Cancun to Holbox Island: How to Get to Isla Holbox, Mexico (2024)

written by local expert Kayla Garritano

Kayla has been writing for 5+ years with expertise in the food, lifestyle, and travel industries. When she's not writing, she's always looking for her next adventure, which includes lots of road trips, getaways, and vacations near and far.

Looking for the best ways to get from Cancun to Holbox Island? We’ve got you covered!

Dreaming of a beach escape that’s off the beaten path? Holbox Island, nestled in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is your perfect getaway. This slice of paradise is where you can come to unwind, embrace nature, and experience the unique charm of a laid-back island life.

Holbox stands out for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and the chance to swim with whale sharks. It’s a haven for those looking to escape the hustle and enjoy life’s simpler pleasures.

Anna and Tom have explored Mexico far and wide. From the bustling streets of Mexico City to the tranquil shores of Holbox. Ultimately, they’ve experienced the best of Mexico. Their time on Holbox, with its friendly locals and serene beauty, has made it a special spot in their hearts.

So let’s take a closer look at what Holbox has to offer, and how to get there from Cancun. We have plenty of hints and tips to make the most of your journey!

Quick Answer: How to Get from Cancun to Holbox Island

  • Best Option: Hands down, the best option would be to book a private driver. In fact, hiring a private driver is the easiest way to get to Isla Holbox! Private transportation is super convenient and typically the most comfortable option.
  • Cheapest Option: Ado bus or shared shuttle from Cancun to Chiquila. This is the jump-off point for ferries and water taxis to Holbox Island. Although it’s not the quickest way, it’s good for budget travelers.
  • Independent Option: Hire a rental car. This allows more flexibility in your travel plans.
Tropical Beach Setting on Isla Holbox, Mexico
The beautiful island of Isla Holbox

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Where is Holbox Island?

Isla Holbox is a small island just north of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. The distance from Cancun to Holbox is about 60.9 km or about 37.8 miles.

Holbox is one of the most sought-after destinations in Mexico and is frequently visited by travelers who land in Cancun. Located in the Quintana Roo state, it’s right next to other hot spots such as Bacalar, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, and more.

Below, I will outline the best ways to get here from both Cancun downtown and Cancun Airport.

sun loungers on the beach in isla holbox
Holbox is one of the best places to relax in Mexico

Distance from Cancun to Holbox Island

Cancun to Holbox Island spans approximately 60.9 km (about 37.8 miles). However, the actual travel distance involves a bit more, considering you’ll be transitioning from land to sea to reach this island paradise.

Starting in Cancun, your first leg is the drive to Chiquila, the main ferry port for Holbox. This drive can take approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic and the route taken.

Upon reaching Chiquila, the next phase of your journey begins with a ferry ride across the beautiful waters to Holbox Island. This ferry trip is relatively short, lasting about 20 to 30 minutes, but it’s packed with stunning views that make you reach for your camera.

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Flying to Isla Holbox in Mexico

Thinking about jetting off to Holbox? Kickstart your adventure at Cancun International Airport, the closest international airport to this island paradise. 

After touching down in Cancun, the traditional path to Holbox involves a scenic drive to Chiquila. This journey, about 2 to 2.5 hours long, is your introduction to the Yucatan’s lush landscapes and vibrant life. Once in Chiquila, hop on a ferry for a breezy 20 to 30-minute ride across the azure waters straight to Holbox.

Holbox does have an airport but this can only accommodate private planes. Imagine skipping the drive and ferry, and instead, flying over the stunning Yucatan landscapes right into Holbox on a private flight. It’s quicker, super scenic, and oh-so-chic!

If you’re up for an adventure with a touch of luxury, consider taking the sky route. Get ready to swap those long drives for sky-high vibes and land on Holbox feeling like a rockstar.

Quick Answer: The Best Way to Get from Cancun to Holbox

Since both Cancun and Holbox are popular when it comes to vacation hot spots, it’s no surprise that there are several ways to get between the two. While you most likely will get there by ferry, there are other ways to make it to the island.

Please note that all of these transportation options will take you to the small pueblo of Chiquila where you can catch the ferry. I will share the ferry schedule further down this article to help you plan your trip accordingly. 

seagulls on the beach in holbox mexico
Looking to visit the beautiful beaches in Holbox? Cancun Airport is the closest airport to this dreamy destination
  • Private Shuttle: A private transfer will take you from Cancun to the ferry for Holbox. This is by far the best way to get to Holbox as it is hassle-free! This is our main suggestion and is the service we’ve personally used multiple times.
  • Rent a Car: If you prefer taking matters into your own hands and would rather drive yourself to the destination, there are plenty of options to rent a car from Cancun. Click the link above to get a quote for car rentals in Cancun.
  • Shared Shuttle: This option is cheaper compared to the private version, you can book this in advance to bring you to Chiquila.
  • Flying: Since you are traveling to an island, they offer the opportunity to go from airport to airport by flying on a private plane. This is obviously a more expensive option but is great for those who want to make the entire trip special!
  • Bus: Buses depart from the ADO Bus Station in Cancun multiple times throughout the day.

