Isla Holbox

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Isla Holbox
Island community
Isla Holbox in June, 2008
Isla Holbox in June, 2008
Isla Holbox is located in Mexico
Isla Holbox
Isla Holbox
Location of Isla Holbox
Coordinates: 21°32′16″N 87°13′12″W / 21.53778°N 87.22000°W / 21.53778; -87.22000Coordinates: 21°32′16″N 87°13′12″W / 21.53778°N 87.22000°W / 21.53778; -87.22000
Country Mexico
StateQuintana Roo
MunicipalityLázaro Cárdenas
Town Founded[1]1854
 • Land55.948 km2 (21.602 sq mi)
1 m (3 ft)
 • Total1,198
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central Standard Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (Central Daylight Time)
Area code(s)984

Holbox ("black hole" in Yucatec Maya) is an island in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is approximately 41.84 kilometres (26.00 miles) long and 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles) wide, and it is separated from the mainland by 10 km of shallow lagoon that is home to flamingos, pelicans and other rich birdlife. Holbox Island is part of the Municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas and also part of the Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve.

Not yet heavily touristed, the island's main industry is fishing. However, the island is developing a growing tourist industry in the form of whale shark viewing. Lobster is the main product of this fishing, and many of the dishes made on the island center around lobster or other seafood.

Aerial view of Holbox

The island is accessed by ferry from the mainland town of Chiquila,[4] and has virtually no cars, with transport by most residents and tourists by golf cart or moped. A small airline, Flights Holbox , Aerosaab, flies tours to Holbox from Cancún and Playa del Carmen; there is even a small airstrip to accommodate five-seater, 13 seater Cessna aircraft.

The entrance of vehicles is not allowed at Holbox in order to protect the environment and to prevent the streets from getting sand.

Holbox has several alternatives to enjoy nature, but the one that attracts most visitors is the experience of swimming with the impressive whale shark from June to September, an opportunity you can experience in very few parts of the world. During hurricane season, the island is often evacuated as it can get directly damaged by hurricane winds.

An alternative is “Isla Pájaros” (Bird Island), a small island covered in mangrove swamps and cacti, located on the Yalahau lagoon, where there is a large diversity of birds. As some of them are endangered species, two observation points and walkways are provided to minimize the direct contact with the birds. Flamingos, cormorants, herons, frigate birds, pelicans, wild ducks and seagulls among other species can be observed here in their natural environment.


The first mentions of the island were in 1852 from a document sent by Don Bartolomé Magaña to the Governor of Yucatán. The adjacent mainland was frequently attacked by the Maya therefore people sought refuge on this island. The government wanted to keep people from living on this island but the citizens refused to leave their homes. Hurricanes in 1886 completely destroyed the island, but the island was rebuilt following.[5]

Kiteboarding in Holbox[edit]

Holbox has one of the safest beaches for learning how to kiteboard. Conditions are ideal for beginners, as the beach has shallow waters, no big obstacles on the wide and long beach, many days of wind during the winter months, and a nearby school with professional instructors. Advanced riders can find also very good conditions when the north or south winds reach 25 knots or more. The climate is subhumid warm, creating a stable and consistent temperature year-round.[6]

Holbox city aerial
Sandbank in Holbox


  1. ^ a b History of Holbox Island in spanish
  2. ^ Land area of islands in Mexico Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. INEGI
  3. ^ Census Results by Locality, 2005 Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. INEGI.
  4. ^ "How to get to Isla Holbox? used". wavesnbackpack. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  5. ^ Administrator. "History". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  6. ^ "Holbox". Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre (in Spanish). 2017-04-28.

External links[edit]