How to get to Holbox Island ? In short, there are 2 main methods of transportation to Holbox Island: plane and road. Located off the north coast of the Yucatan, Holbox Island is one of the lesser-known treasures of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.
As the crow flies, Holbox is 60.9 km north-west of Cancun. This peaceful island does have a small air strip. However, if you are travelling by road, the only means of getting to Holbox Island is by ferry from the mainland.
To catch the ferry to Holbox, you need to head to a small fishing village called Chiquila. This is the only location operating a ferry service to Holbox and is a 2-3 hour drive from Cancun.
How to Get to Holbox Island By Plane
How to Get to Isla Holbox By Road
To reach Holbox island by road, you need to head to the small fishing port of Chiquila in the north of the Yucatan peninsula. From here, you are obliged to take the ferry to Holbox.
If you decide to travel by road there are 3 options: public transport, self-drive or private shuttle.
The fishing port of Chiquila is found in the northern end of the state of Quintana Roo. You will arrive here by bus or by car. If you have a car, you need to park it in Chiquila as no cars are allowed on Holbox Island. In Chiquila, you will find a gas station, grocery store and a restaurant. The main reason to go to Chiquila is to catch the ferry to Holbox Island. However , if you arrive between June and August, you can take a whale shark tour.
How Much is the Car Park in Chiquila ?
The cost of parking your car in a secure car park in Chiquila is approximately US$6 per day. In Chiquila, you will find plenty of car parks, just follow the signs of the locals along the road to the harbour.
How to Get to Holbox Island By Bus
Unless you are a Mexican citizen, bus tickets cannot be bought online and need to be purchased at bus terminals. However, ADO bus schedules can be accessed online at ADO Website and you can download the ADO app. Timetables for the second-class bus companies are not easily accessible. Kiosk attendants at the bus terminals can advise you of all the bus travel options for the day.
How to Get to Holbox From Cancun (3.5 hours)
How to Get to Holbox From Playa del Carmen (up to 3 hours)
How to Get to Holbox From Tulum (3.5 hours)
How to Get to Holbox From Valladolid (2.5 hours)
How to Get to Holbox From Merida (up to 5.5 hours)
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Please note that these bus times and prices are given as guidance only. They were correct at the time of writing this article. Check the ADO website for up-to-date information on times and prices for the days you want to travel at: ADO Website
‘Off the Tourist Treadmill’ Top Tip: When you arrive at Chiquila, check out the bus departures noticeboard at the small ADO desk. Take a photo for your return bus information. You can buy return/onwards tickets when you arrive at Chiquila or on the day of departure. If you want to buy food for the bus, it is best to purchase snacks from the many small street vendors before departure. If you’re not an expert on the different types of Mexican food, our useful to guide Mexican street food will be very helpful.
To make your bus journey more pleasant, we advise you to carry a refillable water bottle. We found this Cool Water Bottle on Amazon and we were surprised at how sturdy it was and it never leaked during our travels.
How to get to Holbox By Car
How to Drive from Cancun to Holbox (approximately 2 hours)
How to Drive from Merida (approximately 3.5 hours)/Valladolid (approximately 2 hours) to Holbox
Once you reach Chiquila, there are two ferry providers which operate a regular service between the small fishing village of Chiquila and Holbox: the ‘Holbox Express’ and ‘9 Hermanos’. There is no difference between the two companies which run the Chiquila-Holbox route. The Holbox ferry timetable starts at 6am and the last service to Holbox is 9pm. On the way back, the ferry starts at 5am and the last one is at 8pm.
How to Take the Ferry Holbox from Chiquila
On arrival at Chiquila, make your way to one of the ticket kiosks near the sea and they will advise you to purchase a ticket for whichever catamaran is departing first. Every half an hour, one of the ferries departs from the small quay.
Along, the jetty is a small waiting area with seats for the ferry Chiquila-Holbox. Some seats are in the open and some are covered which is handy if the weather is hot and you want some shade or if it rains! Once the catamaran arrives, they will announce the departure and you will be shown where to leave your larger luggage items. These will be loaded onto the ferry for you by the crew and you will then be directed to embark the ferry. You can choose to either sit in the open air seats on top of the ferry or those below deck. There are toilets on board for your comfort. We were entertained by some local musicians on our crossing. The ferry journey lasts about 20-30 minutes and the crossing costs about 100 pesos (about £4) per person.
There aren’t any hotels at Chiquila port but you can find overnight accommodating in the village of Chiquila. Booking.com is always a reliable place to find a good deal for the dates you are travelling.
How to Take a Taxi From Holbox Dock
When you arrive at Holbox dock, collect your luggage and follow everyone else along the landing jetty. There will be a line of yellow Holcar taxi golf-carts waiting to transport you to your accommodation. The taxi fares are not expensive. The only other alternative is to walk!
Of course, whether you are travelling by plane or by road, you need to keep your belongings safe. For for the latest information on how to choose and protect your backpack check our article about the Best Backpack for Travelers.
If you are still planning your trip and want to know how safe Mexico is, please read this article we wrote when we were wondering exactly the same thing: Mexico Safety.
What to Do and See on Holbox Island
We spent 4 days relaxing and exploring Holbox Island on foot and by bike. Our article about Holbox Island gives you plenty of useful tips about what to see and do during your visit as well as a short film about our stay. We’ve also put together a selection of photographs to show you what you can expect from this tranquil island and other interesting places on the Yucatan peninsula.
For more information about Holbox check our video
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Backpacking Mexico may not be something you’ve ever considered before. Like most people, my first visit to Cancun in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula