Holbox vs Isla Mujeres – 2 of Quintana Roo’s most sought destinations out of its 11 municipalities are Holbox and Isla Mujeres. If you’re looking to spend your vacation in Mexico’s Quintana Roo area, Holbox vs Isla Mujeres are two of the best islands you could visit.
Holbox and Isla Mujeres are both reachable by ferry from Cancun International airport.
Let’s compare Holbox vs Isla Mujeres and help you decide which island should you visit.
Holbox vs Isla Mujeres: How to Get There
How to Get to Holbox
Arriving to Holbox
To arrive in Holbox, you’ll be flying into Cancun International Airport, and then travel to the municipality of Chiquila. The ferry to Holbox island is located in Chiquila, about 1 hour and 48 minutes from Cancun airport. Read here how to get from Cancun airport to Holbox
The boat runs daily from 6:00 am to 9:30 pm every half an hour. Ferry from Chiquila to Holbox costs around $7 dollars and crossing to the island takes 20 minutes.
How to Get to Isla Mujeres
Arriving to Isla Mujeres from Cancun
To get to Isla Mujeres, you will be flying to one of Mexico’s biggest international airports in Cancun. Upon arrival at Cancun International Airport, you can reach from Cancun to Isla Mujeres by ferry.
It’s a 20-minute ride crossing the beautiful Caribbean Ocean. Ferries from Cancun International Airport travel at a 30-minute interval from 7 am til 12 am, so you can arrive at any time in Cancun and easily get to your vacation in Isla Mujeres.
From Cancun Hotel Zone, there are 3 ferry terminals to Isla Mujeres:
- Isla Mujeres Ferry Terminal Playa Caracol
- Isla Mujeres Ferry Terminal Playa Tortugas
- Isla Mujeres Ferry Terminal El Embarcadero
A one-way trip will cost you $15 while a round trip will cost about $21. When you’re staying in Cancun Hotel Zone, the easiest way to go to the ferry terminals is through the R1 bus.
However, if you’re staying in Cancun’s downtown area, the easiest way to get to the other ferry terminals to Isla Mujeres is by taxi.
Things to Do – Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
Difference between Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
If you’re looking at a more party vibe beach vacation, you should aim for spending your time in Isla Mujeres. Isla Holbox is more considered to be the quiet and laidback beach vacation, although in 2022 this started to change a lot.
Things to do in Holbox
Isla Holbox is an exquisite island of blue beaches and white sand. But in addition to this, there is a wide variety of exciting activities you can do to add to your beach lounging time. Let’s look at the top things to do while you’re in Holbox below:
1. Whale Sharks Encounter in Holbox
Holbox is very popular for its whale shark encounters. If you are visiting around mid-May to mid-September, this is the time you can book a whale shark activity.
You won’t be allowed to scuba dive with the whale sharks, but you’ll be on a boat where you’ll ride to the area where the whale sharks can be seen, before heading to Cabo Catoche.
Some of the important requirements during a whale shark activity in Holbox:
- Only biodegradable sunscreen is allowed.
- Flash photography is also not allowed.
- You won’t be swimming with the whale sharks
- You’ll be maintaining a certain distance from the sharks (around 6.5ft) and won’t be touching them
- You’ll be doing the activity under the monitor of guides
2. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling at Cabo Catoche
Another activity you can do in Holbox, which can be included in the Whale Shark encounter is scuba diving and snorkeling in Cabo Catoche. Swim with sea turtles, stingrays, parrotfish, and more. Perfect for someone who loves to do snorkeling activities during an activity day in Holbox!
3. Experience Seeing Bioluminescent Water At Night in Punta Cocos
What exactly is Bioluminescent Water? In Holbox, Punta Cocos you can experience seeing bioluminescent water because of the presence of an algae bloom of plankton. With the splashing or breaking of waves at night, the bioluminescent waters glow at night.
4. Visiting Punta Mosquito for the Flamingos
Another island to visit from Holbox, which is an activity that can be done with the whale shark encounter is seeing the flamingos at Punta Mosquitos.
5. Do Kitesurfing
Holbox is Mexico’s top kitesurfing spot, with good and consistent kitesurfing winds between November and to end of May. Holbox is definitely great for kitesurfing because of its very long windy season, and with the flat waters, you can kitesurf no matter what level of kitesurfer you are.
There are plenty of schools and training centers to help you with your kitesurfing activity.
