The 29 Best Things to Do in Holbox, Mexico
Holbox is a small island off the coast of Mexicos Yucatan region. It is a popular travel destination due to its super chill and laid-back way of life. The island has no high-rise buildings, no big chain resorts, no fast food chains and even no concrete roads. Sounds dreamy right?
We spent 5 nights on this island and could’ve easily spent longer, just relaxing on the beach and taking life nice and slow.
It is, however, quickly becoming known on the tourist trail. Who knows how long this small paradise will retain its charm? But while it is still the little gem we know it to be, we want to share 29 fun things to do in Holbox, to see if we can convince you to pay a visit too.
Why Is Holbox So Popular?
Holbox is popular thanks to its still relatively undeveloped and laid-back vibes. You won’t find a concrete road on the island, no buildings higher than 2 stories and no big resorts. It is a little piece of paradise within easy reach of the more chaotic and busy mainland Mexico.
Whilst being still quiet and peaceful, there is so much to see and do on this small island, making it an ideal vacation destination.
29 Things To Do In Holbox
Here is our list of the 29 Best things to do in Holbox, in no particular order;
1 – Hire a Golf Cart to explore the Island
Holbox Island is VERY small and due to this, there are pretty much no cars. There’s just no need. Instead, there are golf carts to shuttle people around and you can hire one yourself if you fancy having a go. The cost is around €7.50 for an hour.
2 – Shop the local handcrafts and souvenirs in the town centre
In the very centre of the small town (you can’t miss it) there’s a lively square. Lined with bars and restaurants you are spoilt for choice on where to eat. There is also a street next to the square full of small local stalls selling souvenirs. The market really comes to life at night. In the evenings the square also has a bunch of street food stalls selling cheap food.
3 – Walk along the sandbank to Punta mosquito
The sandbank at Punta Mosquito is one of the most memorable things to do on Holbox Island. I read online about Punta Mosquito and thought we had to hire bikes and ride all the way to the far corner of the island to reach the sandbank. Well, I can now tell you that it is far easier than that.
Head to the beach from town and turn right, just walk along the beach until you see the sand bank start to form. You can then head out along it all the way to Punta Mosquito if you want to. The sand bank isn’t too far out and to wade back at any point it is only about waist high. Depending on the time of day and the tides the bank will either be under a little water or exposed but either way, it’s still pretty cool.
TOP TIP*** Keep your eyes peeled for starfish and sting rays.
4 – Get a massage on the beach
For around €20 you can treat yourself to a massage at one of the many little spa huts along the beach offering treatments. It doesn’t get much more relaxing than that.
5 – Join a Zumba class
In the main square, they hold Zumba classes twice a day. What a perfect way to get your body moving and have some fun! Just drop by and see for yourself, you can’t miss them.
6 – Volunteer and walk some rescue dogs on the beach
Holbox Island has a rescue shelter – Refugio Animal Holbox. They welcome any and everyone who wants to come along and walk one of their many rescued dogs. They are just outside of the centre and a minute away from the beach.
It is the perfect way to start your day. Head to the centre, pick up a four-legged friend and go play on the beach. It’s a win-win for everyone.
They are also more than happy for you to go inside and meet all of the dogs and cats too if you want to. We went in and had lots of cat cuddles which was the highlight of our stay. 100% one of the most rewarding things to do on Holbox Island.
7 – Do some yoga on the beach
Many places along the beach have signs for yoga classes. Or why not wake up for sunrise and head to the beach to have a private stretch session, with the sound of the waves to soothe you?
Did I mention yet that Holbox is all about going slow and relaxing?
8 – Watch the locals play baseball
As you arrive on the ferry there is a baseball field on the right, where the locals play their games. If you have a free afternoon and are a fan of sports why not go along and be a spectator?
9 – See the bioluminescence at Punta Cocos
One of the really cool things to do on Holbox Island is to head out at night and experience the bioluminescence at sea. Conditions have to be right to see it so it’s not guaranteed. Unfortunately, it was not there when we visited. It’s also harder to see during a full moon due to the light.
