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Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Or Cozumel: Which Island Near Cancun Is The Best To Visit On Your Next Vacation? 

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Cancun is an amazing vacation destination on its own that millions of tourists from all over the world visit every year, with more last year than ever before, in fact.  But although the city has plenty to offer for visitors, one of the best things about Cancun is that it’s so close to many other great places to visit too.  Some of those places are islands that make for a fantastic tropical vacation or even an excellent day trip. 

Beautiful Island of Isla Mujeres Near Cancun, Mexico

Three Amazing Island Destinations 

Three of the most popular islands are Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel.  Each is very popular among tourists who visit the Mexican Caribbean.  Some information about each will help you determine which of these islands near Cancun is the best one for you to visit on your next vacation.   

Aerial View of the Island of Cozumel Surrounded by Aqua Blue Water

Where The Islands Are Located 

The closest island to Cancun, and the easiest to get to from there, is Isla Mujeres, which only requires a short 10-minute or so drive to one of the ferry locations and then a 30-minute ferry ride.  Cozumel is the next easiest to get to, but you’ll have to get to Playa del Carmen first, which is about an hour away by car or bus, then the ferry to the island will take approximately 45 minutes.  Holbox will take the longest to get to because it requires traveling to Chiquila, which is a little over two hours away, and then from there, a 25-minute ferry ride.   

Aerial View of the Turquoise Waters Surrounding the Island of Holbox, Mexico

Getting To The Ferry Ports 

There are buses, shuttles, and/or taxis that go from both Cancun International Airport and downtown Cancun to all of the places where ferry ports are.  Each form of transportation ranges greatly in price, and of course, the distance plays the biggest role, but you can expect buses to be the least expensive but the most uncomfortable.  To take an ADO bus from downtown Cancun to Chiquila, for example, will cost around $6, whereas a taxi from Cancun Airport to Chiquila will cost well over $100. 

Isla Mujeres, Mexico Ferry Terminal


Holbox is a small vehicle-free island, only 26 miles long and less than a mile wide, with a lot to offer for those looking for a more relaxed vacation with a quintessential island vibe.  In addition to friendly locals, fresh seafood, and colorful buildings, Holbox is also known for a few can’t-miss phenomena too, including a bioluminescent lagoon and the huge presence of birds, including flamingoes.  There are both large luxury resorts, as well as boutique hotels to choose from for those wanting to spend a night in Holbox. 

Isla Mujeres 

Isla Mujeres is even smaller than Holbox, only about five miles long and a half mile in width, but there is no shortage of amazing things to do there either, and it also has a very laid-back vibe.  The island has plenty of resorts to choose from, ranging from big luxury resorts to charming small hotels, and seafood is fresh and plentiful in Isla Mujeres too.  There are quite a few great beach clubs to spend a day at, but the biggest draws here are the calm waters for snorkeling and the fascinating Underwater Museum of Art.   

Isla Mujeres' stunning tropical water and buildings


Cozumel is the biggest of the three islands, measuring 29 miles long and about nine miles wide, and it, too, has a couple of claims to fame that make it super popular among tourists.  For starters, it is a fantastic place for scuba diving and snorkeling, as it is home to part of the Mesoamerican reef system, but another thing that is special about Cozumel is that it is largely undeveloped.  Cozumel is home to many luxury all-inclusive resorts but smaller, more secluded hotels and resorts can be found too. 

Cozumel Beach

Whether you’re planning a vacation in Cancun and want somewhere different to spend a day, or you are looking for a completely new vacation destination, all of these islands are full of endless tropical fun.

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