Something Unique in Bacalar
Stromatolites are layered biochemical accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation. According to scientists, these structures were and still are crucial, as 2 billion years ago they pumped oxygen into the oceans, causing a drastic change in the Earth’s atmosphere, making possible for life to flourish and evolve. They are the oldest living lifeforms on our planet. These curious structures that look like rocks are actually living fossils that grow very slowly, and they are only found in a few salty lagoons or bays on Earth.
The Mexican Caribbean, especially Bacalar, is one of the few places in the world where stromatolites can be found. The Shark Bay, located in Western Australia, the Bahamas, Lagoa Salada in Brazil, Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve in Chile and Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila in Mexico are some of the other locations where modern stromatolites are known to prosper.
The area known as Los Rápidos in Bacalar is where most of these amazing living structures are found, but you will also find them around the Lagoon of the Seven Colors, specially in the boardline of Cenote Cocalitos. Stromatolite shapes vary from flat to domical, branched, or conical.
Due to their attractive shape and size, some people think these are the perfect spot to sunbathe, or they just step, but we kindly ask you not to do it nor touch them, because with the slightest touch the stromatolites die. Just like trees, these living organisms are oxygen generators, that is why it is important to take care of them.
Recommendations for Our Visitors
We invite you to be a responsible traveler by following the next recommendations:
- Get informed about the location of the stromatolites inside the lagoon.
- Remember that they are living fossils, not only rocks.
- Don´t touch them nor step on them.
- Get into the water without fins nor water shoes.
- It is necessary for you to take a quick bath before you get into the lagoon in order to remove any chemicals from your body, (body lotions, perfumes, sunscreen, makeup, deodorants, etc.) as these products pollute the water.
- Don´t get any food or beverages inside the lagoon.
- Choose hotels, restaurants and tour providers that manage good environmental practices.
With your help, the stromatolites will be kept alive and future generations will continue to enjoy this paradise that we call home.
Header photo: @traveldeeper