11,084 residents, making it the second largest city in the southern part of the state of Quintana Roo. Only Chetumal is larger. When the Spanish arrived in 1543, Bacalar was already a city. The Maya called it B'ak Halal, which means "surrounded by reeds". It was the first place the Spanish conquered in the area and, when they did, the Maya name was transformed into "Bacalar".
Fuerte de San Felipe.
Campeche, on the Yucatan Peninsula's Gulf Coast, is still surrounded by fortifications similar to the ones at Fuerte San Felipe. Along the shoreline below the fort, you can see some of the town's many hotels and restaurants.
stromatolites, which are sheet-like sedimentary rocks that have the appearance of cauliflower. They were formed by single-cell photosynthesizing microbes called cyanobacteria, the oldest life form on earth. Such fossilized formations are very rare in the world.
Chacchoben, a few miles north of the lake, we didn't spend more than a few hours at Bacalar. The town would be worth a return visit, perhaps even for an overnight stay. Bacalar is an easy drive from Chetumal and you pass through some lovely country along the way.
This completes my first posting on Bacalar and its beautiful lake. In the next one, I'll tell you a bit about the area's dramatic history. If you'd like to ask a question or leave a comment, please use the Comments section below or email me directly. If you leave a question in the Comments section, please provide your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim