Travel Guide to Holbox, Quintana Roo, Mexico
When you first arrive in Isla Holbox (hole-bosch) you get the feeling that you’ve discovered a new slice of paradise that the rest of the world doesn’t yet know about yet – because they don’t!
Holbox is that tropical paradise that we dream about; where there are no cars on the island, golf-carts run the place, all of the roads remain white sand, ensuring you a wonderful time in this barefoot-bohemian friendly beach town!
The beaches aren’t crowded, wildlife is easy to spot and the town is charming with a great mix of tourist-friendly spots (like Nespresso – thank god for good coffee!) with the rest remaining true to it’s roots, allowing it to feel distinctly local.
Once you sit down on the powdery white sand, it is tough to get up. The flat clear water and long sand-bars allow you to wade hundreds of yards off the coast before sinking below the water. The margaritas and sleepy lounges around the beach front hotels give the feeling of ultimate bliss and relaxation. However, if you do decide to go get outside and explore the island there are a number of activities available for every type of traveler.
How to get there//
The old saying “Planes, trains and automobiles” isn’t too far off from this adventure! Holbox remains unspoiled by mass tourism because it takes a little bit of effort in getting to.
The 26-mile long island is located on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and is separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon full birds and exotic creatures, including flamingos.
From Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) you fly into Cancun (CUN). It is a super easy flight and if you get the nonstop, it is less than a 4.5 hours long, not bad right??
Transportation in Mexico //
Travel from Cancun to Chiquila
To travel from Cancun to Chiquila: you must rent a car and drive, be driven (taxi/private transfer), or take a bus. You will likely want to take the bus, which is the most common option. Daily buses are scheduled form the main bus terminal in Cancun, and it takes roughly 3 hours to get to Chiquila from there. Of course, you can always take a private transfer or rent your own car, but those options are more pricey!
Travel From Chiquila to Holbox
From Chiquila to Holbox, you must take a boat across the lagoon that separates mainland Mexico from the island. You have two options: taking the ferry or hiring a local boat-captain.
Most people (tourists) take the ferry. It leaves every hour, but it gets overcrowded, you must wait up to an hour, and is owned by a local monopoly.
Out of LA recommends the more adventurous route. Just do it! You will thank me later. Hiring a local fisherman to take you to Holbox Island on what is essentially a “water taxi.” So grab up to 5 of your mates, or some new travel friends that you met on the journey and enjoy your commute across the lagoon in a private fishing boat. Do not fear: you SHOULD be paying him the same price, the trip is quicker, there is no wait time, and best of all, you will be supporting him and his family, and the local community.
Their boats, so they are MUCH smaller, but this is a good thing as you aren’t stuffed tightly into a massive tourist shuttle! So as you glide across the water with the wind in your hair, the salt water splashing on your skin and the world’s largest Michelada in your hand, your brain will begin to realize that have arrived……in paradise.
Upon arrival in the harbor you are greeted by golf cart taxis ready to take you to your hotel. There are few cars on the island and most roads are dusted over with the natural white sand.
You can rent golf carts hourly, by the half day, or daily. The town itself is small but there are a number of surrounding beaches and roads worth exploring. The number of rental golf-carts or “buggies” are limited though, especially during a busy weekend, so ask the hotel to call first thing in the morning or the day before so you don’t miss out on an entire day of exploring the island!
Travel From Cancun to Holbox
Travel From Chiquila to Holbox
WHERE TO STAY//
Hotels are a plenty in Holbox and from many different price ranges, but with word getting out about the fabulous destination, hotel reservations are suggested. Hotel Mawimbi and Palapas del Sol are two great recommendations.
Mawimbi means ‘tides’ in Swahili; however, it takes on a figurative meaning to encompass the natural ebb and flow of life. Hotel Mawimbi’s 10 bungalow style rooms are located on the beach at the edge of town. The rooms are tastefully designed with local craftsmanship and though private, are integrated seamlessly into the larger surroundings of the common garden area, restaurant and beach front. The tropical palm shaded garden is the perfect spot to relax with a book or a tasty meal.
Palapas del Sol
Palapas del Sol was lovingly created by a couple travelers who sailed to the island nearly two decades ago. The private paradise is located roughly a half-mile down the white sand beach outside of town though easily accessible via golf cart taxi.
The bright rooms are spread out around a white sand campus just across from the pristine water. A colorful restaurant in back of the property, where everything is made to order and is FRESH, FRESH, FRESH; plus, there’s a bar located at the front, right on the beach. The bar in the front makes it possible to avoid town for days at a time.
WHERE TO EAT OR DRINK//
Where to Eat and Drink//
For anyone who loves espresso, Capraccio Cafe is the place for you! It’s conveniently located right in the middle of Plaza el Pueblito and offers both icy or hot blends of all your favorites.
La Isla del Colibri
La Isla del Colibri is just the place to get you started on your vacation. Colibri means humming bird in spanish. This vibrant, eclectic breakfast spot offers amazing hot cakes and juices. They also serve dinner with large portions and variety.
El Chapulim is the finest dining in all of Holbox. Make sure you get there early because they serve incredible fresh fish and once they run out of stock, they close! This restaurant has no menu, but you can trust that food is amazing because the chef tells you what’s fresh each night. The overall ambience and quality of seafood do leave this restaurant being a little bit higher in the price range, but it’s one you won’t want to miss!
If you’re looking for some great tacos, visit TacoQueto for lunch. This casual, outdoor dining experience offers a variety of menu options with great prices for those on a budget.
Barquito is a perfect little beach bar located at Mawimbi. With such a beautiful and great service, you can’t go wrong by stopping by here!