Last updated: November 13th, 2019

Isla Holbox (pronounced “hole-bosh”) is a small island located a short 25 minute ferry ride off of the northern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The island is known for its white sand beaches, mangroves filled with exotic birds and wildlife, colorful art murals, and laidback vibe.

These days, tourists from around the world flock to the island to see flamingos bathing in the Caribbean Sea as well as to get the opportunity to swim with whale sharks.

The island is also an escape for tourists who are looking for a more remote vacation.

Many visit the island to unwind and relax, to escape their busy lives, and to refresh their body, mind and soul.

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway with a side of adventure, Isla Holbox is the perfect destination for you.

Before You Go: Travel Insurance

When planning a trip to Mexico your first priority should be to make sure you make a small investment towards your health and well being by considering an affordable travel insurance policy for your trip.

Not only will this budget friendly travel insurance policy cover you if your bags are lost/stolen and if your flight is delayed/cancelled, but you’ll also be covered for all medical and injury related issues as well. 

Let’s face it. No parents, family or friends want to have to cover the cost of you getting medevaced home from Mexico.

Unfortunate things do happen.

Especially when you least expect it.

Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing travel insurance coverage for your trip so you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of in the event of a serious emergency in Mexico.

P.S. You won’t believe how reasonably priced this travel insurance is.

🏥 Why wait? Get a Travel Insurance Quote for your trip today.

How to Get to Isla Holbox

There are two primary ways to get to Isla Holbox: by air or by ferry — ferry being the most common and affordable option.

Please note that getting to Isla Holbox by ferry requires you to travel by land from Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum to the port of Chiquila.

By Air

There are no major airports on the island, but you can take a small, private plane to Holbox if you prefer not to take the bus and the ferry.

The cost of a private flight to Holbox (for one to six people) ranges depending on where you’re planning on flying from. You can find a list of prices here: Holbox Flights.

By Bus

There are bus trips from various points – Cancun to Holbox, Playa del Carmen to Holbox, and Tulum to Holbox via Chiquilá.

The bus fare from the Cancun ADO terminal starts at around 270 MXN per person, 280 MXN from the Playa del Carmen ADO terminal, and approximately 365 MXN from the Tulum ADO terminal.

Bus tickets can be purchased here or directly at the bus terminal.

Transfer Times:

  • Cancun to Chiquila: 2 hours.
  • Playa del Carmen to Chiquila: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Tulum to Chiquila: 2.5 to 3 hours.

Note: Please help us keep this page updated by leaving a comment below with the latest rates.

By Ferry

Chiquilá is the a small town located on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula where you can find the ferry to Holbox.

The travel time by ferry from Chiquilá to Holbox will only take about 25 to 30 minutes, with trips to the island departing from the port from 6:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

Where to Stay in Isla Holbox

Due to the islands increasing popularity, accommodations in Isla Holbox are plentiful.

When it comes to where to stay in Holbox, you can choose to rent an Airbnb, a bed at a hostel, or a room at a local hotel.

Below, you’ll find some of our personal recommendations when it comes to where to stay in Isla Holbox.

Airbnb

Using Airbnb in Holbox is highly recommended.

They are often cheaper than hotels and usually offer more bang for your buck.

If you’re the type who doesn’t care too much about having the privacy of renting your own home, you could also consider renting a private room in a shared home.

With more than 300+ rentals on the site and app, you can choose the place that fits your wants and needs, as well as experience the island like a local while you’re there.

🎁 Get a discount of up to $37 on your first Airbnb stay by clicking here.

🏠 If this is your first time using Airbnb, we recommend you read our Insider’s Guide to Saving Money on Airbnb Apartments.

Hotels

Isla Holbox hotels will provide you with amenities that you won’t find in most Airbnb rentals and hostels on the island.

In fact, you will find Holbox all-inclusive hotel packages that include free breakfast, WiFi service, and airport transfer, as well as access to a pool, spa, or gym.

The best hotels in Holbox are beachfront properties with seaview rooms. If you’re looking to splurge a little, you won’t be disappointed.

