Holbox, a paradise-like island off the northern coast of the Mexican Caribbean, has been voted the best island destination in North America according to the Reader’s Choice Awards. The island’s untouched natural beauty, as well as its excellent range of accommodation helped the destination top this year’s list.
The Mexican Caribbean racked up several accolades in this year’s edition of the Reader’s Choice Awards, an annual ranking of the world’s best destinations by Condé Nast Traveler, a leading travel and lifestyle magazine. While Cancun, the prime tourist hotspot in the region, is regularly recognized as the leading destination in Mexico, Holbox is making a name for itself after it was voted the best island destination in North America.
More than 860 island destinations were in the running for the famed prize, but Holbox came out on top. Travelers were dazzled by by the island’s untouched nature and endless white-sand beaches, which are unique in that they present rather low sargassum levels. Readers also took note of the island’s warm hospitality, and the island enjoys a solid reputation thanks to its cozy, family-run accommodations.
According to Emir Bellos Tun, the president of the Lázaro Cárdenas municipality, the award is testament to “the men and women of the local tourism industry who work tirelessly to warmly welcome thousands of tourists to our island.”
Holbox has made headlines several times over the summer due to its unique nature and pristine tropical beaches. In August, the island’s bioumisecent beaches went viral, prompting thousands of tourists to flock there in hopes of catching a glimpse of the bucket list natural phenomenon.
Most visitors to the tropical island are young Americans and Europeans, between 25 to 32 years of age. They are increasingly well-off, with many tourists spending around $600 per day on accommodation, food and drinks, and excursions.
Tour companies say the island is especially popular among visitors who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Cancun and the Riviera Maya, where most resorts are located. They flock to Holbox in search of an authentic Caribbean experience, where they can enjoy native wildlife, including the elegant whale shark.
Holbox is located some 140 kilometres from Cancun International Airport, the main entry point for the millions of tourisrts that flock annually to the Mexican Caribean. Tourists can easily reach the tropical island by taking a bus to Chiquilá, from where they can catch a short ferry ride to reach Holbox.
The island’s skyrocketng popularity has come at a cost to local businesses and residents, who are concerned over the destination’s ability to cope with an ever-growing number of visitors. In the last year, the number of weekly travelers to the island has tripled, with some 60 thousand weekly visitors reocorded over the summer. Holbox is home to just several thousand residents, and officials are calling for more investments in tourism infrastructure to handle mass tourism.
In addition to Holbox, the Mexican Caribbean is home to several top-rated island destinations, which are regularly regarded as some of the best in the world. Cozumel and Isla Mujeres have for long been some of the most popular destinations in the area, and tourists can find a range of all-inclsuive resorts and stunning tropical beaches there.
Compared to the resort magnets located in central and southern Quintana Roo, many businesses in Holbox are locally owned and operated. As such, the island directly benefits from the thousands of tourists that visit it each week.
Aside from Holbox, Isla Mujeres, located just off the Cancun coast, was ranked second in this year’s edition of the famed travel awards. The island is home to several of the world’s top beaches, which are also Blue-Flag certified.
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