Where is Holbox Island?
The place where the sugar-fine sand meets the mesmerizing turquoise water and vast azure sky. The sea breeze softly sways hammocks, backed by sticks projecting out of the serene water. Where the golf carts take the place of cars to roam through the streets packed with sand… You are in Isla Holbox, Mexico—an picturesque island that feels continents away while remaining (relatively) close to the tourist mecca of Cancun.
If you’re looking for a way to get away from your monotonous life, you came to the right place. This 26-mile-long island has everything you might want in a tropical vacation: secluded beaches, starry night skies, abundant wildlife, and a distinct no-fuss demeanor. Isla Holbox is a welcome respite for travelers tired of the Yucatan Peninsula’s ever-increasing commercialization.
Due to the lack of growth, certain luxuries such as infinity pools and manicured all-inclusive resorts are unavailable. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more magical location to relax and energize in nature while still having access to modern amenities like air conditioning and gourmet food.
The place is widely regarded as one of the best locations on the planet to swim and come in close contact with the world’s largest fish, the whale shark.
What to do in Holbox, Mexico?
While Isla Holbox is not a large island, there are many things to do there. The most famous are mentioned below.
Swim in the Yalahau Cenote
Cenotes are incredible! With over 6000 cenotes on the Yucatan peninsula, it’s not shocking that one is near Holbox. The Yalahau Cenote is a freshwater cenote surrounded by the same-named lagoon.
It’s difficult (and pricey) to visit the cenote on your own because it’s only reachable by boat (30 minutes). Joining one of the tours that visit Isla Pasion and Cabo Catoche, which include a stop at Yalahau cenote, is the perfect way to get there. Take a walk through the town center, inquire at one of the several tour companies, and negotiate the tour price!
Watch the sunset in Holbox
The sunsets on Isla Holbox are genuinely spectacular. The sky can be as pink as cotton candy one day and then turn all shades of red and orange the next. Punta Cocos and the pier are the most common sunset spots on Isla Holbox. Carry some beer and a snack, and don’t forget to bring your camera.
Swimming with whale sharks in Holbox
Together with La Paz in Mexico, Isla Holbox is regarded as one of the best places in the world to see and swim with whale sharks. Given their appearance, these gigantic creatures are harmless, and many people have claimed that swimming with them is a life-changing experience.
A boat tour’s cost to swim with whale sharks varies from $100 to $150 per person.
The number of people who may visit each day is restricted, and the rules about encounters are rigidly followed. Just two individuals should be in the water with a guide simultaneously, and the whale sharks cannot be fed.
Swimming with whale sharks is becoming an increasingly popular Cancun day trip. The number of visitors visiting the animals daily is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Many people dream of swimming with whale sharks, but it’s important to note that the whale sharks’ safety comes first.
Before you go, do some study to see if it’s a good match for you. If you decide to go, make sure the tour operator follows the official rules, such as keeping a certain distance from the animals and limiting the number of people in the water. Don’t be afraid to inquire about the tour operator you’re considering; any reliable company will provide you with all the information you need.
Instagram shots in the water hammocks
The most famous photographs of Isla Holbox are of people relaxing in colorful water hammocks. We’re sure you’ve seen it in your Instagram feed at one point or another.
The hammocks are located in front of the Villas Flamingos hotel. The place is bustling in the mornings, but you can visit in the middle of the day and find it quiet. Water hammocks are also available in front of Villas Tiburon.
The water swings in front of Carolinda Beach Club [Calle Charal] or Ensueo Holbox [at the corner of Calle Caguama and Calle Charal] are another super instagrammable place to explore and click pictures.
Kayak in the mangroves
Isla Holbox is a relaxing, lazy, and chilled spot, but if you’re looking for something to do in Isla Holbox that doesn’t involve lying on the beach and soaking up the sun, try kayaking in the mangroves.
On Isla Holbox, you can either enter a tour or rent a kayak to travel through the mangroves. Many accommodations have kayaks available for guests to use, but non-guests can also rent them.
Appreciate the street art of Isla Holbox
Isla Holbox is a tiny island with a lot of fascinating street art. We noticed the street art in Mexico City and Puebla, and there are artworks all over Isla Holbox! Take a stroll through town to find your pick. The most well-known is about a child who is so animated that it somehow seems like a photo.
Holbox took part in the first-ever Festival Internacional de Arte Publico (FIAP), or International Public Art Festival, in 2014, and a team of foreign artists came to the island to create these breathtaking paintings.
Relax at the beach in Holbox
You’ll have convenient access to the beach no matter where you stay (5-minute walk max).
Playa Holbox is stunning from any perspective, but most of the beach is privately owned, so you’ll have to buy a drink or food to use the facilities.
Drive your bike or golf cart to Punta Cocos if you’re feeling a little more daring. Bring some beers and stay until sunset. You won’t be sorry!
Walk to the flamingos in Holbox
Yum Balam Nature Reserve is as close to the Caribbean as Mexico comes. Punta Mosquito is accessed through a beautiful white sandbank in the middle of the ocean, where you might be able to spot the stunning flamingos if you’re lucky. Expect nothing like Aruba’s flamingos, as these are wild animals that will not allow you to get too close to them. According to locals, the flamingo season is year-round, but the season to spot flamingos is from April to October.
It’s not easy to get to the Holbox flamingos, but it’s lovely. Park your bike or golf cart at Las Nubes de Holbox and be prepared for a 1-hour walk. Walk from the beach to the easily visible sandbank, follow the sandbank until you hit the end. You will walk in water, but it usually is ankle- or knee-deep – this is a good training session!
Only bear in mind that the tide rises early in the afternoon. If you stay longer, you won’t drown, but it may not be the best option if you have gadgets with you.
Where to eat in Isla Holbox?
While Isla Holbox is a small island, finding the perfect variety of food is not hard! Every month, new restaurants open, offering everything from fine dining to street food and low-cost options. The most famous spots are listed below.
This fantastic all-American diner, with its milkshakes and burgers, takes you back to the 1950s. It’s fun for kids and adults alike, with padded booths and a jukebox—a perfect alternative to fish and tacos.
Mandarina Restaurant & Beach Club
The scenery is very fairytale-like at night, making it one of the best locations in Holbox. The gourmet dishes are delicious and well presented, and you can eat right on the beach. Prices will be higher than most other locations in Holbox, but you get what you pay for.
Delicious tacos, quesadillas, and tortas are available at reasonable rates. If you’re looking for authentic Mexican cuisine without the frills, this is the place to go. The tacos al pastor are the house specialty.
Best time to visit Holbox Island
The best months to visit Holbox are January through March when the temperature is suitable, and the weather usually is dry. However, this is the peak season, so prices are much hiked.
November and December are also lovely months to visit because they are a little colder, but you will get a little muddy because it is the end of the rainy season. Though there were a few showers at night, the weather was generally good.
Avoid visiting in the summer months if possible as:
- Holbox Island is not the right time to explore.
- It’s sticky and humid outside.
- Mosquitoes are ravenous.
Nevertheless, if you’re visiting Holbox for the whale sharks, bear in mind that the season runs from June to mid-September.
And there you have it! You now have all of the necessary details for your journey. This island is one of our favorite places in Mexico, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!