I went to Holbox for 2 days, stayed 5 and wanted more. I arrived looking for the whale shark and ended up finding a Caribbean corner with a lot of magic and its own light.

How to get to Holbox

Getting to Holbox Island was the first adventure. From Cancun to Chiquilá there are only 3 buses per day, a route notorious for pickpockets, so take good care of your backpack. Once in Chiquilá there are 9 ferries to the island.

Chiquila → HolboxHolbox → Chiquila
6:00 a.m.5:00 a.m
8:00 a.m.7:00 a.m.
10:00 a.m.9:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m.10:00 a.m.
12:00 p.m.11:00 a.m.
1:00 p.m.12:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.1:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m.3:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m.4:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.6:00 p.m.
9:30 p.m.8:00 p.m.

Holbox village. Photograph by dolanh.

The whale shark, the pride of Holbox

My first impression was very pleasant. Holbox is still a town without big hotels or restaurants but with a cosmopolitan essence. Its veins are sandy streets and in them circulate bicycles, golf carts, locals and expatriates. Its pride is the whale shark, the largest and noblest fish on the planet.

The crossroads between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico gave birth to Holbox’s biodiversity. Dolphins, flamingos, turtles, pelicans, iguanas, crabs and even crocodiles are some of its hosts.

 Pizza de langosta. Los plantillos de langosta abundan y son relativamente económicos. Foto de Holbox.gob.mx.

Lobster pizza. Lobster dishes are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Photo from Holbox.gob.mx.

Lodging in Holbox

My home in Holbox was Tribu Hostel, a complete and colorful space created by a couple of travelers who couldn’t resist leaving the island. With ample common areas and an excellent atmosphere it was easy to make new friends and experience companions.

Tribu Hostel. Fotografía de TribuHostel.com.

Tribu Hostel. Photograph by TribuHostel.com.

“Hoy el agua
nace a borbollones
en mi corazón.
Me baña
la frescura de un canto.” – Humberto Ak’abal.

What to do in Holbox

From the hostel I signed up for the whale shark tour. We left in the morning by boat but a storm was brewing, shortly before we arrived, the captain reevaluated the weather and the best thing to do was to go back. The next day we were luckier, the weather was unbeatable but my first time snorkeling and swimming with a giant sounded exciting and intimidating in equal measure.

After 90 minutes skirting the island we saw the first shark and suddenly 3, 10 and then a huge spot of hundreds. Nervously, I entered the water and after a few kicks I was surrounded by giants concentrating on catching as much plankton as they could. I saw many up close, but the image of a huge whale shark passing its majestic length below me is something I will forever keep in my memory.


“En el agua veo mi rostro.
No éste que ves.
El agua no es espejo.
Mi puro yo
está más allá
de lo que soy.” – Humberto Ak’abal.

I was unconscious of the passing of time until the fifth and last night arrived. There was a full moon and I was craving for some sea and sand, when I got to the beach I got a big surprise, the water was shining. As I bathed in the warm sea, hundreds of blue sparks glowed. Maybe it was the plankton or just the magic of this phosphorescent Holbox.

Cover photo by Christopher William Adach. CC.