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How to Get from Playa del Carmen to Holbox in 2023

How to get from Playa del Carmen to Holbox guide. Nestled off the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Holbox Island stands as a hidden jewel offering a serene and untouched tropical getaway. With its pristine, powdery beaches, waters so turquoise they seem unreal, and a flourishing ecosystem, Holbox Island provides a haven for those who seek the unfiltered beauty of nature and a retreat from the bustling tourist hubs.

But embarking on this journey to the secluded island requires thoughtful planning and a genuine understanding of the available transportation options. Navigating the logistics of getting to Holbox Island can be overwhelming, especially for those setting foot on this path for the first time. Yet, fear not! This all-encompassing guide is your compass to navigate the course of reaching this piece of paradise.

Whether you’re making your way from Playa del Carmen or starting your journey from another charming Mexican destination, this guide is your companion through the array of transportation choices, from traversing the land to embarking on the ferry that bridges the mainland to Holbox Island. Armed with the right insights and knowledge, you’re set to embark on a seamless and memorable journey to this tropical haven. So, prepare to set foot on an expedition to Holbox Island, where the allure of nature beckons. Let’s delve into the details and unlock the secrets of this authentic odyssey.

Why to go to Holbox Island?

A Haven for Nature Aficionados

For those with a penchant for natural wonders, Holbox Island offers an unparalleled experience. The island is encircled by cerulean waters that are home to flourishing coral ecosystems, beckoning snorkelers and divers to explore its underwater marvels. It’s not uncommon to find yourself swimming beside elegant manta rays, or observing a myriad of colourful tropical fish that inhabit these aquatic realms. Bird enthusiasts will also find their paradise here, with over 150 species of birds to observe, including the graceful flamingos, sky-soaring pelicans, and statuesque herons that populate the area.

Commitment to Authenticity

What sets Holbox Island apart is its unwavering dedication to preserving its innate character. The island’s infrastructure is intentionally minimalistic, with unpaved roads and a scarcity of motorized vehicles, thereby fostering an environment of serene leisure. Instead, you’ll find golf carts and bicycles as the primary modes of transportation, encouraging you to immerse yourself in the island’s relaxed ambiance and discover its lesser-known treasures.

An Adventurer’s Utopia

But Holbox Island is more than just a visual spectacle; it’s a playground for the adventurous at heart. Navigate through dense mangrove forests via paddleboard, marvel at the luminescence of bioluminescent bays, revel in awe-inspiring sunsets, and indulge in freshly-caught seafood at ocean-side dining establishments. In essence, Holbox Island accommodates every type of traveler, from the contemplative to the intrepid.

Planning Your Journey

As you consider your expedition to this secluded paradise, it’s crucial to note that Holbox Island is accessible solely by boat, making it a true aquatic sanctuary. To navigate this journey successfully, a comprehensive understanding of your transportation options and the logistics involved is indispensable. In subsequent sections, we will delve into the intricacies of your travel itinerary from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Island, covering everything from airport selection to terrestrial transportation and the pivotal ferry ride that will transport you from mainland Mexico to this pristine oasis. Prepare yourself for an authentic adventure that is as unforgettable as it is enriching.

How to get from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Island

Holbox Island, a haven just off the pristine coast of Quintana Roo, offers two distinctive pathways to its shores: soaring through the skies or embarking on a land journey that leads to a tranquil sea passage. Opt for a flight for a swift, direct route, whisking you away to this island retreat. Alternatively, choose the path of the land, which starts with a visit to the charming port town of Chiquilá. From there, a serene boat ride across a narrow channel brings you to the captivating embrace of Holbox’s world.

From Playa del Carmen to Holbox

Transfer from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Island by Cab or Taxi

This mode of travel offers not only convenience but also a touch of comfort on your voyage from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Island. Several shuttle services extend their reach from Playa del Carmen to Chiquilá, the embarkation point for Holbox Island. These shuttles promise door-to-door service, plush vehicles, and drivers who double as your guides.

