Holbox Island

After a night in Tulum, where we tried glamping for the first time, we head on to Holbox Island, our last stop in Mexico.

This car-free and laid back island in the north of the Quintana Roo state is home to pelicans, flamingos, sea turtles and more, and it’s separated from the main land by a lagoon. If you are lucky, during certain times of the year you will be able to see the bioluminescent beaches at night time, thanks to the thousands of plankton that glow in the island’s crystal-clear waters and illuminate the whole coast.

Although this place has been getting more popular among tourists and backpackers, it is still off the main tourist track, so if you can enjoy its white-sand streets and beach for yourself.

Things to see and do in Holbox:

  • Take a walk through its streets and try some local food;
  • Walk the lagoon up to Punta Mosquito;
  • Visit Refugio Holbox;
  • Stay at Tribu Hostel and take salsa classes.

When you first get on the island, the first thing that will strike you is the absence of cars in the streets – it’s always very nice to breathe clean air! Take a walk during the day to see how local people live and try some local food. Here I had the best queso fundido ever! At night time, instead, streets are filled with salsa music and people dancing.

One of the days, we decided to walk up to Punta Mosquito, which is located on the opposite side of the Island from the actual village. You can choose to walk or cycle, but there will be a part where you will have to walk into the water. For this reason, I would avoid making the same mistake we made, and leave early in the morning, since the level of the water rises in the afternoon and it makes it very hard to walk back. During the walk we saw rays, flamingos, pelicans and a lot of fish and sea stars.

There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in Mexico in general, and in the Yucatan peninsula. A way of finding out about such opportunities is asking your hostel. In Holbox, I volunteered at the Refugio Holbox. On this small island, the shelter takes care of all animals who inhabit it, from dogs to cats, birds and even racoons. You can help them by simply walking the dogs everyday, cleaning the spaces and other very little things.

These are Chiquin, Luna and Sophie all happy and tired after going for a walk and Venacio the racoon, welcoming the visitors into the shelter. (Pictures are blurry, but they were so full of energy!)

Finally, we stayed in Tribu Hostel and we loved it! In the evening you can take free salsa classes, take part to game nights and pizza or burrito nights, and even take acroyoga classes in the morning.

How to get there

Getting to Holbox island is very easy, but you hear different stories about it.

Here is what we did. From Cancun, get a bus to Chiquilá with ADO or MAYAB. There takes three hours and it costs 266 pesos – less than €12.

From Chiquilá, you will need to get a ferry that takes between 20 and 30 minutes to reach the island. There are two main companies, i.e. 9 Hermanos and Holbox Express. We used 9 Hermanos, but the prices is still 140 pesos.

The ferry runs every 30 minutes, but there are only three bus to and from Cancun, so you should check the bus schedule before booking your ferry ticket.

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