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The best 2020 travel guide to Isla Holbox Mexico

Isla Holbox Mexico - Tropical paradise with clear blue water and flamingos in their natural habitat

Isla Holbox Mexico easily became my favorite place in Mexico as soon as I stepped off the boat from Chiquila. And I won’t be surprised if the dreamy Holbox island with wild flamingos, hammocks right on the water and bioluminescence at night becomes your favorite Mexico destination as well!

It’s a very unique place surrounded by the Bay of Mexico and being kind of a hidden gem.

It has the clearest blue water, no crowds of people, only bicycle traffic as there are no cars on the island, delicious food and drinks, and decent Wi-Fi is rare.

Spending your days on remote Isla Holbox Cancun being the closest civilization, will feel like a total deserted island experience.

So keep reading this Isla Holbox guide to find out everything you need to know in order to plan an awesome Holbox island trip yourself!

How to get to Isla Holbox?

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

Isla Holbox is located on the coast of Mexico nearby Cancun. It’s very easy to reach it by public transport. Holbox Cancun or Playa del Carmen routes are the most popular ones.

You can take a very reliable Mexican intercity bus line ADO from any of the major cities of the area and go to Chiquila. We took the bus from Playa del Carmen and it took about 2.5 hours. The cost was around 7 USD.

Chiquila is a coastal town and the closest point to Isla Holbox. After you arrive in Chiquila, getting to Isla Holbox is easy. Just jump on a ferry and you’ll reach Holbox in no-time.

The ferry is located right next to the place where all the buses arrive. Ferries go to and come back from Holbox every 30 minutes and costs 140 pesos (8 USD). The journey takes about 30 minutes.

How to get to the hotel?

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

As mentioned above, there is no car traffic on the island which made the whole Isla Holbox travel experience extra attractive to me as soon as I found out about that.

You will have an option to take a golf cart taxi that will get you to your hotel if you don’t prefer walking.

Some hotels also offer arranged transportation, which also means that they will send the same golf cart to pick you up.

Isla Holbox is pretty walkable.

If you are staying in the central area, it’s about 10-15 min on foot.

So without much luggage, it’s very easily reachable on your own. However, there might be a problem with locating your accommodation as for many of them the address pretty much is “the Beach”.

We had booked an Airbnb right on the beach and google maps could show us just the approximate beach area as there are obviously no streets.

Good thing that our golf cart taxi driver knew the place and could take us straight there. The cost for a short ride is only around 2-3 USD, so totally worth it.

What to do in Isla Holbox?

The TOP 1 reason why people generally visit the island is to swim with whale sharks.

But the remote island offers so much more than that. So here is the list of all our favorite fun things to do in Isla Holbox:

1. See Flamingos

There are countless tours offering a boat trip to different islands, including the one where you can see flamingos.

You can take these tours, offered at any corner of the island. Or?

Here’s one of my best Holbox tips – go by yourself and see flamingos for free with no other people around.

Wondering how to do it?

That brings us to the point Nr 2.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

2. Bike down to the furthest point West of Isla Holbox named Punta Cocos

It’s honestly the most peaceful and best place I’ve ever seen.>

The way biking (or walking) up to the coast will feel a bit like you are lost in small village roads in nowhere and then suddenly you will come to the most beautiful white beach with shallow water as far as you can see.

Oh, and with a bunch of pink flamingos delicately walking in it.

That must be how a paradise looks like.

Make sure to bike or walk back by the beach, not the roads. Trust me on this!

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

3. At the nighttime, the most incredible thing you can do on Isla Holbox is to go see the bioluminescence

Since this is one of the main Isla Holbox tourist attractions, there are many tours available if you prefer to do it in an organized way.

But you can go on your own as well.

A great place to see the magical light glowing in the water is Punta Cocos from the point Nr.2.

4. Rent a bike and explore the whole island

As everything is so close, a bike is the best way to get around.

Start with biking around the small streets of the island and then go both directions by the beach, biking as far as you can get.

There are so many stunning places on the beach and awesome spots in the water by the beach.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

5. Find the hammocks on the water which are pretty much a Holbox signature

They are located in a few different places along the beach, along with some other nice spots next to them.

Just go explore both directions along the beach and you will find these places for sure.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

Just to give you a heads up, there’s a hammock spot in front of Villas Tiburon.

6. Rent a kayak and explore the ecological reserve of Yum Balam

Yum Balam is located on the south side of the island.

It’s a freshwater lagoon where you can jump in the water, snorkel as there are catfish absolutely everywhere, and might even get a glimpse of the pink flamingos.

It will be another amazing experience with seeing the most beautiful blue water and lots of nature.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

7. Do fresh air work out

If you are a work out lover there are plenty of opportunities for you. For runners, the calm beach will be the best place where to do it.

The fun option that we noticed though was a daily organized work out at the central sports court of the Island right in the middle of the central square with lots of people participating.

Joining this evening workout is another great way how to stay in shape and make new friends.

Click here to explore more of Mexico’s adventures.

Where to eat on Isla Holbox?

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

My most favorite memories about Mexico by far are related to Mexican food.

Isla Holbox is not an exception. As the island is quite small, there are not a large number of different restaurants.

But they are still enough for you to have awesome food and drinks experience. Here’s the list of my favorite options where to eat on Isla Holbox:

1. Go for breakfast in the market

There are few stalls with local ladies serving amazingly delicious tacos, including the veggie tacos.

