Isla Holbox: A Small Island Paradise Near Cancun

Hotels, Things to Do, What's New — By Susan Vincil on March 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Downtown Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox, a small island approximately 40 miles northwest of the bustling resort town of Cancun, is a place to truly get away from it all.  Despite it’s close proximity to Cancun, Isla Holbox remains unspoiled because it is not easy to get to the island.  The town on Isla Holbox was established in 1854 and, today, the island’s population is only around 2,000 people.  Many of the island’s inhabitants are fishermen.

Boats on Isla Holbox | Photo by flickr user Rbrands

Once on the island you can relax and enjoy the pristine beaches, take a tour to swim with whale sharks (they migrate near the island in the Summer months), go deep-sea fishing, or snorkel in the crystalline waters. You can also arrange to take a sightseeing excursion to nearby islands, such as Passion Island, where you will find virgin beaches.

Isla Holbox has no paved roads and people get around the island by golf cart, motorcycle, bicycle, or by walking. You can rent golf carts, motorcycles, and bicycles on the island.  There are also no ATMs, banks, major supermarkets, or shopping areas on Isla Holbox.

Children playing on Isla Holbox | Photo by flickr user Malias

Casa Sandra Boutique Hotel is one of the nicest and best-known hotels on the island, but there are also quite a few other options for lodging.  You will find eco-friendly hotels on the island.  Many hotels are very rustic and lack amenities you may be used to having at larger resorts, but a trip to Isla Holbox isn’t about first-rate amenities.  It’s about getting away from everything and escaping the real world for a while.  Life is lived at a very slow pace on Isla Holbox and that is the charm of the place.

To get to the island you must drive from Cancun to the town of Chiquila.  From there, you need to take a ferry across Yalahao Lagoon (approximately a 6 mile trip) to reach Isla Holbox.  To get to the island faster, you can hire an air taxi, but the price for that service is significantly higher to renting a car, taking a bus, or hiring a shuttle service to take you to Chiquila.


One of Isla Holbox's beaches | Photo by flickr user Ann-Dabney

Tags: cancun, Isla Holbox, island getaways, mexico travel, swim with whale sharks