Rain or Shine – Holbox is always worth a visit!

Posted: November 6, 2013

Author: Journey Mexico

Below is a post submitted by our Marketing Manager, Susanne Prenzel.

It is true that most of the time we had the “rain” portion on our way to and from the island.   As soon as we were onboard the ferry from Chiquilá. to Holbox the clouds parted and we had the most beautiful sun shine with a most dramatic display of clouds in different shades of grey.

Holbox, a very little known island off the north half of the Yucatán Peninsula.  Reachable by car, the ride from Cancun takes between 1 hour 45 minutes (on the newly constructed road) and 2 hours and 30 minutes on the old route. The new road tends to be flooded during the rainy season.

Isla Holbox Map

October is a perfect time to visit the island.  Apart from extremely attractive rates and sublime temperatures, , you are virtually alone.  On our way in (I went with my 7 year old daughter), we were 6 people on the ferry, on our way out perhaps 15. Once outside of the little town of Holbox, you have the breath taking white sand beaches to yourself.

Casa Sandra

It was a brief but rejuvenating stay.  We checked into Casa Sandra early Saturday afternoon, after being treated for lunch (catch of the day) by friends in Chiquilá. We had a room facing the ocean, and my daughter, Daniela, could hardly be inspired to leave after “discovering” the hammock on the terrace.

The rooms are beautifully appointed with “no TV”!, a spacious sleeping area, mosquito net covered bed (we felt like a princesses), a terrace or balcony each with its own hammock and almost every room has a bathtub.  I loved the combination of sea meets Mexican décor.  Talavera sinks and little touches everywhere combined with what the ocean has to offer (a giant conch seashell as the shower head for example). The organic local bath amenities are wonderful…. honey infused shampoo and conditioner, and the repellent comes in handy!

Isla Holbox boutique hotel

Isla Holbox boutique hotel


Finally I was able to “convince” Daniela to step outside and we headed towards the beach to look for seashells.  We walked all the way north to Hotel Las Nubes, literary the last resort on the island, where I had set up a site inspection.  On the way, we sought for shelter underneath a beach palapa, as a brief but heavy shower caught us by surprise.  Almost reaching the resort,  my 7 year old daughter made a observation which astounded me… “Mami, I hear nothing but your footsteps in the sand, the weaves and crickets.  How great is that”.  The entire weekend she expressed her surprise about the tranquility of the island.

Arriving at Las Nubes, we were met by Marcella who treated us to some heavenly seafood inspired appetizers.  The ceviche without a doubt was one of the best I have ever had. The 28 room resort sits right on the ocean, the spa is a dream offering local and international treatments, the roof top sitting area offers breath taking views far out into the ocean, the menu is mouth watering and the service was gracious.

Las Nubes hotel in Island Holbox

We took a “taxi” back to Casa Sandra.  The island perhaps has 4 “real” cars.  Mode of transportation are bikes, motorcycles and most commonly golf carts.  The islanders are eager to conserve the local eco system.  And honestly the best way to get around is by golf cart as the “streets” are actually sand pathways.

The ocean is one giant bathtub, ideal for kids as along the shoreline it is very shallow. A sandbank stretches in front of the island, letting you walk right on it for miles.  Little patches are “taken over” by seagulls, pelicans and further north Flamingos.  Recommended though are sturdy beach/water shoes. We did return with a few cuts here and there from seashells in the water and the million you will find on the beach.

At night we ended up dining in a palapa right in front of the ocean.  It was the wish of my daughter to eat on the beach.  One the way our path was illuminated by hundreds of fire flies.  We were greeted by… “you were walking on the sand bank with you daughter this afternoon, correct”.  With only very few tourists on the island, you are bound to make an impact.  The islander are super friendly and always up for a chat. Eating on plastic chairs and tables, I need not say how amazingly delicious our dinner was.  Freshly prepared conch, sea snail meat, grilled with garlic and butter. Scrumptious.

Later on we literary fell into our heavenly soft beds and slept like babies.  Regrettably, and my only “complaint” is that Casa Sandra does not have mosquito nets in front of their windows.  The night was cool and it would have been great to have been able to sleep with the windows open in order to listen to the soothing sound of the ocean.

As we changed clocks from Saturday to Sunday, we were up very early.  I changed into the lovely caftan the hotel provides and we headed for the beach to take a long morning stroll and to work up an appetite.

holbox-dani holbox-susanne

Breakfast …. freshly prepared natural fruit juices, local fruits, home-made pineapple jam, banana bread, a good brew of Mexican coffee and eggs in any shape and form.  Need I say more. The a la carte menu is month watering and I cannot wait to return to try their lobster omelet.

Isla Holbox boutique hotel

After breakfast Eva showed me around the resort. Out of the 20 rooms, none is alike, the lush gardens are well groomed, the décor in the main house is a mixture of Mexican and international antiques. There is one suit which connects to a room with 2 beds, ideal for families.  The staff is extremely friendly and we ended up chatting with Karla from the restaurant about local customs and the people of Holbox.  It is a “natural” friendliness that followed us throughout the island (from the captain of the ferry to the “taxi” driver), not the fake “I am friendly because I want tips”.  There are plans to increase the number of rooms to eventually 30, with the idea of offering accommodations for the mobility impaired.  Thinking forward!!

One can rent bikes from the resort in order to explore the island.  My recommendation is to add a bike or 2 for kids, as unfortunately there are none. The hotels also offers sea and land excursion especially for the “long haul visitors”. We rented a golf cart through the hotel to further explore the island.  Unfortunately we were not able to go south as it had rained throughout the night BUT we got rewarded by going up north toward the river to see flocks of Flamingos.  We swam in shallow waters as close as we were able to, of course leaving our distance in order not to disturb them.  Again, we were literary the only ones on the beach.  I ended up carrying back a bag of at least 4 pounds of seashells.  Great memorabilia for my house.

It was time to head back to the hotel for a quick shower and off we went to catch the 2pm ferry.  We left the island full of memorable impressions and the desire to return as quickly as possible. I do not understand why people only think of La Riviera Maya … the drive from Cancun airport to Tulum takes about the same amount of time as to Holbox (especially now with the new shortcut).  The reward is beyond words!

Thank you Casa Sandra and Las Nubes!

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