Booking.com

Hostels

Although they’re not the most private or luxurious accommodation option, hostels are a fantastic way to meet other travelers and make new friends.

Hostels usually create a sense of community among wanderlust people like yourself, which can be a pretty interesting way to spend your vacation.

The best thing about Isla Holbox hostels is that a lot of them are comfortable, safe and affordable.

Here are some options when it comes to hostels in Holbox below.

Things to Do in Isla Holbox

Below, you’ll find a short list of things to do during your time in Holbox.

You can find a more complete list of the best things to do in Isla Holbox here: 16 Things to Do in Isla Holbox.

Flamingos Isla Holbox

Flamingos

Between April and October, if you head to Punta Mosquito in the Yum Balam Flora and Fauna Protection Area on the island, you might be able to witness hundreds of flamingos lining the white sand beach.

Whale Sharks Isla Holbox

Swim with Whale Sharks

Every year, during the summer, from mid May through mid September, whale sharks migrate in the waters surrounding Isla Holbox to breed.

If you visit during these months, you’ll be able to snorkel alongside these majestic sea creatures or witness them feeding at the surface from the shore.

🔍 Learn more: Swimming with Whale Sharks

Three Island Tour

For nature lovers and Animal Planet fans out there, this three-island tour will immerse you in Isla Holbox’s diverse birdlife and other wildlife.

The tour starts at Laguna Yalahau where exotic birds, jumping fish, crocodiles, and flamingos can be spotted on the river and the mangroves.

Afterwards, you’ll head to Isla Pajaros, which is home to 140 species of birds including pelicans, storks, and edies, and then to Passion Island, where you will find bright pink seashells and the remains of an old turtle nursery.

🔍 Learn more: Isla Holbox Three Island Tour

Isla Holbox Sea Kayaking

Kayaking

The island’s mangroves are a prime spot for observing the diverse species of birds and marine animals that live here.

And what better way to explore Isla Holbox’s winding mangroves than to go on a kayaking tour?

The tour lasts for about three hours, which is enough time to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery and its inhabitants.

🔍 Learn more: Kayaking the Mangroves Tour

Isla Holbox Bicycle Rentals

Rent a Bicycle

Th island of Holbox is 26 miles long and just under 1 mile wide so we highly recommend renting bicycles. Cycling around Holbox is not only a great way to explore the island but also to get some quality exercise time in all at the same time.

Bike rentals in Holbox are commonly found in and around the main square (Zocalo) with rental rates as low as MXN 150 to MXN 200 per day.

Bioluminescence Tour

When the night is dark and the moon is hiding, head to the southern beaches of Holbox to witness the unique phenomenon of bioluminescence.

Thousands of bioluminescent microorganisms light up when the waves hit the shore, and it’s such a breathtaking thing to see.

However, these microorganisms can only be observed at certain weeks of each month, so make sure to check the tour dates before you plan your visit.

🔍 Learn more: Holbox Bioluminescence Tour

Isla Holbox Sunset

Catch the Sunset

If you’re looking for the best place to watch the sunset in Holbox, be sure to head over to the beach bar situated directly in front of Zomay Hotel.

Please note that Zomay Hotel’s beach bar can get pretty crowded in the late afternoon, so you may want to go here earlier if you want to grab a seat before it gets too packed.

Don’t Miss: 16 Things to Do in Isla Holbox.

Getting Around Isla Holbox

The most common ways to get around Isla Holbox are by foot, by golf cart or by bicycle.

Due to the fact that the majority of the roads are dirt roads, you won’t have to worry too much about congestion and traffic on the island.

Note: Electric golf carts are available for rent for those of you who prefer to explore more of the island while having the luxury of having a faster method of transportation as well as having a roof over your head to protect yourself from the sun.

Best Time to Visit Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox weather is mostly warm and sunny with little to no precipitation during the months of January, February, and March.

Therefore, the first quarter of the year is usually the busiest time on the island.

If you want to avoid the crowds of tourists that visit the island each year, the best time to visit Isla Holbox would be during the last quarter of the year.

Please note that visiting Isla Holbox during the summer months (May to August) means you’ll be dealing with extreme temperatures during the daylight hours.

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