Isla Holbox - Bohemian beauty and exclusive tranquillity
Colourful, serene and surrounded by turquoise waters, Holbox Island stuns for its unexpected vibrancy combined with a tranquil atmosphere. Lying within the Yum Balam reserve, in the Yucatán Peninsula, its impossibly greenish waters are a unique mixture of ocean currents and its wildlife so striking it will simply amaze you.
A short drive and a ferry ride from Cancun, you can really let your hair down on this paradise island, where sunsets are sublime and nature offers a unique setting. Not to mention the many bright and vivid murals you will find all around the island: a celebration of life and an exceptional, stunning backdrop.
They say you can forget your shoes in Holbox. There are no paved roads and electricity only reached the island in 1987, meaning mobile signals and wifi are still patchy at times: you should really leave your phone behind and seize the moment. Here, there are no banks, no postal service, no cars – only golf buggies – and no high-rises: although projects that would bring about mass tourism were put forward in recent years, the fishermen won their rights to use the beach, preventing this from happening. Without the influx of international hotel chains, Holbox never feels overrun with tourists; a unique charm that still tastes authentic and genuine. One thing is for sure: travellers don’t come here to be seen. They come here to get lost, charmed by the powerful tranquillity of this peaceful island full of character.
Holbox is home to more than 150 bird species, including pelicans, flamingos and herons. In fact, cotton-candy coloured flamingos wading in the shallow, six-mile wide lagoon separating the island from mainland Mexico form the greeting party the first time you visit. Holbox (meaning “black hole” in Mayan) is Mexico’s largest ecological reserve, with nearly 75 per cent of the island being a jungle of wild groves and empty beaches.
Being a protected marine area, Holbox offers encounters with the most staggering fauna you could find: picture yourself swimming with white whale sharks… that’s a dream for most people. From June through September, whale sharks swim through the Gulf’s phytoplankton-rich waters, and visitors can have the chance to swim with them – at a safe distance so as not to disturb these gentle mammals. Along with this incredible phenomenon that offers the chance of a lifetime, you can also enjoy the bioluminescene of plankton glowing in the water. This happens on moonless nights, when entire beaches shimmer with soft light: a unique show best enjoyed from the pier
On Holbox, days revolve around water. You may take up a kayak to explore the coast, or enjoy snorkeling sessions to see fish and sea turtles; you may also rent a paddleboard bike to discover the many magical hidden corners of this beachy heaven, although Holbox is not an island where you should go overboard with activities – just enjoy sipping a drink at a beach bar or laze on the beach.
The alluring appeal of the island will do the rest.
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