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This Mexican Caribbean Destination Is Seeing Its Popularity Surge Thanks To Sargassum-Free Beaches

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Holbox is quickly emerging as a tourism hotspot this summer thanks to its sargassum-free beaches. Tourists have been flocking to the tropical island for some time already, but in recent weeks its popularity has spiked thanks to its unique hotel scene and pristine nature.

Holbox island is a tropical paradise located just a few miles from the nearby port town of Chiquilá. Popular among nature lovers and those seeking calm beaches, Holbox offers visitors more than 36 kilometers of pristine white sand beaches. In recent months, it has been gaining noteworthiness as an alternative to packed Cancun and Riviera Maya beaches.

woman collecting sargassum

The popular island is small, having a population of just over 2000 people, and its remote location means travelers have to take a ferry to get there. That hasn’t stopped thousands of tourists from visiting the island, and its hotels are expecting a near-100% occupancy rate this summer as tourists look to escape sargassum-filled beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

The period ranging from late July to August usually sees the highest quantities of sargassum seaweed washing up on Mexican Caribbean shores. Many Cancun beaches were hard-hit this past week by massive waves of sargassum, which nearly covered Playa Delfines, one of the city’s most popular beaches, in a thick layer of the pesky algae. Authorities – who have hired new cleaners and installed barriers – have struggled to cope with the massive amount of seaweed this summer. 

Meanwhile, Holbox has steadily grown in popularity in recent months, offering locals and tourists respite from busy Cancun beaches. With the worst sargassum levels expected in the following weeks, thousands of tourists are frequenting this stunning tropical island in search of clean Caribbean beaches and local culture.

The island’s natural features protect it from massive sargassum patches. Its mangroves, especially, have been credited for keeping the pesky seaweed away from its beautiful beaches. Moreover, Holbox has a long coastline which tourists can enjoy, with a great selection of beaches and Caribbean scenery.

Holbox Island beach

According to recent updates by the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network, Holbox’s beaches were categorized under the green color, indicating low sargassum quantities. Punta Cocos, Holbox Centro, and Punta Mosquito all received favorable ratings in the past few days. On the other hand, many Cancun and Playa del Carmen beaches were categorized as having moderate to high sargassum levels. 

As a result of Holbox’s growing popularity, authorities there have been eager to bolster tourist security over the summer. Manuel Escamilla García, the island’s mayor, says that a new security apparatus has been set up to ensure visitors’ safety during their stay. The goal is to prevent criminals from targeting tourists at the otherwise peaceful island, and especially on its calm beaches.

In addition to the island’s hotel zone, police will also be patrolling more remote stretches of the island, where authorities aim to prevent vacation home robberies. However, for the time being, there have been no incidents of break-ins, highlighting the success of the police operation. 

There is also a vibrant hotel scene on the island, with a dazzling array of small to mid-sized boutique hotels as well as several larger resorts. With so much to choose from, many visitors opt for local flavor that highlights authenticity and Caribbean design elements. From the popular central hotel district to secluded beachfront properties, Holbox is as diverse as it is beautiful.

Although known for its pristine beaches, Holbox is an excellent pick for outdoor activities, offering visitors the chance to interact and learn more about the area’s rich biodiversity. Holbox is also a popular destination for tours originating in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, with this Viator tour starting at just $110 per person

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