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15 Awesome Things to do in Holbox, Mexico

Holbox Beach Sign
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Holbox is an island in the Quintana Roo State of Mexico north of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and has a ton of rich marine life.

The Yalahau Lagoon separates the island from mainland Mexico. Isla Holbox is 26 miles long but only one mile wide, even though it is small there are still plenty of fun things to do in Holbox.

The island does not have any cars and has a very laidback and carefree environment.

Isla Holbox is a paradise island and makes for the perfect getaway vacation.

The island has not been inundated by commercialization like many other locations in Mexico.

Holbox has remained quaint and has refrained from being overcrowded. You can stroll the streets, relax on the beach, and enjoy a good meal as if you were a local.

Holbox isnt as well known as other Mexican cities like Cancun or Cabo so its kept its charm really well. You wont find nearly as many tourists here which is the best part.

What makes Holbox so appealing to people is the almost untouched” feeling it has. With globalization, its hard to come across that these days, especially in places where there is a ton of tourism.

There is nothing wrong with adapting to tourism but sometimes a quaint, out-of-the-ordinary location is preferred especially if the goal of your trip is relaxation. It is almost impossible not to fall in love with Holbox.

Characteristics of Holbox

  • No cars
  • No paved roads
  • No chain restaurants
  • No highrise buildings

Holbox has maintained its charm and has not been influenced by outside factors. For instance, you wont find any cars on the island and because of this, there are no paved streets only compact sandy roads. Perfect for strolling the island barefoot.

In lieu of cars, youll find golf carts are the main form of transportation. There are no chain restaurants, either, which is super refreshing.

Every establishment is locally owned and independent. Only just over 1000 people live on the island full time so it has an amazing small-town vibe to it.

Holbox comes from the Mayan language and actually stands for black hole” which really isnt fitting for the bright, colorful little island. Also, its pronounced hole – bosch”

Things to Do in Holbox, Mexico

When in Holbox, expect to be relaxed. Time seems to slow down and you can just enjoy living in the moment.

Depending on the type of person you are, you may not think there is a ton to do in Holbox. But, if youre looking for a relaxing getaway then youll love the slow and laidback environment that Holbox invites.

Your days can be spent strolling the streets, eating good food, and sitting at the beach. What more could you ask for? There are still tons of activities you can partake in though so keep reading to find out out the best ways to spend your days in Holbox.

1. Do Nothing

The best part about visiting Holbox is the relaxed and laidback environment it has. Spend some time doing absolutely nothing because itll be rejuvenating and relaxing.

Read a book, look out over the water, sip a coffee, whatever complete relaxation means to you. Holbox offers you the chance to slow down and not get caught up in all the little things.

Sunset on the beach one of the best things to do in Holbox2. Visit the Beach

An obvious yet important activity while in Holbox is to visit the beach. The water surrounding the island is turquoise blue and stunning.

There is nothing like sitting in the warm, soft sand and looking out over the ocean or laying under the warms sun.

The water stays shallow for a bit, allowing you to wade out and swim. You can relax, swim, and even catch the sunset on the beach. Holbox is home to some amazing sunsets, so you don’t want to miss out on this activity.

The best place to see the sunset is right on the pier. Spend an afternoon basked in a hammock under the shade of a tree, a few hours you’ll never forget.

Make sure you pack correctly for your trip with this Tropical Island Packing List

3. Visit Yalahau Cenote

The Yalahau cenote is about 30 minutes from Holbox by boat. The ride there itself is gorgeous and you may even see dolphins! Its located in Yum Balam Nature Reserve on the mainland.

Cenotes are only located in this region of Mexico and theyre natural sinkholes from the collapse of limestone bedrock that are filled with groundwater.

Theyre basically gorgeous natural swimming pools. The Yalahau cenote is surrounded by mangroves and in a beautiful setting. Its absolutely worth it if you have the time.

Bartender at Gas Station Holbox4. Grab a Drink at the Gas Station

There are tons of beach bars where you can get a drink with a view. But some are just better than others. Be sure to stop by the Gas Station to fuel up on drinks.

It is also in the perfect location to make a day of bar-hopping around.

5. Stroll Along the Streets

Take your time and walk around Holbox. Youll find quaint shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, and more.

Its a great way to spend your morning or afternoon and just aimlessly enjoy life in Holbox. Youll get in a bit of exercise and explore new parts of Holbox you might not have noticed otherwise. The best part about this island is it is easy to wander around barefoot, as there are no paved roads.

Spend your vacation completely barefoot, you won’t regret it.

Coloforful Street Art in Holbox, Mexico
6. Enjoy the Street Art

Many beautiful and bright-colored murals can be found on walls all around Holbox. The perfect afternoon can be spent aimlessly walking around and spotting the murals.

You can enjoy all the artistic talent and even snap an Instagram photo in front of them. They’re utterly unique and magnificent pieces of art that depict the culture, life in Holbox, and so much more. 

7. Take a Boat Tour

A great way to see the island from a different perspective is to go on a boat tour. Different tours will take you by boat around the entire island.

