When people think of Mexico they might think of the tranquil beauty of Tulum or the party resorts of Cancun. What they might not know about is the northern island of Holbox (pronounced Hol-bosh) which lies about a two-hour drive (and a twenty minute ferry) away from Cancun and feels like a completely different world.
THE LOCAL WAY OF LIFE
For a start, the island feels much more local than for tourists. We didn’t meet many other Westerners there and instead ended up enjoying the national Independence Day with locals, sitting on plastic chairs in the main town square as different groups put on performances and platters of homemade food were served on long plastic tables from local Mexican women.
There are no cars on the island, no paved roads and very few motor vehicles – most people walk, cycle or get around on Golf Buggies. We desperately wanted to hire our own buggy but sadly due to a tropical storm, the roads were too flooded. It was still amazing to walk around the colourful streets and ride bicycles around the island, spotting flamingos out at sea and the odd happy, stray dog who would run cheerfully alongside us.
If you feel like getting away from it all, Isla Holbox is your place.
THE WILDLIFE AND NATURE
Much of the island seems largely secluded, with one town square and a selection of boutique hotels and homes scattered along the beaches. One of the joys of being in Holbox is being able to independently explore so much of the nature and wildlife, just by hiring a bike or golf buggy and taking yourself off.
There are also some boat tours which take you out to see flamingos, tropical fish, the plankton which make the water ‘glow’ at night and to dive with whale sharks, one of the few places in the world that you can, apparently.
Whatever you do, just make sure you catch a sunset there. They are beautiful.
As laid back as Holbox feels, there are still plenty of cute bars, restaurants and boutique hotels. We stayed at Villas HM Palapas del Mar which came with our very own mini private pool! We loved it because it was so much more affordable than Tulum (where we could not even hope to afford anywhere with a private pool!), because it was the perfect place to cool down after a hot day exploring and because we could lounge in the hammock reading when the tropical storms began. Every now and then the power would switch off due to the storms but it never lasted long and in fact made it feel even more romantic.
I don’t think it will be long before Holbox becomes even more popular, especially if people start to look for alternatives to Tulum. It really was such a unique, beautiful area that I would definitely encourage anyone to visit for a couple of days if they are headed to Mexico – before the rest of the tourists join you…
If You Liked This You Might Also Like: