Holbox Island, Mexico

Short Travel Guide

Crystal clear, turquoise sea, a wide sky in azure blue. The warm breeze travels through the green leaves of dense vegetation. Snow-white, fine sand to dig your feet in. Cozy hammocks swing at posts standing in shallow water. Does that sound good? Then you are probably someone who could feel very comfortable on Holbox island.

The idyllic island paradise is located in Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula. Exactly where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet. Only a few years ago Holbox Island was completely unknown to tourism. That has definitely changed, and today the island is known to most travelers in Mexico. However, the inhabitants of Holbox have taken care to preserve the rustic naturalness of their island. And fortunately, they have done quite well so far.

Estimated reading time: 20 minutes

What to expect on Holbox Island

Island Holbox in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo has remained quite untouched by the mass tourism of the Riviera Maya, although it is not far from Cancun. The island is 42 km / 26 mi long and only 2 km / 1,2 mi wide, and it actually consists only of sand. There are also no paved roads on the island. Sandy paths take you everywhere.

Holbox Island Mexico: What to expect

Holbox has a very unique flora and fauna and is part of the Yum-Balam Biosphere Reserve. This place is especially known for the whale sharks, the largest fish on our planet. Every year between May and September, they come into the clear waters off the island to mate. Holbox is also home to countless bird species, rays and manatees.

Unspoiled nature on island Holbox, Mexico

On the northern side of the island there is a 34 km / 21 mi long, untouched sandy beach. On the south side there is the Yalahao Lagoon, which separates the island from the mainland. The island was already settled by the Maya, who gave it the name Holbox: the name means “black hole” in the Mayan language. The reason for this is the water of the lagoon, which gets its dark color from the mangroves that grow there. The lagoon is populated by flamingos, pelicans and many other seabirds and exotic animals. In the 16th century, the lagoon served as a hiding place for the famous pirate Francisco de Molas during 40 years.

Pink flamingos on island Holbox, Mexico

The only village on the island is also called Holbox. It is a rather small fishing village, only a few blocks in size, where about 2000 people live. You can watch the fishermen working on their nets, and in the evening the kitchens of the island prepare the fresh catch of the day. The ambience is very relaxed and rustic.

Colorful houses in Holbox, Mexico

There are some small supermarkets Holbox island, and recently also a bank branch has opened. For such a small island you will find an astonishing number of good restaurants and small tavernas, pretty boutique hotels and cozy hostels.

Most people on the island spend their days on the beach. It is only in the afternoons that life returns to the small town. In the evening, the sunset over the sea is the unofficial meeting point for everyone before continuing on to a delicious dinner and refreshing drinks in the small bars of the island. Of course, the clear starry sky over the Caribbean Sea is particularly spectacular in fine weather.

Milky Way on the night sky above Island Holbox