Want to know how to get from Cancun to Isla Holbox? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the three ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Isla Holbox
Isla Holbox is a unique destination near Cancun, but not at all as busy. This island paradise is probably Quintana Roo’s best-kept secret. That’s a miracle, considering how even its houses engross visitors with all the amazing street art.
But the island’s main draw is its natural wonders. Perfect for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers, protected areas make up a huge part of Isla Holbox. Our favourite: the whale sharks. This is one of the best places to swim with them ethically. That’s because they created really strict guidelines to make sure the whale sharks are protected while we humans are having fun!
3 ways to get from Cancun to Isla Holbox
There are three ways to travel the distance of 67 km (42 miles) from Cancun to Isla Holbox: by private flight (30 minutes), bus/minivan + ferry (2h55m-3h20m) and private transfer (2.5 hours). The journey takes between 30 minutes - 3h20m and the quickest way is by private flight. The lowest priced tickets start from 642 MXN ($37) for the bus/minivan + ferry.
Ferries to Holbox leave from Chiquila Port. Luckily, you don’t have to book the tickets to this port separately. You can book one ticket that includes the minivan from Cancun to Chiquila Port and the ferry from the port to Holbox. Tickets cost 607 MXN ($35) for the entire trip.
Booking a combined ticket from Cancun to Isla Holbox is the most convenient option for this journey.
First, you will be transferred by minivan from Cancun to the port in Chiquila, a town on the north coast, 140 km northwest of Cancun. This journey takes about 2.5 hours.
In Chiquila, you will be transferred to a ferry that will bring you to Holbox in just 20 minutes.
Departure station in Cancun
The minivan from Cancun to Chiquila departs from the shuttle station next to the Soriana Supermarket in downtown Cancun. This station is across the street from ADO Bus Station.
If you booked a combined ticket, the bus driver will lead you to the boat going to Holbox. This boat departs from Chiquila Ferry Terminal.
Arrival station in Holbox
Ferries arrive at Holbox main dock. We suggest checking in advance if the location of your accommodation in Isla Holbox is near this pier.
If your hotel isn’t within walking distance from the port, you can ride a golf cart providing taxi service right outside the dock. You can also rent one of these carts or a bike for a whole day to move around the island.
Combined Minivan and Ferry Schedule from Cancun to Isla Holbox
We suggest booking a combined minivan and ferry ticket when travelling from Cancun to Isla Holbox. This way, you don’t need to worry about any transfers or having to book 2 tickets.
However, if this direct option is already fully booked, you can still make this journey on your own.
Booking tickets from Cancun to Holbox separately
Is the combined ticket option not available?
Below we continue with a step-by-step guide on how to book your tickets separately when the combined tickets are already sold out.
It’s basically the same journey, you just have to buy two separate tickets and take care of your own transfers.
Step 1: Cancun to Chiquila by Bus or Minivan
Costs: 434 MXN ($25)
Costs: 434 MXN ($25)
For the first part of the journey from Cancun to Chiquila, you can either take a public bus or a minivan.
Both options take around 2.5 hours. We don’t recommend one over the other as both offer a reliable service, so it will really depend on your preference.
It’s good to keep in mind that as buses are bigger vehicles, they offer more space between seats and are more comfortable. On the other hand, minivans have more daily trips.
Option 1: By Bus
Buses going from Cancun to Chiquila depart from ADO Bus Station along Calle Pino in downtown Cancun. ADO Bus, Mexico’s largest bus company, offers three kinds of buses for this route: ADO Primera, ADO Prima and ADO Conecto.
ADO Primera and Prima are both regular first-class buses — basic but comfortable. Conecta buses are more of a minibus, made for short-distance journeys.
There are 8 ADO bus departures daily. You can get a ticket for 452 MXN ($25).
Bus/Minivan + Ferry options from Cancun to Isla Holbox
With an ADO Bus, you can expect air-conditioning and reclining seats. Since this is a relatively short trip, note that some vehicles won’t have a toilet, unlike most buses in Mexico.
Option 2: By Minivan
There are three companies operating minivans from Cancun to Chiquila. These are Chiquila Holbox Extreme, Holbox Shuttle, and Transfer Holbox.
Chiquila Holbox Extreme also offers direct rides including the ferry ticket which we discussed at the beginning of this section.
Most minivans depart from the parking lot next to the Soriana Supermarket in downtown Cancun. This is across the street from ADO Bus Station. You can also book a minivan that will pick you up from Cancun Airport.
Minivans operate every day, and depart more frequently compared to buses. The ride from Cancun to Chiquila takes about 2.5 hours with fares starting from 380 MXN ($21).
