I first heard whispers of Isla Holbox (pronounced ‘ol bosh’) when I was in the ultra chill town of El Remate on the lake Petén Itzá in northern Guatemala. It was supposed to be a small island in Mexico where there wasn’t so much tourism yet, very relaxed vibes, no motor vehicles, beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise water, and a place to go see whale sharks. I was sold.
I was in the super Americanized city of Playa Del Carmen and I found out that Isla Holbox was primarily marketed as a ‘day trip’ destination for the all-inclusive resort folk. After spending a long last night night partying (50USD for open bar and cover for the DJ, why not?) I decided to get the hell outta there. I’d been to the Playa Del Carmen area four times in my life already and that was more than enough.
To get to Holbox I had to take a bus to the small coastal town of Chiquilá, then a ferry or boat for 30 minutes to get to the island itself. At the time I was traveling with a Swedish friend of mine and we raced to our hostel to beat the other backpackers we saw on the bus and luckily were able to get the very last room. It was totally sold out and I could see why. Tribu Hostel was easily one of the best hostels I have ever stayed at.
Tribu hostel itself was kind of a destination. It looked like a purple castle in the sand. The rooms were excellent and the beds comfortable. Every night they had live music in the main bar, which was where most people on the island came for some entertainment. Also, every evening on the rooftop, they had sunset yoga overlooking the ocean. The atmosphere was always great with chill and friendly vibes. I met a lot of cool people.
Unfortunately, we had arrived to Isla Holbox one week before whale shark season, so if we took a boat out to the ocean we wouldn’t see any of those majestic creatures. Instead we occupied ourselves exploring the gorgeous island. The beaches were huge and the crystal blue water was shallow, so you could walk out pretty far.
Hold up a second.
Are you enjoying this post?
At some points there were sand bars built up so you could walk out to your own little mini island. One of the most fun days I had there was renting a golf cart, ripping around the island, driving on the beaches, blasting music and drinking beers.
I could really notice the lack of tourists compared to other spots in Mexico; there were barely any compared to any other place in the Yucatan. Holbox is also a kite-boarding spot, but I didn’t partake in lessons because I was being cheap.
I loved the fact that Holbox was also covered in street art. It was all over the island. A lot of the pieces were surreal and comprised of vibrant colors.
Easily some of the best days I had traveling through Mexico and Latin America were in Isla Holbox. The whole combination of Hostel Tribu with the tranquil and beautiful island was bliss. I could have spent longer there, but I made an impulsive decision to fly to Medellin, Colombia, a place I would get stuck for a long time.