonies, which marked the life of Bacalar, because its development was often limited by these raids disastrous for the life and economy of the town.

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Fort San Felipe, built in 1729 has been an example of military architecture in New Spain, as it prevented the incursions of pirates and buccaneers, as well as being a witness to countless historic battles against the British, who wanted control the trade of precious woods in the region, at that time had a drawbridge and a moat which used to contained pointed stakes for the defense. Nowadays the moat is a beautiful garden with Mayan and Spanish designs in which people can observe machetes, rifles, shot gun and tails of rattlesnakes, which have a profound significance in the Mayan religion. Currently is the Museum of San Felipe de Bacalar, which shows a little bit of the regional history.

In Bacalar is also located the Laguna Bacalar or Lagoon of Seven or colors because it can distinguish seven different shades of blue on its waters, its shape is narrow and long, with approximately 42 kilometers long and only 2 kilometers at its widest point.

Laguna Bacalar is a large expanse of shallow water, with soft white sand and is one of the few bodies of superficial water in the Yucatan Peninsula. This lagoon is part of a lake approximately 55 kilometers long which communicates with the Bay of Chetumal.

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On one side of this lagoon, we can identified by its circular form and its darkest tones of blue, the natural wonder that is the Blue Cenote (Mayan term for a kind of sinkhole) located along the road at the entrance of the town of Bacalar, its shape resembles a small lake surrounded by forest vegetation, except in the mouth, that communicates with the Laguna Bacalar; it has a depth of approximately 90 meters and its name is because of its turquoise waters, diving in this magical place represents a real challenge for its depth and special features such as labyrinths of branches and caverns.

The handcrafts in this region is very diverse, where people can find Mayan figures carved in wood and stone, tinted clothes with tree bark from the region, embroidery, weaving palm cane, colorful hammocks of many shapes, and the traditional “hipiles” embroidered by hand and which are the traditional female attire.

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