We recommend booking your ride online beforehand to skip a potential queue at the ferry terminal. If you book your Holbox ferry trip with 9 Hermanos, your ticket will be valid throughout the day, so no worries about missing your ferry!
If you are travelling in a group, you can also book private transport from Cancun to Holbox. It’s still not direct, but the company you book with will take care of both your private shuttle and Chiquila Holbox ferry.
A private transfer is particularly convenient if you’re coming from Cancun Airport, which is around 20 km from the city centre. When taking a taxi from the airport, you can go straight from your desired location to Chiquila, without having to go to Cancun centre first.
Rates for a private transfer start from 4,803 MXN ($275) for 4 passengers max. If you’re travelling in a larger group, there are private transfers that can accommodate up to 6 passengers with rates from 8,098 MXN ($465). Prices already include the ferry tickets from Chiquila to Holbox.
Travel time with a private ride from Cancun Airport to Holbox Island takes 2.5 hours.
Keep in mind that only your minivan transfer from Cancun to Chiquila is private. The ferry from Chiquila to Holbox is shared.
Alternative: Private transfer from Cancun to Chiquila
Private transfers from Cancun to Holbox are not always available. If this is the case on the date of your travel, or if you simply want to make a stop in Chiquila first, then you can also book a private transfer from Cancun to Chiquila.
From Chiquila, you just need to transfer on your own to a ferry going to Holbox.
Rates for a private car from Cancun to Chiquila start from 2,714 MXN ($150) when coming from Cancun Airport. From Cancun city centre, it’s 3,075 MXN ($170). You can book your ride on BookAway.
At Chiquila Port, you will find the ferries bound for Isla Holbox. Ferry prices start from 217 MXN ($12). For more info, check out our detailed guide for the Chiquila-Holbox ferry.
Cancun to Isla Holbox by Private Flight
Duration: 30 minutes
Starts from: 14,045 MXN ($810)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 14,045 MXN ($810)
There are also small private flights operating from Cancun to Isla Holbox. This is more an experience on its own than just a trip to get from A to B. With this flight, you’ll get a bird’s eye view not just of Isla Holbox, but the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
Flights Cancun operates air taxis from Cancun to Isla Holbox. Rates start from 14,045 MXN ($810) for a private plane that can accommodate 5 people. For a group of 7, the flight costs 24,103 MXN ($1,390).
Keep in mind that there’s an additional 200 MXN ($11.50) airport fee per passenger. Also, as you’ll be taking a small plane, you may be able to bring only a small piece of luggage.
Travelling by air is a great way to see the Yucatan Peninsula in all its glory. Although expensive, private flights offer a scenic and fast way to get to Isla Holbox. The flight takes only 30 minutes.
Flights depart from FBO Cancun, which is inside Cancun Airport.
To get there from the city centre, you can take a 30-minute shared minivan, bus, or taxi with rates from 104 MXN ($6) to 1,040 MXN ($60). You can book your ride in advance via BookAway.
This adults-only hotel offers luxurious suites and spacious apartments rather than just rooms. Most of which come with balconies overlooking the nearby idyllic lake. If you opt for an apartment, you’ll also be able to enjoy your own kitchen facilities.
Scattered throughout the hotel there’s plenty of places to chill, from hammocks to sun loungers and little sun decks. La Casa del Alux is like a little oasis situated on the outskirts of Holbox town.
Isla Bonita makes sure that you’re stay on a tropical island is comfortable. Their rooms are spacious, well air-conditioned and have their own private balcony for you to relax on. Did we mention that there’s also a swimming pool at the centre of the hotel?
Some of the rooms also come with their own kitchen if you fancy whipping up a snack. If not, you’re only minutes from Holbox’s best restaurants and the beach.
Finding good accommodation on a budget is a relatively hard task on Holbox. Kin Camping is one of the best budget friendly options. And it also offers an unforgettable experience. Each of their tents comes with a comfy double bed, so you won’t be slumming it if that’s what you had in mind when you first saw the word camping.
They’ve created a campsite with great facilities, including a communal kitchen, and a vibrant atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to chill out and meet other like-minded travellers. The friendly staff are always there for anything you need.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cancun to Isla Holbox
Can you take a rental car from Cancun to Isla Holbox?
Although there are car ferries operating from Chiquila to Isla Holbox, it is not really advisable to take your rental car to the island.
Most tourists drive up to Chiquila, leave their rental car there, and then take the passenger ferry to Isla Holbox. Make sure to check out our Top 10 Car Rental Tips to help you save money!
Rounding it up
We hope this guide was helpful in planning how to get from Cancun to Isla Holbox. If there's anything else you're wondering about, drop us a comment and we'll do our best to answer you within a few days.
PS: If you've recently travelled this route, share your experience with fellow travellers and help us improve this post. Thanks for helping out our travel community!
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.