Travel Guide to Isla Holbox in Mexico

travel guide to isla holbox

Today, on, I am sharing a travel guide to Isla Holbox in Mexico. We recently visited this beautiful piece of heaven, and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint.

Where is Isla Holbox?

Isla Holbox (pronounced OL-BOSH, the H is silent) is a small quaint island located northwest of Cancun. It is a part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and separated from the Yucatan Peninsula by a lagoon. I like to think of Holbox as the perfect little beach town to relax and unwind. It is slower paced and not as touristy as Tulum, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or any of the surrounding popular hot spots. In fact, this little island is still underdeveloped and much of the roads are still dirt.

When is the best time to visit?

OK – let’s be real, the best time to visit the Yucatan Peninsula is from December through March. During these months, it isn’t too hot, or too humid, and this is coming from ya girl who lives in Houston. (In case you haven’t visited Houston during the summertime, it is HOT and HUMID. Almost unbearable…but this also depends on who you ask, right?!? 😉 ) If you don’t mind hot (or humid) weather, by all means, plan your visit to Holbox whenever you want.

How do I get to Isla Holbox?

The closest airport to fly into is Cancun International Airport. From the airport, you will need to plan transportation to arrive at Puerto de Chiquilá, which translates to Chiquilá Port. The drive from Cancun to the port of Chiquilá is about 2 hours, with no stops along the way. Unless you book a private plane from Cancun to Isla Holbox, which is definitely an option, your options are to:

  • Book private transportation
  • Take a taxi
  • Ride the bus
  • Rent a car

Once you arrive at the port of Chiquilá, you will ride a ferry across the lagoon in order to arrive at Isla Holbox. The ferry ride lasts about 25 minutes. Upon arrival, you will see a bunch of little golf cart taxis awaiting your arrival to take you to your hotel. This is totally normal because cars are not allowed on the island 😉

All in all, it is a journey arriving to the island. If you decide to book private transportation from Cancun to Chiquilá, the approximate total travel time from Cancun to your hotel in Holbox is 3 to 4 hours.

How to arrive to Isla Holbox from Cancun

Do you prefer to book a private plane to Isla Holbox?

If you have the means to travel directly to Isla Holbox, you’re in luck. Small private planes are available that will transport you (and your guests) from Cancun (or any other larger city in the area) to the beautiful little island. If you decide to travel by a small plane, you will have to book the entire plane because individual tickets are not available for sale.

The approximate cost for a one-way trip is between $500 and $900. To find out more information, I found a reliable source, which I will link here.

From Cancun’s airport, the approximate travel time by air is 35 minutes.

About Our Stay: Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel

Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel

We booked our sweet weekend escape at Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel. We absolutely loved our suite location! For the first time during our beach travels to Mexico, we found ourselves in a master suite with one of the best locations on the property. Surrounded by ocean views, on the first floor, and next to the pool, all we could do was kick back and relax. Not to mention, our suite also had the best spacious outdoor balcony. I do not recall if we booked this room on purpose, or if we just got lucky.

Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel is located on the beach. It was the perfect place for our group to unwind and relax. We could walk to nearby restaurants, and explore the nightlife, by foot, which was a huge plus! I also loved the hotel aesthetic and design. (I am all about having a pleasant place to stay with a beautiful design.) Also, the hotel staff was friendly and attentive; I would recommend this place to my family and friends.

The only thing I will say is, the breakfast buffet didn’t impress me. Instead, I ordered from their breakfast menu, which wasn’t all that either. I would rate their breakfast a 5/10. Their lunch, on the other hand, was delicious! I loved their aguachiles and fish tacos. Stick to the seafood, if you’re a food snob like me, haha.

Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel
The beach area of Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel
Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel
Restaurant/Dining area of Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel
isla holbox - holboxdream beachfront hotel
Pool and Bar area of Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel
travel guide to isla holbox
Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel

Top Things to Do in Isla Holbox

travel guide to isla holbox

There is a lot to explore during your visit to Holbox. It is famous for swimming with whale sharks, its bioluminescence lights, and flamingos.

