Holbox :

Isla del Tuberon Ballena.

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About me

Hi Beautiful People ! Loïc here, addicted to travel and experiencing anything our incredible world has to offer ...

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And giant fish encounter.

If you are in the Yucatan Peninsula, you must go to Holbox !!

Traveling from International Cancun Airport, you might have to stay one night in the city before hitting the road. There are only 3 buses a day to Chiquila, 7:50 AM, 12:40 PM, and 1:30 PM.

From terminal 2 or 3, jump on the ADO bus that runs to Cancun City, about every 30 minutes (7 AM – 10 pm). 3.5 $ and 25 minutes later, you will reach the Central Bus Station where you will be leaving from the next morning.

Hostel El corazon

ADO Terminal

The Central Bus Station on Tulum avenue, offer multiple choice of accommodation in the area

El Carazon is very close to ADO Terminal. Helpful staff, comfortable and very clean.

  • Bus to Chiquila is your cheapest option (6 $), this is where you will catch the ferry to Holbox. The bus takes around 3 hours, and the ferry crossing takes about 20 minutes. So, we wouldn’t recommend it as a day trip, as said before the last bus to leave is around 1.30 PM, which is also the time the first arrives to Cancun.


  • If you decide to drive from Cancun, go west, untill El Ideal, on the free highway until reach. Watch for the signs for Isla Holbox then turn right to Chiquila.


  • Flights from Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Cancun to Holbox by small plane are also an option, but way more pricey.


When you will arrive in Chiquila, the ferry tickets will cost you 100 MXN (5.5 USD). There is additional and non-published ferry during the peak season, Whale Shark season and on weekends. More or less one ferry every hour (6 AM – 9 PM). A horde of pelican will welcome you before taking the boat, if you are lucky you may even see some dolphins playing in the wake of the ferry  when you cross the inlets.

The island of Holbox is a paradise and safe from hordes of tourists!

35 Km long, 1 Km wide, 2000 inhabitants, and one of the best Guacamole we never tasted.

The entire island and the surrounding waters are part of the Yum-Balam nature reserve.  The No. 1 attraction of the island is of course to snorkel with whale sharks (June to mid-September), then, perfect condition during the winter month make the island a paradise for Kiteboarding. And if you are not interested in any water sport, it is heaven for bird watching enthusiasts (40.000 flamingos visit Isla Pajaros from April to October).

The roads are made of packed white sand and golf-carts are the most common means of transport. Most of the hotel on the island will organise shuttle from the pier. However, the unpredictable weather, does not facilitate the transport and the “roads” are rapidly converted into a pool.

Unforgettable sunsets, guacamole and horseshoe crab. All rooms face the beach, are really comfortable and the internet connection is surprisingly good.

Hotel Amaite

During mating season, the horseshoe crab migrate to shallow coastal water where male select a female and clings her back. The female digs a hole and lays between 60 000 and 120 000 eggs in batches of a few thousand at a time, the male then fertilises them.

It is not rare to see hundreds of them on the beach but shorebirds eat many of the eggs before they even have a chance to hatch.

We didn’t tell you that:

Souvenir, our first night ever on Holbox … Imagine you’ve just arrived on an island, you check in the hotel, tropical rain just stopped falling. It does not take longer to start walking the streets looking for a place to meet locals and have a beer.

So here we are, entering what looks like a bar. Yes, it is a bar, with only men inside, but still a bar. Indre is not necessarily comfortable, but so far everything is going well. Suddenly, the music gets louder, and tempers flared.

Remember? It is not yet 2 PM … Then come a young woman, fairly clothed.

Without paying attention, what we believed to be an interior decoration is actually a pole-dance bar, then started a full striptease and some of the longest minutes of our lives. (Yes, matter of principle, we stayed to learn the local custom).

Even so, El Paso club has been shut down for years (because of his illegal activity), i am sure you can hear crispy information on old habits of the place.

