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How to Get to Holbox from Cancun Airport, Playa del Carmen, and More

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico and wondering how to get to Holbox from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Valladolid, and Merida, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide to how to get to Isla Holbox, I’m sharing essential info about flights to Isla Holbox, the Holbox ferry, using a Holbox shuttle, and more. Popular ways to get to Holbox include:

With all of these options (apart from flying), you’ll only get as far as the Chiquila town, and then you’ll need to take the Chiquita ferry to Holbox.

I’ve organized this Cancun Airport to Holbox guide into different sections depending on your start or end point to help you have a stress-free travel experience.

Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.

If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them, and they are always there to help. If you book through them, you will pay a little more than booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Where is Holbox Mexico?

How to get to Isla Holbox Mexico

Isla Holbox is a small Caribbean Island in Quintana Roo, Mexico. How far is Holbox from Cancun, you ask?Isla Holbox is located just 60 kilometers north of Cancun. The island is 26 miles long, though most of it is undeveloped—that’s the wonder of visiting Isla Holbox, as it’s one of the most remote places in the Yucatan Peninsular.

This can be a blessing and a curse. I love traveling to Holbox from Playa del Carmen when I want to go “off the grid” for a few days. I have no choice, as WiFi and phone signals are virtually nonexistent (although my mobile WiFi works, believe it or not). There are also no proper roads on the island, which can be fun if you get the bicycle or golf cart rental Holbox is famous for. But if/when it rains, this isn’t much fun. Therefore, I recommend leaving the suitcase at home as you decide what to pack for Mexico.

Traveling from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, or Cancun to Holbox is relatively straightforward. It’s easy to drive, book a transfer, take a colectivo, or use the ADO bus and hop on the Holbox ferry. You can also book private flights to Isla Holbox Airport.

QUICK TIP: Book your tours, rental cars, and transfers through my local contacts

I’ve been working with Living Dreams Mexico for years and they are who I send all my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for private tours and experiences. They have solid 5* reviews on Trip Advisor and Google from almost 4000 reviewers! You can view all their tours here.

If you’re looking for private airport transfers and rental cars then Vanessa and Oliver from Turismo Channel are personal friends of mine and I can 100% recommend them to make an inquiry click here and complete the form. Someone will be in touch within 24 hours.

Where to Stay in Holbox

Finding a great place to stay in Holbox can be tricky, but I’ve listed some of my favorites below to help narrow your search. Click the links for more information on each accommodation, or check out this post I wrote reviewing all my favorite places to stay in Holbox.

Hotel Para Ti

Deluxe Room at Casa HX Holbox

Shankara Entire Condominium Holbox

Che Holbox Hostel

Isla Holbox Map

I’ve included an Isla Holbox map to help you plan how to get to Holbox from Cancun Airport or other locations.

Flights to Isla Holbox

How to get to Isla Holbox Mexico

Did you know that there are now flights to Isla Holbox? You can take a direct to Holbox Airport and save yourself a journey by road or water.

These are private charter flights, so this isn’t the best option if you’re on a backpacker budget. You’ll also have to consider weight restrictions, as the maximum weight of most private planes is around 350kg. You might have to leave those extra shoes at home!

Isla Holbox Airport is small, situated in the center of town. If you’re traveling with a small group and minimal luggage, flights to Holbox could be excellent options. You pay per plane rather than per person—rates for a 5-person plane from Cancun to Isla Holbox start around $500.

Click here for a quote for private flights to Isla Holbox from Cancun.

