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How To See 3 Islands In A Day Near Cancun

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It’s called the “3 Islands Tour,” and it’s one of the most popular boat tours in Isla Holbox. With tour highlights like flamingo spotting, it’s quite a sought-after experience for travelers.

While this tour is booked year-round, due to the nature of the tour, it also means that there’s an ideal time to go and book your trip. And from our experience visiting Holbox, we’ve discovered the best times to book and what to expect on this tour.

Pink flamingos in Isla Holbox, Yucatán, Mexico.

Here’s how to see these unique islands in and around Holbox, including travel tips on the best time during the year to book your tour.

What Are The 3 Islands?

To join this tour, you’ll first need to make your way to Holbox. Located about 2.5 hours from Cancun, travelers can get here by bus, private van, or rental car. You’ll get off at the town of Chiquila and then take the 20-minute ferry to tranquil Isla Holbox. 

This tour includes a motorboat ride to two secluded islands just off of Holbox: Isla de la Pasion and Isla Pajaros. And as an extra, tours include entrance to Yalahau, which is a small cenote that’s located on the mainland close to Chiquila. 


Isla de la Pasion is an uninhabited little islet, and only tours offer a glimpse into the natural beauty of this protected area. You can observe the rare birds of this island from the observatory and wander the shore while dipping your toes in the shallow, clear waters of this unique area near Holbox.

Isla Pajaros is also referred to as “Bird Island.” This is another protected area that only can be visited via boat tour. Tours will pass by this unique island that’s about a 30-minute boat ride from the boat dock in Holbox.

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Beach in Holbox with a path walking toward the sand and water.

The Best Time To Book The Holbox ‘3 Islands Tour’

If you want a chance to see the flamingos in the wild on this Holbox tour, your best bet is to book the trip between the months of April and October, which is when the flamingos typically come to feed on this protected island.

Tours, of course, don’t guarantee a viewing of the flamingos every day during this time, but if you ask one of the guides the day before booking your tour, they will probably be able to give you a good estimate as to whether or not you’ll be able to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. 

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

What Else To Know About The 3 Islands Tour In Holbox 

If it starts to rain at the beginning of your tour, the best thing to do is to ask them to postpone the excursion for another day.

Our staff has experienced this firsthand, and the tour operators kindly offered us a ticket on the tour leaving the following morning (which turned out to be a beautiful day!).

We had barely left the dock before it started to downpour, so the tour group felt like it was fair to ask the boat operators to head back to shore.

Tourists swim at the Hoyo negro Yalahau water hole, Isla Holbox, Mexico

On top of these other amazing and unmissable activities to try on your Holbox getaway, this is just one of the many reasons why you should book at least a few days for your trip in case of less-than-ideal weather.  

Holbox Island Flamingos

Where To Book The 3 Islands Tour In Holbox

To book the trip to the islands, there’s always the option to ask your hotel directly to book the tour on your behalf or to get the latest information on tours leaving that week.

Another way is to just go directly to the main tour information desk in the center of town (right by the stadium).

Inquire there, and you’ll get the best price, and you can even book a trip for the following day.

Always ask them about pick-up and drop-off to/from your hotel, especially if you’re staying a little outside of the center of Holbox. 

Royal Caspian terns and Reddish Egret heron birds in Caribbean sea

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