If you want to give it a try all you need to do is walk the 45 minutes to Punta Cocos and have a splash around in the sea. They need movement to activate and glow.
If you want to try something a little different you can join a tour to go out and snorkel in the dark and see them that way. Having done this in Thailand I can say it is a pretty awesome experience!
10 – Hire a sunbed at the beach and chill
This seems a little too obvious but it has to be on the list. Unlike Tulum, you can access all of the beaches on Holbox and you are free to park yourself on any patch of sand you like the look of.
However, if you feel like having a proper chill day then do what we did and grab a couple of sun beds so you don’t have to worry about sand getting in all the unwanted places.
Prices for sun beds vary A LOT depending on which bar or hotel you choose to hire one at. They range from $9 a day to $40 per day, so ask around. We found some under a small shack with a little bar that was 150 pesos each ($9). If you want cheaper ones, look for the classic blue plastic style ones. They are usually cheaper.
11 – Explore the pristine beaches at Isla Cabo Catoche
Join a tour out to Cabo Catoche the most northern point of the Yucatan Peninsular. The area is untouched and home to some incredible white sand beaches.
Most boat tours to this area include snorkelling as well, where you will have the chance to see sea turtles and also dolphins if you are in luck.
12 – Go snorkelling with majestic WHALE SHARKS!!!
This may just be the number one main thing to do on Holbox Island. We left it to last because it is a seasonal activity. The whale sharks don’t stick around for long and this activity can only be done from June to September.
We have a few friends who went on holiday during this time and said how incredible it was to see them up close. So we are gutted we missed them.
13 – Take a three islands tour
One of the top-rated activities to do in Holbox is the three islands boat trip. Lasting around 3-4 hours the tour will take you and a small group to Isla Pájaros, Isla Pasión and Cenote Yalahau. This is ideal if you only have limited time in Holbox and want to experience all three.
14 – Kayak in the mangroves
If you enjoy more physical activities then this will be the one for you. Join a guided kayaking tour through the mangroves along the coast of the island. While you paddle away keep your eyes open for all the different sea birds, flamingos and even alligators.
This is the perfect way to get up close and personal with the local wildlife without disrupting them in any way.
15 – Eat some delicious local food
Now don’t just take my word for it, when I say that Mexican food is AMAZING! And Holbox’s vegan food scene was on fire too. While you’re in Holbox make sure to try all of the local goodies and for some street food, head to the centre of town around 7 pm.
16 – Play a game of beach volleyball
Thanks to Tribu Hostel who have constructed a volleyball pitch on the beach. You can now join them for a game or two and work off some of those cocktails.
17 – Watch the infamous Holbox sunsets
On the main beach in Holbox, you will notice that around 5 pm every day, the large pier on the beach begins to slowly fill with eager travellers. Everyone comes together to sit in relative peace and just marvel at the beautiful sunset displays Mother Nature treats us to.
It is also safe to say that the sunsets in Holbox are extra special.
18 – Enjoy an early morning paddle-boarding session
If you are an early riser then one of the best early morning activities to do in Holbox is hiring a paddle board and heading out to sea while it’s nice and calm.
Enjoy the shallows and keep an eye out for fish, sting rays and starfish as you paddle along the beach.
19 – Snap a shot with the ‘HOLBOX’ sign on the beach
It’s cheesy but we love it! Mexico, along with most of Central America LOVE their town name signs. They have them everywhere and Holbox is no exception.
Luckily this one is located right on the beach giving you the perfect backdrop to your vacation selfies.
20 – Hire Bicycles to explore the island
Alternatively, to golf carts, you can also hire bicycles like we did. The cost is around €7.50 for the day. Just trust us when we say don’t get bikes if it has just rained. The whole place becomes one giant squishy puddle and it is no fun on a bike.
21 – Join a Salsa Class at Tribu Hostel
When in Latin America it is only right that you give salsa a try. If you have done it before and are a pro then go and guide a newbie. If it is your first time then don’t worry it is so much fun that you will feel like a pro in no time.
Tribu Hostel has Salsa classes that you can join on Tuesday nights.
