Paradise in Mexico: Isla Holbox

Letter 174

Isla Holbox felt like true paradise from the moment I stepped off the ferry. Colourful fishing boats bobbing at the harbour, golf carts trundling along the sandy roads lined with wooden buildings and murals, and powered white sand along the whole shore of the small island. To me, it was perfect.

Mexico Isla Holbox 4 Port

I arrived on beautiful Holbox after a short 2-night stay in Cancun following my 11 hour flight. Cancun was simply a base to get some sleep and rest, before starting the proper adventure. Having said that, although Cancun really has little to offer, I did find some cool areas that I liked.


  • To get to Holbox, you need to take a bus to Chiquila, which is a well connected town from many major cities in Yucatan and Quintana Roo. It was a 2 hour bus from Cancun.
  • Then you need to take a ferry over to the island. The ferries leave every hour and cost 200 pesos (about £8).
  • I stayed at the Tribu Hostel which I loved. The rooms are super comfortable, facilities are great, and they organise a lot of cool activities, including free yoga twice a day!
    • Dorm bed approx. £15pn
  • The island is small enough to walk around, though you can hire bikes if you prefer. We just walked everywhere.
  • Food and drink is slightly more expensive here than the mainland. Average prices for eating out:
    • Breakfast – 150 pesos (£6)
    • Dinner – 200-250 pesos (£8-£10)
    • Street Food – 100 pesos (£4)

Mexico Isla Holbox 3 Ferry


Punta Mosquito

One of the main things to do on sleepy Holbox is to visit the long stretch of beach that is Punta Mosquito. For about 4km, the beach stretches out ahead with small banks creating shallow lagoons and the most beautiful views, culminating at Punta Mosquito. After an evening of delicious food at Holy Hummus, and drinks at our hostel, we woke early the next morning to make the most of the day on the stunning island beaches. It paid off because we were some of the only people there and it was bliss.

Mexico Isla Holbox 6 Beach 5Mexico Isla Holbox 6 Beach 3Mexico Isla Holbox 6 Beach 6


The Town

The town of Holbox is small, neat and easy to find your way around. There are loads of nice cafes, restaurants and bars, and you quickly find yourself feeling laid back and at home. We spent many an hour strolling the streets of the town finding food or drinks and often ended up in our favourites more than once.

Our favourites for food:

  • Holy Hummus – great veggie and vegan food
  • Painapol – amazing breakfasts (smoothie bowls, eggs etc.)
  • La Conquista Empanadas – delicious street food (particularly the quesadillas)

Mexico Isla Holbox 4 Port 2Mexico Isla Holbox 5 Town 2Mexico Isla Holbox 5 Town 3Mexico Isla Holbox 5 TownMexico Isla Holbox 5 Town 4

One of the nicest things about the town was the abundance of murals or street art. Wandering the streets of Holbox, you’ll see a gallery full of beautiful paintings by talented artists from all over Mexico. It makes the town super colourful and feels like a very happy place to be. It even extends all the way to the white sandy beach.

Mexico Isla Holbox Art 1Mexico Isla Holbox Art 2Mexico Isla Holbox Art 3


3-island boat trip

On my last morning on Holbox, when I was going to simply relax, I got enticed into doing a boat trip with some girls from the hostel, and I was very glad I did. We saw so many beautiful things, including an island with flamingos, a cenote and a deserted sand bank. It was a great way to spend the last day and I was very glad to have done it. Having done other things in Mexico, I think it was actually quite expensive and we probably could’ve got it cheaper had we not booked it through the hostel, but it was worth it.

The boat trip was 400 pesos (£16), was 3 hours in length and we made 3 stops along the way. It was also a tiny boat with just 5 passengers, so it was very personal!

Mexico Isla Holbox 7 Island TripMexico Isla Holbox 7 Island Trip 4Mexico Isla Holbox 7 Island Trip 7Mexico Isla Holbox 7 Island Trip 6Mexico Isla Holbox 7 Island Trip 5Mexico Isla Holbox 7 Island Trip 2


Refugio Animal Sanctuary

My favourite thing that I did on Holbox was actually visiting the dogs at the wonderful sanctuary, which is just around the corner from the hostel. They rehabilitate injured and homeless dogs on the island and then hopefully they will get adopted, and often end up all over the world with new families. It’s a lovely place to go and cuddle some dogs or even take them for a walk. It’s sad to see the dogs in a bad way and with no home, but the vets onsite do a great job and hopefully most of them will get rehomed. It’s great to do your bit by taking them out if you can, or just giving them some love.

Mexico Isla Holbox Dog Sanctuary 1Mexico Isla Holbox Dog Sanctuary 2Mexico Isla Holbox Dog Sanctuary 3


Leaving Isla Holbox was quite sad as I’d met so many great people there and the island was absolute paradise. Little did I know, everywhere I’ve been has felt like paradise and I’ve totally fallen in love with Mexico. I spent almost 2 weeks in Mexico before coming down to Belize, and I loved everywhere I went. It has so much to offer and I am so excited to return for a couple of weeks at the end of my trip!

Next stop: Valladolid.


From Lou

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