9 Things To Do In Holbox – Travel Tips & Where To Stay
If you're looking for a beautiful and serene island escape, look no further than Isla Holbox in Mexico. This quiet island is packed with stunning natural scenery and plenty of activities to keep you busy.
While there are many things to do and activities to enjoy while visiting Isla Holbox in Mexico, the one thing you might really want to take advantage of is the ability to take it slow and just relax This is what Holbox is best known for! This is a place to really disconnect.
Let the island life take you away and get lost in its natural beauty. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds for the ultimate Mexican getaway in this paradise! We recommend Isla Holbox as the perfect family vacation destination in the Yucatan Peninsula!
If you feel like getting in on some of the action, there are plenty of things to do in Holbox Mexico, from wildlife watching and nature walks to swimming with sharks and taking boat tours to explore the nearby islands. Here are some of the top things to do in Holbox:
Things To Do In Isla Holbox For The Ultimate Family Getaway
The list below is perfect for a 3 or 4 day itinerary on Holbox Island. We wanted to provide a full guide to help you if you are planning a visit so we've also included tips of where to stay as well as how to get to Holbox and how to get around once you arrive. If you're looking for great places to eat, we've got some suggestions for that, too! Keep reading.
1. Pamper Your self At A Beach Club For The Day
Let's get right to the chase: the beaches are some of the best in Holbox so you may as well take full advantage of them!
Hang out and relax at a beach club all day. Holbox has many beautiful beaches, and there are several beach clubs that offer day passes. This is the perfect way to spend a lazy day in the sun.
Unlike popular spots like Tulum, Isla Holbox beach clubs don't require you to spend upwards of $100 per person to get to use the sun umbrellas and beds. The one we stayed at had a requirement of $30 per person which was manageable since we were spending the entire day there. Spending a day at the beach club was one of the things we did in Playa Del Carmen and they required a spend of $50 per person.
Not only did we not have to worry about food and snacks for the day, but they had nice, clean facilities to use as well as options to hang out in our private, covered lounge area or the hammocks. The service is genuine and warm so you can truly feel pampered while enjoying the beach all day long! If you are traveling with kids, this place will make the vacation fun and relaxing for everyone!
There are usually massage kiosks nearby the beach clubs so you can sneak over for an hour (or more) and get blissful massage on the beach to get you even more relaxed.
2. Experience Magical Wildlife At Punta Cocos
See wildlife and nature at Playa Punta Cocos. This protected area is home to a variety of birds, turtles, and other animals. You can also swim in the crystal clear waters or take a night walk to see the bioluminescence.
Initially we saw this place in the dark because we took a golf cart taxi here from our hotel to see the bioluminescence in the water. We were so delighted to experience this phenomenon! Though it was not the peak season for it, we still saw the algae sparkle in the water as we swirled it around with our hands and feet.
It was also amazing to look up at the night sky here since the lower levels of light pollution allowed the Milky Way to shine bright above us!
Don't be surprised if you smell something burning. Locals burn coconuts to keep the mosquitos away. Could this be where the name of the location comes from?
To get there, you can walk to the eastern part of the island (might take you around 30 minutes depending on where you are staying) or have your hotel call a taxi for you. Since we were traveling with a toddler and didn't want to stay out too late, we too a taxi. It was nice that the driver also guided us to the point (in the dark) where it was best to see the bioluminescence. He also pointed out some blue crabs which are known to inhabit the Gulf of Mexico.
We had such a great experience at this place that we decided to make a visit to it during the day. So, on our last day, we rented a golf cart and made the trip ourselves (which was way easier than having to do it at night in the dark). Arriving there in the early morning hours meant that we were practically the only people in the whole place!
There is a restaurant at the entrance from the road which offers swings and hammocks but we just walked the trail to the end of the beach which was serene as well as beautiful. We were limited on our time there since we were catching the ferry back to Playa Del Carmen but it would be nice to spend the day there (another perfect family outing!). If you are looking for the quietest and most peaceful place on the island, this is for you!
3. Take A Dreamy Stroll On The Sandbars
Walk the sand banks at Punta Mosquito or just chill and watch the tide roll in. This beautiful area is known for its dramatic sand banks that change shape with the tides. It's a great place to bird watch or just enjoy the scenery.
Depending on when you visit, there will be different parts that are only sand and others where you will walk through the shallow waters. It's amazing to see the landscape changing here! Ask a local for the best time of day to go see this place. If you walk the beach headed east, you may be able to see flamingos at the tip. It is though that the best time to catch the flamingos is between April and October.
4. Explore The Town On A Golf Cart
Holbox is a small town, similar to visiting Bacalar in a lot of ways, and you can easily explore it by golf cart. This is a great way to see the local sights and meet some of the friendly residents. You can rent them from multiple locations in town. If you want to get one upon arrival, there is a location just a few feet from the ferry dock.
As you drive around town, look out for all the spectacular art work, including beautiful murals all around. There is a very nicely equipped playground in the center of town for the kiddos if they get tired of riding in the bumpy golf cart (the dirt road can get rough if the rains have made it muddy recently).
Pop into the local crafts market and other boutique stores for some great souvenirs to take back home and enjoy the street food in the evenings. We loved snacking on the Marquisitas which are similar to crepes, but crunchy.
