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Holbox Island, pronounced hole-bosh in English, is a small island in Mexico located off of the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Famous for its large congregation of whale sharks, the enchanting island is the ideal destination for nature lovers and all those who want to find the tranquility of one of the few remaining paradises on Earth.

42 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide, Holbox Island offers 36 kilometers of pristine white coralline sand beaches. Located within the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, Holbox is considered to be one of the world’s most important ecological regions and is home to a spectacular and unique array of wildlife and ecosystems.

Situated at the confluence of the currents from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the waters surrounding Holbox Island are some of the most nutrient-rich waters of the entire region. As a result, the marine life of the island is as rich as it is diverse, offering sea life from whale sharks and manta rays to dolphins, lobster, octopus, eagle rays, and sea turtles. Moreover, Holbox Island is separated from the mainland by the Yalahau Lagoon, home to over 150 different species of birds as well as numerous species of reptiles and fish.

A two-hour drive from Cancun, Holbox Island is only accessible by ferry or by air. Since ancient Maya times, the island has been a place of special beauty enjoyed by inhabitants and visitors alike for its peace and tranquility. In fact, the name Holbox comes from Mayan and means “black hole.” This is thought to be in reference to the dark tint of the waters of the Yalahau Lagoon, which separates the island from the mainland.

Thanks to the efforts to preserve Holbox as a virgin tourist destination, the island has largely remained unspoiled by mass tourism.

holbox island coastline
holbox island


Today, the town of Holbox is a small fishing village of approximately 2,000 inhabitants whose white sand streets are lined with colorful thatched roofs of Caribbean-style houses. Indeed, no street is paved in Holbox and people mostly transit around by foot or on bicycle. Mopeds and golf carts are also available.

There are numerous accommodation possibilities on the island, ranging from camping sites and hostels to quaint boutique hotels. And although international and national dishes can easily be found, the island’s culinary forte is the fresh fish and seafood brought in from local fishermen. One legendary dish on the island is lobster pizza.

Tourists who come to the island fall in love with this small piece of lost paradise and its wonderful attractions. Its tranquil, shallow jade green waters mean that swimming can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill. Thanks to the consistent wind gusts that reach the island, Holbox is also a great place to learn or practice kite surfing.

During the months of May through October, Holbox hosts the world’s biggest congregation of the whale shark–the largest fish on the planet. These majestic creatures, which can measure up to 15 meters in length, come every year to these plankton-rich waters to feed. Because of their extremely docile nature, it is possible to swim alongside these docile giants and observe them in their natural habitat. Swimming with the whale sharks is definitely an unforgettable experience.

Many people from all over the world also come to Holbox because of its world-class fishing. The island is home to one of the world’s most significant tarpon habitats, making it a fisherman’s paradise for fly and lure fishing. Moreover, bone fish, barracuda, snapper, permit and crevalle jack are also abundant here in the spring and summer and Holbox is a great year-round destination for many different types of fish.


Yet another great attraction for nature lovers is the wide variety of bird species that call Holbox their home. Bird-watchers will be treated with the delight of traveling to a part of the Yalahau lagoon known as Isla Pajaros, or Bird Island. At any given time of the year, at least 20 different bird species can be found here. Thanks to its warm, tropical climate and abundance of food resources, the island also provides a home to many migratory birds. Among the many birds that can be seen at Isla Pajaros are the pink flamingos, white and brown pelicans, double-crested cormorant, snowy and reddish egrets, roseate spoonbills and boatbilled Herons.

Other activities include the whale shark tour in Holbox island, booking your hotels in Holbox Island, transportation and transfer from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Tulum or Merida to Holbox island, kayaking, snorkeling, or a visit to a freshwater spring considered by the Mayas to be a sort of Fountain of Youth. In addition, the Yum Balam Nature Reserve not only includes Holbox island, but also several different ecosystems on the mainland, such as the Corchal, the largest forest of cork trees in all Mexico, located in nearby Solferino.

From Holbox Island, tours can also be organized to the ancient Mayan ruins of Ek Balam, Chichen Itza, Tulum, Uxmal, Merida and many other destinations of the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula. We also have boats in Cancun to do the whale shark swimming tour from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Tulum, isla Mujeres.

Come to Holbox island, and experience life as it should be!

reptile on tree
girls drinking on beach