Your Guide to Traveling to Holbox Mexico (Tulum’s More Laidback Cousin)

What was once the Yucatán Peninsula’s best kept secret has become one of the trendiest destinations in Mexico (and in the world) over the last decade. Now overrun with yoga-loving millennials and tourists, the once untouched beaches of Tulum have lost their reclusive, locals-only appeal. But fear not — another rising hotspot just two hours north west of Cancun has still has yet to peak in popularity. We’re talking about Isla Holbox (pronounced ole-bosh), a sleepy, idyllic paradise that’s worth adding to your travel list ASAP. Read on to find out why, how to get there, and more. 

Is Holbox Worth Visiting?

100 percent. Though Holbox has also been attracting visitors for about 10 years now, the island’s locals have successfully prevented the construction of high-rise buildings and resorts, allowing it to maintain its under-the-radar vibe. In fact, the 26-mile-long unpaved island doesn’t even have cars — golf carts and bikes are the primary modes of transportation. Accommodations and food are also reasonably priced, especially compared to Tulum’s now astronomical prices. Additionally, as part of Mexico’s largest ecological reserve, the jungle-meets-beach destination remains unspoiled with abundant wildlife. So to answer your question, yes. But Isla Holbox may not be for you if you’re someone who prefers a scene. 

What to Do in Holbox

There’s not much! People come to the island to slow down and get away, so expect to unpack your schedule for some uninterrupted relaxation. Your days will mostly revolve around white-sanded, shallow turquoise beaches. The closest thing to “downtown” would be Calle Tiburón Ballena, the island’s main street, which can easily be identified by its vibrant murals. Once you’ve had your fill of lobster pizza, the island’s signature specialty, you can head over to Punta Mosquito or Isla Pájaros to see flamingos and other species of birds, or go whale-shark watching between the months of May and September. These gentle giants are actually the island’s main attraction. 

How to Get to Holbox

From Cancun, the drive to the port of Chiquilá is about two hours long. There, you’ll need to leave your car (you can find daily parking for less than $5 per day) and take a 20-minute ferry ride to Holbox. Traveling by bus is by far the most economical option (about $11 each way) but it can also take as long as three and a half hours to reach the port. Once you arrive on Isla Holbox, it’s only a quick ride via golf cart to your final destination.

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