Isla Holbox is a beautiful island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The island itself is actually pretty long, about 40 km, but only part of it inhabited. Residents have resisted commercialization, leaving Isla Holbox with some of it’s original charm. There are no cars, and most people get around on foot or take one of the many eager golf cart taxis from the small town. Everyone here seems so happy and friendly, and the beaches are absolutely stunning.
You can get to Isla Holbox by a ferry operated from the town of Chiquila. We rented a car from Cancun and drove straight to Chiquila. There are several covered and monitored lots where you can pay to park and know the car will be safe. It took a little over 3 hours to get to Chiquila and then about 30-45 minutes ferry ride to Isla Holbox from the airport and it was well worth the journey! Here are some of our favorite things to do on Isla Holbox…
1. Swim with Whale Sharks on Isla Holbox
We took a day tour to visit the impressive beasts and were rewarded with not only swimming along side them, but also dolphins and manta rays. Be careful with the operator you pick, though. Our’s was really great and took us to a place with no other boats. It can get quite dangerous and competitive for time with the sharks, on often over-crowded boats. Also, don’t touch them. What is it with people wanting to touch things? Not only is it dangerous for you, but the lipids in our skin can be very damaging to them.
2. Eat Ceviche
The ceviche in Mexico is just so fresh and delicious, but our absolutely favorite was on Isla Holbox. It’s raw fish marinated in bitter orange or lime, with diced tomatoes, hot peppers, red onion, cilantro and salt.
3. Watch the sunset
The Sunsets on Isla Holbox are incredible, every night we watched the sun go down from a swing at the bar or hammock on the island. I’ve watched a lot of sunsets, but these are some of the most beautiful in the world.
Grab a cerveza, maybe some guacamole and lean back into a hammock. I think there might be more hammocks than people on Isla Holbox. If you walk down the beach, you’ll spot one every few steps, and the best part is most of them are empty. So, you have your pick on which one to settle into for a while.
5. Visit the flamingos in Isla Passion
Isla Passion is a small island between Isla Holbox and the mainland where the flamingos seem to really congregate. They are even cooler than I thought, and there were so many of them! Did you know they make a ton of noise? They’re squeaky things!
6. Kayak the mangroves
The mangroves around Isla Holbox are so gorgeous. It’s a relaxing day drifting through the mangroves with a beautiful view of the island and the water. Birds fly overheard (calling all birders!) and fish swim beneath the kayak.
7. Visit the ecological reserve Yum Balam on the south side
Rent a bike in town and start heading on the main road towards all the hotels. Once you’ve passed them, just keep going. Eventually you come to a completely uninhabited area of the island that almost no one ventures to. The beach is dotted with drift wood and the bushes are covered in iguanas. You’ll be rewarded with some solitude and quiet on one of the most beautiful and laid back places on earth.
Accommodations on Isla Holbox
Almost anywhere on the island will have phenomenal views and a fabulous beach. Here are some of the best accommodations on Holbox Island, but if any of these don’t suit you, search at all of the available hotels on the island here.
Where we chose to stay on Holbox Island. It’s a gorgeous boutique hotel and every room has a great balcony or deck. The food is superb and it’s quiet and tucked away from the main town of the island. It’s right on the beach with plenty of hammocks.
Price Range: $165-195/night USD
A great budget option! It’s not right on the beach, but many of the hotels will allow you to use their beach chairs and hammocks with the purchase of food, so it’s really no big deal. It’s a little closer to town so you can pop in for a few drinks or meals a little easier than some of the other hotels. They even offer apartment rentals for families!
Price Range: $70-90/night USD
A pricier option with a simply gorgeous setting that allows full views of one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. It’s likely one of the quietest options on the island, being the furthest option away from town.
Price Range: $234-350/night USD
Decent budget option right in the middle of town. If you’d rather be closer to the bars and restaurants (not that there are many), this is perfect. Of course, it’s not on the beach, but it’s still really close. You can visit almost any of the beach front places for a day with food or drink purchase.
Price Range: $40-60 USD/night
Have you been to Isla Holbox? What are you’re favorite things to do on a laid back island like this one?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a few dollars at no extra cost to you. As always, these opinions are my own and I have found these products/services useful and only recommend them because I think they will benefit you too. You can read more here.