So, if I'm going to be completely forthright, half of me is dying to write this, and the other half of me never wants to speak to anyone about it ever again. Although Holbox (prounounced "hole-bosh") is becoming more and more popular each year, it’s still a bit of a hidden gem in Mexico (and I don't entirely want to blow the whistle on it!). Our recent trip to the island now stands as one of our favourite finds in Mexico (and maybe in the world). Holbox is a small(ish) island situated in the north of Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s really, really, really sleepy. Holbox has no pavement, it’s all sand beaches and roads, which means you can seriously ditch the shoes and even flip flops for your entire stay! Holbox also has no cars, just golf carts, bikes, and your own two feet. Because we love it so much, we can up with a list of things to, where to eat, and where to stay in Isla Holbox!
If you’re not okay to chill on beaches, have next to no internet access, casually explore the town by bike or golf cart, then stop reading now. If this sounds great to you, please read on!
Where to eat:
This was one of our absolutely favourite places while in Holbox and also the cheapest (by far), we ate here a couple of times! Their tacos are absolutely delicious! There is nothing fancy about this place, it’s plastic chairs and tables, and they don’t even have alcoholic drinks (but right next door is a corner store, you can pop over and buy yourself some beer/wine and bring it back to the restaurant). But these were the best tacos we found while in Holbox and you can’t argue with the cheap prices.
Food is served out of a cute food truck that has permanently set up shop in Holbox. There are only a couple of tables out front. We stopped by for lunch, and had, you guessed it- tacos. Very delicious and quite affordable.
This is one of the last hotels along the hotel strip of Holbox, so it’s about a 10-15 minute drive by golf cart to get there. We had one of the most delicious meals there, it was to die for. We opted for a vegetarian tasting menu and it certainly did not disappoint. The restaurant has multiple levels and the majority of tables have an amazing view over the water. Be sure to come early enough to catch the stunning sunset from the hotel, it’s truly unbelievable. It was on the expensive side, but we’d happily return here for a splurge night in a flash!
Luuma: If you’re at all like us, as much as you love a certain style of food, you can’t eat it every single night. So if you’re in the mood for something a bit different, head over to Luuma. It’s in a beautiful setting with a lovely courtyard scattered with tables, cozy chairs and couches, all flanked by a beautiful bar on one side, and a cute boutique on the other. They serve tapas which gave us the opportunity to try a whole bunch of different small plates, all delicious. While not cheap for Holbox standards, it’s not so bad when you compare it to what you’d spend on something similar in other parts of the world, particularly the US or Canada.
Things to do:
Do a tour:
We took a boat tour which took us to a few different islands and a cenote. In season you’d get to go see the flamingos as well (we lucked out and saw a couple even though we were off season for them). Our tour guide wasn’t particularly fluent in English but thankfully two fellow travellers from Spain were helpful in translating for us!
Rent a bike:
Holbox is a relatively small island (at least the areas with actual roads), and therefore renting a bike is the perfect way to explore. There are rental places all over the town and prices are pretty good.
Go visit the famous over-the-water hammocks:
No visit to Holbox is complete without visiting the famous Hammocks. There are actually two sets, not particular far apart form each other. One set (pictured above), belongs to a nearby hotel, the other set, a long row of hammocks, is part of a beach club and each pole that connects the hammocks has a letter to spell out "HOLBOX". They are both towards the end of the hotel strip which is the most stunning beach area in all of Holbox. We set up shop at one of the beach clubs for the day, but if you’re trying to save money you can just plunk yourself down in the sand with your towel. The hammocks have a sign indicating they are only for people at the beach club, however, we didn’t ever see anyone monitoring this. People come and go constantly, taking photos, others grab a hammock and relax for awhile. This is fun but be sure to take some time to just walk/wade in the shallow, clear water. We even encountered a few stingrays casually floating through the water. It was idyllic.
Swim with Whale Sharks: We visited in February, which is not Whale Shark season but this is probably the main reason most people visit the island. In summer months, Whale Sharks hang out in the Gulf of Mexico and Holbox tour companies will take you to swim with them! It sounds to us like one of those amazing, once in a lifetime opportunities and hopefully someday we can check it off our list.
Go to the main square at night: Although Holbox is super quiet, the main square (you can’t miss it), comes alive at night with food vendors, locals, and tourists. We got some churros filled with caramel and nutella. They were to DIE for! Standing around the square as we ate them, also gave us the opportunity to sit and socialize with other visitors to the island.
Where to stay:
This is where we stayed. We absolutely loved our room which had one king bed and one queen bed (we mainly used the second bed to throw all our stuff on). Our room also came with a fridge, AC, a beautiful bathroom and our favourite- a huge patio with two loungers and a spa tub! Room rates include a delicious breakfast. The hotel has a restaurant, a beachfront bar, two pools, and is situated right along the beach with loads of loungers. But perhaps our favourite part of the hotel was the location. While so many hotels are located in the hotel zone (which seems to encourage you to hang out at the hotel all day and not explore), we were right in town with loads of restaurants and bars within easy walking distance.
If you’ve been reading this entire post, you’ll already know that we had a fabulous dinner here. We also had the opportunity to explore the stunning grounds. This hotel has a beautiful beach area, a gorgeous pool, as well as a spa, what more could you ask for? It’s about a 10 minute golf cart taxi ride to town. If you’re looking for a bit of isolation but with the easy availability to town, this hotel is for you.
Casa Sandra Boutique Hotel: So in all in honesty, we didn’t stay here or visit here. But it has great reviews and looks AMAZING and that is why I’m adding it to my list. If you have an abundant budget, this may be the place for you. It’s situated about halfway between town and the hammocks, making it in an ideal location with easy access to everything.
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**Some places (hotels, restaurants) mentioned in this blog article we're given to us free of charge in exchange for coverage on our social media channels. However, all opinions are our own.