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. There is also a dog refuge from where you can adopt a dog during your stay and take it to explore the island with you and return it when you leave.
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.
PRO 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.
To get to Isla Holbox from Cancun, you have 4 options: a combined bus or colectivo and ferry (3 to 3.5 hours), a private transfer (2.5 hours), or a private flight (30 minutes). Rates range between 518 MXN ($25) and 15,075 ($745).
To get an Isla Holbox ferry, you’ll have to travel by land to a small beach town called Chiquila. Both buses and colectivos are available and travel time is 2.5 to 3 hours. From Chiquila Port, you can then transfer to a half hour ferry bound for Holbox Island.
A more convenient option when coming from Cancun International Airport is to take a private transfer. It’s still not direct, but the company you book with will take care of both your private shuttle as well as your Chiquila Holbox ferry. Combined travel time is around 2.5 hours and rates start from 4,655 MXN ($230) for up to 4 persons.
There are also private flights operating from Cancun to Isla Holbox and they’re definitely the most scenic way to travel this route. You’ll get a bird’s eyeview not just of Isla Holbox, but the entire Yucatan Peninsula. Of course, this luxury comes with a cost. Rates for a private plane ride for up to 5 passengers start from 15,075 MXN ($745).
When taking public transportation to get to Isla Holbox from Cancun, you can take a combined bus and ferry or colectivo and ferry.
As there is no direct ferry from Cancun to Holbox Island, you’ll have to take one from Chiquila, a town in the north coast, located 140km northwest of Cancun. Once you arrive at the port, you are to transfer to a ferry that will take you directly to Isla Holbox.
Step 1: Cancun to Chiquila
Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: From 298 MXN ($14)
There are two options to get to the port of Chiquila: a bus or a colectivo. Both 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 though that as buses are bigger vehicles, they offer more space between seats and are more comfortable.
Option 1: Cancun to Chiquila by Bus
Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: 298 MXN ($14)
Buses going from Cancun to Chiquila depart from the ADO Bus Station along Calle Pino in downtown Cancun. The service is provided by ADO Bus, Mexico’s largest bus company.
With an ADO Bus, you are guaranteed of air-conditioning and reclining seats. Since this is a relatively short journey, some vehicles won’t have a toilet unlike most buses in Mexico.
There are 5 ADO bus departures daily and you can get a ticket for 298 MXN ($14).
The colectivo service is provided by a small company called ‘Te Llevo a Holbox’. Colectivos depart from the parking lot next to the Soriana Supermarket located across the street from the downtown central bus station in Cancun.
The vehicles are Sprinter type minivans, so they have storage in the back and you won’t have any trouble with your luggage. They also come equipped with AC and reclining seats.
Colectivos operate every day and depart on four different schedules. The ride to Chiquila takes about 2.5 hours.
Ferries from Chiquila to Holbox Island operate from 06:00 to 21:30 and depart every 30 minutes. There are 2 companies providing Holbox ferry service: Holbox Express and 9 Hermanos. Both are reliable operators, the only difference is that one sails on the hour and the other one sails on the half-hour.
The boats come equipped with an indoor seating area that has A/C and TV screens, and you can also walk around the main deck and enjoy the sea views. A Holbox ferry ride takes approximately 20 minutes.
Ferry schedule from Chiquila to Holbox
Every hour from 07:30 to 21:30
220 MXN ($11)
Every hour from 06:00 to 21:00
220 MXN ($11)
We recommend booking your ride online beforehand to skip a potential queue at the ferry terminal. A ticket costs 220 MXN ($11) whether you buy them physically at the port or online through BookAway. Also, if you book a Holbox ferry with 9 Hermanos, your ticket will be valid throughout the day. So no worries about missing your ferry!
The Isla Holbox ferry departs from the Chiquila Ferry Terminal and arrive at the Holbox main dock.
We recommend that you check the location of your accommodation in Isla Holbox to see if it’s within walking distance from the port. There are no cars on Holbox Island, but you can find many golf carts 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.
Cancun to Isla Holbox by Private Transfer
Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: 4,655 MXN ($230)
A private transfer is especially convenient if you’re coming from Cancun Airport. For this option, you won’t have to go make a stop at the bus station in the city. Instead, you’ll take a private minivan going straight to the ferry terminal in Chiquila, and then transfer to a public ferry to get to Isla Holbox. Both rides will be taken care of for you.
Rates for a private transfer from Cancun Airport to Holbox Island start from 4,655 MXN ($230). This price covers the private shuttle and Holbox ferry ride of up to 4 passengers. That makes it about 1,170 MXN ($58) per person.
For guaranteed trusted drivers and excellent customer service, book your ride online through BookAway.
Private flights are an expensive but very scenic and fast way to get to Isla Holbox. Rates start from 15,075 MXN ($745) for a private plane that can accommodate 5 persons.
Travelling by air is a great way to see the Yucatan Peninsula in all its glory. Also, this Holbox flight takes only 30 minutes. Flights Cancun operates air taxis from Cancun to Isla Holbox and you can book your flight directly through their website.
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 only be able to bring small luggage.
Flight departure and arrival points
Flights depart from FBO Cancun, which is just inside Cancun Airport. To get there from the city centre (located 18km to the north), you can take a 30-minute shared minivan, bus or taxi. Rates range from 98 MXN ($5) to 500 MXN ($24).
In Isla Holbox, you will arrive at the small Aerodromo de Holbox, which is situated within the tourist area. Your hotel and the Holbox beach should be just a short taxi ride away.
Frequently Asked Questions
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!
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.
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.
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.