Once you arrive in Chiquila, the ferry ride to Holbox Island only takes 20+ minutes. The boat runs daily from 6:00 am to 9:30 pm every half an hour. Two main ferry companies make the trip from Chiquila to Holbox and vice versa.

kayaking in Holbox
Kayaking is one of the best Holbox tours that you can do!

Easiest Way to travel from Cancun to Holbox

There are many options to get to the ferry that takes you from Cancun to Holbox. If you’re considering the easiest way to travel, consider what fits your schedule and plans best. 

We’ve broken down the best options so you can decide the easiest route:

1. Private Shuttle from Cancun Airport to Holbox

Cancun Airport offers private transfer opportunities that cater to your every need. Cancun Airport Transportations offers private services for up to 8 passengers.

This particular shuttle service includes luxury cars and limousine services (if you feel like riding in style). Plan ahead and book your round-trip or one-way ride for future purposes so you don’t need to worry about last-minute travel. 

As mentioned, this is our main suggestion as it really is the easiest and most hassle-free way to get to Isla Holbox. The ride from Cancun Airport to Chiquila port takes around 2 hours. For a vehicle that fits 8 passengers, the private shuttle starts at $225 which when you divide by 8, comes out to $28 per person.

When you book a private transfer, you don’t have to wait around for other people and can instantly leave at your convenience.

Check out the button below for more details on the private transfer service.

a row of palm trees with a sunset in the background
A stunning sunset in Holbox

2. Rent a Car from Cancun to Holbox

Sometimes, you may want to travel at your own pace. This means renting a car is a great option. 

Discover Cars help you compare prices from multiple companies and give you the best options for your needs. This international car website helps you book your ride after you decide on your best choice.

It’s important to keep in mind that Holbox is a no-car zone which means that you will have to leave your rental car in one of the paid parking lots next to the Chiquila Port Dock. It’s a very safe area, as there are lots of security guards to look after the cars. Just remember to not leave anything valuable.

We’ve personally rented a car and left it in the car park before. The entire process is straightforward. Prices for the Chiquila dock parking lots can vary, but typically cost about $100-200 MXN pesos per day ($5-10USD)

3. Cancun to Holbox Shared Shuttle

This air-conditioned minivan will take you on a nonstop journey to Chiquila to get to your ferry from Cancun Airport. 

A shared shuttle is an affordable way to get to Chiquila ferry port and during this, you’ll only share a ride with a maximum of 15 travelers. If you’re choosing roundtrip, you also get a choice of departure times that will ensure you can get back to the airport to catch your flight. 

Please note that the shared shuttle only leaves once the van is full so you might have to do a bit of waiting. This is why the private shuttle is worth the extra $$.

holbox, mexico
Holbox Island is one of the best places to visit in Mexico

4. Flying to Isla Holbox on a private flight

Another option is to travel in style by taking a private flight. This allows you to travel to the island at ease while enjoying a luxury experience.

The trained pilots fly the plane while you sip on complimentary bottled water to ensure you arrive happy and comfortable. If you’re looking for a unique experience, this is the way to go! Plus, you get to bypass the ferry and land straight on Holbox Island.

5. Bus from Cancun bus station to Isla Holbox (ADO Bus)

Last but not least, you can take the public bus to get to Holbox. The ADO bus is a cost-efficient way to get to the ferry terminal. However, it isn’t as straightforward as you will have to get to the ADO bus station in central Cancun.

From here, you can make your way to Chiquila to grab the ferry to Holbox. It takes about 2 hours to travel, plus the time to get from Cancun Airport to the bus station downtown. 

If you like to have things planned, purchase your ferry tickets in advance to avoid any stress and worry.

relaxing at isla holbox
Hop on the ADO bus to relax on Holbox Island

Holbox Ferry Schedule: Chiquila to Isla Holbox

You completed step one of your journey. You rented a car, booked a shuttle, or rode the bus to get from Cancun to Chiquila. Now, you are ready to take the next steps. It’s time to board the ferry and get yourselves to Isla Holbox. 

It seems like a simple procedure, but there’s lots to consider to ensure your ride is smooth sailing. For now, here’s what you should know:

Isla Holbox Ferry Times

The Holbox ferry from Chiquila to Holbox runs every 30 minutes, starting with the first ferry at 5 AM and the last one ending at 8:30 PM. 

