Day 4 Journal: How We Made it From Playa del Carmen to Isla Holbox

This is day three of our epic, all-out, Indiana Jones vs. Tomb Raider, ten-day adventure to the Riviera Maya and Isla Holbox on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to explore Mayan culture, mythology, and eco-adventure.

 

Today we are at one of the best resorts in Mexico — the luxurious, boutique, Villas Flamingos. Here we will spend a few days of island-style relaxation.

 

Isla Holbox

 Just a glimpse of the beauty on this island.

 

How to Get to Isla Holbox from Playa Del Carmen

 

This does not have to be tricky at all. To visit Isla Holbox you have to take a ferry which leaves from Chiquila.

 

There’s actually a toll highway (cheap) which takes you right from Playa del Carmen to the main road which leads to Chiquila. There’s virtually no traffic and the speed limit is posted but infrequently.

 

Playa del Carmen to Isa Holbox 2

I love the little huts you see scattered around Mexico.

 

The direct route is about 2.5hrs long. NOTE it is way faster than going north and then west. The main road to Chiquila goes through several small native villages which are worth a few cool pictures.

 

Playa del Carmen to Isa Holbox 2

Tiny villages on the way to Chiquila look like this.

 

Playa del Carmen to Isa Holbox 2

Lots of color in Mexico like this Mayan village heading to Chiquila.

 

Once in Chiquila, you’ll be bombarded with parking lot hagglers. We parked our car in one of their lots and it was fine for the three days we were visiting. It was safe, sound and the lady even gave us a free day. Yay!

 

From here you can take a rickshaw to the ferry (but it’s a block at best to walk).

 

How to get to Isla Holbox

This is where we parked. There are little spots like this at the port, you can’t and won’t miss them. This was legit, no problems.

 

You’ll be met by two ferries, the red one and the blue one. They are pretty much the same price but the red one is faster. I know, we took the blue one and watched the red one smoke us. But who’s rushing right?

 

Ferry to Holbox from Chiquila

These are the ferries to Isla Holbox from Chiquila. They run all day and are pretty cheap.

 

Find the directions on Google here

 

TRAVEL TIP: Get a round trip ticket, it will save you time on your return and there are other small savings as well. The tickets are around $12 USD round trip. Also, a sunset cruise there is pretty, but be ready for mosquitos and wear insect repellant (otherwise, you’ll be slapping yourself silly).

 

Visiting Isla Holbox

We were all smiles on our rickshaw to the ferry!

 

Day 4 Isla Holbox Mexico

 

It was twilight when we arrived at Isla Holbox. At first approach, the island seemed bleak. There was a superficial layer of waste gathered along the streets, the port itself stark and unkempt.

 

But we were here for three days and after all, what would an adventure be without some question that we made a huge mistake.

 

I remember reading somewhere, “there are no rental cars on Isla Holbox” still, for some strange reason, how that would play out didn’t really resonate with me. In fact, it wasn’t until we stepped foot off the ferry when I actually realized what that meant…

 

It meant either we would walk to Villas Flamingos, or we would ride a golf cart. A totally rad, off-road, yellow golf cart with fancy off-road wheels and a coating of white sand. At that moment, my skepticism leveled up to optimism.

 

Visiting isla Holbox

This was our cab ride to Villas Flamingos. So flickin cool!

 

We loaded up our bags on the golf cart cab and bumped our way along roads made entirely of sand. At 10 miles per hour, the layers of this island began to peel away revealing incredible street art, colorful huts, and barefooted natives.

 

This scene, lit by a sky fading from an orange sunset glow to an evening blue, illuminated the people and culture of Isla Holbox as we passed by. I knew this vacation was going to be awesome. This was the most island-ie island in the Caribbean.

 

Isla Holbox

Just a smidge of the colorful island of Holbox.

 

A breathtaking turquoise Gulf of Mexico made the backdrop to the lovely Holbox street that led us to our hotel.

 

We rode alongside the beach for several minutes passing hammocks and palm huts, the warm breeze tangling our locks as we bumped along the sand.

 

Giant orange and blue crabs scurried into the sea oats and I could smell the salt as we made our approach to Villas Flamingos. This island was glorious.

 

Isla Holbx 11

Taking it all in we passed these pretty flags as our golf cart cabbie cruised along the coast to our hotel. Pretty darn cool.

 

TRAVEL TIP: Make sure you have plenty of cash. Most vendors (including cabbies and rentals) don’t take cards. You’ll want to get this in Playa del Carmen most likely since there are no real gas stations along the way with ATM machines.

 

Villas Flamingos, Isla Holbox

 

The night was falling fast. Just as we made our approach the mosquitos were out in full force. There was no stopping them.

 

We were without repellant and pretty much running into the office. Still, despite the army of blood-sucking insects, I took notice of the charming sand paths that led us through a cluster of two-story luxury, ocean-side bungalows.

 

TRAVEL TIP: There’s no avoiding the mosquitos on Isla Holbox, but fear not! These pesky little suckers are only out at sunrise and sunset for about a half-hour to an hour. If you’re arriving in the evening, like we did, just spray yourself with some repellant on the ferry and you will be A-OKAY!

 

Villa Flamingos 18

A sneak peek at our killer boutique hotel on the island, I can’t wait to show you the rest!

 

We made our way to the reception entrance. Hand-laid steps led to a beautiful and elegant, single-paned, automatic glass door. It reminded me of something you would see in a high-end spa.

 

Still competing with the diminishing light, I knew once I made my way to our hut it would be dark and my inspection of the property would have to wait until sunrise.

 

We were led to our room, just a few short steps from the main reception building. The soft waves of the Gulf gently rolling onto the sand just feet away. My excitement to see our home for the next three nights was gaining as we approached our very own luxury bungalow.

 

On our timbered porch sat two hand-crafted loungers, a side table, and a hammock. I was smitten just standing there, but I in no way would have been able to prepare myself for what was inside…

 

To be continued…

 

Follow Along on Our Mother and Son Adventure

 

as we share our Villas Flamingos experience and tell you all about this amazing boutique resort and Isla Holbox, undoubtedly the gem of the Caribbean. We’ll share with you a beautiful photo essay of the island’s street art, and give you tips on what to do while you’re in paradise!

 

Special thanks to our sponsors:
While we have been sponsored by the following brand with fully paid experiences, this in no way shapes our opinions or reports. Everything you read is legit from our hearts to your eyes. They just make bringing you the deets affordable, and we’re okay with that!

mexico boutique hotels


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

1 Comments on this post

  1. […] Getting to Holbox was a journey in itself, and by the time we arrived we were ready for bed. The entire next day was pretty amazing. We woke up super early, had a gulf side breakfast and listened to the sound of tropical birds while we fed the local iguanas. Then, we drove around and photographed street art. I kept thinking, […]

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