I have read many good things about Holbox (pronounced: “Holbosch”) lately, starting with an article in the FT. Hence, when I had the chance to see this so-called paradise first hand I didn’t hesitate. I had the most wonderful time sipping on my drink in a hammock, swimming, walking on the beach, exploring the island in a golf cart (no cars
go are allowed).
Holbox can easily be reached from Cancun by bus or (better) car. The drive takes you through the jungle. The narrow roads don’t allow speeding, thus the journey seemed to be endless. From the tiny port of Chiquila there are two passenger ferry companies that run quite infrequently. Cars need to be parked in Chiquila. That’s not a problem, since many families run small businesses offering parking spaces in their backyards at reasonable prices.
Sandy roads and colourful houses in “downtown” Holbox.
Where to stay?
I spent 48 wonderful hours at a small hotel called “Dreams”. Touring Holbox I saw many more places and from the outside I would recommend all of them. I have to add that Holbox is pricy. There is a small hostel for those who like backpacking or are on a budged (although haven’t checked prices) and there are some B&Bs, too. Although the beach view and direct access is reserved for those who do not mind spending a view bucks extra. From what I have heard “Casa las tortugas” and “Las nubes” should be quite fancy. Here is a link to a whole list of places.
What to do?
- Rent a golf cart and explore the island. Drive to remote beaches and through mangrove woods.
- Book a tour to see nature reserves and islands and fauna that is close by. Holbox is also famous for its flamingos – unfortunately, it wasn’t flamingo-season when I was there. See dolphins in their natural environment.
- Swim with the whale shark (again, it wasn’t whale shark season… :-()
- Take a break and a view moments to breath – life is really, really slow there.
- Eat the “world” famous lobster pizza.
- Have a shrimp cocktail or taco and a cocktail.
- Have breakfast/lunch/dinner at the beach (or with a view).
- Enjoy life and have fun.
Where to eat?
The “centre” of Holbox is full of restaurants. I haven’t had enough time to pick a favourite. However, you definitely won’t go hungry.
Good to know.
- Bring something that protects you against mosquito bites – Holbox is infamous for having loads of mosquitos (especially during/after the rainy season). Haven’t “seen” (referring to seeing animals above) them either – I guess that’s lucky.
- Check ferry times in advance if you don’t want to wait 1-2 hours for the next one.
- Travel light – bring nothing but shorts, a shirt, a towel and a bathing suit, shoes.
- Great for families, couples or elder people.
How long to stay
This really depends on what you like doing. Holbox might be the perfect ending of a fantastic trip in Mexico or just a weekend getaway if you live close by. In my case I wasn’t happy to leave after two days, but I wouldn’t want to spend a week there…You’ve seen it all in a day…
I want to add a second thought here, because I think, and I have discussed that with Mexicans, too, that Holbox is a little bit overrated. No doubt it is a lovely place. But it is not the “true” Mexico as many like to think of it (the true Mexico is in Chiapas, Oaxaca etc).
Of course, more and more people come to visit and it will loose it’s charm…hopefully there won’t be any big tourist developments like hotels etc…
(Sorry for the picture overkill. So many great opportunities to take nice ones)