Isla Holbox: Stoke your inner beach bum

By Ted Alan Stedman

Photo by Ted Alan Stedman.     

Day one, I lazed beneath coconut palms while sipping potent Prozac mojitos and counting the occasional six-inch waves on an otherwise listless emerald sea. Next morning I snorkeled alongside benign whale sharks possessing the mojo of 35-foot school buses with fins. Indeed, on Isla Holbox – a obscure 26-mile-long spit of white sand that’s miraculously escaped the vagaries of mass tourism – there’s an authentic castaway a’ la carte approach to languid island life that most resorts envy.

About 40 direct miles from Cancun along the northeast tip of the Yucatan, Isla Holbox (“i-la-holbosh”) is the beach bum antithesis of party-hardy Caribbean resorts thanks to its isolation that weeds out day-trippers, and the mañana vibe embraced by the island’s scant 1,600 souls.

Most visitors get there by way of private overland shuttles from Cancun (about a three-hour ride) to Chiquila, from which it's a 20-minute ferry hop to the island. Explore the fun-loving village life, chow on chef Miguel’s lobster pizza at Edelyn Restaurant – and remember to bring cash, because there are no ATMs. For digs, Casa Sandra ( provides a gorgeous collection of AC’d villas along the island’s sprawling wide seven-mile beach.

Gentle whale sharks eat plankton, are harmless to humans. Photo courtesy of

May through September is the season for swimming with the whale sharks in the nearby Yum Balam Biosphere. Book with MexTreme Travel ( and a percentage of proceeds goes toward conservation efforts.

More info: Visit

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