Looking to spend a few days in paradise? In this article, I will walk you through some of the best things to do in Holbox.
You see, only a decade ago, Holbox was just a tiny fishing village with only a couple of exclusive hotels accessible only to wealthy tourists.
However, in the past few years, more and more hotels for different budgets and styles were built along its pristine coastline, and the island has become more accessible to all kinds of travelers and has now become everyone’s paradise.
Traveling around? Check out our in-depth Mexico Travel Tips guide for more on traveling in Mexico!
Now, Holbox is one of the most visited destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula, attracting visitors from all over the world to enjoy its laidback vibes, the stunning pristine beaches, and the numerous outdoor activities.
Holbox is, in fact, a paradise found for both adventurous travelers and nature lovers.
The roads are still unpaved and cars are not admitted. If you are not willing to ride a bike, you can rent a golf cart or call a taxi (which is also a golf cart). You can live in your swimsuit and flip flops.
Wifi is an issue, but who cares if you have an immaculate white sand beach, turquoise crystal clear sea, and a hammock? Instagram can certainly wait.
Without further ado, here are the most popular things to do in Holbox.
- 1 Best Things to Do in Holbox
- 2 Where to Eat in Holbox
- 3 Transportation Tips: How to Get to Holbox Island
- 4 How to Get Around Holbox Island
- 5 Where to Stay in Holbox Island
Best Things to Do in Holbox
Watch the Flamingos at Punta Cocos
Located only one mile west of town, Punta Cocos is a public beach with nothing there but palms and flamingos.
Those graceful pink creatures love to hang out just off the bay at a very close distance.
Because of the shallow water, you can easily walk very close to them but we respect the environment. Flamingos love to be admired and photographed but at a fair distance; otherwise, they get stressed. And we don’t want that.
I would suggest bringing your camera with you with a good zoom lens so that you can take some good close-ups without disturbing them.
The best way to reach this beach is by renting a bike. It’s only one mile from the center but it’s really hot and there is no shade along the way. At least riding the bike makes it breezy and bearable!
Enjoy the Beautiful Sunset
It seems a simple thing but watching the sunset is one of the best things to do in Holbox.
Halfway from Punta Coco to town, you can stop by the beach. It’s my favorite one from which to admire the sunset. But anywhere along the beach is perfect – the most important thing is that you don’t miss it!
Take a Walk on the Sandbanks
On the opposite side of the island from Punta Cocos is where the sand is whiter and softer and when the tide is low, you can even walk in the water.
In reality, a stretch of sand will emerge from the water offshore right in front of the iconic Holbox hotel Las Nubes.
Just make sure you consider when the tide will be back up so that you won’t get wet, especially if you are walking with your camera on you.
Go Kite Surfing
Calling all watersports lovers! Holbox is ideal for kite surfers because of the favorable winds. Further north from Las Nubes Resort, you can find a kite school where to rent equipment or take a class.
If you’re looking for something active to do, this is one of the best things to do in Holbox.
Follow the Murals
Street art is pretty common in Mexico as a way to express the artists’ minds or to show their artsy skills. One of the elements that make Holbox so beautiful is the colorful houses, most of them displaying beautiful creative murals representing Holbox marine life and local people.
Holbox murals have become one of Holbox’s attractions and part of the island’s identity. So make sure you keep an eye on the walls when you walk around.
Swim with Whale Sharks (Seasonal)
Swimming with whale sharks is the most popular tour in Holbox and usually the main reason why tourists used to flock to the island.
The sea around Holbox is in the middle of these gentle giants’ migration route which happens to be in the summer from June through September. The local fishermen know where to find them and they will take you to swim with them.
The whale sharks are protected animals and therefore there is a limited number of people that can go at a time. Local authorities try to keep it controlled but I always wonder if we are not invading their space too much.
I did this tour once a few years ago and it’s amazing how close they can come by. They seem to ignore you and mind their own business. You absolutely cannot touch them, though and you need to wear the life jacket as a mandatory rule.
Discover the Local Wildlife
There are many other tours organized by the fishermen to take you to Isla de los Pajaros and Isla de la Passion, especially loved by birdwatchers. If you want a DIY experience, walk towards Punta Coco or Punta Mosquito early in the morning and you will see tons of wildlife!
