How to Get From Cancun to Holbox: the Best 5 Options + Useful Travel Tips

Wondering how to get from Cancun to Holbox? Let’s talk about the best options to get you from Cancun International Airport to Isla Holbox – it’s not as complex as you think!

You’ve probably heard about the picturesque beauty that is Isla Holbox, but how about traveling there to see it yourself? It’s only a few hours from Cancun and it’s well worth the journey. But how do you get there?

While I recommend booking a private shuttle to take you from Cancun to Isla Holbox, there are a few other options you can consider. So, let’s look at the different options for your Holbox adventure and find the best one for you.

Holbox Sign
Holbox Beach

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How to get from Cancun to Isla Holbox: Know before you go

Isla Holbox is a small Mexican island in the northwest corner of the Caribbean Sea. Situated off the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, it’s part of the Quintana Roo state.

Due to its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, incredible wildlife, and great fishing opportunities, this hidden paradise has become a popular tourist destination. 

It’s not the cheapest option for your next Mexico adventure, but it’s a great place to visit because it’s home to some of the country’s best bird-watching spots, and visitors can find unique whale sharks swimming off the coast at certain times of the year. 

But it’s a little bit out there, and this tiny island DOES NOT have a big airport attached to it. Cancun International Airport is the closes one to Isla Holbox.

You’ll then need to travel from Cancun to Chiquila, and then take a Chiquila ferry trip to Holbox.

PRO TIP – You cannot get to Holbox island by car. But there are many parking lots by the ferry terminal to Holbox where you can safely leave your car rental for 100 MXN per day (5 USD).

In a rush? Check out all the available transportation options here⤵️




2 hrs

US$ 250 (from 1 to 3 p)

2 hrs

US$ 30 - 70 (per day)

3 hrs

USD$ 18 (per person)

3 hrs min

USD$ 11 (per person)


$US 250 (around)

30 min

$US 1000 one way

Holbox sea
Holbox Catamaran

Where is Isla Holbox, Mexico?

The beautiful island of Holbox can be found off the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo. It is only accessible by ferry from the nearby town, Chiquila.

This small Mexican island is quickly becoming one of the top spots for beach-goers, outdoor adventurers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike. You’re bound to have a wonderful time!

Holbox beach palms

How to get from Cancun to Holbox: 5 ways 

1. Private Shuttle from Cancun to Holbox (easiest way) RECOMMENDED

My favorite way to travel from Cancun to Holbox is to hire private transportation with Cancun Airport Transportation.

Whether you are planning a day trip or an extended vacation, a private shuttle can provide both comfort and convenience. It will get you there quickly (no stops for anyone else!), allowing you more time to explore.

But booking a private shuttle isn’t a good idea only because it offers speed, it provides luxury too. Your shuttle will be an air-conditioned vehicle with comfortable seating and a friendly bilingual driver that knows the best route to cut down drive times.

There’s no need to fret over getting lost or missing out on important landmarks along the way. 

Not to mention, with plenty of space for luggage, you won’t have to leave anything behind using this Holbox shuttle method. 

Pros of booking with Cancun Airport Transportation

  • Fastest by-car method
  • More affordable than heading there via plane
  • Comfortable and spacious vehicle
  • English speaking driver
  • A representative will be waiting for you right outside the airport after you clear customs
  • Hotel-to-Holbox service is also provided
  • Top Rated Company with 4.7/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reviews


  • Pricey compared to ALL other driving methods
Sunset in Holbox
Sunset in Holbox

2. Travelling to Isla Holbox by rental car (most convenient)

Exploring Isla Holbox by rental car is no doubt the most convenient way to reach this tropical paradise. With a rental car, you can easily make your way to the island and enjoy all that it has to offer without relying on public transportation options.

Chiquila car park

The drive from Cancun International Airport to Chiquila (the starting point for ferry rides over to Isla Holbox) takes just over 2 hours. But, along the way, you’ll have an opportunity to take an up-close look at some of Mexico’s most interesting landscapes including lagoons, mangroves, salt flats, and cenotes.

This is the best way to travel for anyone who likes to get off the beaten path and is comfortable making their own way through Mexico.


  • Car rental rates are affordable
  • You can go at your own pace
  • You can stop (or not stop) wherever you want
  • The best way if you are planning to travel around the Yucatan Peninsula and Holbox is just one of your multiple stops.


  • You need to drive yourself, which means you need to be comfortable driving in Mexico
  • You will need to park the car in Chiquilà, while you are in Holbox which means that your rental expenses go a bit wasted as you can take your car to the island.

