Travelling is sometimes a hit and miss affair. Some places are well publicized and written about, both online and in guidebooks. Others not so much, and it sometimes takes a bit of luck and perseverance to discover the hidden gems. The Los Rapidos of Bacalar, in the deep south of the Mexican Yucotan peninsular are one such place.
I have only been in Mexico a couple of days and I am quickly learning that the features and interesting sites can be hard to get any locals particularly enthused about. I am spending my second day at the beautiful, quiet little town of Laguna Bacalar. It is a pretty little place, right on the shores of a fresh water, Cenote fed lake. The lake is huge and supplies much of the Yucotan with its fresh water.
There seemed to be two main places to visit outside the town, one a fresh water deep Cenote and another site that is simply know as Los Rapidos ( The Rapids ). I spent much of the morning asking about the merits of these places and I was struggling to find anyone particularly interested in telling me much about them. The most I seemed to be able to glean regarding the Rapids was that I would need a taxi to get me there. There are no local travel / tour operators ( that I could find anyway ) in the main town square so I simply took a punt, paid a taxi man 150 pesos and headed for the Los Rapidos.
The Rapids are about 12 k’s from town and located at the end of a dusty road. I arrived and arranged to have Taxi man return for me in two hours. I spotted a gentleman behind the bar / restaurant counter and asked about what I needed to do to swim in the rapids. To say he was of dubious appearance and attitude is an understatement and my appalling Spanish was not doing me any favours. My attitude toward him and the restaurant was not improved when I spotted a Spider Monkey tied to a tree as a pet / tourist attraction. Luckily, I recently befriended an animal activist on a bus in Belize who specializes in monkey recapture, rehabilitation and release. She will be notified and hopefully the relevant authorities made aware.
The water here is a perfect temp for swimming and the idea is to walk a distance upstream ( had to work that bit out myself ) and either float back down to the starting point or just use the rocks as a seat and enjoy the clear flowing water. I can certainly say, it was simply the best swimming spot I have ever seen. I was not raised on the coast and am not a huge beach person, so to have this crystal clear fresh water river flowing was an absolute treat.
While a story of a swimming spot may not be the most interesting travel yarn of the year, the above video will give you an idea why I was so taken by it and motivated to write a blog post.
For anyone visiting Bacalar in the future, the Los Rapidos are certainly not to be missed !!!!!