Day Trip to Mayan Ruins and Bacalar from Acocote Eco Inn
Written by Rob Mukai on Apr. 01, 2019
This is a day-trip that you can make from the Inn. If you need a break from standing in the front of a boat, or to get out of the sun for a bit, this is a great way to spend a day. This is a full day excursion. A couple of things to consider: Try to leave early, plan on leaving about 6:00 AM. For one thing, the howler monkeys at Dzibanche are more active first thing in the morning, and you will beat any buses from the cruise ship port in Mahahual. When choosing a day to do this day-trip you can look at the cruise ship schedule out of Mahahual here and try to find a day with no ships or only one ship. If you do leave by 6:00 you will beat the cruise ship folks at least through Dzibanche. Another is to look at the forecast on Windy.com and find the worst fishing weather and choose that day. High winds, lots of clouds, maybe a good day to go to the jungle.
So how this works, leave at 6:00 am. It will still be dark when you go, so take your time. From the Inn, head into Xcalak Town, head back towards Mahahual. At the T head east to the gas station and top off your gas tank. Then head back west, watch for the tope just west of the turn back to Xcalak. Head the 51 KM to 307. At 307 turn left away from Cancun. You will take 307 to mile marker 0, there you will head west on 186 towards Kohunlich, Dzibanche and Escarcega. About 38 KM you will see signs for Dzibanche and Morocoy. Turn north, go another 17 KM through the town of Morocoy, don't miss the turn to Dzibanche. You should get there by 8:30 or 9:00 AM. Just as the gates open. You should spend at least a couple of hours there, to go through the entire site. Also see if you can find the troop of howler monkeys. It is worth it to get someone to take you through, especially if they take you to the area that isn't open to tourists yet. You can also go check out the pyramid at Kinichna. You can go to both on the same ticket.
Leaving Dzibanche, just reverse course back to 186, turn right head west 1 KM to the turnoff to Kohunlich. It's only about 9 KM south of 186. Kohunlich is a pretty cool site, with lots of open areas. The main attraction is the masks on the Pyramid of the Sun. Well worth the climb to check them out. Kohunlich is named after the Kohune Palms that are all around the ruin. These 100 foot tall palm trees do give the place a Jurassic Park feel.
The rest of the drive is just reversing your way back on 186 then on to 307. Load up the map at the bottom of this post and make sure you have off-line maps of the area. As long as you don't turn off your phone, it should navigate whether or not you have cell service.
For something for the more adventurous, you can also hit Palmar which is on 186 before you get back to 307. This is a fresh water spring that comes out of the side of a hill at about 70 degrees fahrenheit. It can be very refreshing if the jungle has been hot. It is a very Mexican resort. You will probably be the only gringos there, and no one will speak English, but they do have the cool water and a couple of restaurants.
In Bacalar, you have a number of food options from Los Rapidos, La Playita near the town square with the Fort/Museum, you can even get a gelato at Por Que No. If you just want to get something on the run, you can get some great Sinaloan style BBQ chicken at Asadero El Pollo. Other dining options include Savora Bakhalal right on the main square. See all the blog posts on Bacalar here.
Then it is just the drive back to Xcalak. Head north on 307 heading toward Cancun/Tulum. A couple of things you can also do if you have time, get some pineapple at Piña Alley, stop at the Butterfly Farm 4KM in after the turn to Mahahaul. The Habanero Salsa and fresh eggs at Rancho 5KM
This does turn out to be a long day, but you get to see a lot of stuff most tourists in this part of Mexico will never see.