Your choice to ask …


Used by pirates in the 18 th century, a freshwater lagoon, nearby islet of Yalahuam, was a watering hole when they came in the area to rest. Yalahau Cenote was considered by the Mayas, to be a sacred fountain of youth, about a 20-minute boat ride from the island.

Along the northern coast, towards the extreme west of the island from Playa de Holbox. You will arrive at the place where locals meet in the evening, to share a some family time, a picnic or go fishing. But but pay attention to the place where you put your feet on the sand.

Least Tern (Antillarum) for example, do not nest in trees, but lay on the beach (late april). They are in danger more than others and threats include egg and fledgling predators, high tides and human use of nesting beaches.

However, beware of mosquitoes, as night approaches. We traveled around the world in places indicated as the most infested, but it is here that we have been stung the most.


There is something more to discover here, a giant lurks.

To find the whale sharks in cool waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Some fisherman are now making a living from it, instead of emptying the ocean of its fish. About an hour offshore, your captain wil take you in the shallow water where the Whale Shark comes to feed.

Let’s be honnest, you wont be the only boat there, but the good thing is, it makes it easy to spot the big fish. In our case there was 5 of them, so you will have plenty of time to duck dive.

The water is not very clear, filled with plankton. And that’s exactly what the sharks are looking for, to feed themselves. 

Holbox Island is an oceanic meeting point where the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean converge. The mixing of these waters give life to a nutrient-rich environment, a perfect food-court for any marine life. Including the biggest fish alive.

The plankton forms a thick layer near the surface, and the whale shark goes up, for our greatest pleasure. No need to go 40 meters deep, take your snorkeling gear and let’s start the adventure.

Speaking about water, in the dark nights of summer, a bright blue light illuminates the white beaches of Holbox, by the phenomenon of bioluminescence; microorganisms emit light from the movement of the Caribbean Sea. It is always best seen while shooting long exposure photography.
Some phytoplankton microorganisms, equivalent to unicellular algae, are capable of bioluminescence when their cell membrane is mechanically stimulated. When stirred by waves or marine currents, they react with oxygen and produce this beautiful reaction. Inside their body they contain luciferin molecules, a small molecule similar to chlorophyll, which oxidize (chemical reaction by which the oxygen reacts with others substances) in the presence of an enzyme, luciferase, and this chemical reaction allows them to emit photons.

In a nutshell:

Bus to Holbox :

Bus to Chiquila is your cheapest option (6 $). The bus takes around 3 hours, and the ferry crossing takes about 20 minutes.

By car :

Go west, untill El Ideal, on the free highway until reach. Watch for the signs for Isla Holbox then turn right to Chiquila.

By plane :

Flights from Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Cancun to Holbox by small plane are also an option. Small chartered flights only, quite expensive.

Ferry to Holbox :

Chiquila – Holbox (every day):

6H, 8H, 10H, 11H, 12H, 13H, 14H, 15H (*), 16H, 17H, 18H (**), 19H, 21H30

Holbox – Chiquila (every day) :

5H, 7H, 9H, 10H, 11H, 12H, 13H, 14H (*), 15H, 16H, 17H (**), 18H, 20H

(*) only saturday and sunday
(**) only friday, saturday and sunday

Hotel :

  • Hostel El Corazon

Address : Avenida Uxmal 20, SM 3, MZ 1, LT 20, 77500 Cancún, Q.R

Telephone : +52 998 884 6476

  • Hotel Amaite (old Faro Viejo)

Address : Avenida Benito Juárez playa s/n, Isla Holbox, Q.Roo.

Telephone : +52 984 875 2217


  1. Aubri

    Lucky you, i didn’t get the chance to see any when i was there !

  2. Henri

    Hello. I did !! And it was an incredible experience, water was even clearer than you guys, one of the best memory ever !

    • Banana Journey

      Great news Henri. The clarity of the waters depends on how much plankton is in it. I guess is what “diet day” for the whale shark.


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