22 – Relax at one of the many beach clubs
The main beach is lined with what seems like miles of beach bars, clubs and restaurants. Luckily they don’t restrict access to the beaches like in Tulum so you can wander up and down freely and enjoy the beach wherever you like.
However, one of the more fun ways to spend an afternoon is to pull up a chair at one of the many beach clubs, order your favourite drink and enjoy the sun and sea.
ALMA bar is a popular choice among visitors and has a really great vibe.
23 – Visit Playa Punta Cocos
Known at night time as the place to see the Bioluminescence, but during the day this beach is also a really great place to hang out. The beach is more of a cove than a long stretch like the main beach on Holbox, it is great for snorkelling, swimming or just relaxing on the sand.
24 – Enjoy some live music or a football match at Hot Corner bar
Hor Corner Bar is a hot spot in the town for lively events. Known in the evenings for their live music and fun atmosphere. We sat here to watch the World Cup matches that were played while we were in Mexico.
The bar is perfect because it is all open, so it doesn’t get hot and stuffy and there’s more space for when events get super lively.
25 – Give Kitesurfing a try
Fancy a bit of an adrenaline rush, then kitesurfing could be for you. Kukulkite Kitesurfing School is located right in the centre of town and is the most highly-rated school on the island. A popular choice for both pros and first-timers.
26 – Take a Mexican cooking class
If you are a foodie and have fallen in love with Mexican food like we did, then why not give a local cooking class a try? La Puerta Rosa – Holbox Cooking Classes are popular among visitors to the island and she has some really lovely reviews on her classes.
Located in the centre of town, this could be a great evening activity to explore your culinary skills and master some local dishes. You can check out her website here.
27 – Explore the town in search of beautiful street art
Some of the street art around the town is massive! I was seriously impressed as we walked around and saw more and more. All of it is truly beautiful and it’s not hard to find.
Holbox isn’t a very big island so if you are a lover of art and creativity then take a little time to stroll the side street and see what you can find.
28 – See if you can find the local Flamingos
If you happen to be in Holbox between April and October then you need to go in search of the local Flamingos. They are usually found hanging out at Punta Mosquito or around the mangroves.
29 – Do absolutely nothing!
This may be the most important and relevant suggestion I have for you when it comes to things to do in Holbox. This Island is the perfect paradise for slowing down, putting your phone away and doing nothing.
Pick a spot and chill, you can thank me later.
How To Get To Holbox
To get to Holbox you will need to take a ferry from Chiquila to the island. There are two ferry companies that run all day and alternate between them. This means there will be a ferry every 30 minutes to Holbox.
It doesn’t matter which company you use as they both charge the same and unfortunately, it is not possible to book the tickets in advance. Not to worry, you won’t need to, simply head to the ticket offices b the pier when you arrive in Chiquila and purchase a ticket for whichever company is departing next.
We have a whole guide on how to get to Holbox from Cancun which you can read here.
To get to Chiquila you have a few options;
Renting a car is probably the best way to get around Mexico and to get to Chiquila. Renting a car in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan region is relatively safe and very affordable. There are many, MANY car rental companies in the region so it can become a little overwhelming looking for a good deal.
We always recommend using Discover Cars to compare prices and find the best deal.
You can’t take the car over to Holbox and honestly, you really don’t need to because the island is so small. But in Chiquila there is a couple of secure, guarded car parks where you can leave the car while you visit the Island.
By Public Bus
In Mexico, we recommend using the bus company ADO. They are reliable, affordable, comfy and have a lot of choices when it comes to times and destinations. You can take an ADO bus to Holbox from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Valladolid, Tulum and Merida.
Each of the towns and cities will have an ADO bus depot where you can buy your tickets. Alternatively, you can buy them online in advance if you like to be prepared.
By Private shuttle bus
Another option that will get you to and from Holbox is to book a private shuttle minibus. We did this when we left Holbox and regretted it! They are far less reliable and a lot less safe. Our shuttle set off super late and the driver was crazy!
It wasn’t faster than the public buses and it was more expensive so we really can’t see a benefit to the private shuttles unless they are the only option available.
