Everything these days is 'The Maldives of [insert country here]". El Nido? "The Maldives of the Philippines". Random island somewhere? "The Maldives of Random Somewhere". So naturally I rolled my eyes hard when I heard about Bacalar: "The Maldives of Mexico".
That being said, Bacalar is stunning. Never in my life have I seen a freshwater lake so beautiful. The water is crystal-clear and the colors range from light aquamarine to deep, scary water black. It's understandable why people are obsessed with this place. And especially during times of high seaweed invasion on the beaches of Tulum, Playa del Carmen, etc., this lake makes you feel like you really are somewhere far more removed.
Visit Bacalar; you will not be disappointed. But don't call it "The Maldives of Mexico". It deserves to stand on its own.
I was fully living the backpacker life at this point and did not go to any of the nicer restaurants. So I can really only recommend the following things:
Marquesitas - they are like a waffle crepe filled with chocolate, jam, peanut butter, bananas and even CHEESE. Weird. It's a favorite in the region, so it's worth a try.
This local quesadilla place is off the main square and is super good.
-Boat Tour - touristy, but the best way to check out the lake. Coolest part is seeing crazy deep cenotes and stromatolites, which are the earliest fossils around. You also get the chance to rub some smelly mud all over your body. Not entirely sure if this is just to trick tourists into looking stupid.
-Fort San Felipe - The fort Bacalar built after being ransacked by pirates in the 17th century. I'm embarrassed to say that I put this off until my last day in Bacalar, which was a Monday. The fort is closed on Mondays, so I couldn't actually go in. Don't make the same mistake.
-Stay on the lake and book a place well in advance. It's worth it.
If you are looking to stay in a hostel, I recommend The Yak Lake House, which everyone told me is nice. I didn't book in advance and they were booked out so I ended up staying at The Blue Monkey. It's also on the lake, but the rooms are not nice and it's the only hostel I've ever stayed in where someone tried to steal my shit.