My little adventures south of the border.

Last Stop – Isla Holbox

I feel like everyone has merely been tolerating my posts so far on this trip because I keep getting e-mails or messages from people wanting to know what I thought of Isla Holbox.  So here it is, and I have to give a warning…this is a very long post with almost 100 photos.  I thought of dividing the post into several parts, but since I was basically on the island for only a day and a half, I just decided to do it all at once.

I had done a little bit of research before I went on my trip to see what the best way would be to get from Valladolid to Chequila, where I would catch the ferry to the island.  I did find out that there is a bus from Merida that stops at Valladolid at 2:30 in the morning and gets to Chequila at 5:00 a.m.  I may have considered that at one point, but my cold was at its worst on Tuesday and Wednesday, so there was no way I could handle that.  So my plan on Wednesday morning was to take the bus to Cancun and then another one to Chequila.  On my way to the bus station, I passed the taxis and collectivos where I got one to Ek Balam, and on a whim, I asked a taxi driver if he would take me to Chequila for 500 pesos.  He didn’t seem at all interested, but then another driver came up while we were talking and said he’d do it for 800 pesos.  I only had to think for a moment because I was not looking forward to two long bus rides which would have taken up much of the day paired with the fun of sniffling and sneezing along the way.  By the way, 800 pesos is equivalent to about $45 US dollars, which seemed really reasonable to me since I’ve heard that taxi fares to Chequlia from Cancun are over $120 US dollars.  So off we went.

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The ride was about two hours and we got there five minutes before the ferry was about to leave.  It cost 120 pesos and takes 20-30 minutes.  I didn’t have time to take pictures in Chequila, but here’s the inside of the ferry.  It’s definitely smaller than the ones that go to Isla Mujeres.

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Unfortunately, it was raining that day.

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Here’s what the outside looks like as we arrive at Isla Holbox.

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And the pier…

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Pier towards the island…

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They use golf carts for taxis here…

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My hotel (Casa Barbara) was pretty close to the ferry.  It sits kind of in the middle of the island.  (This is actually a picture I got from the internet because I forgot to take a picture of it myself. They’ve painted it since then as you can see in the picture that I did take below in which the courtyard shows it as being pink and blue now.)

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They have a nice little pool…

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And the grounds are very lush and green.  It was a very peaceful and quiet setting.

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Since my legs were virtually non-usable after climbing the ruins at Ek Balam, I was thinking to myself, “Please, please please let my room be on the first floor!!” when I checked in to the hotel.  No such luck…second floor for me.  I was just thankful it wasn’t the third floor.  Here’s my room…

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It was a nice room and a nice hotel, but after being in rooms that had big doors that opened up the room to the outside, I kind of missed that in this one.

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I don’t know if that is meant to be a seat in the shower??  There was another area for toiletries, so if it IS a seat, only a 3-year-old child would be comfortable sitting there.

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Cool ceiling…

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So it’s time to do some exploring.  Just to give you an idea, here is the map of Isla Holbox.  As you can see, most of the island is uninhabited and most of the restaurants are located in the downtown area.

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I wanted to rent a golf cart to explore the island, but the rain put a damper on that.  When I went downstairs to leave the hotel, I looked into the neighbor’s yard.  That’s a little bit of water there.

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And here’s a picture of a side street.  It was still raining when I went out, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.  Water was everywhere.  The streets are very hard sand that has been pounded down with the traffic.  But when it rains, all that water puddles and the sand turns to silt and it’s very slippery…and such a mess!  People are traipsing around in this stuff and tracking it into shops and restaurants.  I have to hand it to these people for dealing with this every time it rains.

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So I headed downtown and saw this on the way.  It’s my favorite picture of the whole trip.

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And here’s the beach.  I was a little surprised to see that the water wasn’t a clear blue like it is along the Caribbean side of the Yucatan Peninsula.

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I stopped for some lunch at this place which sat on the beach.

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Nice view from my table…

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The fresh fish was very good…

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This pregnant little missy (or Mrs.) kept me company.  She looked like she was ready to pop!  [Update:  After posting this, a reader informed me that the cat is not pregnant…she is just fat.  Hahaha…my bad!]

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So that’s about all I had the energy for my first day.  My cold was at its worst, so I just went back to the hotel room to rest so that I would be in better shape the next day.  I ventured out to get a pizza from  here later in the evening…

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But I forgot to take a picture of it before I ate it…very tasty.

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The rest of the evening was spent watching old Mexican movies and cuddling with my box of kleenex.

I did feel better the next day and the sun was shining, so that was good!  I took a lot of pictures because I knew I had to leave before dawn the next morning.  So here we go.  I’m not going to comment on every photo…I was just taking pictures of anything.

The streets were still a mess and you really had to be careful walking through the puddles because it was so slippery.

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Something new being built on the main street.

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Here was a place that was selling plants.  If I lived there, I would be buying from this guy all the time.

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No, the dog wasn’t dead…he just chose the middle of the street to take a little siesta.  I saw quite a few Dachshunds on the  island

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The water looked a little clearer this morning.

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Toes in Holbox sand…

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Another favorite photo.  This handsome guy was standing in this boat like he was the captain.

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I saw him again later…I think he thought these guys had some food.

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The seaweed was pretty bad here, too…just like it apparently is everywhere else.  These boys were putting it in crates to haul away.

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And these guys were piling it together to take it away.

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What a job that would be…and it’s never-ending! It’s not like they’ll get rid of the seaweed one day and then it will never come back!

