Isla Holbox is probably my favourite place from what I’ve seen so far from Mexico! Though I’m sure there are many other beautiful places in this amazing country.
This tranquil island not only has endless stretches of beautiful beaches, but also a really cute town center and loads of really nice restaurants.
Between May and November, you can swim with the whale sharks as well as see flocks of flamingoes and other animals as well, so it is a great time to go if you love wildlife spotting.
Below you will find some tips on what to do, see and eat in Holbox, Mexico:
THINGS TO DO
Isla Holbox is a quiet and beautiful island and one should enjoy the beach and the beautiful turquoise sea as much as possible.
That’s why the best thing to do when in Holbox is just to go to the beach, find a nice beach club with some comfy lounge chairs and just chill there for a couple of hours, but trust me – you probably want to stay there the whole day.
Live the island life by sipping on a fresh coconut, reading a book and just relaxing – taking in those island vibes.
3 ISLAND TOUR
The 3 island tour takes you to see 3 different spots in and around Holbox: The Yalahoa cenote near Chiquila, Isla de la Pasion and either Isla de los Pajaros (” Bird Island”) or Punta Mosquito, depending on where there are more birds at the moment (e.g. we heard that from May until November, there are many flamingoes at Punta Mosquito).
We booked our morning tour with VIP Holbox (you can book online), which was about 25 euros per person. We were lucky actually, as we were the only ones taking the tour that day, so we had a private tour guide!
The tour first takes you to the Yalahao cenote on the mainland on the other side, where you can swim in amazingly clear water. Next, we went to Isla de la Pasion, a tiny island where you can stroll around the sandbanks, which feels like your walking on the ocean! The last stop for us was Isla de Los Pajaros, where we saw loads of -shocker- birds.
SWIM WITH THE WHALE SHARKS
From May to November you can swim with the whale sharks close to Holbox, which must be a truly amazing! Unfortunately, we visited Holbox in February, so outside the whale shark season. But next time we come to Holbox, we definitely want to swim with these magnificent animals!
ROAM AROUND AND SPOT STUNNING STREET ART
The small town of Holbox is so colorful and it’s really nice to just walk around and spot all the amazing street art.
VISIT THE ANIMAL SHELTER
Visit the Holbox animal rescue center and play with dogs, cats and you might even spot a raccoon! You can also take one or two dogs for a walk to the beach, but I’m sure they won’t mind cuddles either 😉
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
There are plenty of great places to eat on Holbox – whether you’re on a budget or you’re able to splurge a bit. Here’s a selection of our favorite eating spots on the island:
CLANDESTINO – FOR GOOD COFFEE
We are extremely, let me tell you, extremely spoiled when it comes to coffee, so whenever we find ourselves someplace new, we need to find a good, preferably specialty coffee place around to get our coffee fix in the morning.
We found this place on our second day in Holbox and it’s safe to say that this is probably the best coffee place on the island. The guy who runs it is a coffee lover as well, and he also sells the coffee beans he roasts himself.
PAINAPOL – FOR BRUNCH
For breakfast, brunch or lunch visit this cute cafe which makes beautiful arranged healthy brunch dishes such as smoothie bowls, panini, and toasts. And perhaps you’ll also spot the cute dog that walks around, greeting all the customers.
EL SABOR DE LAS NUBES – FOR A ROMANTIC SUNSET DINNER
This awesome restaurant is located in the Las Nubes hotel, which is about a 10 to 15-minute golf cart taxi ride from the main square of Holbox. It’s probably one of the best spots to watch the breathtaking sunset. And the food is really amazing as well without being too expensive! Also, it’s never really full, so you can watch the sunset and eat a delicious meal without too many people around you.
BARBA NEGRA – FOR SEAFOOD TACOS
This cute restaurant serves amazing seafood tacos; I personally loved the fried octopus and shrimp tacos, as well as the guacamole.
RAICES – SEAFOOD AT THE BEACH
One of the highest rated restaurants at the beach is Raisas. They serve really good Mexican seafood dishes; nothing fancy, just simple and delicious food. This is a really popular lunch spot as it’s right next to the beach with amazing ocean views.
THE NOTORIOUS COCKTAIL – FOR COCKTAILS AND LIVE MUSIC
This lively beach bar is a great place for some cocktails, live music, and ocean views.
MARQUESITAS FOR DESSERT
Every night at the main square, food stalls set up shop to sell tacos, marquesitas, crepes and other delicious snacks. Now, what is a marquesita exactly? It can be described as a crunchy crepe, which you can fill with Nutella, caramel, peanut butter and that they top with… cheese. Yes, you heard correctly! If you’re not up for this strange delicacy, just ask ‘sin queso por favor‘ 😉
POR QUE NO FOR ICE CREAM
Don’t feel like marquesitas? Then go to this little ice cream shop near the main square; they serve delicious ice cream and portions are big!
HOW TO GET TO HOLBOX
o get to Holbox, you first need to get to Chiquila, either by bus or taxi. If you go by bus, we recommend the Ado bus, which leaves from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Valladolid, and Merida.
From Chiquila you take the ferry to Holbox, which takes around 20 to 25 minutes, and costs $150 pesos one way. The ferry leaves every half hour.
As Holbox is a tiny island, there are almost no cars on the island, they just use golf carts. All the taxis are golf carts too, and one ride will cost around $40-60 pesos.
Also, the roads on Holbox are not paved – which means that if it rains, all the roads are pretty much flooded. So no fancy shoes, and if you can, take a backpack instead of a suitcase.
Finally, there is the issue of broken ATM’s – a lot of the ATM’s on the island are either broken or just dispense US dollars. So be prepared and get enough cash before you go to Holbox.
I hope this blog post has been useful to you! Do you have any questions or comments about Holbox? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂
By Nina Hoebericht
Follow Nina on Twitter: @thingsnomadsdo