Isla Holbox Archives

July 8, 2009

Days 2 & 3 - Isla Holbox

It's 9:15 PM. I'm blogging (duh!) under the small palapa that serves as the dining room for the restaurant/bar of our hotel, La Palapa, in Isla Holbox. I'm also being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Blogging here is probably not a good idea, but I don't have internet connection from our (rather nearby) room. I think I will go to my room anyway, blog offline and then have Mike copy & paste all my postings. See you!

Next day, third day of vacation. Last night, between getting the kids ready for bed, doing a bit of laundry and taking showers, I did not go back to blogging. Mike did do some internet work and got eaten alive by mosquitoes as well. As I write, there is a swarm of mosquitoes outside the wood-and-glass door to our veranda, waiting for us, I presume. I put some DEET repellent, rather than the Family friendly but useless OFF that I put on yesterday, but it doesn't seem to be much better. I woke up with itching bites on both my calves and feet. They are still itching, despite some anti-itch medicine. Lord, does anything work?

Mike and Mika are both going to swim with whale sharks today. They are the largest fish in the ocean – filter feeders, so not dangerous – and the one attraction Isla Holbox has in addition to its beaches. I don't know how far into the sea they have to go, but we've gotten some dramamine just in case. Apparently they may seem manta rays and other cool things in the way – we had dolphins ride with our ferry in the way over here, so I wouldn't be surprised if they encountered that as well. In any case, we will know later. As for Camila and I, we'll stay here, at the hotel, enjoying the beach and trying to keep away from the mosquitoes (yes, they are still there).

Yesterday was a pretty relaxing day. We woke up (in Cancun) , had “breakfast”, the kids played in the pool for a while, and then we headed off to exchange money and make a phone call. It was a long walk to the bank, and the mid-morning sun was relentless. The kids were hot, exhausted and whiny within 5 minutes, but the hope of ice cream kept them alive on the way back. After packing up we headed out.

Getting to Isla Holbox did not take only 1 ½ hours as promised, but it was generally straightforward. You head out of Cancun in the direction of Merida (there are signs indicating which way from time to time, don't turn unless you see one), made sure to take the free road when the option came out, and then drove until km 262 (marked), where we turned right, towards Isla Holbox. We did so once again at the end of that road, heading towards Chiquila. There we found Don Patricio's parking. It's less than a block away from the dock, covered and semi-secured – MN$40 a day. We were lucky that we arrived at the dock at about 2 PM, and the ferry was almost ready to leave. The ferry was MN$60 for adults and MN$35 for kids - free for 4-yo Camila. The ride is about 20 minutes, and, as I mentioned, part of it included dolphins.

Once here (in Isla Holbox) the kids and Mike played in the water, collected shells (some from rather big critters), watch Goosebumps in the small computer, went out for snacks and later dinner, and played in the sun. All in all it was a most relaxing afternoon and evening. We all fell in love with the place and decided to stay one more night, but the hotel is full so it's not an option.

We'll probably head to Cancun after Mike and Mika return from their shark-swimming trip.

Hotel La Palapa - Isla Holbox - Review

We decided to stay at La Palapa hotel (on July 2009)for four big reasons: they had availability, they accepted two adults and two children in a double room (two double beds), regardless of what they said online, it was at the beach and it got great reviews at It was a great decision. The hotel is beautiful, family-friendly and utterly relaxing, close to town and with a friendly and accommodating staff. Definitely a place you should consider for your Isla Holbox stay.

When the kids saw our room – quite simple, with two double beds (rather hard, but so are often the beds in Mexico) and a couple of shelves, no phone, no TV, no mini-refrigerator, but cool with its two ceiling fans and a gorgeous veranda with a couple of chairs and a hammock – they begged to stay more than one night. It's US$90 a night (the rate we agreed on, though I've seen rooms offered for significantly less online), more than I want to pay for multiple nights. But hotels are quite expensive in Isla Holbox, and this one is truly enchanting. In any case, they don't have availability, so we are out of luck.

The room is not without problems, however. As beautiful as the veranda is, it's full of mosquitoes, even after they've sprayed insecticide, We found no way to turn on the A/C, though I imagine there must be one. Fortunately the two fans work very well, and there was quite a pleasant breeze blowing during out stay.

The hotel is located in a beautiful, white-sand beach, cleaned and combed daily. It has multiple lounge chairs on the beach, including a few that recline fully and have foam tops. Some are shaded, many are not. There are a few hammocks and lots of palms. There are several boats docked at the beach, but they still leave a large enough shore area in which to swim. A little palapa encases five tables and chairs and includes a bar/restaurant. You can have mixed drinks (MN$50-60) or one of a few dishes, from pizza (MN$40) to lobster (MN$150); the exchange, as I write, is about MN$13 to US$1, so neither very cheap nor ridiculously expensive (the spaghetti, for some reason, is MN$120 – 160, which seems absurd to me).

The sea is also beautiful. This being the Gulf of Mexico, the waters are not blue but aquamarine. The shore is full of small shells, but free of seaweed and you don't really need water shoes. It was very hot the first day we stayed at the beach (but the hotter it is, the fewer the mosquitoes), but very pleasant, and somewhat cloudy, the next day. The kids loved to play in the sand, specially at the end of the day, but beware that there are “tabanos”, a type of sand fly (horsefly according to a dictionary online) with a nasty bite. If you come here, you should really get some mosquito repellent with DDT, “OFF” doesn't cut it.

The hotel is very well located, one street down from the main street, and only a few blocks from the zocalo. There are plenty of restaurants nearby, from cheap traditional eateries (though most not serving Yucatecan food) to nice beach restaurants. Prices are pretty steep however, even at the more modest eateries.

The golf-cart taxi from the dock to the hotel was MN$30 – it should have been MN$20 for anywhere in the island, but we are ignorant tourists, what can I say? Tours to swim with the whale sharks booked through the hotel are MN$800, I'm not sure if they are cheaper elsewhere.

Finally, for those who read reviews that mentioned construction going on on the roof, the construction is all over, so you don't have to fear such noise. However, this is a very family friendly hotel, so it's not a place to get away from all noise.

La Palapa
Av.Morelos, 231 - 77310

Beach in front of La Palapa - Isla Holbox

Room at  La Palapa - Isla Holbox

Bathroom at  La Palapa - Isla Holbox

Room balcony at  La Palapa - Isla Holbox

July 10, 2009

Pictures from Isla Holbox

On the ferry to Isla Holbox, some dolphins played in the wake of the boat.

Mika had great fun finding things on the beach.

The kids loved the warm water, gentle waves, soft sand, and a very gradual slope at the beach.

What could be better?

This is a whale shark - the biggest fish in the world. We also spotted dolphins, sardines, and two manta rays. The underwater pictures of the whale shark didn't turn out well.

After jumping into the ocean twice to swim with a whale shark, Mika stayed on the boat.

One the fish Mika and Daddy spotted while snorkeling after swimming with whale sharks.

About Isla Holbox

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Marga & Mike's Yucatan Adventure Blog in the Isla Holbox category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Hotel Reviews is the previous category.

Merida is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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