Located just off the Mexican coast, on the Yucatan Peninsula of Quintana Roo, lies a lazy yet vibrant island; a magical getaway from all the hustle and bustle of Playa del Carmen and Cancun.
It’s cultivating charm comes from it’s unique character, the ‘not yet’ overly developed island holds host to many hidden gems, miles of white sandy beaches, an abundance of wildlife including crocodiles and flamingoes and a scattering of foodie delights, bars and small boutiques.
It’s a paradise for those wanting to hide from the chaos of day to life, a place to unwind, relax and a way to immerse yourself in a somewhat Mexican/Caribbean lifestyle.
Isla Holbox Guide: Getting Here
By ADO Bus
If possible, I recommend buying your bus ticket the day before your departure as some buses fill up quick!
There are currently NO BUSES running from Tulum to Chiquila. You will need to get a bus or colectivo from Tulum to Playa del Carmen and then catch the bus from there.
From Playa del Carmen
9.25am daily (aim to be there 20 minutes before departure)
10.30am & 11.30am eta in Chiquila
Ticket price approximately $234
9.00am daily (aim to be there 20 minutes before)
11.30am eta in Chiquila
Ticket price approximately $220
Cancun Airport: Around about $1500 one way, taking around 2 hours.
A great option if you are wanting to save money and don’t mind sharing a van with a few others.
Ferry from Chiquila to Holbox:
The ADO buses will drop you just at the end of the pier where the ferries wait. You will need to buy your ticket at one of the kiosks before you board your ferry.
Don’t worry if you have lots of luggage, there are taxis (golf carts) waiting at the ferry port to take you to your accommodation in Holbox.
You should pay no more than $40 pesos for a ride in to the centre of Holbox.
A Guide to Holbox: Where to Stay
A fantastic and cheap place to stay while here in Holbox. This hostel is one of the more popular choices to stay and rightly so; It’s clean, bright and communal space offers guests a great place to relax after a day of exploring.
Although it is not the cheapest place for Airbnb rentals here, you can still find a nice and clean private room for around $40 usd per night.
I adore airbnb listing Casa Azul, a cute bed and breakfast styled place that is only a 5 minute walk away from either the town or the beach. Perfecto.
Hostel & Cabanas Ida y Vuelta
This place gives you the option of staying in either a small private bungalow, dorm beds or it can offer you a place to put your tent for camping. It is a small but well run place that also includes breakfast and WiFi. It’s a short 10 minute walk to the town centre and only a few minutes stroll to the beach.
A perfect beach hotel & restaurant to really treat yourself. This hotel was recently listed in Forbes magazines list of ‘8 of the most stylish hotels in the world’.
CasaSandra Boutique Hotel
A real 5 star hotel, this place is perfect for couples, friends and honeymooners. Dreamy rooms, beach front location and beds on the beach, what more could you ask for?
Whale Shark Tours
The season here for spotting Whale Sharks is usually between late May through until September. There are plenty of tours here giving you the opportunity to swim with these incredible fish.
These gentle giants migrate here every year to feed on the rich plankton, krill and fish eggs that are in abundance here in the waters off Holbox.
Tip: Please remember that they are a protected species and it is forbidden to touch them.
Rent a Bike
One of the best ways to explore the island, especially if you are wanting to get to Punta Coco. There are several places to rent bikes all around the island.
The hammocks are the stars of Instagram and many people want to capture a photo in them but are not sure where to find them. These hammocks are in front of Hotel Villas Tiburon, If you walk towards the beach from the main square and turn right, after about 20 minutes you will find them.
There are a few tours that offer kayaking her, It’s usually around $450 for 4 hours of kayak exploration. A boat will take you and your kayaks to the mouth of the river and from there, you will get to kayak through mangroves, get to see birds, flamingos and crocodiles.
What better way to explore some of the more remote parts of Holbox than at sunset by horseback.
Cost is $ 50 dollars and a deposit of $15 dollars is needed as well.
Holbox sees hundreds of people arrive here in the winter months just for it’s kiteboarding but don’t worry, not a pro? There are great instructors here to help you, whether your in a group or as an individual.
No wind? No problem! There are several places to rent SUP boards as well as kayaks
Rent a Golf Cart
There are hardly any cars here on the island and most people usually get around my golf buggy, bike or just by their two feet!
There are a few places that rent them out but I recommend Holbox Monkeys.
Prices are usually as follows;-
$150 MXN for 1 hour
$500 MXN for 4 hours
$800 MXN Full day until 8 pm
$1000 MXN for 24 hours
Punta Coco is a beach about a 40 minute walk from the town square. You can get to it either by bike, golf car, taxi or simply by walking. There are no shops close by, so bring water, food and any other essentials with you.
Tip: If there has been heavy rain, you might find it difficult to get here by golf car as the roads tend to get very flooded.
Three Island Tour
Visiting Isla Pajaros, Yalahou and Passion Island, the three island tour usually starts in the early morning, before the midday heat sets in. The tour itself takes around 3 hours and takes you on a journey to see birds, freshwater pools and springs, white sandy beaches dotted with pink seashells and the chance to climb an observation tower and look out to Holbox.
Prices are around $25 usd per person.
The famous Holbox sunsets are not to be missed. Personally, I recommend catching it at Zomay bar. It’s the perfect beach bar to sit and grab a beer or cocktail, sit back and watch the magic happen.
Tip: All hell breaks loose at sunset. Mosquitos and sand flies come out in force to bite you. Carry repellent and apply, apply, APPLY!
Got bitten? Then check out my blog post Mosquito Bites: 5 ways to get rid of the itch!
A Guide to Holbox: Where to Eat
Villa del Mar
For some of the best ceviche in Holbox.
You will find some great street food stands around the main square, from tacos to crepes.
A perfect breakfast and lunch spot.
Typical and delicious Mexican food.
Around 4pm the fishermen arrive on the beach. A fresh catch for around 50 pesos.
A French bakery perfect for the early birds.
A Guide to Holbox: Quick Tips
Money: They use Mexican Pesos here but some places also accept US Dollars.
Also there are now around 6 ATM’s here but none seem to work so well. Bring cash with you to the island just incase you run in to a problem with any of the ATM’s.
There are a handful of places that accept card as a method of payment but these are few and far between, carry cash with you if you are dining out.
Tipping: You are expected to tip around 10- 20% here and it will be stated on your receipt whether or not the service was included.
The Spanish word for tip is ‘Propina’
Safety: The Island itself is safe for travellers as well as for families. There is a low crime rate here and the locals pride themselves on keeping the island safe for their own families as well as anyone visiting.
Shopping: You can buy most day to day items here, there are also three pharmacies, so if you happen to forget to bring any medication with you or you just fall a little ill while here, you should be covered!
If there is any other information about Isla Holbox that you would like to know, please send me an email and I will try and answer any questions that you might have.
Thanks for reading!