I left my heart in Holbox and I’m sure so have a lot of people! This little island tucked in the north of Quintana Roo in Mexico is everything your soul needs. It’s even better when you go off-season and the whale watchers have left.
Holbox is known for swimming with the Whale Sharks and that’s pretty much the highlight of it! So, while all the tourists flock this mud-road island during the season (June-September) it’s left to itself rest of the year with just a sprinkle of tourists coming in through the docks each day. I was one of those. To be fair, I didn’t even have this island on my list until a friend I met in Tulum convinced me to head up.
How to Get here
- There are buses that head to from Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Merida and more everyday to Chiquila. Ado is your best bet, like in most parts of Mexico. The buses are comfortable, convenient and mostly on time
- You can also take a taxi if you’d like instead of the bus. I opted for this on my way back as I’d made a few friends along the way and had people to share it with. Both, taxi or a bus, are convenient options and take about the same time
- From Chiquila there are ferries every 30 minutes through the day to head to Holbox. There are two ferry operators with their ticket kiosks at the jetty and the journey takes about 20 minutes
- Once you’re on the island, you can either walk to your accommodation or take one of the ATVs or Golf Carts plying the street. It’s a good idea to take transportation if it’s rained recently because the town pretty much turns to mush!
Where to Stay
- There are a few hotels on the island and more are sprouting up as we speak. You will have plenty of options to pick from basis your budget. Head to booking.com and see what fits you best
- The Tribu Hostel is a great option if you’re on a budget and I stayed here. The rooms are really basic, so don’t expect too much but the breakfast was good and the staff friendly + it’s quite centrally located and a quick walk to the town centre and the beach.
What to do
Besides swimming with Whale sharks (which I didn’t do) this little island has few more things to offer –
- Three island tour is one of those things you absolutely have to do if you’re in Holbox. You get to see flamingos, swim in a cenote and see all kinds of gorgeous birds & mangroves. Its a fun half day trip!
- Bioluminescence in Holbox is best seen from Punta Cocos which is to the south of the island. May-September is the best time and you have to head here late in the night when it’s nice and dark. There are many tours which pick you up from your accommodation and take you to Punta Cocos to see the bioluminescence and they may be your best best. I (with few enthusiastic acquaintances) decided to do a DIY tour and we got bitten by a zillion mosquitoes, walked a bit too much, trespassed and almost got chased by dogs- BUT, we did make it and it was amazing
- Snorkle in Cabo Catoche to see some of the most vibrant underwater life as this is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean
- Try your hand at fishing with the locals on the pier
- Find a nice sandy beach corner, grab some beers, take a quick swim in the calm shallow waters & have yourself the perfect holiday!
Where to eat
- If you’ve heard of Holbox, you’ve heard of their Lobster Pizza! They are everywhere and so delicious in most places I tried. Try your luck at Roots which is the original home to this dish, you won’t regret it.
- Luuma is a great restaurant spinning some great tunes to enjoy while you eat
- Alma Bar for some great cocktails on the beach. Perfect for watching the gorgeous sunsets at this island
- Por Que No? for when you need to beat the island heat and have yourself a gelato
- La Botana for great Mexican fares in a vibrant and colourful setting
- The Hot Corner for everything post dinner! This isn’t just a bar, it’s a feeling. Overflowing with people every single night, it’s where everyone ends up. From music & dancing to great cocktails, they have you. With the party spreading across the street outside, it’s an everyday fiesta!
Things to keep in mind
- It’s a small island and way less developed that Isla Mujeres or Cozumel so you may have few inconveniences
- If you go ‘in season’ you will be bulldozed by tourists (like everywhere else), it gets busy!
- There are literally only 2 ATMs on this island and if any stops to work, it’s not pretty! Carry cash with you for the time you intend to spend here. Most places don’t accept cards and cash is king
- The last ferry to and from Holbox is usually around 9:30pm so plan your travels accordingly. Also, Chiquita can get quite quiet after-hours so best to stick to day travels!
All in all, I promised I’d return here and I’m sticking to that!
Tell me what your favourite thing about Holbox was if you’ve been. If you haven’t, are you planning your next trip here soon?