If you would like to experience the thrill of swimming with whale sharks, the best time to plan for this is from May to September. For the bioluminescence lights, plan to visit Holbox between April and November. (Although, the locals say you can see them year-round at different times of the night.) Also, you will have a better experience if you see the bioluminescence lights on a night that you do not have a full moon due to the moonlight. To see the flamingos, head over to Punta Mosquito or Isla de los Pajaros. The best time to spot them is from April to September, however, locals claim you can see them year-round. (I didn’t see any during my visit in March.)

Other popular things to do (or tours) include:

  • Playa Punta Cocos
  • Punta Mosquito
  • Isla de los Pajaros
  • Isla de la Pasión
  • Yalahau Lagoon
  • Fishing
  • Snorkeling
  • Kayaking
  • Horseback riding
  • Exploring the island by bike

Top Places to Eat in Isla Holbox

las empa holbox

We truly enjoyed the beauty of resting at our hotel, Holboxdream Beachfront Hotel, so we took advantage of room service. However, the places we did check out were pretty awesome! Below is a list of a few of the top places to eat at Isla Holbox:

  1. Painapol, American Brunch – Highly recommend this place for a healthy breakfast. Prepare for a long wait if you go during prime hour; it was worth it though!
  2. Las Panchas, Seafood – With almost 2K reviews on Google, I would trust eating seafood from this place.
  3. Restaurant Viva Zapata, Mexican and Seafood – This restaurant has over 1K positive reviews on Google, and if you take a look at the photos, the seafood looks divine – so delicious!
  4. El Crustáceo Kascarudo, Seafood – Here’s another seafood restaurant with amazing food, micheladas, and a lovely ambiance.
  5. Taco Queto, Mexican – This place is perfect for some tacos after a day of sunbathing and drinking.
  6. Roots Pizzas a la leña Isla Holbox – This place has 4.6 stars and over 2.5K positive reviews on Google! I guess it would be worth a try next time even though I typically don’t order pizza in Mexico. That’s a huge no-no for me, haha.
  7. Las Empa Holbox, Argentinian – Eat the empanadas while they’re fresh and warm. This place was a short walk from the hotel so it was nice to grab a quick bite before leaving the island.
The pancakes at Painapol – so freaking delicious!
A colorful breakfast – just what my body needed!
Painapol is famous for their bowls – can you tell why?

Helpful Travel Tips

holbox travel guide
  • There are two ferry companies to choose from at the port of Chiquilá: Holbox Express and 9 Hermanos. Holbox Express (the red ferry) usually departs on the hour and 9 Hermanos (the blue ferry) on the half hour. The point is, there is a ferry available every 30 minutes or so. Oh, and both ferries have restrooms aboard.
  • For additional information regarding the ferry times, head over to this reliable source – The Holboxeño.
  • Ferry ticket prices are about the same for one-way or roundtrip tickets so it doesn’t matter which ferry company you choose. As of April 2022, the approximate roundtrip ferry cost is $22 USD per adult or $440 pesos per adult.
  • Booking a private car was nice because we were able to ask our driver to take the toll road to Isla Holbox. This was an added fee but it was worth it considering the amount of time we saved. (Pretty sure you can ask your taxi driver to do the same for a fee. However, this would be unlikely if you decide to take the bus so definitely explore the best option for you.)
  • If you decide to rent a car, there are parking lots available in Chiquilá for a daily fee.
  • For a fun nighttime block party, head over to The Hot Corner, a local gastropub. We walked to this area from our hotel without knowing we would run into what looked like a block party.
  • You will catch the most beautiful sunsets in Holbox. Punta Cocos is a popular spot to watch the warm sunset. Although, if you prefer to hang out by the beach while enjoying a live DJ, sipping on your favorite cocktail, while being mesmerized by the sunset, head over to El Chiringuito Bar Zomay.

Final Thoughts

And that is a wrap, my friend! This concludes the travel guide to Isla Holbox. I hope you enjoyed it and took away key nuggets that will help you plan your visit to Holbox. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out via email at or through Instagram. Be sure to give me a follow on Instagram for more travel adventures.

Ps. Pssssstttttt…wanna know my top travel essentials for women?!? Check out this blog post!

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