If you prefer to travel alone then taking a Taxi is always an option. Beware that Taxis in Mexico are expensive and notorious for being dodgy. Always make sure to book one through your hotel so they make sure you get a trustworthy driver and a fair price.
Where To Stay In Holbox
Holbox is such a small town that no matter where you stay you will easily be able to access everything we have mentioned in this post. However, here are some really great options to choose from for each budget range.
Budget Option – La Aldea Holbox Cabañas y Camping – $34 per night
This cute budget accommodation has the option to choose between a tipi-style tent or a small wooden cabana. It is located just outside the town centre so it is nice and peaceful and only a short walk to the beach.
Mid Range Option – Casa Ohana-Disfruta del paraiso – $60 per night
Casa Ohana has entire apartments to book for only $60 a night and has really great reviews. Located between the main beach and the ferry port you will only have a super short walk to reach anywhere from your apartment if you stay here.
High-End Option – Tribu Hostel – $80 per night
I have mentioned Tribu Hostel a few times already because they have so many different things to do on offer. This means they are also a great place to stay if you want to meet some fellow travellers and have a great time!
Where To Find The Best Vegan Food In Holbox
Being Vegan in the Yucatan luckily wasn’t too challenging and Holbox was no exception. We found a couple of really awesome spots to get some great Vegan food. Our absolute favourite place to eat was a Vegetarian Cafe called Arte Sano.
They had a huge menu with smoothie bowls, fruits, and typical Mexican dishes such as tacos and Enchiladas as well as burgers and more. We ate here a few times and loved it!
Things to do in Holbox FAQs
While we have already covered the best things to do in Holbox, how to get there and where to stay, I’m aware there may still be some burning questions so I’ll do my best to cover everything else here for you.
Is Holbox Safe?
Holbox is pretty safe as far as Mexico goes. In fact, compare it to the mainland and you have a huge difference. There is far less crime on the island so it is a welcome break if you are traveling through more of Mexico.
I would still be careful not to leave valuables on display on the beach or walk around drunk at 3 am but as long as you are sensible you will be fine.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Holbox
I would say the best month to visit Holbox would be June/July. It is technically hurricane season but not yet the peak of the season. However, the main draw to this wonderful island is the chance to see the majestic whale sharks that arrive during hurricane season.
So to be able to see them and not get blown away, June/July is your best bet.
When Is Hurricane Season in Holbox?
Hurricane season in Holbox runs from the end of May to the start of November, with the most activity being between August and October.
Is Holbox worth visiting?
Hell yeah, it is!
Holbox is pretty unique compared to the other touristy destinations in that part of Mexico. If you have enough time and want to really relax or experience what all of the Yucatan and Quintana Roo would’ve been like not too long ago, then I highly recommend paying a visit to Holbox.
Are there any ATMs on Holbox?
Yes, there are a couple of ATMs on Holbox Island but they are notoriously unreliable. I would advise you to prepare for them to just not work and try to make sure you have plenty of cash on you before you go to the Island, just in case.
When is the whale shark season on Holbox?
Whale sharks are known to arrive in Holbox around mid-June and stay for as long as mid-September.
How many days do you need in Holbox?
We would recommend spending at least 2 days in Holbox to allow you to experience at least one night and morning there. There is plenty to do to fill up a week but that might start to feel a little long if you aren’t used to quiet island life.
We spent 4 days in Holbox and that was plenty.
How much money do you need for a day in Holbox?
This is a tricky one to answer because it depends on what you want to do with your day. But to give you some ideas;
- An average meal for 2 people will cost you around $25-30
- The ferry to and from the Island is around $25 for a return ticket
- A beer costs around $3
- Many activities listed above are free so that can save you money
- Hire a cheaper sun bed for the day for $8
- Hire a bike for the day for $9
- Renting Kayaks or paddle boards for $20-40
- Taking a longer boat trip can cost anywhere from $100 upwards
Best Things To Do In Holbox – Final Thoughts
Holbox Island has a special way of making you want to put down your phone and appreciate how simply satisfying life can be. You could do everything on this list or absolutely nothing at all and still have the best time.