If you decide to go for a car rental and you don’t have a preferred Car Rental Company in Mexico, I would suggest you check out Discover Cars platform where you can compare different car rentals and pick the best one for your needs.

3. Travelling to Isla Holbox by plane (most expensive)

Traveling to this small island by plane is undoubtedly one of the most expensive ways to get there, but it’s also the fastest.

Taking a plane is an ideal option to make your trip to this picturesque paradise even more luxurious.

While Holbox does not have an international and/or commercial airport, there is a tiny airport there. You will not be able to book a commercial or international flight, but you can book a private plane transportation service to make the 25-minute flight.

This is a pricey option, but private Holbox flights allow you to see spectacular views of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Not to mention you’ll have the whole plane to yourself.

Once you land at the Holbox Island Airport, you can take a quick taxi ride into town for amazing food and drinks or head straight for one of its many pristine beach areas. It’s an overall unique experience.

NB When we mention a Taxis in Holbox we are talking about a golf cart, which is the only means of transportation in Holbox, other than bikes and boats.


  • The quickest way, as the flight journey time is less than 30 minutes
  • Incredible views


  • Expensive, prices start around $1k/person for a 1-way ticket
  • Tight limits on luggage weight
  • Not a great option for a larger group
Roads in Holbox
Roads in Holbox

4. Travelling to Isla Holbox by Colectivo (cheapest) 

Traveling to Isla Holbox via the colectivo shuttle service (essentially public transit) is going to be one of the cheapest ways to get to Isla Holbox. Unlike many other colectivos it only runs 4 times per day, so you’ll need to plan your trip.

You’re looking at a cost of 250 pesos (per person) and a time of 3+ hours, depending on the number of stops the public bus has to make along the way. Once you reach Chiquila, you’ll need to take the ferry boat across to the island for another 220 pesos.


  • Cheapest travel option
  • Don’t have to book in advance


  • The longest trip and time varies
  • Only 4-time options per day, you’ll need to plan around them
  • Probably the least “comfortable” option too
Colectivo buses schedule from Chiquila' to Airport
Colectivo buses schedule from Chiquila’ to Airport

5. Travel to Isla Holbox via ADO Buses

Taking an ADO bus to Isla Holbox is going to be a step up from the colectivo.

Ultimately, it’ll take you a little less time 3 hours, and cost you a little more money (around 350 pesos) to get from Cancun to Chiquila via the ADO bus. Of course, once you’re there, you’ll need to take the ferry, making your approximate travel time around 3 hours (perhaps a little less).

You’ll want to double-check the bus schedule as there are only 7 trips per day and make sure to book in advance because they can fill up fast.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy
  • Quicker than the Colectivo


  • One of the longest options
  • Hard to do it on a day trip while still having enough time to explore
Ado Bus from Playa del Carmen to airport
Photo © Danny Foster from Flickr

Isla Holbox day trips from Cancun

Can you see Isla Holbox in a day? You can take a day trip from Cancun to Isla Holbox — while it is going to be tight for time, your best bet will be jumping on one of these tours:

Full Day Excursion to the Best of Holbox (from Cancun): Explore the picturesque Holbox on this day tour from Cancun. Take in the beautiful beaches, streets, and overall experience of the island. 👉 BOOK IT HERE

Holbox Full-day Tour with Lunch (from Cancun): Eat lunch in Holbox after touring this picturesque island. It’ll take a full day, but it’s worth it. 👉 BOOK IT HERE

Holbox Island Day Trip and Safari with Lunch (from Playa del Carmen): Explore Holbox Island and the Yum Balam Nature Reserve in an easy day drop from Playa del Carmen. 👉 BOOK IT HERE

Worst Ways to Get From Cancun to Holbox Island

Can I take an Uber from Cancun to Holbox?

You cannot take an Uber from the Cancun international airport but you may be able to take an Uber from Cancun downtown to Holbox. However, it’s a bit complicated.

While technically legal, Uber doesn’t actually operate in the city and when they do, you will need to be very careful to check out if there are taxis around and sit on the front seat acting as if you were a friend of the driver

Can I take a Taxi from Cancun to Holbox?

While you technically can take a taxi from Cancun to Holbox, I recommend you don’t. The trip is over 2 hours long and can get pretty pricey.

If you do decide to opt for a taxi, though, make sure you negotiate a price beforehand.

Isla Holbox’s quick guide

Is the Isla Holbox Ferry from Chiquila?

