The music’s thumping, there’s foam in the pool. Cancun is the perfect getaway when you’re looking for a party, but what happens when all you want is a laid back holiday? Tulum? Too hipster. Isla Mujeres? Too crowded. Each winter thousands of Canadians flock to Cancun in search of sunny weather and balmy temperatures but is there any part of the Yucatan that hasn’t become a hotspot yet? Luckily, there is.
Be Unbordered and visit Isla Holbox. Expert Travellers Alexandra Roper and Chadd Andre recently had a chance to visit Isla Holbox and came back reinvigorated, relaxed, and raving about this tiny island paradise.
From Cancun, drive two hours north to the town of Chiquilá to catch your 15-minute ferry to Isla Holbox. You can rent a car and leave it at the car park (with 24-hour security) or arrange a transfer from Cancun airport to the ferry terminal.
Setting foot on Isla Holbox, you’ll see why this is an island just waiting to be discovered. You’ll be greeted by golf cart taxis (there are no other cars permitted on the island), sandy roads and warm, friendly locals.
If you plan on touring the island, be adventurous and rent your own golf cart. Once you’re in the main town, you can easily make your way around on foot.
Where to Stay
Most accomodations on the island are small boutique hotels located on or near the main beach with most having direct beach access. There are two all-inclusive options on Isla Holbox: Villas HM Palapas and Villas HM Paraiso, conveniently located next to each other on the western rim of the island. Thankfully, whichever hotel you choose, all beaches in Isla Holbox are public and not restricted to hotel guests.
Chadd’s Pick: Villas HM Palapas. Av, Calle Paseo Kuka. 133
“A tad more modern than the Villas Paraiso with a great bar and pool area.”
Alexandra’s Pick: Casa Las Tortugas. Av Damero, Centro
“Right on the edge of the main street with gorgeous direct beachfront access and more traditional Mexican architecture, art and design.”
Where to Eat
With most food not native to the island (it gets delivered from the mainland by ferry), stick to local produce and fresh fish plucked directly from the sea nearby. Dig your toes in the sand and eat at one of the many seaside restaurants around the island.
Chadd’s Pick: El Chapulim, Tiburon Ballena entre Damero y Coldwell
“Eat where the locals eat. There is no menu here. What you eat is what was caught fresh that day. You can’t go wrong.”
Alexandra’s Pick: Luuma, Av Damero, Centro
“This vegan-friendly spot is a trendy beach hangout that will please both meat and plant eaters alike. Enjoy your meal with sand between your toes and decor created by local designers. After your meal, be sure to check out the designer market at the back of the restaurant for some handmade local crafts to bring home.”
What to Do
Spot fish and starfish swimming beneath you as you spend a day in a sea hammock. Laze the day away on the powdery white sand and in the blue, crystal-clear water.
Take a stroll and discover all the street art around the city. Beautiful works of art dot every corner of this island.
If you’re in Isla Holbox between July and January, you might find yourself lucky enough to spot bioluminescence in the water. The phenomenon is caused by bioluminescent plankton in the waters and sand around the island. Bioluminescence is best seen under a dark sky so if this is on your must-see list, it is best to plan your holiday around the new moon.
There’s so much to see and discover in the Yucatan Peninsula, beyond the spoils of Cancun. To book your Isla Holbox getaway, speak to one of our Expert Travellers to help get you started. Call us anytime at 1 877 967 5302, or stop by your local Flight Centre store.