6. Do the Three Islands Tour – Things to do in Holbox
The Three Islands Tour is a very popular day trip in Holbox which allows you to visit 4 beautiful points of the island of Holbox – Punta Mosquito, Isla Pajaros, Passion Island, and Yalahau Lagoon. In Punta Mosquito, you’ll get the see island birds like flamingos. In Isla Pajaros or Bird Island, there are even more bird species to see (around 35). Passion Island (Isla Pasion) has a beautiful beach, while Yalahau Lagoon is also a natural swimming hole where you can have a dip and see the lagoon.
6. Relax on Holbox Beaches – Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
Holbox of course has some of the bluest beaches and most serene places to relax in all of Mexico. The best beaches for relaxing are Playa Holbox (on Holbox east side), Playa Punta (on Holbox west side) and even Playa Punta Mosquito.
Playa Holbox is a shallow beach and have a few sandbars. Incredible views and just an exquisite beach experience.
7. Walk around Holbox Town Center
You are probably just interested for the beach and water activities when you’re thinking about Holbox, however, taking a walk or even just an hour or two in the town center to see some art, some local creations for souvenirs and gifts or even just to look around can be an activity for you to add to your itinerary while in Holbox.
WHERE TO STAY IN HOLBOX
Around $20 USD would be the range of your budget for accommodation in Holbox. There are hotels mid-budget $50-70 USD and you can find luxury accommodations starting from $120 USD.
Things to do in Isla Mujeres – Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a beautiful part of the Yucatan Peninsula that you’ll definitely love to visit. Let’s look at some of the activities and relaxing you can do while in Isla Mujeres.
1. Unlimited Beach Time – Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres has a lot of incredible beaches with white sand and if you’re the lounge-type of person, you will have plenty of choices.
Some of the best beaches in Isla Mujeres are Playa Norte (the most popular blue beach and white sand), Punta Sur, and Playa Centro. For snorkeling and kayaking beach, you can visit Playa Garrafon.
2. Visit Punta Sur Park
One of the most common things to see in Isla Mujeres is the Maya Ruins. You’ll see this in Punta Sur Park in addition to a lot more natural things to see like iguanas and walking on trails and cliffs. Make sure you’re wearing proper attire for this. This is a great way to experience nature and see another side of Isla Mujeres.
3. Visit the Underwater Sculpture Garden – MUSA Underwater Sculpture Park
MUSA has over 500 sculptures of people, animals, and cars – so much more to see. An artificial reef, all the underwater sculptures have now growing corals and plants which makes seeing them even more enticing! Not to miss if you are up to some snorkeling and diving.
4. Do more Snorkeling
Do you know that you can experience seeing whale sharks while in Isla Mujeres, with a boat tour? This is only possible when visiting Isla Mujeres in the right season, around late May to early September.
But it’s surely an experience to have. There are also more snorkeling spots to see, particularly, El Farito. Lots of underwater corals and colorful fishes to see.
5. Parque De Los Suenos at Kin Ha
For a more beach club kind of vibe, Kin Ha is the one for you. Have pools with food and beverages if this is the type of lounging you’re up for.
6. Garrafon De Castilla
Isla Mujeres even with its popularity still has a little bit of an off-the-beaten-path to show. Garrafon de Castilla can be a good place for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing with lesser crowds.
WHERE TO STAY IN ISLA MUJERES – Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
A total of $20 USD would be the range of your budget for accommodation in Cancun. There are hotels mid-budget $50-70 USD and you can find luxury accommodations starting from $120 USD.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Islands – Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
The Best Time to Visit Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
Since both these islands are in the Yucatan Peninsula, they have the same tropical weather year-round.
Without much of a temperature difference throughout the year (the average temperature lingers around 83 degrees F), it’s the rainy hurricane season that most travelers need to pay attention to.
Check here for the weather in Holbox vs Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo
January – April: Weather in Holbox vs Isla Mujeres
Perfect weather-wise, but sees the highest influx of tourists. If you are not a people person, consider this.
May – October
The hottest and most rainy month of the year but still plenty of sunshine and fantastic warm water for snorkeling & diving. Also, the hurricane season peaks in September and October so keep an eye on the forecasts and definitely get travel insurance just in case. Fewer tourists mean you can typically expect lower rates at hotels, resorts, and tour companies during this time.
November – December
The autumn-winter months are considered by many to be the best times to visit Isla Mujeres. The hurricane season has passed by this time and the humidity is low. Can be a little “chilly” in the evenings.
Hope you got all the information you needed for a visit to Holbox vs Isla Mujeres! Stay tuned to more of our Mexico series and find out which places you can visit when in Mexico.
CASH IN MEXICO
Mexico has its own currency called the Mexican Peso. A $1 USD=19 MXN. There are lots of ATMs and exchange currency in many parts of the country. And you have to know that US Dollars is very common and well-accepted in the country.
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