Holbox is a cozy little island in the north of the Mexican Caribbean. It is located within the nature reserve of Yum Balam (Jaguar Lord). In 1994, it was decreed a Flora and Fauna Nature Reserve. Holbox has beautiful beaches with pristine waters, colorful wooden houses and sand-swept streets. You can explore it by foot, rent a bike or a golf cart. It is a true paradise for relaxation, ideal for a pleasant getaway.
Lovers of authentic Mexican cuisine can take to Holbox's tiny downtown area and sample from the local restaurants. Sip mezcal and regional beer as you dine on excellent seafood, tacos, and unique local specialties like fresh-caught seafood platters and lobster pizza.
Because it's so peaceful and secluded, getting there means taking a 2-3 hour ride from either Playa del Carmen or Cancun to a small town called Chiquila where you take a ferry to Holbox. From Playa del Carmen you can drive, take a bus, or charter a private car. There are also companies at the Cancun airport offering shuttle services. Access Chiquila from either one, and then just hop on the next ferry! The reward after your journey is a small, postcard-perfect tropical island that feels like it's all your own. The best-kept secret of the Mexican Caribbean is out -- take advantage of it before the real crowds take notice!
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The Best Parts of Isla Holbox
Tips & Advice
Tips & Advice+
- GETTING THERE: Getting to Isla Holbox isn't as easy as hopping on a direct flight, but travelers are rewarded with the most serene island bliss you'll find in all of Mexico! Start with a flight to Cancun and then take a shuttle to the village of Chilaquila. Or, if you're in Playa del Carmen, take a bus or private taxi there. Buses aren't as luxurious as your own rental car, but they're cheap and will save you from the stress of driving in a foreign country. Once in Chilaquila, if you're renting a car, you can park for about 100 pesos per day. Hop the 30-minute ferry that takes you to Holbox. Reservations aren't needed; you can just show up and wait for the next boat!
- GETTING AROUND: Holbox is a no-car zone, so people get around on foot, on bike, and by electric golfcart. Walking is a popular option and usually all you need, but the island is beautiful to explore by bike. For longer distances you can always rent a golf cart. This is also an option in bad weather, but bad weather is so rare here, you'll probably never need it! For exploring the lagoon, there's no better way than with a kayak rental or boat charter.
- EMERGENCY NUMBERS: If you have an emergency in Holbox, dial 911! Although Mexico used to use "066," 911 became the official emergency number for all of Mexico in 2017. Operators probably won't sepak English, but if you can at least communicate your location, they can dispatch someone to help.
- GET THE SCOOP: Use the Mexican Caribbean's newly-relaunched website to get the scoop on weather, activities, hotel ideas, and more!
HELPFUL HONEYMOON HINTS
- BE A VIP: From arriving at Holbox to accommodations, meals, and romantic adventures after you arrive, book a package with a company specializing in Holbox travel or a Holbox hotel that offers a private transfer service. That way all the details are taken care of, and you can just kick back and enjoy the honeymoon.
- WHAT TO BRING: Because Holbox is remote and undeveloped, the kinds of services and amenities available in a place like Playa del Carmen won't be available. Plan ahead! For example, bring all your beach stuff -- towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, snorkels, and other items aren't widely available in beach shops here.
- THREE-ISLAND TOUR: On this tour you will visit Isla Pájaros, Isla Pasión and Yalahau. Isla Pájaros is an unhabited beach with lush vegetation where you will be able to admire different kinds of birds, like Pelicans, Seagulls, White Ibis, Herons, Storks and Flamingos. Isla Pasión is an inhabited islet, perfect for enjoying its unspoiled beach, the sun and the sea. You will be in complete touch with nature -- and each other!
- SWIM WITH SHARKS: Holbox's seas are teeming with whale sharks. These gentle giants are completely harmless, so you don't have to worry about safety, but swimming with them is a pulse-pounding rush all the same. Holbox is one of the only places in the world where you can share the sea with these majestic animals. The experience is only possible from May to September, so book your honeymoon to line up with shark movement patterns to go on this thrilling underwater safari.
- CHARTER A YACHT: A sunset cruise through Holbox's idyllic aquamarine lagoon is a must-do activity. If your bank account can't handle a five-star experience with cocktails and dinner prepared by an on-board chef, you can always charter a fishing boat, bring your own wine and corkscrew, and save a bundle while enjoying the exact same sunset!
- CENOTE YALAHAU: Located 30 minutes away by boat from Holbox, this enchanting fresh water spring is surrounded by mangroves and lush, dense tropical jungles. You can swim, soak, and splash, or admire it from above in a rustic, thatch-roofed palapa overlooking the water. The locals say that this cenote possess healing properties, which is why it is known as “fountain of eternal youth”.
- SEE THE BIOLUMINESCENCE: This phenomenon is pure magic...tiny glowing organisms light up coasts and lagoons in select areas, putting on a natural underwater lightshow that makes you feel like you've stumbled into a dream -- or a magical faraway planet!
- SNORKEL & SCUBA: Snorkeling and diving on Holbox is a dream. The lagoon is rich with wildlife, and the surrounding area has coral, caves, and so much more to discover.
- FISH & EAT: Holbox is a fishing village at heart, and you can get in on the action with a fishing trip out in the beautiful sky-blue sea. Even better, opt for a program that includes a meal cooked by a professional chef using your catch! Not only is it the freshest fish in town (even for a fishing town,) but it tastes even better when you caught it yourself!
- Bride, Groom & Witnesses should arrive early by 3-4 business days to fulfill all the wedding requirements
- Valid passports: Make sure passports are current and accurate. Brides who have been divorced need to use a passport with their maiden name, rather than any married names they held.
- Record the names, addresses, nationalities, ages, occupation, relationship, copy of a tourist card and a valid identification of all four witnesses. Your wedding planner or resort wedding coordinator can fill out the legal form. Your witnesses can be anyone who has a valid passport.
- Blood test: A blood test is required. It costs $300 USD plus taxes (per couple), and it must be taken in Mexico. Take the test within 10 to a maximum of 12 days prior to your ceremony, or it may not be considered valid. The purpose is to test for HIV, STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) and blood type, . The results will be ready in 24 hours, along with a certificate of completion. Talk to your wedding planner or resort wedding coordinator to arrange the blood test for you as soon as possible after your arrival in Mexico.
- It costs around $500 USD + taxes for the city hall court fees and application process.
- Ensure that your four witnesses all have a valid passport & tourist card along with their names, addresses, nationalities, ages, occupation, and your relationship to them. Your wedding planner can give you all required forms.
- Your Marriage Certificate is only valid in Mexico. To ensure it will be recognized internationally, you need to send a copy to Mexico's Validation Processing office. The fee is $165 USD + taxes, and processing can take anywhere from 1-3 months. Once the document is apostilled, the resort will send all documentation to your home address. Documents will be in Spanish, and many resorts offer translation services for an additional fee.