Oh Isla, how I love thee. Isla Holbox is a favorite day trip destination of ours from the Riviera Maya. It can turn into a long day if you take everything in, but well worth it. Located right where the Caribbean Sea meets the Gulf of Mexico, how could you not think this place is magical. If a long day is not what you were hoping for, we suggest a trip up for lunch, take in the beach and return pronto. For those who want to do more, read more and plan your perfect day on Isla Holbox.
Finding your perfect day on Isla Holbox is going to depend on what time of year you decide to visit this beautiful island. If you visit in the winter months, your perfect day is all about birds, small islands and sunsets. If you plan your visit during the summer months, it is all about the whale sharks. Either way your day will be an early one so you can take advantage of the eco-diversity.
Surrounding Holbox is a natural reserve worth exploring, which includes Isla Parajos, Yalahau Lagoon and Passion Island. It is not a question of whether you will explore, it is just a question how you will explore. Tours can be done by kayak or by boat. Kayaking is an active day, boat tours are a catered-to day.
Discovering Isla Holbox by kayak with a local guide makes your day up close and personal. Discovering by boat makes for a great group activity where you will likely meet other like minded travelers.
No matter which mode of transportation you choose, this is what you will see and experience – Migratory and indigenous birds on Bird Island (Isla Parajos), a swim in the fresh cool waters of Yalahau Lagoon, and finally the lighthouse and natural beauty of Passion Island.
Switch gears in the summer and take advantage of the annual whale shark migration to the Gulf of Mexico. This is a coveted tour that people from all over the world plan for. The Whale Shark is the largest fish on the planet and the fourth largest species in the sea, right behind the sperm whale and blue whale. Epic comes to mind when I think of the whale sharks. This truly is a monumental tour.
With small groups and an experienced guide you can snorkel next to these amazing fish. Cross this off your bucket list when you are done. Mantra rays, dolphins and tropical fish are also seen on these tours. If you are a marine lover, this is the day trip for you.
A late lunch on the pristine white beaches of Isla Holbox is a great way to wind down after an active day. Check out Barquito Beach Bar & Restaurant at Mawimbi Hotel, another favorite of ours. You will love the beach, the view and the food. The service and ambiance reflects the true vibe of Isla Holbox which is why we love it.
Pull up a chair at Barquito and watch the sunset with a cold beer or margarita. This is the way to end your stunning day at Isla Holbox. Locals and visitors drop everything at sunset and head to the beach to watch the sunset in to the sea.
If this day is too active for you, walking the sandy streets of Holbox, biking around the island or just reading in a beach chair is part of the Holbox lifestyle. We love the excursions, and we love immersing ourselves into the diverse environment, but there is something to be said about a beach chair, the view and tranquility on Holbox that should be enjoyed to its fullest.
The fastest way to get to the Isla Holbox from the Riviera Maya is via the Holbox toll road from Playa del Carmen. The trip is under 90 minutes from any Riviera Maya city or town and a nice way to get to your destination quickly.
Park your car in Chiquila, the small port that has both ferries and private boat taxis that take you to the island.
Isla Holbox is a car-free zone so bring what you need in a beach bag and leave the rest behind.
Holbox is a unique day trip in both the winter and summer months. Have fun on your trip and tell us all about it.
If you want to go slower and enjoy the drive to the island, listen to these tips shared on one of our podcasts with Kat Carroll, a photographer, yoga teacher and explorer who shares some of her favorite places en route to Holbox.