Pair them with a delicious fresh green juice (or any other kind), that you can buy at the fruit stand at the very same place.

It will be an awesome way how to start your day.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico
The red light is reflecting on the plastic ceiling, protecting the food and vegetables from rain and sun.

This one is not just the best option for breakfast, but also the most budget-friendly one.

Restaurants on Isla Holbox are not the cheapest ones in comparison with the Mexico mainland.

It just for the reason that there are not many options where to eat at all. Plus eating here you will definitely feel like a local.

2. The coolest coffee place on Holbox is Basico

It’s mainly a breakfast & brunch restaurant, that serves also very good drinks. The interior of the restaurant is modern and sleek but still containing a local twist.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

It’s decorations kinda give off hipster vibes and we love the place for that. Every detail has been considered, down to the glasses and plates.

3. La Isla del Colibri is probably the most colorful cafe on the island

You can have a super delicious meal here while enjoying some very real Mexican vibes. Great for coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and photos.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

4. Awesome open-air bar with live music – The Hot Corner

If you are looking for the best guacamole and ceviche on the island, then go straight to The Hot Corner.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico


The food and drinks taste even better when the live salsa music is playing in the background.

5. Restaurant Miriam – Isla Holbox fish tacos paradise

It is a very simple place but serves the best fish tacos on the island.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

Their prices are also more on the budget side.

6. Casa Las Tortugas has the most beautiful restaurant location ever

You can try different kinds of seafood and tropical drinks right on the beach in the shade of palm trees.

7. Marqesitas from the street carts in the main square

This might just be a perfect finish of the day.

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

It’s a Mexican national treat – a pancake filled with salty cheese and Nutella. It might sound weird but could turn out to be your new favorite taste ever.

Where to stay in Isla Holbox?

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

Every corner of Isla Holbox is a pure paradise.

It’s surrounded by palm trees, hammocks, white sand beaches and beautiful mostly boho style hotels.

I loved living on the beach just about 5 steps away from the water as that’s the way how things are over there.

Isla Holbox is definitely not the cheapest place in Mexico.

As the area is very small, the perfect amount of time spent there should range from 2 – 3 nights so that it is not so bad, even if the accommodation is slightly bit more to the high-end.

To help you make the best decision on where to stay on Isla Holbox, here is a list of the most beautiful & affordable tropical hotels.

NONE OF THESE WILL DISAPPOINT YOU!

BUDGET HOTELS on ISLA HOLBOX $

Moon Dreams Villas El Jardín

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

If you’re looking where to stay in Isla Holbox for cheap but in style, you’re at the right place!

Presenting one of our favorite cheap hotels in Isla Holbox – Moon Dreams Villas El Jardin. What a cool name, isn’t it?

These are fully equipped tropical villas at an affordable price.

Staying here will make you feel like you are on a remote island, but with some extra comfort added to the feeling.

Check their availability and prices HERE>>

MIDDLE-CLASS HOTELS on ISLA HOLBOX $$

Hotel Para Ti

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

Just one block from the beach, you will find the hotel with huge and comfortable rooms, a magically beautiful pool and lounge area as well as your private place of relaxation.
This hotel is Adults Only, so peace and quiet are guaranteed when you would want that.

Check their availability and prices HERE>>

UPSCALE HOTELS on ISLA HOLBOX $$$

Hotel Punta Caliza

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico

A brand new family-owned hotel with the most incredible pool you might have ever seen. It’s absolutely worth to stay here to experience just that.

The rooms are spacious and cozy. A great time is guaranteed at Hotel Punta Caliza.

Check their availability and prices HERE>>

Villas Flamingos

The Ultimate Guide to Isla Holbox, Mexico


Here you will find your own private beachfront paradise.

Just picture those dreamy views where the bluest water is gently drenching the snow-white sand.

There’s a beautiful bungalow on the shore, hiding under the tall palm trees, with a view of the ocean horizon. This is exactly that blissful place!

Check their availability and prices HERE>>

Read more about our adventures in other Mexico islands here.

Have any more questions about traveling Isla Holbox? Ask in the comments below or on Instagram@the.travelleaf

We’re happy to help!

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9 comments

  1. […] For more information, check out this terrific guide. […]

  2. Grate article, it has lot of Informations obout Mexico. Thanks for sharing with us. I’m also an travel blogger if you like please check my latest articles in https://travelvagrants.com

  3. Awesome location, photos. I like your post and Holbox is a beautiful tourist destination for couples. I was there for two days with my special one. We both enjoyed more and a guide Oscar Cancun Shuttle service helped us to visit other places in Mexico.

  4. this looks amazing! Bioluminescence, bikes, no cars, great food, my kind of place!!!!!!

  5. Thank you for introducing me to Isla Holbox. What a gorgeous destination. Escaping the crowds of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen sounds wonderful!

  6. I love your photos! This has just given me some serious travel envy! I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico but now even more so! Definitely saving this post for later..

  7. What a fun-looking place! I freaking love that pink cafe. So adorable! Great that it’s not completely overrun with tourists yet, too!

  8. Wow this place looks so amazing.definetly adding it to my bucket list.loved all your pictures.

  9. I love Holbox, it’s an amazing place. I kind of don’t want people to know about it as it should stay quiet and secluded!