Opting for a taxi or a minibus journey unveils the layers of flexibility and convenience as you tread the path from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Island. Let’s trace your steps through this comprehensive guide:

  • Departure Point: Be it a private taxi or a shared minibus, they’re primed to pick you up from your Playa del Carmen abode or any designated departure site. You can ask more information around ADO bus station.
  • Travel Duration: From Playa del Carmen to Chiquilá, the mainland’s ferry station for Holbox, generally spans 2 to 3.5 hours. The timeline dances with traffic and road conditions.
  • Booking and Availability: Secure your spot by booking with a credible taxi service or inquiring about shared minibus availability. Ensure your plans are laid out well in advance.
  • Comfort and Amenities: Expect a personal haven in private taxis and cozy rides in shared minibuses, often adorned with air conditioning. Refreshments like bottled water or snacks might be part of the journey.
  • Cost Considerations: Private taxis come at a premium for their exclusivity and personalized service. Shared minibuses offer a wallet-friendly alternative, ranging between 60 to 120 USD per person. Factors like the season and your preference for shared or private rides come into play.
  • Luggage Space: Private taxis generally allow more room for your belongings compared to shared minibuses.

Transfer by Shuttle (Minivan) to Holbox from Playa del Carmen

Choosing a minivan for your expedition from Playa del Carmen to Holbox promises an authentic adventure. With a travel time of approximately 2 to 2.5 hours and a price of around 50 USD or even less, this option beckons to those who seek a genuine experience. Secure your spot for this journey through online booking or by contacting providers in advance. Here’s your guide to this authentic experience:

  • Departure Point: Most minivan journeys kick off from the Playa del Carmen vicinity. Confirm the departure spot as you make your booking.
  • Travel Duration:: The trek from Playa del Carmen to Chiquilá, the point of departure for the Holbox ferry, takes around 2 hours in a minivan. Your journey’s pace is shaped by the flow of traffic and road conditions.
  • Booking and Availability:: Minivan schedules vary, so wise travelers book with credible operators who share accurate departure times. Aim to arrive a little ahead of schedule to ensure you don’t miss your ride.
  • Comfort and Amenities: Minivan journeys come wrapped in comfort, complete with air conditioning and plush seating. Inquire about available amenities when reserving your spot.
  • Cost Considerations: The cost of a minivan venture from Playa del Carmen to Holbox fluctuates based on the operator, the level of service, and whether the ferry ticket is included. Delve into price comparisons before locking in your plans.
  • Luggage Space: Minivans offer ample storage space for luggage, so you can pack without hesitation.

Bus from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Island

For travelers seeking an economical option, the bus provides an authentic and budget-friendly means of getting from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Island. Buses bound for Chiquilá depart from the ADO Bus Station located in the heart of Downtown Playa del Carmen. This option offers a unique opportunity to soak in the local scenery and connect with fellow travelers.

Buses from Playa del Carmen to Chiquilá are available at several convenient times throughout the day, catering to different schedules. The bus service is designed to accommodate the needs of travelers, whether you’re an early riser or prefer a mid-morning departure. As of the latest information available, there are typically three buses that depart from Playa del Carmen to Chiquilá at 9:30, 11:40 and 13:40.

How to get from Playa del Carmen to Holbox Bus departure time
  1. 9:30 AM: One of the first buses departs at 9:30 AM, allowing travelers to start their journey early and make the most of the day. This option is ideal for those who prefer a morning departure and want to reach Chiquilá by midday.
  2. 11:40 AM: The second bus departs at 11:40 AM, offering a mid-morning option for travelers. This departure time provides a comfortable window for those who prefer a slightly later start and allows for a leisurely journey to Chiquilá.
  3. 1:40 PM: The third bus of the day leaves at 1:40 PM, making it a suitable choice for travelers who prefer an afternoon departure. This option is perfect for those who want to take their time in the morning and embark on their journey during the early afternoon.