5. Give Back To The Community And Volunteer
If you're missing your furry friend back home, why not walk one of the dogs from the local animal shelter? At Holbox Animal Shelter you can volunteer and help bathe dogs, clean, play with dogs or take them for a walk. It's a great way to give back to the community and help out some of the locals.
6. Catch The Sunset
Holbox is one of the best places in the world to watch the sunset. The colors are simply beautiful, and it's a perfect way to end a day of exploring.
You'll enjoy the sunset whether you are walking on the beach, swinging at a beach bar, or dining at a beach restaurant. Keep an eye out for dolphins coming over to join! We were fortunate to have seen a dolphin hanging around close to shore while we were watching the sunset from our dinner table.
7. Boat Tours
Now imagine taking a boat tour around Holbox Island. This remote island off the coast of Mexico is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and lush jungle vegetation. It really reminded us of the time we took a boat tour from Koh Lanta, Thailand. It's an adventurer's paradise. And taking a boat tour is the best way to see it all.
If you really want to get away and explore the natural beauty around Isla Holbox, take a boat tour to the nearby islands and cenotes. See some amazing local bird life on Isla Pajaros and Passion Island and learn about the native flora and fauna from your guide as you float through the beautiful waters around the island. See pelicans, frigates and flamingos and even get a chance to swim in a freshwater cenote!
8. Swim With Whale Sharks
Yes, you read that correctly! Holbox is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with nurse sharks. It's an amazing experience and definitely something you'll never forget. you'll just have to be visiting during the season when they have migrated there which is from June to September.
9. Learn To Kitesurf
Isla Holbox is the perfect place to learn how to kitesurf. With its gentle winds and clear waters, it's the perfect spot for beginners to get their kiting fix. Plus, what's more adventurous than learning a new water sport on a tropical island? So if you're looking for an adrenaline-pumping vacation, head to Isla Holbox to learn how to kitesurf. You won't regret it!
How To Get To Isla Holbox
Whether you are driving from Cancún or Playa Del Carmen, it will take about two hours (maybe a bit less from Playa Del Carmen by a few minutes) to get to Chiquilá where you will have to take a ferry that is about 20 minutes to Isla Holbox.
You can get a private driver to take you to Chiquilá like we did since you will not be able to take your car to Isla Holbox. We didn't want to rent a car only to have it sit in a parking lot for the four days that we were spending on the island. By the way, 4 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Holbox. At the very least, you should plan 2 days in Holbox for your Yucatan itinerary.
If you do decide to take your own car (it might be more convenient if you plan to have a quick visit to Holbox), you can park it in Chiquilá. There are plenty of parking lots that have a small fee per day so it will not break the bank.
Once you are at the ferry terminal in Chiquilá, you have two choices of ferries. One leaves on the hour and the other departs on the half hour. We took both (oe going and the other returning) and they were not much different so we would recommend just taking the first available one. There is no point in waiting longer just to take a specific one. The cost of each ticket is about $12USD.
You'll drop off your luggage to be loaded on the ferry a you board. We recommend sitting inside where the air conditioning is as it can be hot and sunny outside (watch out for sunburns!). The ferries are clean and have facilities on board with snacks available for purchase. We even had someone that provided some entertainment for tips! Once you get off the ferry at Holbox, you will grab your luggage and walk over to one of the many taxi golf carts waiting to take you to your hotel. You can also choose to walk if your load is light but it might be a 30 minute walk for some.
drive or private transport, parking at Chiquilá (empendada place), tickets to 2 ferries (one half hour and other on hour ) almost same, sit inside, half hour ride, facilities on board and snacks at docks, take golf cart taxi to hotel
Where To Stay
Many visitors to Holbox will stay at hostels and hotels in town as they are the budget options. The hotels are more like guest houses so don't expect big resorts like in Cancun.
We wanted to have the convenience of being on the beach since it made it easier with a kid. Our hotel was at the perfect location for us. The centro was just a 10 minute walk and it was pretty central to the beach clubs and restaurants as well. We walked everywhere except to Punta Mosquito and Punta Cocos. The restaurant and Serenity Beach Club at the Holbox Dream Hotel made our stay even more incredible. The food was tasty and fresh and the day beds were comfortable and shaded for all day pleasure!
Some other great accommodations:
La Puerta Azul - off the beaten path
Ser Casasandra Boutique Hotel - highly rated
Hotel El Pueblito - central, clean, great service
- Las Panchas & La barracuda - best seafood
- Casa de asadores Martín & Santos - Argentinian Grill
- Las Empa - variety of empanadas
- Taco Queto - best al pastor tacos
Still Wondering If You Should Go To Isla Holbox?
This tiny Mexican island is relatively unknown compared to tourist hotspots like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but that doesn't mean it's any less worth visiting.
Holbox, a small but overlooked destination in the Yucatan is full of surprises. It's not just another beach paradise where you'll find hotels and restaurants overlooking pristine waters- instead Holbox offers travelers an authentic experience with minimal traveler traffic and lower prices than most other nearby destinations like Cancun or Tulum.
The most beautiful island in Mexico is waiting for you. Explore its natural wonders, enjoy an activity or two on every beach front that awaits your arrival- there's plenty to do when visiting Isla Holbox!
Use our recommended travel resources to plan your trip:
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About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!