Hotel Boutique Bacalar: Our Casa Hormiga Review

If you’re looking for a place like Tulum used to be 15 years ago, with similar prices to then, then keep heading south to the town next to Lake Bacalar instead. If you want to get the kind of hotel that would cost you a grand a night there but pay a couple hundred instead, then book a room at the gorgeous boutique hotel Casa Hormiga

Casa Hormiga hotel boutique Bacalar

You might not realize this is an upscale hotel just walking by. It has high concrete stucc0-style walls with a few angular palapa roofs poking up, along with a few trees. Step inside though and you find a calming space with water features, lots of natural textiles and baskets, and paths meandering through the greenery. 

The full name of this boutique hotel is Casa Hormiga Hotel and Rituals, which provides a hint about what the emphasis is here. There’s a full-blown yoga loft on the top level, the food is healthy, and there are bikes to borrow to go exploring the town and lakeside. You can get a massage a few steps from your room in the spa on site. There’s a rather hushed and mellow vibe throughout: no pumping disco music or late-night debauchery at this Bacalar location. 

hotel boutique Bacalar yoga loft

That doesn’t mean it’s about deprivation though. There’s enough food at breakfast to get you a day’s worth of calories if you want. There are usually a couple of hot items, a couple of baked items, fruit, yogurt, and granola. The coffee and tea are both high-quality. 

For lunch and dinner, most guests eat elsewhere as there’s plenty to sample nearby, including one restaurant just down the hill that’s perched over the lagoon. You can go for a swim after lunch and then lounge around with a drink. There is a limited menu of items available from the kitchen though until 9:00 p.m. and one night we ordered a few healthy and tasty things to share, eating in the dining room. 

That room, as well as the adjoining library area filled with coffee table books and games, are attractive spaces with a real sense of place. Almost everything in them is made of renewable materials like wood, sisal rope, or woven grasses of some type. There’s a long and solid wood plank table and benches, hanging lights that are like baskets, and woven handicrafts on the dining room wall.


You’ll also find an “honor bar” on site with a few liquor options, a range of Mexican beer, and some wine to choose from. You pour what you’re in the mood for an write it down in a book. At the end they tally it up and you pay at checkout. 

The centerpiece of the property is the cool pool complex, partly shaded and surrounded by high walls and tropical plants. The larger one gets more sun, while the smaller pool usually doesn’t require any sunscreen for taking a dip. They’re great places to cool off in always-warm Bacalar, though they seem to be designed for you to have a swim and then go back to your room rather than lounge around all day: there’s very little furniture poolside and what’s there is not very comfortable. 

Casa Hormiga review - swimming pool

The grounds here are lush and mature: the architects worked around the trees instead of cutting them down. So apart from a few vines starting to tumble down to break up the polished concrete, the landscaping looks like it’s in a hotel that’s been here for decades instead of just a couple of years. There’s just one downside to that: the pool cleaner has his hands full scooping up the small leaves each day. 

The 18 rooms are situated on two levels, with basically the same two designs throughout. The lower-level rooms are laid out like a typical hotel room, but with a sitting area and large bathroom with shower. The upper floors have a sleeping loft above, making them ideal for families or three people traveling together. 

Casa Hormiga Lake Bacalar grounds

All rooms have a furnished balcony or terrace that’s a great place to relax in a Yucatecan hammock, reading a book and watching the tropical plants sway in the breeze. They have the same emphasis on natural materials and earth tones, relaxing spaces that feature items made by real people instead of by robots in a factory. There’s an eco-friendly vibe to it all in practice too: the purified drinking water is in a bathroom dispenser instead of in plastic bottles and the toiletries are in refillable containers, accompanying natural soap. 

You do get a few concessions to modern comforts though, with crisp and quiet air conditioners, outlets for recharging your gadgets, and fast Wi-Fi that extends to the rooms. 

Bacalar boutique hotel room

Casa Hormiga  is a true boutique hotel in Bacalar, with just 18 rooms total inside its high walls that hide the lush interior from the outside. You can to enter through the grand Moroccan doors to get a glimpse of what’s inside and since the dining and drinking areas are not open to the public, you’re never sharing the privacy with outsiders. The well-traveled owners have brought items from elsewhere in as decorations, especially from Morocco, but there are plenty of hints of where you are with materials and locally made items from the Yucatan Peninsula. 

While a stay here is priced higher than others we’ve reviewed in Bacalar such as Makaaba and Diosa del Agua, it’s still a great value compared to what this upscale boutique hotel would go for in Mexican resort areas. Rates start at $185 with breakfast and taxes and top out at less than $600 for a family loft room in peak holiday periods.

For more information, see the official hotel website or check rates online at

Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at Casa Hormiga Bacalar for purposes of evaluating the property. As always, all opinions are his own. 

The spa at Casa Hormiga boutique hotel Bacalar Lagoon


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