Welcome to paradise, Holbox! A small but nice island where you can relax during your journey through Mexico† Cars are not allowed and there are no paved roads here. This will take you back in time for a while. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, the beautiful sandy beaches and look for flamingos and whale sharks. In this travel guide you will find all the tips for your stay at Holbox.
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How do you get to Holbox?
To get to Holbox you take the ferry from Chiquilá. Depending on where you come from, it is a few hours drive. You can choose to rent a car during your visit to Mexico, but it is also easy to use public transport. Luxury ADO buses run between all tourist spots for which you can book a ticket at the last minute. Travel distances to Chiquila:
Cancun > Chiquila = 2 hours
Valladolid > Chiquila = 2 hours
Tulum > Chiquila = 2,5 hours
If you have come by car, you can easily park it in Chiquilá. If you came by bus, it is a matter of walking until you reach the ticket office. You do not have to book your ticket in advance, but simply buy it on the spot for the next sailing. A boat leaves for Holbox every half hour, so you never have to wait long. A one-way ticket to Holbox costs 150 pesos per person (€5,80).
What is there to do at Holbox?
Rent a bike or golf cart
The center of Holbox is relatively small and easy to explore on foot. However, it is nice to rent a bicycle or a golf cart so that you can also discover the rest of the island. Take a trip to Punta Cocos, the westernmost part of the island, and with a bit of luck you'll spot flamingos, pelicans and iguanas. Or just wander as far north as possible and find a piece of private beach, because there are hardly any other tourists and locals here.
You already rent a bicycle for 200 pesos per day (8,50 euros), for a golf cart you pay 1000 pesos per day (40 euros.)
Walk across the sandbar to Punta Mosquito
When the tide is out, the water is very low, making it possible to reach the sandbank. How? Just walk from Hotel Las Nubes into the water until you are just down to ankle depth, then you have reached the sandbank. From now on it is a walk of at least an hour until you reach Punta Mosquito, where it is also possible to spot flamingos.
Glow in the dark pasteton
Ever heard of bioluminescence? Uhhh...bio what? This is the phenomenon where organisms (such as plankton) emit light. You can only see this when it is dark. "Okay, so how's that going?" Well very easy:
You can see the bioluminescence at Punta Cocos, among others. There are organizations that facilitate a tour here, but you can also easily go to Punta Cocos yourself by golf cart (just like the locals). To see the bioluminescence properly, you have to make movement in the water with your hands or feet. Or even better: by simply swimming. Because the more movement, the more the plankton lights up. We swam in admiration for half an hour. Unfortunately, it's not easy to capture with the camera, but it's definitely worth it!
Swimming with whale sharks
A very popular activity in Holbox is swimming with whale sharks. Between May and September, these sharks can be found around the coast of Mexico. If you come especially for this, keep that in mind when planning your holiday. Unfortunately I was in Mexico in January so I was not able to do this activity.
The best chance of spotting whale sharks is in July and August, as they are in the region to eat plankton. These large animals can grow up to 15 meters in length and live between 70 and 100 years. Rest assured, they are not interested in eating people.
Try the extreme sport of kitesurfing
If, like me, you are crazy about kitesurfing, or want to learn kitesurfing, Holbox is the ideal place! It can be very windy here. Of the 6 days I spent on Holbox, there were 2 days when there was enough wind for kiting (in January). The wind season is from November to May.
There are a number of kitesurfing schools on Holbox where it is possible to book a lesson or rent equipment. For a private lesson of 3 hours you pay about 185 euros. If you are a couple, a lesson costs $130 per person for 3 hours. Lessons with more than 2 people are not recommended because you will then have to wait a long time, or you will not be able to be closely monitored. In order to be able to kite independently, you quickly need about 3 to 4 lessons.
For renting a complete kite set (kite, bar, harness and board) you pay 80 euros for a day. Well, kitesurfing is an expensive sport, but it is well worth it. When you're on the water, it feels like there's nothing else in the world but you, your kite and the sea. For me this is really the ultimate feeling of freedom.
Relax at Alma Beach Club
Of course you don't just come to Holbox to be active, you are also here to relax. Well then you are completely fine! Along the coast there are several beach bars where you can enjoy reggae music while enjoying a nice drink. For example, go to Alma Beach Club. Here you will also find the well-known hammocks in the water, great for photos and to cool off.
Where to stay on Holbox?
If you are looking for a budget accommodation then I can recommend Hostel Che and Tribu Hostel.
Hostel Tribu can be found in the center of Holbox and has a cozy atmosphere. It just looks very nice with the painted houses standing in the sand. You can take yoga classes here and in the evenings there is often live music where the dance floor is put to good use. You pay about 15 euros for a night in a dorm and about 40 euros for a private room.
Hostel Che Holbox
Hostel Che is located slightly out of the center of Holbox, about a 10-minute walk away. If you like to party, then you've come to the right place, because theme nights are often organized. In addition, it has a nice pool, nice bar and clean rooms. The prices for a dorm are between 15 and 20 euros per night and for a private room you pay 60 euros per night.
If you want to stay a bit more luxurious, take a look at Tropical Suites by MIJ (Moon Dreams) and Villas Flamingos Beach Front.
Tropical Suites by ME
Tropical Suites by ME located right in the center within walking distance of the beach. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and spacious rooms with a rain shower. You pay about 100 euros per night here.
Villas Flamingos Beach Front
Villas Flamingos Beach Front is a beautiful luxury hotel on the outskirts of Isla Holbox. You are a bit further from the center here, but then you will not be bothered by the noise from the center in the evening. Here you have a beautiful view over the sea, for this luxury resort you pay 240 euros per night.
Where to eat on Holbox?
The center of Holbox offers a wide range of restaurants, where you can enjoy Mexican food, pasta, pizza and even sushi. Below is an overview of my favorite eateries.
Holbox Foodie Market
Holbox Foodie Market is a good place if your tour group can't match what's on the menu tonight. You get a place here at one of the cozy tables and you can order a dish of your choice from your 'food truck', which is then brought to the table. For example, one person orders pizza, the other tacos and yet someone else is made happy with a salad. Problem solved!
When you walk through the center of Holbox, looking for a restaurant, you come across a lot of Street Art. This is one of the things that makes Mexico so special: everywhere the houses are cheerfully decorated with colorful Street Art.
For fresh fish you have to go to Raices This is a beach bar and restaurant located on the beach of Holbox. Try the ceviche or nachos with guacamole. Besides the fact that you can eat delicious dishes here, it is also a very nice place to enjoy the view from a sun bed.
El Taco Queto Holbox
You can't leave Mexico without going to a typical Mexican restaurant. Bee El TacoQueto the range includes tacos, nachos, burritos, tortillas and quesadillas. It may not be the prettiest or luxurious restaurant, but the food is definitely recommended and you're cozy among the locals.
With all those fun activities, beautiful beaches and tasty eateries, Holbox is one of my favorite destinations in Mexico. Are you curious about the rest of the country?