Holbox Island 🏝
Isla Holbox is a charming little stretch of beach just 2 hours north of Cancun and the Yucatán Peninsula in Quintana Roo. You can only get there by taking the ferry over from the town of Chiquila.
Holbox is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and separated from the mainland by the Yalahau Lagoon, which is home to many birds such as flamingos and pelicans. A must see, which includes a stunning Cenote for only $7.
This increasingly popular tourist spot is a car-free island, located between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, so it's rich in marine life such as sea turtles and whale sharks.
The only way to get around the island is by bicycle or 4 wheelers which are also the taxis, so it's pretty fun and quite adventurous.
It has a very similar vibe to Tulum, only much less crowded and not as rich in history or attractions. All the bars and restaurants are super cute, with lots of great shopping.
Here's the most popular places and attractions on the island:
Punta Mosquito - great for sunrise/sunset and photo ops. You can get there by foot, but we don't suggest it unless you're well prepared for a 3 hour trip.
Pasion Island - Worth the excursion by boat for a scenic sand bar with lots of starfish.
Bird Island - Its a very small nature preserve with a wooden tower. It's possible to see wild flamingos and other types of rare birds while you're there. We also saw a few stingray.
Yalahau - the cenote experience is amazing, there's also a bar and some places to relax.
Bioluminescence - Only visible at night and best during the new moon. Don't expect to capture anything with your phone.
Whale Sharks when in season
June through October is typically rainy season, but we were here in December when the streets were completely flooded. It made for a wild experience, but definitely plan to wear waterproof shoes because you'll be jumping through massive rivers and puddles on all of the roads. They have a major infrastructure problem, so remember that a lot of the water comes from the sewage.
- Bring bug spray, the good kind. We got eaten alive at night and on the excursions that we took.
- Exchange your money for pesos, it makes things so much easier. Currently the exchange rate is between $6 - $7 for every 100 pesos.
- Plan on spending a fortune on tips and taxis unless you choose to rent a bike.
Our favorite restaurants:
Barba Negra - the street tacos were the best I've ever had.
Milpa - Was absolutely divine and the presentation was exquisite.
Mandarina - Right on the beach, we got the poke bowl, so delicious.
Where we stayed:
La Casa De Mia was a beautiful and quaint location we discovered through airbnb. It was family owned and just far away enough from all the noise to feel peaceful and cozy but still convenient to walk to most places. Had a rooftop pool and stunning views.
From the Cancun area, you can reserve a shuttle both ways via Viator for about $45 PP each way, or you can take the ADO bus.
The ferry is around $22 USD PP each way. You can save money by purchasing RT tickets but there are 2 different companies that run them on the hour and on the half hour (blue and red). Be careful not to confuse them or you could end up wasting your money if you opt in for round trip passes.
We highly recommend visiting this absolutely gorgeous island before it gets a lot bigger and more popular.
A true gem within Mexico 💎
We hope you enjoyed our review and advice, please leave us a comment if you have anything else you wish to add.