This past week we spent a few days on Isla Holbox – a small island on the North coast of the Yucatan peninsula. It’s still somewhat undiscovered, but it’s clear that it’s changing.
Where is Holbox? And how do I get there?
Isla Holbox is on the North coast of the Yucatan peninsula.
From Puerto Morelos, it’s an easy 2-hour drive to Chiquilá (drive to Playa del Carmen, then take the toll highway), and then you jump on a 25 minute ferry ride to Isla Holbox.
There’s plenty of private parking lots in Chiquilá, right near the ferry. The going rate is 100 pesos per day for covered parking.
The ferry is 150 per person each way.
About the Island
Holbox is still pretty rustic, with sand streets and very few cars. Golf carts are the primary mode of transportation, although scooters and bicycles are pretty common as well. There’s a few trucks, but mostly for delivery and construction purposes.
Holbox is WAY less busy that Isla Mujeres (another one of our favorite islands to visit). We’ve heard a few people say that Holbox is what Isla Mujeres was 20 years ago.
We took one of the golf cart taxis from the ferry dock to our hotel (and then back when we were leaving). But other than that, we walked everywhere.
We stayed at Hotel Mawimbi, a small hotel with 9 rooms and 2 bungalows. We stayed in the Manati bungalow, which is 2 floors, with a small kitchen, an outside terrace, and AC. We didn’t cook, but having a frig and a coffee maker was nice.
Mawimbi is a 5-minute walk to the main square, and it’s located right on the beach. They have plenty of lounge chairs as well as day beds on the beach. There’s also a nice restaurant, where we had a couple of breakfasts, a lunch, and plenty of cocktails while sitting on the beach.
The hotel is super nice, in an amazing location. The staff are all super friendly, and they make a point of learning your name quickly. We would definitely stay here again.
The beach is gorgeous – plenty of white sand and turquoise clear water.
There’s very few beach vendors, and the ones that are there aren’t pushy or aggressive. And there’s LOTS of room. As we walked past the resorts and beach bars, we noticed that the lounge chairs aren’t all packed together tightly, like some of the other islands and beaches we’ve been to.
There’s a ton of murals and street art throughout the island
There’s a boatload of restaurants on the island, most centered in the centro area, all within walking distance of our hotel.
A few of the places we loved:
- Roots, for the lobster pizza, and a huge mezcal selection.
- Las Panchas, casual (but busy) place for seafood
- La Tortillería Española, for breakfast. Amazing tortillas españolas (Spanish style tortillas with egg, potato, onion, etc)
One of the island specialties is lobster pizza – so of course we had to try it!
We went to Roots, a cool garden restaurant with communal tables.
The lobster pizza was excellent! Plenty of lobster on the pizza, and then there’s a whole lobster tail smack dab in the middle. Delish!
One of the other restaurants we tried was Luuma. It’s definitely a higher-end restaurant, and the setting is gorgeous. They have tapas, and then a few different mixed platters that are perfect for sharing (seafood platter, meat platter, veggie platter, etc.). We shared the seafood platter, a couple of tapas, and a bottle of wine.
It’s the sort of place you would expect to find in Tulum. Definitely a sign that Holbox is changing. Will Holbox be the next Tulum?
Elizabeth loves rooftop bars, so like a moth to a flame, she zero-ed in on a hotel with a rooftop bar overlooking the main square.
In the picture of the square, take note of the row of massage tables. It was a bit odd seeing people getting massages in the not-very-quiet-nor-tranquil town square.
We also stumbled across Básico late one night – where we stopped in for dessert and carajillos. Super nice place. We sat on a couch near the front, over-looking the street – great people-watching.
The main beach and hotels face west, so we were treated to beautiful sunsets over the sea.
Honestly, we didn’t do a lot this trip. We mostly sat on the beach, read books, ate, drank, and napped. It was just what we needed.
There’s a lot to do and see – there’s island boat tours, a bio-luminescent bay, horse-back riding on the beach, etc. We’ll definitely go back, and perhaps next time we’ll do a bit more of the activities.
But sometimes, you just need to chill out on a perfect beach!