Is Holbox Worth Visiting (and What Should You See)?

One of the underrated gems of the Yucatan Peninsula, Holbox, with its bioluminescent beaches, beautiful sand bars, whale shark tours, and car-less center, is a Yucatan must-visit. Isla Holbox’s charm is its quiet, laid-back charm that appeals to travelers that long for a true escape.
Is Holbox Worth Visiting
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From its sweeping ocean views, small-town vibe, and proverbial sunsets, it’s tough to think about why Holbox is underrated. Set in the northernmost tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, with a protected reserve on its doorstep, Isla Holbox remains a relatively untouched beauty.

Where Is Isla Holbox Located in Mexico?

Isla Holbox is located at the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo. Just 75 km or 56.6 miles northeast of Cancun, Isla Holbox is another stop when exploring smaller Yucatan charms outside of fun Cancun.

Isla Holbox, along with the many islands near Cancun, like Isla Mujeres make up the little off-shore charms of the peninsula. With the perpetual fame and appeal of the Yucatan, Isla Holbox hold the northern fort of Quintana Roo.

How Big Is Holbox Island?

Holbox Island or Isla Holbox is a small island that is 26 miles long and one mile wide. The island is also home to more than 2,000 residents. However, this number balloons on certain tourist seasons as expats and slow travelers stay for weeks.

What Does Isla Holbox Mean?

Holbox is a Yucatec Mayan word meaning “black hole”. Discovered by seafarers in the 17th century, is said to be a treasure trove of pirates that likely found the place.

A small slice of tropical paradise nestled at the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Holbox is the kind of town that offers laid-back living, great sunsets, and a slowed, and more toned-down pace for people looking to get away from it all.

How Do You Pronounce Isla Holbox?

A Yucatec Mayan word meaning “black hole”, Holbox is pronounced as “Ol-bosh”.

Is It Safe to Travel to Isla Holbox?

Isla Holbox is considered relatively safer than bigger players in the peninsula like Cancun or Playa del Carmen. With a smaller size, quaint charm, and a true bohemian atmosphere, Isla Holbox, overshadowed by the giants of the Yucatan, Isla Holbox is safer because of its fewer crowds and quiet living.

Are There Sharks in Holbox?

Bottom-feeding harmless sharks can be spotted rarely around the Caribbean coasts of Mexico. The only sharks you will most likely see in Holbox are Whale Sharks that congregate nearby.

Annually, the largest group of Whale Sharks can be found congregating off the coast of Isla Holbox where they mate and spawn.

Are There Crocodiles in Holbox?

You can spot crocodiles further north outside of the central beach. Punta Mosquito has a large sandbar where Pink Caribbean Flamingos can be spotted, a little further inland from the sand bar has a swampy area where crocodiles tend to swim around or even rest.

Is Isla Holbox Touristy?

With other Yucatan giants like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, Isla Holbox may be on many tourists’ radar but it isn’t crowded. Tourism is absolutely present in Isla Holbox but the large, annoying crowds of other bigger tourist beach cities and towns.

Is Isla Holbox Expensive?

Staying and living in Holbox is cheaper compared to Cancun or Playa del Carmen, however, the expensive part is getting there. Getting to Isla Holbox is challenging as it is less developed than its southern counterparts.

It’s best to do some research on the best and cheapest ways to get to Isla Holbox. Accommodations can be cheaper but the town doesn’t offer many options compared to, say, Isla Mujeres, which is bigger on tourism.

Can You Swim in Isla Holbox?

Isla Holbox is perfect for swimming, its beaches are its main draws. With calmer waves and blue pristine waters, Isla Holbox is ideal for those who want to swim with ease. However, the initial parts of the beach are shallow and require a bit of walking to get to the deeper, swimmable area.

Does Holbox Have Seaweed?

Holbox, unfortunately, does see some seaweed occasionally, but it doesn’t take away the beauty of the place, as it doesn’t have as much seaweed because it is situated at the very north. In fact, Cancun does see more seaweed than other places north of the city.

Is There Sargassum in Holbox?

Sargassum can be found on the beaches of Holbox at varying degrees at different times of the year. However, it can never go extreme. Most days visitors experience little to nothing on the beaches.

Where Can I Find Bioluminescence in Isla Holbox?

The best spot for swimming in bioluminescent waters on Isla Holbox is in Punta Cocos located at the southeasternmost point of the island. This is a spectacular phenomenon that is visible all year round, but it is more visible in April and November when the water is warmer.

Bioluminescence in Holbox is caused by thousands of microorganisms that hit the waves. These microorganisms produce the Luciferian compound that generates light by reacting with oxygen. We can also see this in various other creatures like Jellyfishes and Fireflies.

Where Can I See Flamingos in Isla Holbox?

At Punta Mosquito, right by the largest sand bar, you can see Pink Caribbean Flamingos. This area is also a wildlife sanctuary as it’s part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, where animals are protected and other forms of life are conserved.

When Should I Go to Isla Holbox?

The best time to go to Isla Holbox is from late November to February. This is the dry cool season that has temperatures that are comfortable end enjoyable to walk around towns and swim in the ocean.

However, this also coincides with Quintana Roo’s peak season, which means there might be bigger crowds. Prices might vary from off-season dates, and beaches might be crowded.

When Can You Swim With Whale Sharks in Holbox?

Whale Shark season in Holbox is typically from early June to mid-September. During this time, there are whale shark tours around town that get you close with Whale Sharks.

Which Is Better Isla Mujeres or Isla Holbox?

It largely depends on what kind of experience you want. They might be smaller charms of the Yucatan, but they both have different flavors to them. Isla Mujeres has a remote feel to it, with fewer hotels and many local spots. Isla Mujeres also offers awe-inspiring yet underrated beauty.

While Isla Holbox is the true laid-back, quiet feel atmosphere. You can literally walk the entire town, and it’s known for being one of the few car-less towns in Mexico. You can only get around town via golf carts.