Located along the northern tip of the Mexican Caribbean, Holbox is a relaxed, beautiful little island that’s become a popular getaway spot with tourists in the Riviera Maya. It’s also a place to immerse yourself and enjoy the company of your fellow travelers. Having visited this island a few times in the past two years, here are my tips for unmissable activities and things to do in Holbox.
Book The 3-Islands Tour
The 3 islands tour is one of the most popular tours available in Holbox. Tours consist of a half-day trip, and boats leave at either 10 am or 2 pm. You’ll be taken to three different areas around Isla Holbox via motorboat: Isla Pasion, Isla Paharos, and the Yalahau Lagoon.
The lagoon has a small Ojo de Agua nearby, where you can take a dip to cool off from the hot sun (make sure to bring a swimsuit and use biodegradable sunscreen). Bring some pesos if you want to get snacks by the Ojo. Isla Pajaros is an uninhabited (by humans) island that is home to over 100 species of birds. When the boat docks, you can walk up to a small observatory right off the island to take pictures and gaze at the local flora and fauna.
To book a tour, you can head to the tourist office in the little center of town (near the Parque Central) to enquire and easily book a trip for the following day (just ask about the weather first! It’s not fun on a rainy day). You can also ask about the tours at your Holbox hotel or hostel.
See The Bioluminescence
Being a small and tranquil island, the natural wonder of bioluminescence can still be experienced in Holbox. Some fringe travelers walk along the beach at night to try and spot it, but you can also take an organized tour where the tour guide will know where to go to best see this natural phenomenon. While spotting the bioluminescence isn’t guaranteed, your best bet is to take an evening tour when it’s a new moon on a clear night.
Spend The Day At Punta Coco
Punta Coco is a small, secluded area along the western tip of Holbox island. If you’re coming from the center of town, it’s a bit of a trek to get there (about a one-hour walk or a 20-minute golf cart ride), but it’s definitely worth it to experience this unique side of Holbox. There are usually a few small food stalls open, so you can get a drink and a snack. Pack for a beach day and stay to watch the sunset.
Hit Up A Beach Club
Make the most of paradise and spend a day chilling at a beach club, one of the best ways to spend your day in Holbox. There are a bunch of beach clubs scattered along the main beach, where you can pay to rent a lounger for the day and guarantee the best sea views. It’s usually a minimum spend of 500 pesos, which means that you’ll have to spend that much at the restaurant during your stay, and the lounger will be included. This means lots of chips, guac, micheladas, and whatever else your little beachy heart desires. Here are a few beach clubs worth checking out:
- Carolinda Beach Club
- Club de Playa Punta Caliza
- Mantarraya Beach Club & Hammocks
Visit The Animal Sanctuary
Holbox is home to a small but mighty dog and cat sanctuary called the Refugio Animal Holbox, and they’ve worked on helping animals on the island for years now. Located just a short walk from the beach, it’s open all day, and tourists are encouraged to go visit and take a dog for a walk, usually earlier in the day before it gets too hot. Remember that these are rescue dogs, so some can be a little skittish, but the staff can recommend the best dogs to walk with based on your preference. The staff are amazing and dedicated to protecting the animals.
There’s a little shop on-site, so bring some extra cash to buy souvenirs to support the program. There’s also a little donation box at the Refugio where you can put some pesos in as a thank you and to support the great work that they do.
Many of the animals are up for adoption or have already been adopted and are waiting to be taken to their new home. There are usually postings at the front for flight volunteers, so it’s worth passing by to see if any of the dogs are waiting to be taken to a city near you, so you can help bring them to their forever home.
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