Flights depart to Isla Holbox Mexico from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, and Merida.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Isla Holbox ToursClick here to check out the top Isla Holbox tours
Best Isla Holbox Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Isla Holbox
Best Isla Holbox Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Isla Holbox

Here’s some info on the lengths and prices of flights to Isla Holbox:

  • Cancun to Holbox: 35 minutes, $760 per plane
  • Isla Mujeres to Holbox: 30 minutes, $500 per plane
  • Playa del Carmen to Holbox: 40 minutes, $1392 per plane
  • Cozumel to Holbox: 45 minutes, $1343 per plane
  • Merida to Holbox: 1 hour and 25 minutes, $2538 per plane

How to Get From Cancun to Isla Holbox

Wondering how to get from Cancun to Holbox? You have four main options:

You can only travel from Cancun to Chiquila by road—from there, you must take a Holbox ferry or private boat to the island.

Fly From Cancun to Isla Holbox

The flight from Cancun to Holbox takes around 30 minutes, with prices starting at $760 for a 5-seater private plane. Click here to get a quote from Fly Cozumel.

Rent a Car and Drive From Cancun to Holbox

If you don’t want to take the bus or book a transfer, another option is to rent a car in Cancun and drive to Chiquila. From Chiquila, you’ll need to park your car and take the Chiquila ferry to Holbox. Parking is around $6 USD a day.

Holbox Map: Cancun to Holbox via Chiquila

From Cancun, take the highway, following signs for Merida. Stay on this road until you reach Valladolid Nuevo, then turn right for the Holbox sign. You’re now on the Chiquila road—head straight until you reach the town. The journey should take around three hours unless you take the toll road, which cuts your drive time by 30 to 40 minutes. 

I only recommend renting a car in Cancun to drive to Holbox if you’re going on a Yucatan road trip—otherwise, it’s cheaper and more practical to book a Holbox transfer.

There is a car ferry to Holbox, but everyone uses golf car rental Holbox companies, so I don’t recommend bringing a vehicle to the island.

How To Get To Isla Holbox Mexico

Ride the Cancun to Holbox Shuttle Bus

The most popular option, especially on a budget, is the GuateGo bus from Cancun to Holbox. You’ll ride in an air-conditioned bus from the downtown ADO station, and the overall journey takes about three hours.

How to Get to Holbox From Cancun Airport

Traveling directly from Cancun Airport to Holbox is challenging as you must take a bus to the downtown ADO station and then a second bus to Chiquila. Thankfully, GuateGo has partnered with bus companies in Cancun that take you directly from the airport to the Chiquita ferry to Holbox. Click here for GuateGo’s Cancun to Holbox shuttle bus schedule and price.

Unfortunately, most people flying into Cancun arrive too late to connect flights, making Cancun to Holbox transfers the best option. Unless you find somewhere to stay in Cancun for the night and travel to Holbox the following day.

Take the Cancun to Holbox Transfer

For most flying into Cancun Airport who want to travel directly from Cancun to Isla Holbox, booking a transfer is the best option. Transferring to Holbox means someone will be waiting for you at the airport to drive you in a private minivan to Chiquila and help you get on the ferry. Some companies include the ferry price and offer a golf cart taxi to take you to your hotel. Always ask what’s included in the cost before booking!

If you’re wondering how to get from Cancun to Holbox as a solo traveler, a transfer might not be ideal. Instead, I suggest spending the night in Cancun and then heading to Holbox on the Cancun to Holbox bus first thing in the morning.

Getting From Holbox to Cancun

The first time I went to Holbox, I didn’t think ahead about getting back, which was silly as it can be harder to travel from Holbox to Cancun than vice versa. Driving from Holbox to Cancun is straightforward—take a ferry, pick up your car, and off you go. Flying from Holbox to Cancun is also easy, as you just need to book a flight.

Taking a bus can be difficult as there aren’t many available, and they can fill up quickly. Plus, you’ll need to time the Holbox ferry correctly—otherwise, you’ll be waiting in Chiquila for a long time. I advise booking a transfer from an island travel agent or GuateGo, which offers an option from Holbox to Cancun or from Holbox to Cancun Airport.

If you want to take the bus, visit the ferry terminal a day in advance and book your journey at the ADO counter—this will guarantee you a seat. Don’t follow my lead and take the ferry just to wander around begging colectivo drivers to give me a ride, which is stressful first thing in the morning.