To access Isla Holbox, you must take the ferry from the nearby mainland town of Chiquila. Depending on the wind, the ferry from Chiquila port to Isla Holbox is 25 minutes.

It costs 220 pesos one way and leaves every 30 minutes between 6 am and 9:30 pm, and you can purchase ferry tickets when you arrive. Onboard amenities include open-air seating and restrooms.

Holbox Mural

How far is Holbox from Cancun?

Distance-wise, Isla Holbox is 67 km away from Cancun. Unfortunately, getting there doesn’t take a direct route.

The fastest route by car will take you 2 hours and 5 minutes to get to Chiquila where you’ll board the ferry. Then you’ll embark on a ferry ride of about 25 minutes.

So, if you’re traveling to Cancun by car — rental or via private transfer — expect it to take you at least 2 hours and 30 minutes.

How far is Cancun from Chiquila?

Cancun is a 2-hour and 5-minute drive from Chiquila using the fastest route. The drive is approximately 140 km (87 miles).

How do you pronounce Holbox?

Holbox is phonetically pronounced howl baaks.

What does Holbox mean?

It’s named after the dark coloring of the water found in the nearby lagoon of Yalahau, caused by the mangroves.

The name means a black hole formed by sand, typically these do not have a depth bigger than 1 meter.

Golf Carts taxis in Holbox
Golf Carts taxis in Holbox

Traveling to your hotel on Isla Holbox

There is a taxi-like system of golf carts that can pick you up at the ferry and take you to your hotel. Or you can just as easily walk — most aren’t too far!

How to move around Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox is small, making it easy to move around. While there are few cars, they have a taxi-like system of golf carts that can help you get around quickly.

But you can also easily walk or bike to wherever you’re going. There are many places where you can rent a bike. You can check with your hotel which might have one bike rental too.

Is Isla Holbox safe?

Yes, Isla Holbox is a safe place to visit. But it’s important to remember to use common sense when traveling anywhere. For example, it’s recommended that you don’t walk alone on the beach at night. Taking basic precautions can help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Is Isla Holbox Worth a visit?

Whether or not Isla Holbox is worth a visit depends on what you’re looking for. While it’s undeniably gorgeous, it is more touristy than some published pieces lead you to believe.

It also tends to be more expensive than other destinations, partly due to the fact that there’s a lot of interest but limited accommodations. Not to mention, the infrastructure is not set up for tourism so power outages and other mishaps aren’t uncommon.

It’s beautiful to see, but 1 to 3 days will probably be enough to experience its beauty without wearing out your welcome.

Holbox Sand Bank
Holbox Sand Bank

Things to do in Holbox

So now that we have clarified how to get to Holbox let’s talk about all the things you can do on the island.

✔️ Rent a bike

Holbox is a very small island and although overall it stretches along 26 km, in reality, the inhabited part is only around 5 km From Punta Mosquito to Punta Coco. Walking around it may be a bit tiring because of the heat. So the best way to move around is by bike. A bike rental per day is around 300 MXN.

✔️ Spend a day in Punta Coco

Punta Coco is the southern point of Holbox with a great beach and a restaurant and beach club that just opened. You can spend a day there and swim in the spectacular pristine water and relax on the beach.

At the furthest end of the island, you can sometimes spot the gracious pink flamingoes. Make sure you don’t bother them by getting too close.

✔️ Walk on the sand bank to Punta Mosquito

Punta Mosquito is located on the northeast part of Holbox and it’s a natural protected reserve where many bird species have their home. This is why it is strictly prohibited to use drones.

You can get by bike 200 mt before the iconic hotel Las Nubes and then start walking from the beach to the sand bank. It’s quite a walk, so make sure you are wearing some eco-friendly sunscreen, and a hat to avoid sunburnt.

✔️ Take a boat tour

Local boat tours are very cheap and they take you to visit the nearby island for bird watching and snorkeling. It’s a great way to explore the natural environment around Holbox. Tours can be easily booked either from your Hotel or by local tour agencies that you can find on the beach or in town around the plaza

✔️ Join a beach club

If love staying comfortable you can join a beach club in one of the luxury hotels on the beach and enjoy the use of the facilities such as the comfortable beach chairs and the delicious restaurant.

Holbox Beach Chairs
Holbox beach chairs

✔️ Check out the beautiful artworks around town

The town of Holbox is kind of chaotic and dusty because of the unpaved roads and lots of golf carts driving around. However, you will enjoy walking around and admiring all the spectacular murals painted on the walls of hotels homes, and shops.