Youll get to enjoy the island’s wildlife, the beautiful ocean around you, and so much more. If you dont have much time in Holbox, this is a great way to capitalize on your time and see as much of the island as possible.

Flamingos on the beach8. See the Flamingos

Holbox has some amazing wildlife on the island, including pink flamingos. Take a boat tour to go visit wild flamingos. They are amazing and beautiful creatures. It is a great way to spend the day getting out and seeing wildlife.

9. Go Kayaking

Consider kayaking through the mangroves on the island. Its a great way to be on the water, get in some exercise, and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

Youll also see an abundance of wildlife including birds, possibly a crocodile, and more! Kayaking is also a very peaceful activity.

Also, you might want to consider doing a night kayak tour, embrace the moonlight, enjoy the stars and play with the bioluminescence.

People Drinking at the Hot Corner in Holbox10. Dance the Night Away at the Hot Corner

Holbox is a magical place, it is relaxing and adventurous all at the same time. It is small and doesn’t have the same typical Mexican tourist beach town vibe. It also has a very unique nightlife to it that everyone has to experience.

Rather than having a particular bar or club everyone goes to, in Holbox, everyone comes together in the street and has a street party.

There is live music and everyone buys their own drinks and brings them down to the Hot Corner.

Don’t worry if you forget to bring your own beers, everyone is super friendly and shares.  It is like having a house party with everyone on the island. Truly something you won’t want to miss.

WhaleShark swimming in holbox11. Swim with Whale Sharks

Whale shark season occurs from June to September so if youre visiting during this time consider swimming with whale sharks.

Yes, they have shark in their name but no, theyre not scary. Whale sharks are gentle and Holbox is one of the best places in the world to swim with this marine animal. They can grow to over 40 feet in length but they really are peaceful and graceful. It costs a bit over 100 USD for this activity.

It is a once in a lifetime experience, that you will never forget. Holbox is pretty much the only place in the world where they guarantee you will see one.

Bikes on beach in Holbox12. Explore Holbox by Golf Cart or Bicycle

One way to explore the island is by golf cart or bicycle. Consider renting one (or both) and taking off to see all that Holbox has to offer.

You can rent a bike for just 1 or 2 USD and a golf cart for 7 or 8 USD for an hour. If you dont have a ton of time in Holbox this is the best way to maximize your time and see as much as possible, especially if youre only on the island for a day or even just a few nights.

Girl Kitesurfing13. Kitesurfing

On the northern coast of Holbox, you might want to consider kitesurfing if youre looking for sport and adventure. This area provides consistent winds which makes it one of the best places in Mexico for the sport.

If youre not interested in kitesurfing yourself, head to the beach and watch others kitesurf. It’s almost as interesting to watch as it is to partake in because it’s such a unique activity. It is a great place to find a kitesurfing camp if you have ever wanted to learn the sport.

14. Go Snorkeling

Various tours will take you by boat out to some reefs for snorkeling. One of the best spots is where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet.

You can find an abundance of marine life when snorkeling in the clear waters. However, around Holbox itself, there isn’t great snorkeling but youre only a boat ride away from some really great spots. It would make for the perfect day trip.

Bioluminescence on the beach15. Experience the Bioluminescence Phenomenon

This is a must-see while in Holbox because there arent many places around the world that this occurs.

At night on some of the beaches on the island, the water will light up and shimmer in blue which occurs from glowing microscopic plankton.

It has to be very dark out in order to see this Bioluminescence phenomenon. So why not throw on your bathing suit and enjoy the beauty of this occurrence up close.

A great nighttime activity you won’t want to miss.

How to get to Holbox, Mexico 

The easiest way to get to Holbox is by ferry from the Port of Chiquila which is 2 hours from Cancun. There is a ferry every 30 minutes and it only takes 15 minutes to get to the island.

The ferry costs 220 pesos (around 11 USD) each way. From the ferry port, its only about a 10-minute walk to the island center or you can take a taxi golf cart to your accommodation for around 20 to 30 pesos or 1 to 2 USD.

Best Time to Visit Isla Holbox

The best time to visit Holbox is during the dry season from November to February. This is when the temperature is very comfortable and the weather is nice, however, if you are wanting to swim with Whalesharks you will want to come from June – September.

March through May can get very hot and humid and can sometimes be too uncomfortable to stay outside for long periods of time.

How Long to Spend in Holbox

Holbox is a small island so you could most likely do a day trip if youre just hoping to see what its like and relax a bit.

However, you should plan to stay at least a few nights to get the full experience. If you really want to discover as much of it as possible youll need more than a single day.

Holbox is truly perfect and a paradise on earth. Its full of untouched beauty and will hopefully stay that way for many years to come.

If youre in need of some major relaxation this is your destination. Youll find yourself more than rejuvenated by the end of your trip.

Enjoy all this island has to offer and take some time to slow down and live in the moment. You should absolutely visit the island if you get the chance because you won’t regret visiting. There are so many things to do in Holbox. 

Have you been to Holbox? Have you done something awesome in Holbox that is not on this list? Say so in the comments below.

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