Museums and History
Built around 1725 and 1733, the Fort of San Felipe tells Bacalar´s story in relation to the Mayans and pirates. The fort was built to protect the town from the constant attacks of British, French, Deutch and African pirates who came in the search of palo de tinte (blackwood). In 1858, the fort was taken by the Mayans during the Caste War.
Nowadays, the fort holds the Piracy Museum that displays a collection of model scale pirate ships, guns, canons, weapons, maps, etc., that gathers the town´s history.
Being located right in front of the Bacalar Lagoon, the fort is a great viewpoint to take in sweeping views over the lagoon.
This military structure consists of four bastions at each of its corners, 11 cannons (of the 34 that it originally had) and a 4 meter deep pit. The building was practically destroyed by the Mayans during the Caste War, it remained closed from 1974 to 1983, when the Mexican government decided that it would be restored and transformed into a museum.
Located in downtown Bacalar, the Iglesia de San Joaquín is a church from the 18th century, dedicated to Bacalar´s saint, San Joaquín. Inside the building you will find the saint´s figure and some murals that tell the story of the Caste War. Outside, the church is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The local legend says that at night outside the church you can see some ghosts who died during the Caste War, which took place from 1847 to 1901 between the Mayans and criollos and mestizos, who were the descendents of the Spaniards.
Located around the main square, the Casa de la Cultura, a cultural center, is another one of the historic buildings, from the 19 century. This place offers dancing, poetry and acting workshops, but it also holds some temporary art exhibitions, concerts and plays.