You’re going for the quiet island life, incredibly beautiful remote beaches, relaxation and sunshine. Plus, lots of seafood.
Planes, cars and ferries Fly into Cancun, then it’s roughly a two hour drive to Chiquila, where you take a ~30-minute ferry to Holbox. You can drive as the roads are easy (bring money for tolls) and park your car there or ask the hotel to arrange transportation. They will pick you up at the airport, pay for the ferry ticket (140 pesos) and then take you to the hotel, which will make your life a lot easier.
No cars Most people get around by renting golf carts, walking, biking or taking golf cart taxis.
good to know
Holbox It’s pronounced ole-bosh (not hole-box)
Bring lots of pesos Seriously. Most places are cash only and the ATMs charge an astronomical fee (6.95% of your total) and most give you only dollars. Restaurants offer a lower exchange rate, so you end up losing even more money when paying in dollars.
The island It is 26 miles long, 1 1/4 miles wide and is part of the Yum Bulam nature reserve and is north of the Yucatan Peninsula, which is why it’s still so undeveloped in parts.
eats & drinks
Viva Zapata With swings as bar stools being a strong selling point and the food the other, this is one of the better restaurants on the island serving local food. It’s usually pretty busy, so be ready for a 20 to 30-minute wait for dinner. And, they take credit cards.
Miriam Run by a husband-and-wife team, this casual and super laid back tiny restaurant serves fantastic empanadas and homemade hot sauce. It’s quiet, slow and the perfect place to chill out with some fish tacos and cold beer.
Las Panchas The hotspot for lunch (it’s not open for dinner), you can walk in barefoot to enjoy a plate of garlic fish or seafood ceviche.
Raices A very casual open-air beach bar and restaurant with live music during the day, comes here to seek shelter from the sun, enjoy fresh seafood and a cold beer. You can also watch the sunset from here as well. (They also have swings at the bar.)
Hot Corner An open-air bar/restaurant that sometimes has live music and always an upbeat vibe, the fish tacos are great as are the cocktails.
Le Jardin A French cafe with homemade pastries and delicious sandwiches, it’s a quiet place for a breakfast or a coffee.
Tierra Mia A cutesy cafe in the center of town that offers smoothies and small bites.
Taco Queto A casual restaurant that serves good meat tacos if you’re tired of seafood. There’s typically also a wait and a line, but it moves quickly.
Angeles y Diablitos A hodgepodge of a place that serves ice cream, green juice, smoothies and drinks.
El Chapulim Probably the fanciest restaurant not in a hotel, which means it’s not really fancy, but it will probably be cost a little more and feel more formal than the other restaurants on this list (must wear shoes). There’s no menu so someone will come to take your drink order and tell you the drink specials. Then, the chef will come out and tell you the choices for that evening. And that’s that. It’s good if you want something romantic and a little special during your trip.
Luuma While it has a bit of a trendy vibe, this restaurant offers delicious cocktails and uses local ingredients with a Mediterranean approach. It’s a nice change if you want to mix up your diet and want a different scene.
see & do
Punta Mosquito The eastern part of the island is remote and uninhabited. You can bike to a portion of it, leave your bike and go for a swim out to the sandbar that’s about a mile out and walk the rest of the way. From the shore, it looks like people are walking on the ocean. You’ll spot birds, crabs and other wildlife as you walk to the tip of the island. This is also an ideal place to bring a picnic and spend the day in isolation.
Punta Coco The western end of the island is the best place to watch the sunset. There are some lounge chairs as well as daybed swings and hammocks in the water and an adults-only hotel there. Bring some beer, water and chill out for the day, but don’t forget sunscreen and hats as shade can be hard to come by.
Isla Pajoras You can sign up for a boat tour that takes you fishing in the morning, then to this island where you can swim in a natural freshwater spring on this preserved land. It’s part of the Yum Bulam reserve that’s home to the largest collection of whale sharks from May to September. You will most likely also see turtles and dolphins on your boat ride.
Isla Pasion On this small, 200-feet-wide island recognizable by its tower, you can see many species of birds and flamingos as they hang out in the Yalahau Lagoon. They are over 100 types of bird species that breeds on the island with over 40,000 flamingos living there from April to October. You can still spot a few in the other months.
Mercado On the same road down from Restaurant Miriam is the market with individual stalls selling fruits and other goods. It’s on the way to Ponto Coco, so you can always pick up some snacks for the beach here.
Shopping There are some cute boutiques like Lolita, the ones attached to Luuma and a few in the shopping center that houses the restaurant Rosa Mexicana (no relation to the US chain). Some are well priced, others feel like shops you would find on Abbott Kinney in Venice, CA.
Murals There are a lot of beautiful and colorful murals throughout the town that will catch your eye as you ride your bike by, and you can check out this site for a tour or updates on current happenings such as workout and yoga classes on the island.
Holbox Bootcamp In the center of the town (you can’t miss it), Mondays through Thursdays at 7 am and pm, there is a legit class going on, ropes, squats and all. Get involved.
Make sure to book early for all of the hotels as they sell out quickly because they are so small.
Casa Sandra A quiet 18-room boutique hotel that’s a short walk from town and has spacious, bohemian-chic rooms. All have their own hammock and a Nespresso machine with two complimentary pods. It’s one of the nicest properties on the island but without a snooty factor.
Hotel Casa Las Tortugas A small boutique hotel that’s on the edge of town and is a bit more lively than Casa Sandra but with that same intimate, island feel.
Lobster Keep in mind that it’s not that sweet and delicate Maine lobster variety that you’re picturing in your head. The lobster variety is tough with a borderline-tasteless tail that takes a ton of sauce to make it delicious. The coconut lobster at Raices is good, but it’s also pretty pricey.
Get excited dog lovers There are a lot of really, really cute dogs running loose on the island.
Don’t bring nice shoes The roads are mostly dirt, so your feet will get very dusty no matter what you do (part of the reason that it’s so fun to walk barefoot everywhere).
Hope you like swinging From hammocks to daybeds on swings and bar stools in the form of swings, it’s a fun and relaxed vibe, similar to Tulum but without the hipster-ness.
Fresh fish galore There are lots of fishermen on the island, so don’t be surprised when you’re eating lunch and someone drops off their daily fish supply via mini scooter or bike. This also means that you’re going to want to order seafood here.