“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” – Henry Miller
I gingerly stepped one foot after the other into the wobbly uncertain-if-sea-worthy ‘water taxi’ to make my way out to Isla Holbox in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. My journey so far had been interesting, including eating something I could not tell if it was meat or fruit and a wonderful game of charades with a bus driver asking him if he could stop at the next bathroom. My fairly non-existent Spanish was of absolutely no help. Note to self: learn to speak better/any Spanish to prevent such awkward/hilarious encounters in the future.
When I finally arrived on the sand island where I could count the number of cars on one hand my whole world changed. This place was magical and ridiculously photogenic. The people of this simple fishing village turned minor tourist destination were lovely, the fresh seafood mouthwatering (I even learnt how to make ceviche) and it was so relaxing. I don’t think I had ever walked so slowly in my entire life!
Imagine the sandbars in the low tide letting me wade ankle deep in the crystal clear blue water fifty metres from shore, avoiding stepping on starfish and watching the birdlife frolic and dive-bomb small fish. It was a moment of complete bliss and mindfulness. A moment slowly interrupted by the incoming tide through which I had to semi-swim through shoulder-deep water whilst carefully holding my very expensive DSLR camera above my head. I tried not to think about how much I would cry if I dropped it in the water.
My favourite evening was spent dancing latino style to the most fantabulous Mexican band. They played with such enthusiasm that not a single hand, foot or booty in the rooftop bar was still. The locals and travelers alike encored the band until late in the evening until everyone’s shirts were soaked through with sweat. I collapsed into bed with a big grin across my face. Hans Christian Andersen said “To travel is to live”, and boy oh boy did this place make me feel alive.
Isla Holbox Tips:
– I caught a bus to Chiquila from Tulum (via Cancun) and then a water taxi across to the island.
– I stayed at Tribu Hostel. It was fantastic, had a great vibe, the staff were wonderful and extremely helpful and they organised cooking classes and other events.
– There is a French Bakery called Le Jardin very close to the hostel and it was amazing. They sell out very quickly so get there in the morning or you will miss out on delicious baked good!
– Bring heaps of mosquito repellent!
– Watch the sunset from the bar on the beach!
– You can also go snorkelling, fishing, kayaking and horseriding on the island!
– The wildlife on this island is abundant – check out the flamingoes in the mangroves, whale sharks in the summer (May-September) and see bioluminescent plankton in September-ish.
– There is a lovely little animal shelter on the island where they care for sick and injured animals. They were very happy to have me volunteer some of my time to help feed and care for them.