Isla Holbox might easily be your new favourite place in Mexico. It’s very unique place surrounded with the Bay of Mexico and being kind of a hidden gem. It has the most clear blue water, no crowds of people, only bicycle traffic as there are no cars on the island, delicious food and drinks and a decent Wi-Fi is rare. Spending your days on remote Isla Holbox Cancun being the closes civilisation, will feel like a total deserted island experience.
How to get to Isla Holbox?
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, you will have to take a ferry to Holbox. The ferry is located right next to the place where all the busses arrives. 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?
As mentioned above, there is no car traffic on the island. However 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 offers 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 by feet. 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 favorites:
1. Seeing 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 the any corner of the island or you can go by yourself and see them for free and with no other people around. Which brings us to the point Nr 2.
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 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!
3. At the nighttime the most incredible thing you can do on Isla Holbox is to go see the bioluminescence.
There are many tour offers, if you prefer to do it in an organised 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, 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 in the water by the beach.
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. 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 fresh water lagoon where you can jump in the water, snorkel as there is cat-fish 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.
7. Do a fresh air work out.
If you are a work out lover, there are plenty 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 organised work out at the central sport 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.
Where to eat on Isla Holbox?
My most favourite 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 large amount of different restaurants. But they are still enough for you to have an awesome food and drinks experience. Here’s the list of my favourite 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.
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.
It’s decorations kinda gives 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 colourful 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.
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 food and drinks tastes 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.
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.
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 favourite taste ever.
Where to stay on Isla Holbox?
Every corner of Isla Holbox is a pure paradise. It’s surrounded with palm trees, hammocks, white sand beach 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 of Mexico. As the area is very small, the perfect amount of time spent there should range from 2 – 3 nights so that is not so bad, even if the accommodation is a slightly bit more to the high-end.
So in order 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!
This is one of the most unusual accommodations on Isla Holbox. From the cheapest dorms, to very nice bungalows, it offers the best tropical vibes for the lowest prices. Spending a night in a romantic bungalow and having natural sandy ground might just be the best thing you have ever done.
Fully equipped tropical villas for very affordable price. Staying here will sure make you feel like you are on a remote island, but with some extra comfort added to the feeling.
MIDDLE CLASS $$:
A beautiful well equipped apartment 2 min away from the beach. It’s super clean and cozy, located in the best part of Holbox. It’s for sure one of the absolute best places where to stay on Isla Holbox.
Just one block from the beach, you will find the hotel with huge and comfortable rooms, magically beautiful pool and lounge area as well as your private place of relaxation. This hotel is Adults Only, so peace and quiet is guaranteed when you would want that.
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.
Here you will find your own private beachfront paradise. Just picture those dreamy views where the most blue 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!
Read more about our adventures in other Mexican islands here.