How to Plan the Perfect day in Isla Holbox, Mexico

First off… Isla Holbox… Why go there? This was by far my favorite part of my last Mexico trip! Isla Holbox has BEAUTIFUL BEACHES, a laid back atmosphere, it is walkable, and it is affordable! To me it felt like a yogi and veggie eaters private paradise!

Isla Holbox is about a 2.5 hour drive from Cancun Airport (and it is totally worth it)! I spent four full days there and they were incredible! If you have a short trip planned, I am putting together a 1 Day Itinerary so that you can see the best of the best, but I am adding some options so you could increase the days to 2, 3, 4.

How to get to Isla Holbox:

  • Isla Holbox requires getting to Chiquila and taking a ferry from Chiqila to Isla Holbox
  • I happened to be in Tulum before headed to Isla Holbox, so I took the ADO bus from Tulum to Isla Holbox for the sum of about $40USD ADO buses are super nice in Mexico, they have AC and bathrooms and depending on which bus, even WiFi. ADO buses can be booked online on the ADO website (pretty glitchy but if you can get to the payment, book it), Busbud (https://www.busbud.com/en/bus-company/ado – they have a small fee so a little more expensive than direct through ADO), or in person at the bus station. The bus station can be a bit of a long line, so I would avoid if I could (I personally missed the first bus I wanted to get on due to the line in the Tulum ADO station)
  • On the way back, I booked my flight out of Cancun pretty early (too early for the ADO), so I booked a shuttle with (https://www.cancunshuttle.com/) It was awesome, also around $40 for a sprinter van with a couple other folks. The van was brand new, and I had the whole back row and slept like a baby
  • The ferry – there is no need to book the ferry in advance, you can grab a ferry ticket once you get off the bus station or at the ferry terminal. They are cheaper if you get both ways at once, and you cannot get off Isla Holbox without utilizing the ferry, so you might as well. It is a half hour ferry ride and pops you about a 5 minute walk from the busy area!

How to get around once you are in Isla Holbox:

  • Isla Holbox is a (mostly) car free island
  • There are golf cart like taxis (they say taxi huge on them, and are yellow)
  • Bicycles – there are a ton of bicycle rental shops, and most places you stay will have them for rent of free. I did not shop around for a deal, and I just paid $10USD for 24 hour rental at my hostel
  • Walking – I walked the whole time besides my 1 day itinerary below to get to the further beaches. If you are going to Isla Holbox or most bars/restaurants walking is easy enough. Keep in mind that while google maps will show you where to go, Isla Holbox is all dirt roads and the times are pretty far off. It told me a beach was a 20 minute walk whereas it was actually a 20 minute bike ride!
One Day Itinerary for Isla Holbox, Mexico

Now for my perfect day in Isla Holbox.

Everything I am offering is tips from my personal experience, so mix and match with what you are interested in! My one day itinerary is based on what I actually did on my birthday in 2023!

The Morning:

  • Rent a Bike and head east to Punta Mosquito!! You will most likely need a bicycle or taxi for this one. I rode my bike all the way to Los Nubes Hotel where I parked and chained up outside. It is a quick walk through the forested part to the beach after that.
  • Go early!! It is a sand bar, and the earlier you go the less water you have to wade through to get to the sand bar. We got a late start and waded through waist deep water around 10am, but when we left around 1pm it was almost up to our shoulders!
The shoreline in most of Isla Holbox is very shallow!

The afternoon:

  • Grab lunch one of the amazing vegan cafes or go to my favorite fruit stand to get all the ingredients for guacamole and sit on the beach or by the pool.
  • I went to Isla Holbox in April, and the afternoons are warm!! Definitely take a break and respect the siesta. We made guac and chilled out every afternoon I was there

The night:

  • With the bike rental you still have, head west to see the sunset at Punta Cocos! We grabbed drinks at a convenience store, and swam in the ocean during sunset.
  • After the sun has gone down, walk south along the beach (only 5 or so minutes), and join everyone on the cove for biolumiescent algae! About a half hour after sundown, the algae can be seen when you run your hands through the water. There are guided tours and kayak tours, but it was so easy to see just getting in the water, it was incredible.
  • After you can head back into town for dinner – I personally got incredible birthday tacos and margarita Barba Negra!
  • After go to one of the bars (there are only a couple open late)!
  • Never, ever miss the sunset – there are lots of great viewing points and it’s definitely worth seeing!
Sunset is Isla Holbox

Other activities you’ll enjoy in Isla Holbox

  • Walk a doggie at Refugio Animal Holbox – the pet sanctuary! They accept anyone to come and play or take a dog out for a walk (I did this one morning when I was missing my pup)
Refugio Animal Shelter in Isla Holbox, Mexico
  • Isla Holbox – My one day itinerary included Punta Mosquito and Punta Cocos, but Punta Playa Holbox is also incredible. The water along the full coast of Isla Holbox is so smooth and shallow. I went in April and the temperature was perfect!
  • Book a snorkeling tour and swim with whale sharks!! I did not have the chance to do this, but there are many stands setup to tour groups for snorkeling along with boats to go to Punta Mosquite and hopefully see Flamingos! I did not see any while there 🙁

My favorite restaurants:

  • Barba Negra!! I am GF and has the fish and shrimp tacos – amazing!
  • Arte Sano vegan restaurant! I went twice
  • Com Amor vegetarian – delicious
  • Olita de Mar – a fully pink restarurant – super cute – american food with great omelettes and lattes

Be sure to check out my Instagram account for more photos!

And more Mexico Adventures:

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