How To Get To Isla Holbox Mexico

How to Get to Isla Holbox From Playa del Carmen

There are many options for getting to Isla Holbox from Playa del Carmen, including:

Rent a Car and Drive From Playa del Carmen to Holbox

Thanks to the new toll road, it takes less than two hours to get to Chiquila from Playa del Carmen. Of course, there is a fee—the first toll is 18 pesos, and the second is 79 pesos.

To get from Playa del Carmen to Isla Holbox by road, hop on the 305D from Calle 38 north, heading towards Merida and Holbox. Eventually, you’ll see a sign for Holbox—take the turn and continue straight until you reach Chiquila.

If you’re thinking of renting a car, read this first to avoid getting ripped off.

Holbox Map: Playa del Carmen to Holbox

Take a Playa del Carmen to Chiquila Colectivo

The easiest way to travel from Playa del Carmen to Holbox, especially as a solo or budget traveler, is to use a Playa del Carmen to Chiquila colectivo

Check the schedule in advance, but typical times are:

9:30 a.m.

10:20 a.m.

11:20 a.m.

6:30 p.m.

The colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Chiquila departs from Calle 2 with Avenida 20, and you can reserve a spot in advance, which is recommended as space is limited. Send a WhatsApp message in Spanish to +52 984 129 3829. The price for a one-way ticket is 381 pesos.

Typical travel times from Holbox to Playa del Carmen are:

8:00 a.m.

11:30 a.m.

3:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

Book a Holbox Transfer

How To Get To Isla Holbox Mexico

You can also book a transfer to Chiquila from Playa del Carmen—this is similar to a colectivo, but you must reserve and pay 24 hours in advance. The vans are typically nicer, and drivers often speak English. The main difference is the service costs around 350 pesos per person.

You can book through several companies:

  • Chofer Vans: +52 984 197 0790
  • Vans Holbox: +52 984 208 1129
  • GuateGo

These are shared transfers—if you prefer a private Holbox transfer from Playa del Carmen, complete the form below for a quote from my trusted Playa del Carmen partner, Turismo Channel. Someone will get back to you within 24 hours.

Take the Bus From Playa del Carmen to Holbox

The bus from Playa del Carmen goes to Chiquila, where you’ll board the Holbox ferry. It’s easy to get from Playa del Carmen to Isla Holbox by bus, but more difficult to get back, as the timing never seems to work out. Check out the GuateGo bus schedule here.

The public bus from Playa del Carmen to Chiquila takes around three hours, and prices start at 250 pesos. There’s only one daily trip, typically around 9:45 a.m. Thursday to Sunday, there’s an extra service through Myab that departs at 9:10 a.m. Both buses depart from the ADO station.

How to Get to Holbox Mexico From Tulum

Getting to Isla Holbox from Tulum is easy by car—other travel methods are significantly more challenging.

Here are methods to get from Tulum to Isla Holbox:

Holbox Map: Tulum to Chiquila

Take the highway as if you’re going to Coba Ruins and look for a sign saying Holbox (Route 109). When you get there, turn toward Holbox and keep going until you get to Chiquila.

Take the Bus From Tulum to Holbox

Getting a bus from Tulum to Holbox is difficult unless you travel from Thursday to Sunday. On these days, the bus leaves the ADO station at the following times (please note that while you purchase tickets at the station, the bus isn’t operated by ADO). Check out the GuateGo options and buy your ticket in advance.

  • Leaving Tulum: 8:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m.
  • Leaving Chiquila: 5:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m.

Any other day, you’ll need to take a bus to Playa del Carmen from Tulum. Since the only bus leaves Playa around 9:00 a.m., you must leave Tulum relatively early. If you take this route, I suggest booking your bus at the ADO station in Tulum at least one day in advance—booking several days earlier can get you an even lower price.