Experience the Incredible Bioluminescence Phenomenon
There are adventurous kayaking tours to take you on a night adventure and experience the spectacular natural phenomenon of bioluminescence. Some specific microorganisms produce a glittering effect when water moves. This is a short tour that is done early at night.
Do not miss it and make sure you pack some mosquito repellant!
Take a Full-Day Boat Tour
The three-island tour is the most complete tour that includes the Isla de los Pajaros, Isla de la Passion, and a stop at the Yalahu cenote. It’s a full-day tour immersed in nature and you will also have the opportunity to spend some time on untouched beaches and swim in pristine transparent waters.
A visit to Yalahu cenote is also included which is great because it’s only reachable by boat.
Where to Eat in Holbox
Editor’s Note: Being massive foodies, no trip to Holbox will be complete without some information on the best places to eat! Here is a list of some of the must-try restaurants in this beautiful paradise island.
Roots Pizza – Eating lobster pizza is a thing in Holbox…and if you’re going to do it, might as well hit up the spot that does it the best! Aside from their lobster pizza, their other items on the menu are equally as delicious (and a lot more affordable!).
Taco Queto – For delicious greasy tacos, look no further as this stop is your place. The tacos here are simple, delicious, and so cheap! Their tacos al pastor is delicious – worth visiting for a few late-night eats.
Raices – If you’re looking for a delicious seafood lunch, Raices is a great option. Located right by the beach, they offer delicious grilled seafood, fresh ceviches, and ice-cold beers.
El Chapulim- If you’re looking for a fancier meal, El Chapulim by downtown is great. They don’t have menus and only serve whatever local ingredients that they have available. We had their lobster dinner there and was one of the best things we’ve eaten all weekend!
Transportation Tips: How to Get to Holbox Island
Getting to Holbox is very easy. Whether you are driving or traveling by bus, you will need to get to the tiny fishing village of Chiquila, located about a two-hour drive from Cancun.
From there, you will see two ferry boat companies. They are equally efficient and offer the same service, at different schedules, for the passengers’ convenience.
You don’t need to book it in advance because every 30 minutes there is a boat. If you are a group of more than 5 people, you might want to get a private ride from one of the fishermen at the marina instead.
How to Get Around Holbox Island
I would suggest renting a golf cart or a bike – this is the best way to move around Holbox along the unpaved roads.
Cart rental costs: 200 MXN/hour (min. 2 hours)
Bike rental cost: 20 MXN/ hour. If you wish to get the bike for the entire stay or an entire day, it’s way more convenient than renting it per hour.
You can always call a taxi-golf cart but they are not very reliable and you might need to wait for some time even if you book it in advance, depending on the time.
Where to Stay in Holbox Island
Holbox offers a great variety of accommodation from budget hostels to world-class luxury hotels. The choice is yours.
In any case, to enjoy Holbox to the fullest, I would pick a place right on the beach. Imagine the views from your room, or getting your toes in the send as soon as you wake up.
However, if you wish to save some cash, you might want to stay in the town where you can find cheaper options. You won’t be that far from the beach, anyway.
Holbox is so tiny that the center of the town is two blocks from the sea. Everything is pretty much within walking distance.
Some luxury hotels, though, are located at the two opposite ends of the island, right on the beach. If that is your choice, you can rent a golf cart or just call a taxi any time you want to get to the center.
Below, I share my favorite hotels for different price ranges:
Top Luxury Hotel: CasaSandra
Elegant high-end hotel located right on the beach, with exceptional personalized service.
Mid-Range Hotel: Hotel Mawimbi
Located on the beach but very close to the center, this hotel is ideal for those who love comfortable and nice accommodation without breaking the bank.
Budget Hotel: Tribu Hostel
Colorful and lively hostel located on the beach. Private rooms are also available, but they are very tiny.
Editor’s Note: We stayed in this awesome Rooftop Hotel the last time we were there and had the most INCREDIBLE view of the island. This hotel came with a private rooftop which overlooked the mangroves and the ocean.
As you can see, there are enough things to do in Holbox to keep you occupied! Whether you’re just there for the day or if you have an extended stay, Holbox is a charming and relaxing island that will totally win you over.
For more on Mexico, check out these articles
- 10 Gorgeous Airbnbs in Holbox, Mexico for An Unforgettable Getaway
- 20 Amazing Things to Do in Riviera Maya, Mexico (Don’t Miss Out Any!)
- The 10 Best Beaches in Mexico You Have to Visit
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