Isla Holbox is a unique destination near Cancun, but nowhere near as busy.
This island has a strong local feeling, and it’s quieter than most places in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula. Holbox Island boasts of several protected areas that are perfect for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers.
One of Holbox Island’s main attractions is its street art. You can find many amazing and colourful murals all over town and easily spend over half a day admiring them all. Many of the paintings portray the island’s rich wildlife, and some others highlight the local culture and its important characters.
TIP: Make sure you bring enough cash with you to Isla Holbox. Even though many places accept credit cards, the cell phone signal for payments is unreliable (making cards unusable) and the few ATMs on the island often run out of cash.
The distance between Cancun to Isla Holbox is 67 km. To get from Cancun to Isla Holbox, you have 3 options: a combined bus or minivan and ferry (3.5 hours), a private transfer (2.5 hours), or a private flight (30 minutes). Rates range between 527 MXN ($27) and 15,803 MXN ($810).
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 527 MXN ($27) 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, located 140 km northwest of Cancun. This journey lasts about 2.5 hours.
In Chiquila, you will be transferred to the ferry that will bring you to Holbox in just 20 minutes.
Departure and arrival
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 the 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 the Chiquila Ferry Terminal.
Ferries arrive at Holbox main dock. We suggest checking in advance if the location of your accommodation in Isla Holbox is near the dock.
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.
How to book combined minivan and ferry tickets
Combined Minivan and Ferry Schedule from Cancun to Isla Holbox
With an ADO Bus, you are guaranteed of air-conditioning and reclining seats. Since this is a relatively short journey, note that some vehicles won’t have a toilet unlike most buses in Mexico.
The minivan service is provided by 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 also depart from the parking lot next to the Soriana Supermarket in downtown Cancun. This is across the street from the ADO bus station. You can also book a minivan that will pick you up from Cancun Airport.
Minivans operate every day and currently offer more trips than the bus. The ride from Cancun to Chiquila takes about 2.5 hours with fares starting from 312 MXN ($16).
We recommend booking your ride online beforehand to skip a potential queue at the ferry terminal. If you book the Holbox ferry ticket 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 4,487 MXN ($230) 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 8,292 MXN ($425).
Travel time for a private transfer from Cancun Airport to Holbox Island takes 2.5 hours.
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 during the 30-minute flight.
Of course, this luxury comes with a cost. Rates for a private plane ride for up to 5 passengers start from 15,803 MXN ($810) and 27,119 MXN ($1,390) for 7 passengers.
Travelling by air is a great way to see the Yucatan Peninsula in all its glory. Although expensive, private flights offer a very scenic and fast way to get to Isla Holbox. The flight takes only 30 minutes.
Flights Cancun operates air taxis from Cancun to Isla Holbox. Rates start from 15,803 MXN ($810) for a private plane that can accommodate 5 people. For a group of 7, the flight costs 27,119 MXN ($1,390).
Keep in mind that there’s an additional 200 MXN ($10) 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.
From Cancun Airport to Holbox Airport
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 878 MXN ($45) to 3,414 MXN ($175). You can book your ride in advance via BookAway.
This adults only hotel offers suites and apartments rather than just rooms. Most of which come with balconies overlooking the nearby lake. If you opt for an apartment, you’ll also be able to enjoy 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.
Holbox is an island where you just want to enjoy and relax. The rooftop pool and terrace of Corazon Mexicano is the perfect place to do this. You could spend all day up here overlooking the ocean and surrounding mangroves.
The rooms are vibrantly decorated with splashes of colour and all include a private bathroom and air conditioning.
Want to stay at a great location on Holbox and within walking distance to everything you need? Restaurants, bars, supermarkets and of course the most important, the beach, are all on your doorstep when staying at Casa los Abuelos.
All of the rooms include a private bathroom and a small kitchenette if you want to do a bit of cooking. Casa los Abuelos is a great, affordable option on a somewhat more expensive island when it comes to accommodation.