We were getting into the water, in the middle of an absolute darkness. Just following the steps and the voices of Gilmer and Alfonso, our tour guides. Scared? Not even for a minute!
My five friends and I were so excited to be in a such a peaceful place, around of an extraordinary show of stars and also, we were about to watch the surprise of the night.
We were walking and the water barely cover our knees. Gilmer told us to move the water as strong as we can. Suddenly the performance started. The sea lighted up with thousands of turquoise lights. They were impregnated in our hands for seconds.
If that could happen with our hands, why not just try the whole body? So, we dipped and immediately were glowing as star. This was our moment to filled our souls with all the energy that the mother nature was giving us.
We wanted to keep this moment but it was too dark to recorder our experience with the famous bioluminescence plankton, a tiny marine organism that can sometimes cause the surface of the ocean to sparkle at night.
To live that experience, it only took us: a plane to Cancun, a car rented at the airport, a ferry taking from the port of Chiquila and a golf cart… That was how Mexico welcomed us. We were at the Yucatan Peninsula and specifically to the island of Holbox.
Hol-bo-(sh) as pronounced by Mexicans is the best kept secret of the country, although in recent years its paradise beaches and its advertising on social media have made it the new destination for those who visit the Riviera Maya.
This little island has a green soul, it’s eco-friendly. You won’t find pretentious hotels, a bustling nightlife or luxuries. Also, there are not paved streets or cars, you will see golf carts and bicycles instead.
That’s its charm. Feel away from the noise, surround yourself with pelicans and flamingos, and enjoy a wide turquoise beach, while having a beer, a margarita or a mojito.
However, Holbox does have a wide range of accommodation. Its hotels are comfortable and elegant, but maintaining a rustic décor. We arrived at Soho Boutique Holbox. Due to the Pandemic by the Covid19, only days earlier the island had reopened, so its hosting capacity was 30%.
What to do?
Here we go! First stop, of course, the beach. Holbox is not a massive destination and due to the global quarantine, we had miles of fine sand, and crystal-clear water with no waves just for us. Can we ask for more?
This was the real paradise, despite the high temperatures and the sun of shimmering. A few months earlier, the hammocks and swings along the water were an attraction but, because of the lock down, they were removed.
One more time, Gilmer and Alfonso, offered us their almost 4-hour tour. This time would be by boat around three smalls islands. The service was complete: a bottle of Don Julio 70 tequila, grapefruit soda, bottles of water, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and music. We are ready!
The first excursion to explore was the “Isla de los Pájaros” or the Bird Island, which is home to nearly 100 species. Passion Island or “Isla Pasión” was the second spot. It was an islet that can be walking by the sea (along the way, the water reaches your ankle).
And, the third island was the Yalahau cenote, a sacred site for the Mayan Culture. The natives say that their waters are healing and immersing themselves there will rejuvenate you 5 years. So, after one-hour bathing, we were 20 years old.
Feeling as teenagers, we kept discovering Holbox. It was the time to walk around the downtown. Its sandy streets were with large wells due to a previous rain. Dodging the water, we got to see some of its famous and colorful murals. Alongside them, souvenirs stores and houses with vibrant colors.
It was almost time for my happy and favorite hour: the sunset. The best place to enjoy it was Punta Cocos. On our way, we found two beach clubs in front of the beach. Coralina and el Chiringuito. Both were the right and more comfortable places to see the mosaic of colors. Of course, with some shrimp tacos and a perfect paloma (drink with tequila, lime and grapefruit soda).
Holbox has so many more attractions what is worth it to do it. Ride a bike to Punta Mosquito (east side of the island), watch the whale shark (between June and August), dive, fish and swim along the flamingos.
At the next day and before take the ferry, our last stop was the restaurant Roots, recommended for its the best lobster pizza of town. The pizza was made in a wood-burning oven. A thin dough topped with bits of the crustacean melted in our mouth. Between 5, we ate 4 family size pizzas. Oh! And for a good farewell, it’s worth joining the meal with the Frida Kahlo cocktail (tequila with cucumber, mint and lime)
Holbox, which in Mayan means “Black Hole”, was our perfect place to get away and disconnect from all the news. Its people also live from tourism so we rigorously observed how all the disinfection and sanitizing protocols were followed at the right way. They gave us the confidence that we were in the best hands. And, the atmosphere, on the best island.
- Holbox is located at the north of the Yucatan Peninsula, in Mexico.
- It’s at the Golfo de México and part of Yum Balam Natural Reserve.
- The island is 24 miles long. and almost 2 miles wide.
- Language: Spanish.
- Currency: Mexican pesos. Better to carry cash because there are just few ATMs and by noon are out of money.
- Transportation: bikes and golf cars.
- How to get there? There is a ferry departing of the port of Chiquila. The price is 200 pesos (9$). You can find also private boat for the same price per person. Other option is taking a private jet for 550 to 1,200 USD, according to the capacity.