Holbox, the Mexican Caribbean island where Luana Volnovich traveled


The island is characterized by having colorful houses and sandy streets. It has several activities to do although one of the favorite activities of tourists who visit it is to enjoy its beaches and sunsets.

There are no paved roads, no resorts, and no banks. But yes, mangroves, turquoise blue beaches, street art festivals, bikes and golf carts to move around, charming boutiques and little hotels to stay and live … barefoot. This is the most bohemian Mayan island.

It’s still one of those few half-virgin, half-hippie, half-carefree havens where there are no cars, no paved roads, no big wristband resorts, no banks and just an ATM, Wi-Fi comes and goes and electric lights. It didn’t arrive until well into the 1980s.

The exact location is 145 kilometers from Cancun, the largest tourist destination in the Riviera Maya. The road trip lasts about two hours to the town of Chiquilá, from where the ferries leave for Holbox (the journey lasts 20 minutes).

Taking into account the large offer of Yucatán (Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Chitchén-Itzá …) not many choose to travel here. Even for many Mexicans it is something like the end of the world.

The beach borders boutique hotels like Las Nubes

Beaches of fine sand in nuclear white color, mangroves, cenotes, wild rivers, a unique town with colorful houses and thatched roofs, craft stalls, street food markets, locals carrying ponchos, coconuts and chickens.

There are also flirty shops from independent and local firms such as Lolita or Shalon, small art galleries, such as Hoyo Negro, located in front of the main square, boutique hotels such as Las Nubes or La Casa de las Tortugas, as if to stay and live.


Holbox has a street art festival.

We should add to the list of live music venues (from jazz to salsa) and avant-garde multispaces where you can just as well buy a glamorous shawl or a designer chair than devour a crab in coconut sauce or have a margarita or mezcal , the trendy agave distillate.

Luuma is one of those top sites that brings everything together. Holbox also organizes a festival every year that has washed the face of run-down streets and buildings through colorful murals. It has its own name, IPAF-Soñando por Holbox, and it has already spread its tentacles with urban art spaces in other regions of the country.

Until not so long ago, the island, 1,500 souls and 40 kilometers long by two wide, was nothing more than a fishermen’s refuge. Before, yes, the Mayans had coveted it. And the Spanish. And the English pirates. But even if it sounds like it, there is nothing British about the name. It is of indigenous origin and means black hole (in fact, it is pronounced holbox, with an accent on the second o), the color of the sacred lagoon located to the south of the island.


How to get

From Buenos Aires to Cancun you can get on Aerolineas Argentinas by direct flight or, by stopovers, through Aeroméxico, Latam, Copa Airlines, American Airlines and United.

To get to Holbox, you must take a ferry from the Chiquilá terminal, which can be reached from Cancun by ADO bus or car from the other towns in Quintana Roo. From Cancun, for example, it takes about 3 hours and then 30 minutes by ferry to the island. They leave every 30 minutes and the ticket costs 220 Mexicans round trip, that is to say a little more than US $ 10.

Where to sleep

Las Nubes (www.lasnubesdeholbox.com). Charming ’boutique’ hotel with a family and intimate atmosphere located at the end of Playa Norte. Made up of bungalows and suites, its Orquídea spa offers treatments of Mayan origin with traditional herbs such as peppermint, tobacco or aloe vera. Its owner and perfect host, Bárbara, has another hotel in the center of town, Casa Sandra (www.hotelcasabarbara.mx, more welcoming and surrounded by a patio with gardens and swimming pool.

La Casa de las Tortugas (www.holboxcasalastortugas.com/es) is another exclusive hotel that respects the environment and on the beach, created by an architecture lover, Gianni Golinelli, together with his wife Greta and daughter Francesca. It has the Agua spa, a yoga center, a kiteboarding school, a handicraft shop and the Mandarina beach club.

In relation to accommodation, the Airbnb platform shows offers that start from US $ 48 per night to US $ 95 for an apartment in an entire residential complex.

The values ​​in hotels vary according to the location: from u $ s 55 and escalate to a maximum of u $ s 122 in the exclusive Hotel Mittoz, with views of the sea and full service.

Where to eat

Both Las Nubes and La Casa de las Tortugas have restaurants with sea views to sample island cuisine. In the first, you have to try the shell ceviche, the cochinita pibil, the lobster risotto or the seafood fettuccine from El Sabor de Las Nubes. Also their homemade bread and mezcal with water from Jamaica.

Mandarina is the Mediterranean restaurant of La Casa de las Tortugas, with organic cuisine. We recommend any seafood or fish dish.

In town, Viva Zapata (www.vivazapataholbox.com) stands out, on Damero avenue, a good place to order the island’s specialty, lobster pizza. Their pasta seasoned with seafood also has cola. A mural with the characters of the Mexican Revolution acts as a backdrop.


To do

Those who prefer intensive tourism can visit some of its nearby attractions such as: Isla Pájaros, a refuge for a great diversity of birds; the Cenote Yalahau, a “spring of water” surrounded by mangroves and abundant vegetation; and Isla Pasión, an ideal place to enjoy nature.

On the beach of Holbox you can enjoy a massage session or the little bars and restaurants that are on the coast. Another peculiarity is that the island is about 40 kilometers long, so you do not need a car to travel it. It can be done by bike or golf carts.

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