‘I want to go back to the beach’ is what Diana said last year in March after we had been living in San Cristobal de las Casas for seven months. So we decided to go back to the beautiful island that stole our hearts back in december 2011 when we started this lifestyle: Isla Holbox.
Now, after almost ten months on this beautiful island we surely enjoyed that beach! Steven ran his first marathon, Diana swam a record distance in open water, we made sooo many many new friends and learned so much about the sweet spots of this paradise. We have selected a top ten for you:
1. Swim with the whale sharks
Isla Holbox is famous for these beautiful creatures that come here every year from May 15th to August 15th. Boats from Holbox will take you to the place where they are eating their plankton (the reason they visit Holbox). Whale sharks are around 12-15 meters in length and don’t eat humans;) this is a good thing because swimming next to them is fairly easy and a life changing experience. Prices are around $100,- and include lunch and a stopover at two other beautiful spots. See our movie here
2. Get drunk in ‘Mezcalito’
The most (in)famous bar on the island. Great live music, reasonably priced drinks and a great atmosphere to meet fellow travelers or partying locals. Make sure to get there after eleven because you will be alone before that time. Order a big bottle of beer for only 70 pesos, some mezcal to get you started and enjoy!
3. Stay in hostel Ida y Vuelta
The natural vibe that you feel in this hostel is just amazing. We have spent almost nine months in this hostel and we have made a lot of friends here. Especially the five magic hammocks in the center are a great conversation starter. You will hear many differ languages and meet travelers, tourists, backpackers and long stay island lovers. Antonio (chef of the restaurant) offers great breakfast, fish, lasagna or all-you-can-eat pizza nights. Make sure to ask David and Saschia (the owners) to stay in a cabin with the sand floor, this way you never leave the beach:)
4. Have breakfast at ‘Las Tortugas’
One of the best hotels on the island is Las Tortugas. We stayed here the first time in December 2011 and during our last stay we returned especially for their breakfast menu and breathtaking view of the beach and the ocean. Enjoy excellent coffee, delicious bread and the best juices on the island. Bring a little money though because quality comes with a price.
5. Eat pizza at Cariocas
We have tried all the pizzas on the island and there are no better Italian pizzas than at Cariocas. They are located at a small street towards the center and you get a real taste of Holbox while enjoying a spicy ‘Diavola’ or when you share a romantic lobster pizza. Prices are average and the bald owner is a friendly guy.
6. Enjoy the sunset at ‘Las Nubes’
The last hotel on the strip before entering the Holbox wilderness is Las Nubes. It is also the most expensive hotel but definitely worth paying a visit. If you have the budget, get your room here and enjoy being far away from everybody else. If you are traveling with a little less, make sure to stop by around sunset treat yourself to a cocktail (100 pesos) and a magnificent view.
7. Wade through the ocean from ‘Las Nubes’ to ‘Punta Mosquito’
With low water you can walk from Las Nubes all the way to last part of the island. If you walk slowly you will be surrounded by pelicans, flamingos and if you are lucky even dolphins. Make sure to bring some sunblock and water though because we have seen people return red like lobsters.
8. Get some real French baguettes or croissants at ‘El Jardin’
Another hidden secret is this little French bakery around five blocks away from the city center. The owner is French but don’t try to impress with him with your French words when you are not, he will simply ignore you. His bread, coffee and croissants are delicious and very well priced. Make sure to arrive early though, he sells out before ten thirty and try the baguette with ham and cheese!
9. Have some cocktails at the rooftop bar in ‘Hotel Arena’
If you enjoy lounge music, sunset and a great view of the island, this is the place for you. The music is always good, the beer always cold and there is even jacuzzi this rooftop bar on the center square. On windy nights you might want to take a sweater but is perfect for a romantic evening or the start of you night out on Holbox. Good prices and 2 for 1 during the sunset.
10. Visit ‘Punta Coco’ in a Golf Cart or bike
To get a good impression of the island, rent a bike or a golf cart. We prefer the bike but the golf cart is so typical for Holbox that you can rent them everywhere. Stock up on some beers, chips and wine and drive with your friends to the west part of the island ‘Punta Coco’. Enjoy the sunset, the quiet beaches and playing flamingos while having some drinks on this I forgettable place.
Secret tip: Do nothing!
This is our top ten, the list could have been much longer but don’t forget, we were here ten months. Holbox is also the perfect place to absolutely nothing and we strongly recommend you to do just that! Pick your favorite from the list above and also take time to chill.
We also have five tips for when you travel to Holbox:
1. Bring enough cash, the cash machines don’t always work;
2. Bring some mosquito repellent;
3. The last boat leaves at 21.30 don’t miss it;
4. Take a golf cart taxi when you get off the ferry, it’s only 30 pesos and a great experience;
5. Be careful when traveling to Chiquila (the harbor) by bus, we have heard stories of luggage getting stolen.
Want to know more? Give us a ping! And please enjoy these pictures:)