Lisa Rivera

Somewhere between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico is the glorious Holbox Island.

For anyone unfamiliar with this Mexican island, it sits north of the Yucatan peninsula, but is located in the state Quintana Roo.

Mexican luxury travel blogger, Esther Zaga, recently joined our community in June, and is here to tell us more about her best travel recommendations on this magical island. You can find out more about Esther from her IQPlanner profile.

What to see and do in Holbox Island

Holbox is an island in the Caribbean, with waters rich in marine life, and a translucent warm ocean. It’s around a 2-hour drive from Cancun Airport or 30 minutes by ferry. The island is small; approximately 26 miles long, and 0.9 miles wide.

The beaches

Holbox has several unspoiled beaches, but I’d suggest heading to Punta Coco. This amazing beach has hammocks for the guests to use and you’ll have no problems getting some peace and quiet here!


Holbox Island reminded me how Playa del Carmen used to be 20 to 25 years ago. Right now, it’s still a small town, so if you’re planning on visiting, sooner is better than later.

No transport

You’ll be pleased to hear there are no cars on Holbox Island, everything — and everyone — is transported by gold cart!

Golf cart

To discover everything the island has to offer, visitors can rent a golf cart by the hour and explore Holbox. Cars are not permitted on the island, so as to protect the environment, and also to prevent the streets from getting sandy.

That said, everything is within walking distance.

Swimming with sharks

Walking along the sandbank is a must: you can walk quite a distance into the ocean and the water won´t even reach your knees!

From June to September, it’s possible to swim closely with a whale shark. You can book a tour — I’d recommend doing it through the hotel — where they’ll take you to the place where the whale shark eats.

It takes around 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours by boat to get there, but it’s totally worth it. The captain of the boat then lets you know when you can climb off the boat and swim next to these amazing creatures.

Whale shark

Some tours will also include other activities such as fishing and snorkelling. We visited a place where we got to see 3 turtles and a stingray!

There are certain spots on the island where there are no hotels or construction, making it ideal for taking a night walk on the beach. On top of this, you’ll be able to see the warm glow of the bioluminescence from the ocean. This happens when the phytoplankton rises to the surface and you see the light on the water.

A last piece of advice

I was informed, while staying on the island, there are firm plans to open the first OXXO (the 7 Eleven convenience store equivalent in Mexico) on Holbox.


What this tells me that it won’t be long before big tourism exploits the island, and it becomes as commercial as Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

That said, visit now before it gets too crowded, and go and see the local small stores before the big brands push them out!