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Getting Away from It All: Planning a Visit to Isla Holbox

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If you’ve already visited Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and you’re looking for something new to do in the area, or you just want to get away from it all, consider visiting Isla Holbox. This is a unique island off the Yucatán Peninsula’s north coast that does not allow cars. While you can visit it in a day as part of a larger trip, it would really be a shame to miss out on the great vibe here and the opportunity to participate in the many activities, including snorkeling and swimming, and jungle hikes.


While Isla Holbox isn’t the cheapest destination in Mexico, partly because it is on an island and vendors can essentially charge what they like, it is much less expensive than destinations such as Cancún or even the nearby Isla Mujeres. However, you should consider a couple of things before heading off on this trip.

First, figure out how much you have to spend. This can help you determine how long you can go for, what kind of accommodations you can book and what you can do while you’re there. If you’re short on the cash you need for the trip, don’t pick up your credit card, which can mean you ultimately end up paying a lot more for your vacation thanks to interest. Instead, consider a personal loan. You may be able to get one of these from a brick-and-mortar bank, but there are also a growing number of lenders online, and checking your eligibility is usually a quick process. Personal loans nearly always offer lower interest rates and better repayment plans than credit cards to take advantage of.

If you’re a savvy international traveler, you’re probably pretty comfortable with landing in a place and relying on ATMs to get the best exchange rate. However, you might want to make a point of bringing pesos with you to Isla Holbox. The ATMs on the island are not always in service or may run out of cash, and many places are cash-only. Hitting an ATM before you head over to the island is a good better-safe-than-sorry strategy.

Why This Island?

What’s so special about this island? Why should you choose it over another place on the Yucatan Peninsula or the better-known and more popular Isla Mujeres? One of the answers is right there in that phrase more popular. Although there are surprising things to look for and it’s gradually becoming better known, Isla Holbox is still far enough off the beaten path that you’ll be able to really relax and slow down. However, what makes it special is that there are no cars on it. Once you get off the ferry, it’s all about getting around on foot, by bicycle, or via the golf cart taxis that will meet you at the dock. You can rent a bicycle or a golf cart to get around while you’re there.

What to Do

The great thing about visiting a place like Isla Holbox is that you don’t actually have to do anything at all unless you want to. This is a great place to recharge during your time off and unwind the days away in a beach hammock. However, if you’d like to be more active on vacation, there’s plenty of that as well. The water here is gorgeous, and you’ll probably find swimming or even snorkeling irresistible. As tempting as the ocean is, there are plenty of other things to do as well. One thing the island is known for is its colorful murals.

Exploring on foot to find examples of this eclectic street art is a must. There’s plenty of wildlife on the island, including crocodiles, pelicans, and much more. You can even take a boat tour to Isla Pajaros, which has dozens of bird species. Isla Holbox is also known for its bioluminescent phytoplankton, which causes the water to glow at night. If you go in the summer, you can swim with the gentle whale sharks. Of course, there are also plenty of bars, restaurants, and resorts.


Can you do the island in a day as part of a larger trip to the Yucatan Peninsula? You could, but what would really be the point? This is a place to come and forget about time. It may be small and relatively quiet, but you’d definitely be able to fill three to five days here or even longer if you really want to get some R&R. You can get the ferry to the island from Chiquila. Buses run there from Cancun and many other places throughout Mexico. The ferry takes only about 15 minutes, and it’s only about a 10-minute walk to the main square from the port if you don’t want to hop on a golf cart. The dry season is from November to February, and this is the best time to visit. As spring progresses, the weather gets much hotter and more humid.

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