The ferry ride back from Holbox to Chiquila starts at 5 AM with the last ferry being at 8 PM. The entire ride is about 25 minutes long, depending on the wind. Make sure you arrive at the ferry terminal with plenty of time to spare.

a beautiful view of holbox in mexico
There are many ways to get to Holbox Island including a rental car, shared shuttle or private flight


When it comes to purchasing tickets to get from Chiquila to Isla Holbox, we recommend purchasing them in advance online. This is to make sure that you can get on your preferred ferry.

However, with that being said, many people buy them at Chiquila Port. If there are no more tickets available, you can just wait for the next one, 30 minutes later.

Please note that during busy holidays like Christmas and New Year, we recommend that you purchase your tickets in advance.

Click the buttons below to check ferry prices from Chiquila to Cancun.

the ocean in mexico during sunset
Visiting Isla Holbox gives you a great opportunity to relax

As for prices, anyone up to two years old can ride free. Let’s start with the local prices so you can compare. If you are a daily commuter, such as a student, teacher, or laborer from Lázaro Cárdenas, it costs 30 pesos ($1.54 USD).

A local minor would also be 30 pesos. A local adult with a municipal Lázaro Cárdenas ID costs 80 pesos ($4.12 USD). If you’re a resident of Quintana Roo, children pay 100 pesos ($5.15 USD) and adults pay 180 pesos ($9.27 USD), with a valid ID. 

Now, onto the tourist prices. Tourists both adults and children over 120 cm tall (about 4 ft) will cost 220 pesos ($11.33 USD). Tourist minors who are up to 120 cm tall will cost 160 pesos (8.24 USD). 

Holbox Island in Mexico
There’s a reason why Holbox is well-loved!

Is Holbox worth visiting on a trip to Mexico?

Absolutely, Holbox Island is a must-visit! If you’re wondering if it’s worth the journey, let us put your mind at ease.

Holbox is a slice of paradise that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, laid-back vibes, and unforgettable experiences, making it a standout destination in your travels to Mexico.

First off, the journey itself, whether you’re transferring from Cancun to Chiquila or taking a direct flight, is part of the adventure. The trip from Cancun to Holbox allows you to witness the stunning landscapes of the Yucatan Peninsula and the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean.

Once you arrive, Holbox Island greets you with its sandy streets, vibrant murals, and a car-free environment that instantly slows down time. The island’s charm lies in its simplicity and the warmth of its community.

From lounging on its pristine beaches to exploring the rich marine life through snorkeling or swimming with whale sharks, Holbox offers a variety of activities for every type of traveler.

Foodies will delight in the fresh seafood and local delicacies, while sunset chasers will find some of the most breathtaking scenes as the sun dips below the horizon. The island’s commitment to eco-tourism and sustainability adds another layer to its appeal, allowing visitors to enjoy its beauty responsibly.

Not only that but with many beautiful places to stay in Holbox, you really are spoilt for choice.


As we wrap up our guide from Cancun to Holbox Island, it’s clear that this journey is more than just a trip; it’s an experience that offers adventure, relaxation, and the untouched beauty of nature.

Whether you’re traveling the distance from Cancun Airport, navigating the scenic route to Chiquila, or setting sail across the azure waters to Holbox, each step is a part of the magic that awaits.

FAQ on How to Get from Cancun to Isla Holbox

How long is the shuttle from Cancun to Holbox?

Since there is no direct shuttle to Isla Holbox, you need to go to the ferry port in Chiquila. If you’re taking the shuttle from Cancun Airport to Chiquila, it will take around two hours.

Can I take my car to Holbox?

The ferry is a passenger-only ride, meaning cars are not allowed on. You will have to leave your car in one of the parking lots in Chiquila. Holbox has no cars which means you can enjoy this little island paradise without any pollution.

How much is a taxi from Cancun to Holbox?

Taking a taxi from Cancun to the Holbox ferry stop is also known as a private transfer, which can cost anywhere from 4,623 MXN ($230) for 4 passengers max. However, you might want to take a private shuttle which can hold larger groups as well.

Can you drive from Cancun to Holbox?

Since Isla Holbox is an island, the only two ways you can get there are by ferry or private flight. Therefore, you cannot drive from Cancun to Holbox. You can only drive to the ferry departure in Chiquila.

How far is Cancun to Holbox?

Distance-wise, Cancun to Holbox is about 60.9 km or about 37.8 miles. However, depending on how you travel, traveling times will vary.

While there are many ways to transfer to the ferry port, you want to find an option that meets your needs and can fit into your schedule. 

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How to Get to Isla Holbox | If you’re looking for the best way to get from Cancun to Holbox, check out these tips! #cancuntoholbox #islaholbox #mexico
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