Here’s how to navigate this journey:

  • Point: The ADO buses set off from a convenient location on 5th Avenue, a bustling street known for its shops, restaurants, and vibrant atmosphere.
  • Travel Duration: The estimated duration for this bus ride is roughly 2 hours and 10 minutes. This is a relatively short journey, giving you ample opportunity to relax and perhaps even catch a quick nap before you arrive at Chiquila and proceed to board the ferry to Holbox.
  • Booking and Availability: To ensure a smooth journey, reserve your bus tickets ahead of time.
  • Comfort and Amenities: Buses typically offer essential comforts for passengers, including air conditioning and comfortable seating. While amenities may vary, the journey is designed to provide a pleasant experience.
  • Cost Considerations: The ticket price for this bus route is quite reasonable, costing approximately 340 Mexican Pesos, which translates to around $17 USD. The added convenience here is the option to book your tickets online, allowing you to secure your seat in advance and avoid any last-minute hassles. You can book here.
  • Luggage: Buses usually provide ample space for luggage storage, ensuring you can bring your belongings along for the ride.

Ensuring you secure your bus tickets well in advance is essential, especially during peak travel seasons. By planning ahead, you can guarantee your spot on the bus and adhere to your desired travel dates.

Rent a car from Playa del Carmen to Holbox

Renting a car from Playa del Carmen Airport unlocks the possibility of self-guided exploration to Holbox Island. The journey spans 2 to 3 hours and allows you to savor the scenic route at your own pace. Arriving in Chiquilá, secure parking spaces, albeit for a fee, promise the safety of your rental car as you transition to the ferry for Holbox. This journey offers the liberty to discover hidden treasures along the way, enhancing your adventure’s authenticity.

Flying from Playa del Carmen to Holbox

Though a commercial airport isn’t nestled on Holbox Island, you can opt for a brief flight from Playa del Carmen to Holbox through small aircraft operated by local airlines or charter services. Departing from Playa del Carmen Airport, these flights land on a compact airstrip on Holbox Island. With a flight duration of 30 to 40 minutes, this option provides a swift and convenient gateway to the island.

It’s prudent to note that flight availability and schedules might waver based on the airline and season. To make your journey seamless, reach out to local airlines or charter services in advance to glean insights about flight options, pricing, and reservations. The price tag for flights to Isla Holbox typically commences around $1392 USD for one-way passage. Remember that the limited luggage space in smaller aircraft might influence your packing choices. Stay updated on prices and particulars by visiting the Flights Holbox website.

While most flights to Holbox initiate from Playa del Carmen Airport, it’s conceivable to arrange departures from other locales like Tulum, Cozumel, and Merida. With a travel time of approximately 40 minutes, flying emerges as the speediest method to journey from Playa del Carmen to Holbox.

Ferry Ride from Chiquilá to Holbox Island

Upon your arrival in Chiquilá, the passage to Holbox Island takes on an enchanting quality as you prepare to cross the picturesque Laguna Conil, also known as Yalahau. This aquatic crossing adds a touch of magic to your journey. To facilitate this experience, two renowned catamaran operators, Holbox Express and 9 Hermanos, stand at the ready, offering frequent and dependable ferry departures that ensure a smooth transition to the island. It’s crucial to remember that each operator operates with its own distinct set of tickets, which are non-transferable.

With meticulous planning, the catamaran services present a departure schedule that unfurls every half an hour, catering to the comfort of travelers. This well-crafted timetable empowers you to pick a departure time that aligns with your personal rhythm.



Ferry from Chiquila to Holbox Information
Holbox Express or the 9 Hermanos ferry schedule
Ferry departs fromChiquilá
Ferry arrives inHolbox Island
One-way ferry tickets price$11.90
Round trip ferry tickets price$23.80
Schedule from Chiquila to Holbox6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30, 18:00, 18:30, 19:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30
Schedule from Holbox to Chiquila6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30, 18:00, 18:30, 19:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30
Duration20 minutes
Distance12.9 km (8 mi)

The ferry voyage across Laguna Conil is a fleeting one, averaging about 25 minutes. In this short span, you’ll be transported to the heart of Holbox’s captivating embrace. As you settle into this brief ride, take a moment to unwind, to absorb the serenity of the waterscape enveloping you. This tranquil interlude invites you to bask in the interplay of light and reflections, setting the stage for the stories and adventures awaiting you on Holbox Island. As you transition to this captivating destination, you’re poised to embark on remarkable experiences that define this untouched haven.