Escape to Isla Holbox: Mexico’s Best Kept Secret

Cabo, Tulum, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel…Isla Holbox? You may have heard of Mexico’s major getaway locations, but this time another place is starting to surface, Isla Holbox. A small island only available by boat and three hours from Cancun, this clear-water, remote getaway is truly heaven. Plus, it’s not too far to travel to if you’re in the United States. This is where to go if you want a completely relaxed trip, lounging by the beach (especially considering cell service and wifi are very limited). It’s a very small island of 26 miles, though only about 1.5 miles or so are occupied. This makes it easy to enjoy all the island has to offer as you don’t have to worry too much about “hitting” everything. You can walk (or golf cart, yes they only travel by golf carts) to everything you’d want to do on the island.

This place is so remote in fact that you need to either rent a car from Cancun or take a shuttle bus. I rented a car, but a shuttle bus would have been a cheaper option. It’s about a 2-3 hour drive so be prepared for that. Then, from Chiquilá is where you take the 30 minute ferry to the island.

The weather is beautiful and sunny year round, but it’s also good to note that it is extremely hot and humid in the summer (almost to a fault). And do NOT go without bug spray because the mosquitos are no joke.  Cash is also a must since most places are cash only and there’s only one ATM on the island (which doesn’t always work). Keeping those things in mind, once you get there and see those empty, crystal clear waters, you will NOT be sorry you made the trek.


 

Where to Eat

Basico

Basico was our life saver for always being open, having great coffee, food and beer. We ate here too many times. Right near the beach, well priced, great interior and free wifi, what more could you ask for? Plus, there’s a small, cute boutique right in the back, La Tienda. I got an embroidered white tee, made locally, which I wore everywhere.

isla Holbox

Las Panchas

Las Panchas is a MUST for Mexican food on Isla Holbox.

El Sushi de Holbox

We finished off our trip with sushi and cocktails here. The entire menu looks amazing with a lot of interesting kind of rolls. We loved it and would definitely go back (especially for the unique cocktails)!

Restaurante Milpa

I didn’t eat here, but I’ve heard great things about Restaurante Milpa’s Mexican food. Give it a try!

Luuma

This place is so cute and has great cocktails! Right by the beach, you will definitely have a good time.


Where to Stay

Hotel Villas Flamingos

isla Holbox

Those gorgeous photos you’ve seen of a hammock in the water can be taken right here. We checked out the hotel and it is adorable and a place I would stay at, though it’s slightly more pricey.

Casa Las Tortugas

This is one of the most recommended hotels (not that there are more than a handful) on the island. I’ve heard great things and it looks really cute!

Airbnb

There are a few Airbnb options, most of them run as their business like a hotel. We ended up opting for an Airbnb because of its affordability and proximity to the beach.

isla Holbox


What To Do

Besides the obvious, lounging along the beach and eating great sushi, there are a few other fun things to do on your trip to Isla Holbox.

Massage on the Beach

You can find a sign as you walk along the beach where a couple of ladies will give you an amazing, affordable massage right on the beach. This was heaven to do as the sun was setting.

Shop Local Shops

There are a bunch of local artisans and shops throughout the town. I got a gorgeous hand-beaded necklace and a hand-sewn and embroidered tote. Everything is so bright and pretty.

View the Bioluminescent Beaches at 3 AM

There are signs along the beach to go see the bioluminescent beaches so ask a tour guide to go with them or you can ask them for the best times and locations to see it. I didn’t because… 3 am, but it would definitely be cool to see some glowing-looking waters.

Shark Watching & Boat Tour

Apparently this is one of the top things to do here. Sharks aren’t really my forte, but if they are, this is the place to swim with them! Plus, there are day or half day boat tours you can do from the island. If I had had more time, I definitely would have gone on one.

isla Holbox

If you’re looking for a cute, remote (and completely uncrowded) getaway then look no further than Isla Holbox. I’d definitely love to go back. This place is a total tropical fairytale.

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Kristin Simon

Kristin Simon is a digital nomad from New York, constantly on a path to try to live her best life filled with positivity, uplifting others and inspiring them to do the same. She received her bachelor degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked in digital marketing for over 6 years. Knowing in her heart that she needed a lifestyle change, she got a remote job, left her apartment in New York City and started a life of full-time travel. Kristin documents her journeys, her experiences and her style on her blog Pink Neon Lips, Instagram and Youtube channel.