Hammock Adventures on Holbox Island
Our room was named "Maracuyá". Each of the guestrooms at Casa Las Tortugas hotel bore the name of a tropical fruit instead of traditional numbers. Beds with charming mosquito nets, island artwork on the walls, and a peek into a bathroom with talavera tiles greeted us as my husband and I first stepped through the door. When we opened the door to our garden view balcony and lied down in our traditional Yucatan hammock, I knew we had made it to paradise.
Getting to the island of Holbox was easy. Many of the local hotels offer their own transportation from Cancun while some visitors make the journey via rental car. Jorge and I opted to take the bus from downtown Cancun, which took us three hours through small villages and beautiful jungle scenery to the town of Chiquilá on the northern coast of the state of Quintana Roo. With ferries leaving Chiquilá every hour during the day, we were quickly off the bus, on board the boat and making our way to Holbox island. A golf cart taxi drove us across the small island to our hotel, and by noon we had already settled in and unpacked our swimsuits.
Our first order of business? Lunch! A quick stroll around the small, friendly town of Holbox led us to a beachfront restaurant and bar where we stuffed our faces with coconut fish and tacos while looking out over an amazing view of the quiet beach and turquoise ocean. With our bellies full and our hearts happy, Jorge and I returned to Casa Las Tortugas hotel for an afternoon at their beach club. Loungers, palapas and bean bag chairs covered the beach, but we made ourselves comfortable in bright yellow hammocks set under the shade of several palm trees. Hours passed as we napped, ordered drinks and occasionally ventured into the cool waters. Some local island kids were playing nearby, running fully clothed in and out of the water in an improvised game of tag.
Around 7 pm, travelers from all over the world began to show up all along the beach to see the island's famed sunset. Couples were sitting in the sand snapping photos while families walked out to the end of the docks to get the best view. Half an hour went by as we viewed the bright orange sun go down over the ocean horizon.
Once dinnertime rolled around, I had firmly decided that I wanted to try Holbox’s famous lobster pizza. Jorge was more interested in a laid-back bar vibe. We went back into town and explored the sandy streets before deciding on a casual but busy restaurant at the back of the main square. The lobster pizza did not disappoint, and we stayed at the restaurant talking for quite awhile before returning to Casa Las Tortugas for some chocolate dessert at their beachfront restaurant, Mandarina. To pass the time after our evening out, we headed up to our Maracuyá room and once again settled into our cozy balcony hammock. I listened to the ocean breeze flow through the palm trees and felt immense peace as we talked about returning to the island for a longer vacation.
Always up for a party, Jorge suggested we walk down the beach to Cariocas, a tiny bar on the sand with swing-seats and any drink you could want. Soon a group of boisterous European tourists sidled up to the bar while a few locals arrived and made themselves comfortable in a few chairs just by the bar. The night went by in a blur of laughter and dancing at that little bar on the beach, and I didn't even know what time it was when we stumbled back to our room and gave in to sleep under the mosquito net.
I woke up starving and changed into my favorite coral-colored swimsuit cover-up before we went downstairs to breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. We feasted on homemade jams and huevos rancheros, the perfect way to start our second day on Holbox island.
Our golf cart cab was scheduled to pick us up at noon to catch the ferry and the last scheduled bus back to Cancun, so Jorge and I spent the remainder of our morning cooling off in the pool and seeking out our favorite beach club hammocks for ultimate relaxation once again. Before our trip, I had been worried that just 24 hours in Holbox wouldn't satisfy my travel cravings. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one night was just enough to immerse myself in true rest and peace of mind to return home calm and serene.