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There were a bunch of these scattered around in the seaweed.  They look alien-like.

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And pretty ugly…

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I don’t know what this structure used to be a part of, but it’s probably a landmark.

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I stopped for breakfast at a little place…I forgot to get the name of it, but it was right next to Holbox Dream hotel.  Huevos Mexicanos…muy bien.

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The beach here has lots of little shells in some places.

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This little cutie was having fun.

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I walked out on a long pier to take these pictures.

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And here’s a 180 degree view…


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And now let’s head into town.  There are lots of murals on the buildings.

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There are a lot of dogs on the island, but they’re all very well behaved.  Most of them seem to stay right where they live.

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A rather strange one…

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They had lots of things for kids in the zocalo…

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The local church…

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A beautiful door…

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I could see myself living here…

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I went back to the hotel to change clothes and found this.  How sweet.

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You don’t find that at the Red Roof Inn in the United States, that’s for sure.  And they charge more!

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I went back to the Amaite Hotel where I got the fish to get a shrimp cocktail because it’s a nice place to sit and watch the water and the activity.

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While I was sitting there, it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen a single beach vendor.  Then this little guy walked by.  There were a couple other women selling purses and jewelry, but that’s it.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon reading an relaxing on the beach, but came back later in the evening for dinner at the place across the street from the Amaite Hotel, but it was too dark to get a picture.

The Amaite Hotel puts tables out on the piers at night with torches.  How romantic!

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Just some shots walking back to the hotel.  As you can see, it wasn’t very crowded at all…especially still being the high season.

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And the streets are finally all dry.

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Merry Christmas and  a prosperous new year!

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My flight back to San Antonio was at 4:00 the next day, but between the ferry and bus schedules, I had to take the first ferry out at 7:00 a.m. to get to the airport in enough time. It was pitch black when everyone showed up at the ferry, but things went pretty smoothly.  When we got to Chequila, the ADO bus was waiting.  The girl at the hotel told me that the bus would cost 150 pesos, but when I gave the driver exactly 150 pesos, I got change back, so I don’t know how much it actually ended up being.  Unfortunately, I was one of the last people to get on and I had to stand.  UGH!!  I stood for an hour and 45 minutes before two young girls got up and offered their seats to me and another woman standing.  It was a three hour ride back to Cancun…then I had to catch another bus to the airport.

So that was my trip to Holbox.  It was WAY too short and I wish I hadn’t had the cold.  I’ve been traveling to Mexico for the last 10 years and I’ve never gotten sick once, so I guess I should consider myself lucky that this was the first time.

Holbox is very unspoiled, quiet and peaceful.  It is not as expensive as other towns and cities along the Caribbean side of the Yucatan Peninsula.  I wish I could have explored the island, but I really didn’t have enough time to do that, especially considering the rain.  Next time, I would spend at least a week there to try out more restaurants and a different hotel, although I really did enjoy Casa Barbara.

All in all, my trip to Mexico this time was good, but a little different.  On previous trips, I mostly ran into tourists from the US and Canada.  This time, I heard more languages spoken than I’ve ever heard before.  People were traveling from all over the world and I think the United States was the least represented.  That’s not a bad thing…it was just different for me.

I’ll end with this shot from the ferry as we headed for Chequila.  Adios, Mexico.

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11 responses

  1. mchughbeck

    Thanks Deb! I’m still looking at hotels and dates in April. Love all the photos!

    January 19, 2016 at 12:59 am

    • Thanks, Beck. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your side of things.

      January 19, 2016 at 2:15 am

  2. What a fantastic post and as usual exquisite pictures. I’m amazed because I thought Hobox was boring, mainly because there were few people to interact with around town. Maybe it got livelier in the last 5 years. I got a terrible cold for a week once on IM and it’s the pits. I was hoping you traveled to a lot more places but glad to have this set of posts and pictures. You’re the BEST! Tolerating tour posts??? Not a chance! Helen

    January 19, 2016 at 1:05 am

    • Thanks, Helen! The cold totally sucked, for sure. Holbox is definitely not as busy as Isla Mujeres, but I liked the laid-back vibe. I would definitely go back.

      January 19, 2016 at 2:17 am

  3. Just an FYI. The cat at Amaite is not pregnant she is just very fat! We have known her for a number of years.

    January 19, 2016 at 1:28 am

    • Hahahaha…that made me laugh out loud, Kim. That’s what I get for assuming things! She IS fat!

      January 19, 2016 at 1:33 am

  4. Amy

    Deb,
    I love all of your posts, no matter where you go. Your pics are so beautiful. Holbox looks pretty much like it did when I was there in 2008.
    Were the mosquitoes a problem there?

    January 19, 2016 at 2:13 am

    • I’ve heard so many things about mosquitos there, but didn’t see a single one while I was there. Maybe it depends on the time you go?? Thanks for the compliments, Amy.

      January 19, 2016 at 2:18 am

  5. Jennette

    It was nice to read about your experience in Holbox. I’m heading there at the end of October with a friend who lives in Merida. We are both looking forward to peace and tranquility and that seems to be what this island is all about 🙂

    September 10, 2016 at 2:41 am

  6. 🙂

    June 28, 2017 at 1:10 pm

  7. Lucas

    What a great place, I did went last year and did the whaleshark tour with Holbox Travel, I hired a private transport from the airport with them as well.

    The pllace itself its wort traveling to, but the whaleshark tour is one of the best things, try with http://www.holboxtravel.com

    November 13, 2017 at 6:48 pm

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