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Popular Island Near Cancun To Begin Charging Tourists An Environmental Tax

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Officials on the popular tropical island of Holbox are finalizing the details of a new environmental tax that all visitors will be subject to starting this year.

The move is part of a wider effort to protect the island’s delicate ecosystems.

a white sand beach on holbox with palm trees

Holbox has seen its popularity grow wildly with travelers over the past several years, with many of the destination’s unique sights going viral on social media.

A hotspot for nature travelers and backpackers alike, Holbox is increasingly appealing for mass tourism. Nowadays, the island is one of the most popular destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, thanks to its stunning untouched beaches and crystal-clear waters. 

@tomhartrey And this was all from ONE (1) rainstorm on the day I arrived. 🇲🇽 The beach and restaurants on Isla Holbox were incredible, and the sun was out for most of my visit. ☀️ But DARN that water just wasn’t going anywhere. • #instavsreality #honestreview #mexico #islaholbox #flood #rainyseason #minivlog ♬ Push Up (Original Mix) – Creeds

With that in mind, here’s the latest on Holbox’s new environmental tax.

Holbox To Begin Charging Travelers New Tax Amid Concerns Over Environment And Pollution 

Situated along the northern coast of the Mexican Caribbean, Holbox is a small but vastly popular island. Measuring just 42 kilometers in length and a mere 2 kilometers in width, this tiny island is home to some of the best nature in the region. 

With its popularity skyrocketing with travelers, officials are worried about the island’s delicate nature. Home to flamingos, tropical birds, and numerous marine species, Holbox is a top-tier nature destination. 

@ourlocavida Welcome to Holbox 🏝️ we just had a tropicsl dtorm pass by and the streets are VERY flooded. Our roads are made of sand and can be very slippery! #holbox #holboxisland #islaholbox ♬ original sound – Kasie ~ unapologetically me

But the island’s soaring arrival figures are resulting in a growing number of environmental threats to the location’s endemic flora and fauna. And with limited infrastructure, authorities are struggling to mitigate the effects of ever-growing travel popularity. 

That’s why this week, officials revealed that tourists will soon have to pay an environmental tax when visiting the remote island.

The tax of 30 Mexican pesos – around $1.75 – will be applied to all travelers visiting the island this year. 

@marywestravelss Still worth going! #mexico #huricane #holbox #traveling #holboxmexico #caribeeanlife #island #flooding ♬ Barbie World (with Aqua) [From Barbie The Album] [Extended] – Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice & Aqua

No official timeline has been released regarding the implementation of the new scheme, but authorities say it could be levied as early as this spring.

While the tax represents just a small fee among other much larger expenses, officials say the vast number of visitors on the island will contribute to paying for infrastructure improvements.

According to local officials, it is likely that the new tax will be automatically added to the price for ferry transfers to Holbox. The popular tropical island can only be reached via ferry from the port town of Chiquilá, with numerous daily departures.

@sharkboytoronto #holbox #flood #taxi #disneygonewild ♬ Enjoy the Ride – Krewella

Holbox has grappled with issues like flooding, poor sewage systems, and blackouts, which can all be partially attributed to the island’s record-breaking popularity. And while local officials have already received funding to improve the island’s ability to cope with mass tourism, more needs to be done.

That’s especially the case given the imminent launching of the new Maya Train railway system, which is expected to have a huge impact on Quintana Roo’s visitor numbers. 

@onekyndworld Holbox had a lot more character than expected. 11/10 would still recommend #travelfail #travelreality #expectationvreality #mexicotravel #holboxmexico #holboxisland #traveltok ♬ original sound

This winter, thousands of travelers have canceled their Holbox hotel bookings due to flooding. With images and videos of flooded streets going viral, visitors have opted for other island destinations like Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.

Despite concerns over heavy precipitation and wastewater management, Holbox is gearing up for a record-breaking summer. Famous for its white-sand beaches and small boutique hotels, Holbox is an ideal destination for those seeking an adventure far from packed all-inclusives.

@travelbyram Keep all this in mind before going! #islaholbox #mexicancaribbean #mexicotravelguide #visitmexico🇲🇽 #travelbyram #travelbucketlist #mexicotraveltips ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

Cancun travelers wishing to visit Holbox can book a guided tour from the coastal hotspot. Alternatively, travelers can reach Chiquilá with the ADO bus company, after which they can purchase a ferry ticket to Holbox for around $15 per person.

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Wednesday 7th of February 2024

There’s an easy work around, simply reduce your tipping to offset the taxes. It’s interesting that they’re more concerned with imposing environment taxes than they are with the increase in street crimes.

Miguel Lopez

Thursday 1st of February 2024

We visited for 3 days and hated the fact tourism has ruined this island. It's dirty, has rubbish everywhere and floods regularly meaning you're walking through literal sh*t due to lack of sewage system. Don't be fooled by the insta dream of this island. One good point is the beach is nice and the sunsets are awesome but more needs to be done to protect the island because it is currently a disgrace.


Monday 29th of January 2024

Tourist should stop go to cancun.