✔️ Try the delicious restaurants

Holbox offers a variety of restaurants, a variety of cuisine, and different budgets. I love eating at Painapol an Italian restaurant offering a lot of healthy dishes and international cuisine. They are open for breakfast lunch and dinner.

For morning coffee I love Clandestino as well. But there are so many restaurants and I recommend you should just try a different one every meal.

Empanada place in Holbox
Empanada place in Holbox

✔️ Adopt a dog for a day

I wished I knew before I went to Holbox that you can help Refugio Animale, a local non-profit organization, by looking after their pets for a day. You can go there take a dog and take him to the beach with you. How cool is that? You just run the risk that you will want to keep it. 🙂

✔️ Take a tour to see the bioluminescence at night

This is a popular and affordable tour that you can join to see this incredible phenomenon in Holbox waters at night. However, you may also be able to see it on your own from the shore. If you are alone just make sure you are in an area that is not isolated.

Although Holbox is a safe island, you never know.

✔️ Snorkel with whale sharks

If you happen to be in Holbox in the summer you can join a whale sharks tour. Whale sharks are huge but innocent creatures of the sea and watching them from a close distance is an unmissable experience. You can also see them from Cancun or Isla Mujeres.

Casa Aloha Hotel
Casa Aloha Hotel

Where to stay in Holbox

In Holbox, there are also many Hotel options for every budget. I stayed in a nice hotel a block from the beach for only 1200 MXN (60 USD a day) at Casa Alhoa, at walking distance from everything.

If you want to splurge I would suggest Blue Holbox or Ser Casasandra right on the beach.

Here is a nice map of Hotels and Vacation rentals where you can choose your perfect place based on price and location.

What to wear in Holbox: packing list

You don’t really need much in Holbox. It’s a very laid-back island and even if you are staying in a luxury hotel, you can get away with a nice light dress and flip-flops.

But here I am going to share some suggestions about the best outfits and practical items that you will need

What to Bring to Holbox

☑️ Mosquito repellent – Mosquitos in Holbox are particularly aggressive and they are A LOT, so make sure you protect yourself.

Keep mosquitos away!

OFF! Botanicals Deet-Free Insect Repellent, Plant-Based Bug Spray & Mosquito Repellent, 4 oz

6885 4.5-⭐️ Reviews

☑️ Sunscreen – the sun is very strong in the tropics, even more with the reflection of the water and even in cloudy days. So make sure you protect yourself

☑️ Beach Towel – I love the lightweight Turkish cotton towel and just bought another one for myself too.

☑️ beach bag – I love the straw or cotton ones as they are quite fancy and convenient. However, you may want to opt for a dry bag which can be handy if you plan to go on a boat tour.

Suggested ladies’ outfit for Holbox

Click on the image to open the product page ⤵️



Beach Cover-up

Cute dresses

Sandals and flip flops

Holbox Travel Tips: know before you go

► You will be under attack by swarms of famished mosquitos, especially in the summer. So make sure you are wearing a good repellent all the time

► WIFI is crappy everywhere. Every time I went to Holbox I never found decent wifi. So if you are planning to work change your plans and enjoy nature instead!

► Holbox is getting crowded, overpopulated I would say, and the water supply is never enough. So be conscious about that and help the local community by limiting water usage to the bare minimum.

► Drones are not allowed! You can read the rules at the ferry terminal before boarding in a beautiful sign that explains how to respect the delicate environment in Holbox. And yet I have seen drones flying around. I have one but I didn’t use it. Make sure you respect the environment too.

► 3 days are enough to enjoy Holbox but of course, if you want to stay longer you won’t get bored for sure.

beach in holbox

Cancun to Holbox: Final Thoughts

If you’re headed to Holbox, there’s a big chance you’re flying into Cancun International Airport. It’s one of the country’s busiest airports seeing thousands of travelers per day — so chances are you’ll want to head to your final destination right away.

If you’re planning on heading to Isla Holbox — whether you’re just taking a peek or you’re planning on staying a while — there are plenty of ways for you to get there, regardless of your budget.

While taking a taxi seems to be an obvious option, it’s one of the worst. Instead, I recommend taking a private shuttle or even hopping on an ADO bus. It’ll cost you less money, and chances are the ride will be more enjoyable. If you have a little (or really, a lot) of extra cash to spend, consider taking a private flight!

But regardless of what transportation method you choose, make sure you have a few pesos on hand for a tip. And, do yourself a favor and book your transportation in advance. You don’t want to start your vacation off on a bad note by trying to figure out how to get to your hotel on the go!

About the Author

Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!

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