April 6, 2024
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Bacalar’s Living Stones that Unveil the Secrets of Earth’s Origins

BACALAR, México – Bacalar, a Magical Town located just 30 minutes away from the city of Chetumal, offers a serene haven of tranquility. Beyond its renowned Seven Colors Lagoon, this captivating destination houses astonishing natural treasures found only in a few places worldwide. One such marvel is the enigmatic estromatolitos, making Bacalar the perfect location to celebrate the Day of the Estromatolitos.

Estromatolitos are structures composed of bacterial communities that facilitate mineral precipitation, resulting in the formation of laminated rock structures. According to scientists, these living stones played a crucial role in the emergence of life on Earth. Millions of years ago, stromatolite reefs covered vast stretches of the sea, producing oxygen on a massive scale. This phenomenon brought about a drastic change in the Earth’s atmosphere and stands as the oldest evidence of life on our planet, dating back over 3.5 billion years.

Bacalar's Living Stones that Unveil the Secrets of Earth's Origins
Photos: @visitbacalar

At first glance, these peculiar structures may resemble rocks, but they are, in fact, living organisms that thrive in aquatic environments. They attach themselves to the seabed and grow slowly over time. Their structure consists of a layer of living cells and another layer composed of minerals, such as calcium carbonate, which is abundant throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Within an estromatolito, a variety of vertically organized bacterial communities exist, with the visible layer being the one that requires sunlight for photosynthesis.

Bacalar, nestled in the heart of the Mexican Caribbean, boasts one of the world’s few locations where these natural wonders can be found. Other fortunate sites include the western coast of Australia, the Bahamas, the Red Sea, Lagoa Salgada in Brazil, the salt flats of northern Chile, and Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila in Mexico.

Bacalar's Living Stones that Unveil the Secrets of Earth's Origins
Photos: @visitbacalar

In Bacalar, the area known as Los Rápidos offers the highest concentration of these breathtaking living stones. You can also admire them in the Seven Colors Lagoon, particularly along the fringes of the Cocalitos Cenote. Estromatolitos can be found in various forms, including spread out like beds, resembling mushrooms, forming columns, or appearing conical in shape.

While their enticing shapes and sizes may tempt visitors to bask in the sun or capture extraordinary photos atop these formations, it is crucial to refrain from doing so. Even the slightest touch can lead to the demise of the estromatolitos. Similar to trees, these living organisms are essential generators of oxygen. Therefore, their conservation and protection are of utmost importance.

Visitor Recommendations:

Bacalar's Living Stones that Unveil the Secrets of Earth's Origins
Photos: @visitbacalar

We invite you to be a responsible traveler and kindly request that during your visit to Bacalar, you:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the estromatolitos’ locations within the lagoon to avoid causing any harm.
  2. Remember that they are living organisms, not mere stones.
  3. Refrain from touching or stepping on them.
  4. Enter the lagoon barefoot or with flippers.
  5. Before entering the lagoon, take a quick shower to remove any chemicals from your body (such as body lotions, perfumes, repellents, sunscreens, makeup, deodorants, etc.), as these substances can compromise water quality.
  6. Avoid bringing food or drinks into the lagoon.
  7. Choose hotels, restaurants, and tourism service providers committed to environmental best practices.
Bacalar's Living Stones that Unveil the Secrets of Earth's Origins
Photos: @visitbacalar

With your support, the estromatolitos will continue to thrive, allowing future generations to revel in this paradise we call “home.”

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