We have been also hesitating for a while which island to visit among the most recommended three – Isla Mujeres, Cozumel or Isla Holbox. The purpose of this article is to convince you about Holbox. Are you ready? Here you can find all the reasons why to visit Holbox!
How to get to Holbox
There are several ways to reach Holbox, depending on where you are coming from. You could travel by car or public bus to Chiquilá port and then catch the Holbox ferry across to the island. Or you can even fly to Holbox by a plane!
By ferry from Chiquilá
There are two ferry companies in Chiquilá port that offer their tickets on the same prices and both leave in every hour with 30 minutes difference:
- Holbox Express (red & white boats)
- 9 Hermanos (blue & white boats)
You don’t need to buy the tickets in advance, and doesn’t make any sense either to book it online. Once you want to leave you just go to the ticket office and buy your tickets. Here you can still pay by card, so use this option and keep your cash for the island, you will need it!
By plane from Cancún
There’s a tiny airport on Isla Holbox, so you can reach the island by a private plane. You can take a look here on the flight-arrangements. Most of the flights to Holbox leave from the airport of Cancún, but you can also fly from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel and Merida.
Why to visit Holbox
If you’ve already been to places like Cancún, Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, and looking for a bit of relaxation, a less luxurious, but cool place, a less maintained island but still with a cute character: Holbox Island should be your place. Yes, it’s touristy, but not in the way that Cancun is.
Of course you will find here everything that you need on a vacation, from roof-top bars to flamingos. There are lagoons and small islands close to Holbox, so you can head off on tours in search of crocodiles and see the flamingos in their natural habitat. Or you can just stay on the island and admire it’s beauty during sunset.
Where to stay on Holbox
It’s worth to know that Holbox is not cheap, neither the food, nor the accommodations comparing with the mainland. The prices are adjusted for tourist, so it’s better to book in advance.
We have stayed at Cabañas Coconut – book here to book it directly! It’s a lovely place, wooden cabañas with a quite big pool, a bit further from the noisy center but still in walking distance to the beach! The property offers garden views, an outdoor pool, a 24-hour front desk, and free WiFi is available. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a wardrobe, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV, a patio and a private bathroom with a shower. The units will provide guests with a fridge.
Here are some more cool options if we haven’t convinced you yet!
Where to eat on Holbox
La Barracuda Restaurant
Holbox is full of restaurants, all of them are very touristy, it’s not a surprise since they live out of visitors. Due to this fact you can find here sushi bars, vegan places, you can get a falafel, Argentine parilla, a hamburger or even a pizza. Actually to find an authentic Mexican taco place is harder than you would imagine. Since we are huge fans of the Mexican gastronomy, and we always follow the “eat like the locals” mantra – if possible, we couldn’t agree on any alternative and looked for an authentic place. We found La Barracuda Restaurant, which not only served the best quality out of Mexican dishes, but they also had amazingly fresh calamares (squid) served in garlic butter.
- We cannot underline even more, but order the squid here, seriously, don’t miss it out! It is very rare to find fresh squid in Mexico, we – during 4 weeks – could not find anywhere else. Not to mention that it is prepared so tasty in this restaurant that we went back twice to enjoy it again!
Las Fridas Restaurant
Las Fridas de Punta Coco is located very close to the Punta Coco beach hence the name. Thanks to this perfect location, we couldn’t miss it once we were spending all the morning on the beach and when we were enough tired and hungry, we just needed walk a bit and we found ourselves at a surprisingly cool place. The tables are placed in the white sand with a little cover above all, keeping the authentic palapa style. The service is not the fastest, but it’s worth waiting, the quality of the food is indeed amazing.
Best beaches of Holbox
It is a constant debate which island to visit, once you are in Quintana Roo. Cozumel, Isla Mujeres or Holbox? If you don’t have time for all three, let us suggest you a paradise spot, the Coco Beach on Holbox. Not saying that is completely empty of tourists, but if you arrive in the morning hours for sure you can choose the best palapa for yourself, get fresh coconuts and enjoy the turquoise blue crystal clear water only for yourself. During the day of course more and more people will arrive, but still bearable.
- If you are looking for a good local restaurant nearby (approx 150 meter from the beach), go for Las Fridas de Punta Coco
- Don’t walk there, it is too far from the center under the crazy burning sun! Plus the road conditions are not very pleasant (dust everywhere and the smell of uncollected rubbish)! You can rent bikes, golf cars or just catch a taxi, that will take you there for 150 Mexican Pesos.
Playa Holbox is the main beach of the center, usually the majority of tourists are here. However thanks to the fact that the sandy beach area is very long, and with a lot of resorts, smaller hotels around, somehow there is still place for everyone. We never felt it overcrowded or uncomfortably loud. On the contrary for the second day we found our favourite beach bar and enjoyed the whole afternoon around, under the palm-trees.
Best activities on Holbox
Even though for the first sight it looks that the options are limited on Holbox, don’t misunderstand the place. It is exactly what it is, a place to relax, to enjoy your cocktails and your taxi ride in the sand and the never-ending days on the beach. Of course you can find yoga classes, hippy get togethers, cooking activities and whatever tourist attraction you desire, but the best to just simply enjoy it and forget about your everyday duties for a bit.
How to move around the island
In theory you cannot enter the island with your car. Of course you will see some locals doing so, but overall the island is car free. You would think that surely the air is super clean and you will find nature at its best. Well, it’s a misbelief. Unfortunately the local transportation is 95% covered by quads and motorized golf cars and they function as taxis. Hence the air conditions are not very pleasant.
But of course you can rent bikes too or just walk around if the weather is cool enough. But worth to know that the golf cars or taxis are relatively cheap, they will take you from the center of the village to Punta Coco for 150 Mexican Pesos.
How to get money (cash) on Holbox
This is a very important point, and if we could give you only one advice for your trip to Holbox, cash would be it! Take enough Mexican Peso with you from the mainland! The reception on the island is very bad therefore to pay by card is hardly possible, not only at cafes or bars, but also at the hotels. Plus the amount of cash you can get out from the ATMs are limited. There are only 3 ATMs on the whole island, and out of them 1-2 are usually not working. Hence in front of the last remaining ATM people are queuing 24 hours and at some point there is not enough cash for everyone.
There is also one money exchange spot, but you can imagine on what kind exchange rate they are working. So just be prepared, take enough Mexican Peso with you.
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