Take a Colectivo From Tulum to Holbox

A better option to get from Tulum to Isla Holbox Monday through Wednesday is by colectivo. It’s still not an easy journey, but you have more options for timing. Take a colectivo to Playa and then take the Playa to Chiquila colectivo that departs from Calle 2 with Avenida 20.

How To Get To Isla Holbox Mexico

Quick Tip: You can book Holbox tours from Living Dreams Mexico here:

DREAM HOLBOX
DREAM COZUMEL ISLAND SNORKELING
EK BALAM

How to Get to Holbox Mexico From Valladolid

Wondering how to get to Isla Holbox from Valladolid? Thankfully, it’s pretty easy! Visit the ADO bus station and hop on the next bus to Chiquila. The 2-hour bus from Valladolid to Chiquila is generally reliable, and there are several local companies to book through.

Another option is to rent a car and drive. In that case, get on to the highway and take the road to Chiquila, where you can take the ferry to Holbox.

You can also book a transfer or private driver to take you from Valladolid to the Chiquila ferry. The drive takes around two hours. Click here to see the times and prices through GuateGo.

Holbox Map: Valladolid to Holbox


 

How to Get to Isla Holbox From Merida

Getting to Holbox from Merida is the longest journey. Book your travel in advance, especially during peak tourist season.

Here are my top recommendations to travel from Merida to Holbox:

It takes around an hour and a half to fly to Holbox from Merida, and flights typically cost over $2538 USD. I also don’t recommend driving unless you’re traveling somewhere else after. Gas isn’t cheap in Mexico, and you’ll need to pay for parking. I suggest booking a bus 24 hours in advance. If you’re traveling in a group, contact a tour agency about a private shuttle from Merida to Chiquila.

Drive From Merida to Holbox

The drive from Merida to Chiquila takes around four hours. Exit Merida and head to Valladolid—from there, follow the signs to Holbox. Once you reach Chiquila, park your car and take the ferry.

Holbox Map: Merida to Holbox

Taking the Bus From Merida to Isla Holbox

My top recommended travel method for getting to Isla Holbox from Merida is taking a bus. There are direct buses that stop in Valladolid, but you can also take a bus or colectivo to Valladolid and then take a second one to Chiquila. The journey normally takes five or six hours (longer if you have to change buses) and costs around 500 pesos.

Quick Tip: View my full Mexico packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Mexico Essentials shopping list here.

Taking the Holbox Ferry From Chiquila

How To Get To Isla Holbox Mexico

Regardless of how you get to Chiquila, you must take a boat or Chiquila ferry to Holbox. If traveling alone, take the Holbox ferry. If you’re in a group and can speak some Spanish, it’s worth chatting with a local boat owner to see if they can cut you a deal. The last time I visited Holbox, I was with three friends, and one of the men took us for the same price we would have paid on the ferry. It was much faster and more fun!

The Chiquila Holbox ferry is very easy to navigate. There are two companies that operate the route, and they both charge 150 pesos each way. One company leaves at the hour while the other departs at half past the hour. Check the schedule when you arrive and pick the company that makes the most sense for your schedule.

If you’re a major planner, book the Holbox ferry in advance with GuateGo.

The Chiquila ferry to Holbox only takes 15 minutes and is normally an easy passage. The ferries start running at 5:00 a.m., and the last ferry leaves at 8:30 p.m. Taking the ferry is the easiest part of the journey because it runs frequently.

Isla Holbox Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Isla Holbox?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Isla Holbox which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Isla Holbox on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Isla Holbox?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Isla Holbox?

First and foremost check out all of the amazing Isla Holbox tours Where Sidewalks End has. They are a small local company and they have some really special experiences.

For everything else I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide

If you are traveling to Cancun you can use GoCity and save up to 55% of the initial cost of entrance tickets to various museums, tours, and attractions!

If you are traveling to Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

how to get to isla Holbox