How to get to Isla Holbox
Updated August 2023, How to get to Isla Holbox was originally published in August 2022
Isla Holbox was my favorite destination on my recent visit to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, especially after a lackluster stay in Tulum (not a place I have any desire to return to). However, with that said, Isla Holbox is pretty easy to get to despite the island still having some off-the-beaten-path vibes to it (although it was funny to see some articles describing it as difficult to reach).
So in this how to get to Isla Holbox guide, you’ll find all the tools and information you need to know on how to get to Isla Holbox including by flight, overland info, and ferry information.
Just starting your research? Check out my Isla Holbox travel guide to plan the perfect trip
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Where is Isla Holbox?
Isla Holbox is located just off the northern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and is easily reached from several popular destinations in the region such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Valladolid, Merida, and more.
How to get to Isla Holbox
For 99% of visitors to Isla Holbox reaching the island is a two-part process. The first is to get to the port town of Chiquila by car, taxi, colectivo, or bus. The second step is taking the ferry from Chiquila to Isla Holbox.
For travelers that don’t mind forking over a large sum of money, there is the option to charter a flight to the small airport on Isla Holbox.
Below you’ll find all the info regarding getting to Isla Holbox.
Getting to Chiquila
If you’re coming to Isla Holbox from elsewhere in the Yucatán Peninsula or Mexico for that matter, you’ll need to get to Chiquila first. Chiquila is a small town situated on the coast just a short distance from Isla Holbox.
Chiquila is easily reached by car/rental car, taxi, colectivo, or bus, all of which are outlined below.
How to get to Chiquila by Bus
Mexico’s public bus company ADO Bus offers direct service to Chiquila from several destinations including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Valladolid, and Mérida. You can purchase tickets at any of their kiosks at bus stations or online via either the ADO website or the ADO app.
Tickets are relatively cheap for the primo class tickets (it’s a nice comfortable air-conditioned bus) and are as follows.
- Cancun Downtown-Chiquila: $326 MXN; 2 hours 20 minutes
- Playa del Carmen-Chiquila: $334 MXN; 2 hours 10 minutes
- Valladolid-Chiquila: $244 MXN; 2 hours 20 minutes
- Tulum-Chiquila: $444 MXN, 3 hours 30 minutes
- Mérida-Chiquila: $457 MXN; 5 hours 35 minutes
There are also cheaper, second-class busses but you will need to go to the nearest ADO station to find out departure times and costs as they are not bookable online.
How to get to Chiquila by Colectivo
- Cancun: Chiquila bound colectivos depart by a supermarket in the middle of Cancun just across from the ADO bus station. The journey takes around 2 hours 30 minutes and costs about $250 MXN.
- Playa Del Carmen: Colectivos depart from the colectivo stop at Avenida 20 Norte and Calle 2 Norte in Playa Del Carmen center. The ride should cost around $250 MXN.
- Valladolid: I forgot to check where the Chiquila colectivos depart from in Valladolid, however, most colectivos seemed to depart from around the ADO bus station so do ask around. I would estimate a seat will cost about $250 MXN.
- Tulum: Colectivos depart from right alongside the ADO bus station. Plan for a 3 hour 30 minute ride. Tickets should cost around $450 MXN.
How to get to Chiquila by Taxi
Taxis are always an option for reaching Chiquila. From Cancun Airport or downtown Cancun, you can expect to pay around $100 USD for a taxi. From Valladolid, a taxi should cost about $50 USD.
How to get to Chiquila by Rental Car
If you’ve rented a car or own a vehicle in Mexico you can easily make the drive to Chiquila. There are several car parks in Chiquila near the ferry dock too where you can leave your vehicle for $100 MXN per 24 hours.
The Ferry to Isla Holbox
Two ferry companies make the journey back and forth between Chiquila and Isla Holbox, Holbox Express, and 9 Hermanos. Currently (as of March 2023) ticket prices are $220 MXN each way for non-residents of Quintana Roo. Kids and Residents of Quintana Roo pay a discounted rate of $180 MXN.
9 Hermanos ferries run on the hour every hour starting at 6:00 am and ending at 9:00 pm. Holbox Express runs on the half-hour from 5:30 am to 9:30 pm.
The ferries are quite large and offer indoor seating downstairs and outdoor seating upstairs.
To purchase tickets, stop by either company’s kiosks on the dock or click their linked websites above to purchase online.
Flights to Isla Holbox
Money not a concern? Well, you can charter a small plane to Isla Holbox from Cancun and other nearby airports in Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Chartering the 5-passenger plane will cost $900-1,100 USD depending on your departure point.
You can find more info and booking information on Aero Saab.
Getting to Your Accommodation on Isla Holbox
As soon as you walk off the ferry dock you’ll find a line of golf cart taxis waiting to take you to your accommodation on Isla Holbox. Depending on where on the island you’re staying you can expect to pay $50-100 MXN for most places. If you’re staying in the core of downtown where most everything is your ride will be $50 MXN.
If you don’t have much luggage you can always opt to walk to your accommodation too.
Check out my Isla Holbox accommodation recommendations.
Getting Around on Isla Holbox
Getting around Isla Holbox is easy despite the island being 26 miles long as most everything is concentrated around one small area so going most places on foot is easy enough. For destinations further away such as Punta Cocos or Las Nubes Playa, you may want to consider renting a bicycle or a golf cart.
Bicycle hire costs around $200 MXN for 24 hours and golf cart hire will set you back around $60 per day.
Important Information to Know Before You go to Isla Holbox
- It’s a good idea to pack cash as it’s not unheard of for ATMs on the island to run out of money. With that said, there are a couple of ATMs on Isla Holbox that dispense Mexican pesos. You’ll find one up the stairs next door to the church on the main square and the other at the CI Banco on the main road between the ferry dock and the main square. We honestly had better luck with the CI Banco ATM (the other was out of cash the entire 5 days there). There are also a scattering of ATMs that dispense USD and an exchange shop near the main square
- Pedestrians and bicycles have right of way on Isla Holbox’s sandy streets
- Some restaurants, hotels, and shops can take payments by card but this will usually tack on an additional 5% due to the fees they have to pay to run credit and debit cards
- Wi-Fi and mobile service aren’t the worst I’ve seen in the world but not the fastest either so be advised that internet speeds can be a bit bogged down at times of day
- Isla Holbox is busiest around Christmas and the week following Easter as these are major holiday times in Mexico so the island gets busy with both foreign and domestic tourists
- If you plan to stay in an accommodation in town you can expect to hear golf cart traffic and sometimes loud music from bars until late at night
Have any questions about getting to Isla Holbox?
Ask your questions about Isla Holbox in the comments section below.