After several trips to Mexico, we wanted to return, and also check out some new places. After doing a lot of research, we knew we wanted to visit Isla Holbox. This island is on the northern part of the Yucatan and has no cars, only golf carts and bikes!
Here are some tips we learned along our travels.
It is an adventure to get there
We spent most of a day getting to Isla Holbox. We flew from NY to Cancun, then took a shuttle to a car rental place, stopped at Chedraui in Cancun for supplies (similar to a Walmart), then drove about 2.5 hours.
Once you get to Chiquila, you need to find a secure location for your car, so we rented spot in a car lot.
There are plenty to choose from, and the prices weren’t bad. The car was fine when we came back after a week on Isla Holbox. I recommend not leaving any valuables in the car, and anything you leave, place in the trunk. We also unplugged any charging cables and kept those in the trunk.
Once we parked, we caught a ferry over to the island.
Make sure you are able to catch a ferry before the last one on or off the island. Depending on your travel situation, this can be a very long day. We were worried what might happen if our flight was late or we ran into other issues.
Once you get to the island, you’ll need to rent a golf cart taxi to get you and your luggage to your hotel or other accommodations. In most cases, you will want to rent a golf cart instead of trying to hike with your luggage. Plan on having cash, including tips.
Plan on lots of walking
Probably the most unique feature about this island is that it has no cars, and just dirt roads.
While there are golf carts available, walking is a popular way to get around, unless you plan on dropping lots of money on golf cart taxis or renting bikes. We didn’t want to risk any bike accidents with the kids (especially considering the condition of the roads), so we did a lot of walking.
Any time it rains, the roads get messy. Be prepared for lots of water, and slippery mud. We had a few wipeouts and it wasn’t fun.
Not only are there puddles and mud, but sometimes the fastest, most direct route was via the beach, and some spots mean walking through some water, so wear shoes that you can take off to wade, or something comfortable that can also get wet.
Sometimes walking to town via the beach meant walking much of the way in water.
Have some supplies with you
Unless you are staying right in town, I would make sure you have at least a few supplies with you. I made sure to have enough water or drinks, and things like Advil. I didn’t want to chance waking up at night with a migraine and being 2 miles from town or any shop or pharmacy. We shopped for snacks as well, so that we didn’t end up hungry for a late night snack with nothing to eat.
Enjoy the beaches & sunsets
The beaches here are amazing, and so are the sunsets. Our first night on the island, there was an incredible sunset, since it had rained earlier. There were gorgeous sunsets on other nights as well.
It makes for a really nice time to just leisurely walk on the beach or sit and enjoy the sunsets.
It is good to also bring swimwear and snorkeling gear with you. It was nice to swim out and explore off the beaches.
Bring a good camera
Isla Holbox is a unique and beautiful place, from murals to wildlife to amazing beaches. You’ll want to capture it all in photos!
Prepare for sun and bugs
Isla Holbox is also sometimes referred to as “Mosquito Island”. Bugs were an issue when we were there in June. I often covered myself with a towel or submerged myself in the water to avoid getting eaten. If you aren’t directly on the beach, chances are that the bugs are coming after you. We had a lot of bug bites when we left Holbox, and I wish I had been better prepared.
Be prepared for a lot of sun exposure on this island. Bring lots of sunscreen, as well as sunglasses, rash guards, hats, etc. As far as sunscreen, make sure that it is reef-safe!
When I am in Mexico, I always bring reef-safe sunscreen like this one (from Target). It is better for the environment, and also better for you. There are lots of brands to choose from. You could also wear rash guards, as the sun can be intense and rash guards do a great job of protecting your skin.
Enjoy the street food
We loved getting paletas, fresh fruit, and other treats from street and beach carts.
There were many carts out during the day, and the fruit here is amazing.
I love the fresh pineapple with spices!
Here are some things you should consider bringing:
~ bug spray and reef safe sunscreen
~ water shoes
~ comfortable shoes for walking
~ headlamp or flashlight
~ swimwear, as well as a snorkel
~ cash for golf cart taxis
~ if you will not be staying near town, and depending on your hotel, you may want to bring some extra snack and drinks