Holbox Island – the Mayan black hole

By Stef Zisovska
Publish Date:

If you’re dreaming of an island vacation not too far from the States, then you should maybe start thinking about Mexico. No, we’re not talking about Cancun or Tulum, we’re talking about Holbox Island.


This tiny island (26 miles ling and 0,9 miles wide) is a hidden gem of the Yucatan Peninsula and a part of the Mexican state Quintana Roo. Between the island and the mainland, there is a shallow lagoon where visitors can see the beautiful flamingos and pelicans.

Holbox is a home to many exotic bird species, so if you are someone who likes bird watching, you’ll love this place for sure.



The name of the island means a black hole in Yucatec Maya.


Holbox Island is a well-kept secret that noisy tourist groups haven’t discovered, yet. The people who live here are mostly fishermen, which is the island’s principal industry.

The most significant catch in this fishing culture is the lobster. It has the center spot in the island cuisine along with other seafood.


Lobster – Author:The Pancake of Heaven – CC BY-SA 4.0
Lobster – Author:The Pancake of Heaven – CC BY-SA 4.0

There are attempts to develop tourism through organizing whale and shark watching tours. People are also allowed to swim with these majestic ocean beasts.

Holbox Island has a rich past as an asylum for fugitives. The island was settled originally by Mayan Families who were accommodating pirates in the 18th century and giving them a place to stay. A few of them decided to quit pirating and stayed as residents on the island. Their descendants are today’s Holbox locals.

There is a local legend that says that on  July 25, 1953, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro had a fish supper and sleepover on the island before returning to Cuba to launch the Revolution.


Holbox city aerial – Author: Dronepicr – CC BY 3.0
Holbox city aerial – Author: Dronepicr – CC BY 3.0

The Gulf of Mexico is maybe not the Caribbean crystalline blue, but it’s very calm and warm. The beach is long, white and widely decorated with sea shells and horseshoe-crab skeletons.

Having a vacation here will be a revelation for the whole family. The bird lovers can admire the gathering of the pink flamingos and the fish fans will have the chance to swim with the biggest fish in the world, the 40-foot whale shark.


Whale shark
Whale shark

The island is reachable by ferry from the coastal town of Chiquila and cars are forbidden. Locals and visitors use golf carts and mopeds to move around. There are flights from Cancun and Playa del Carmen that fly directly to Holbox.


Holbox beach
Holbox beach

Holbox Island is considered as a virgin tourist destination with enormous potential. As long as the construction companies and beach resorts are far from the island, there is a chance for Holbox to be a unique beach paradise that will thrive in the same spirit for many more years, keeping its history and beauty intact.

If you want to experience something different this summer, try planning your trip to Holbox Island and have a great remote adventure!

By the way, the best time to visit is from June ’till September. Have fun!


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