Just a fast note: It now takes only 2 hours to go from Cancun Airport to Chiquila. HOW? Follow these directions: Leave the Airport & when you reach the main hwy 307 GO South toward Tulum & Playa Del Carmen. Pay close attention because you're only on this for about 1 mile. Keep a "Lookout" for the sign that says "MERIDA CUOTA" Go to the exit RIGHT........... Follow this 2 lane access to the Autopista until just past MILEPOST "294" then look for a hut/restaurant on the Right side. You'll see a guy standing there & for 10 Pesos he'll drop the rope & you can follow the little road through the jungle for about 2 miles. At the end of this you'll deadend on Lopez Portillo Blvd OUTSIDE of Cancun...( You've just bypassed ALL of Cancun, its Bribery eating Policemen, traffic, hustlers etc etc..You are now on Hwy 180 going WEST Towatrd Merida. Shortly you'll see a Big overhead Highway sign that says MERIDA CUOTA, or MERIDA LIBRE STAY to the right or strainght on the LIBRE (FREE ROAD) If you go left up & over the bridge you're locked on the TOLL-ROAD For 50 + miles!!!! Continue West on Hwy 180 LIBRE you'll start seeing the NEW Highway signs on the side of the road that say ISLA HOLBOX Continue west to just past MILEPOST 262...At the First Speed-bump (TOPES) Then Right...Its a Brand New Asphalt Road..Follow it through 2 little towns First is ESPERANZA (These poor folk have only 1 industry....they make CHARCOAL !!!...Buy something in the local store Foods or Drink etc) Continue to San Pedro.Just after San Pedro the road deadends...GO RIGHT........Follow the road to & through Kantunilkin........Just outside Kantunilkin the Road is NEW & WIDE With White stripes etc.........Its better than the TollRoad the rest of the way to Chiquila (45 Km north of Kantunilkin) How do I know? I live on Holbox & I'm the New Director of Tourism & Development for the USA & CANADA....Anything you want to know about Holbox I have the answer. BEST Hotels, Restaurants, WhaleSharks etc .........contact me @ email@example.com
Getting to Isla Holbox is a time consuming experience but not as difficult as it seems, and of course the end result is well worth any effort! The best way to get to Isla Holbox from the Cancun Airport on a budget is to take the airport bus to the Cancun bus station. The airport bus runs about every 30 minutes and takes about 40 mins to get to the bus station. The cost is about $3.50 US. From the Cancun bus station there are roughly 3 daily buses to Chiquila which is where you will catch the ferry to Isla Holbox. The buses leave for Chiquila at 8:00 / 12:30 / 1:30 / 2:15 and costs about $6 US. The times in the morning vary but I caught the 2:15 bus in Feb 2012 so I can vouch for that time for sure. The 2:15 is the last bus leaving for Chiquila. The ride takes about 3 to 3 1/2 hours and is a very scenic ride through the heart of the Yucatan and passes through various small towns. Its a 2nd class bus so it does stop alot to pick up random passengers. Once you get to Chiquila there are many different ferry times for Holbox (see my photo of the ferry schedule) the cost is $5.50 US and takes about 20 minutes. Again a time consuming process but easily done as long as you can get a early flight into Cancun, otherwise plan on spending the night in a hotel near the bus station.
To discover the unknown beauties around Isla Holbox, hire a boat from one of the local fisherman. They charge about $60 USD per day, but it can be divided with as many travelers you can fit on the boat. We were four, so it turned out to be about $15 USD each. It's well worth the money! Check out my off-the-beaten path tips to see what we did :)
The buses from Cancun to Chiquila leave at 7:50am, 12:40pm, and 1:30pm. The first two are Mayab, and the third is Noreste. The cost is 74 pesos.
The buses from Chiquila to Cancun leave at 5:30am, 7:30am, and 1:30pm. The cost is 74 pesos, and they will either be Mayab or Noreste buses.
The duration of the trip is about 3 to 3.5 hours depending on the number of stops made and the time it takes in Cancun due to traffic.
A lot of people go to Holbox to either fish, eat fish or do nothing. Some people get restless and for these people there are of course the beautiful nature walks you can take on the island. This does not cost you a penny unless you want to get a golf cart.
All transportation on the island is by golfcarts, motorbikes, bicycles, & of course walking!
Getting to Isla Holbox is not impossible, but it's not an easy task either. From Playa del Carmen, I took a bus to Cancun. From Cancun, I took two buses to Chilula. From there, I took a lancha colectiva (boat ride) to Isla Holbox.
Upon arrival, I was feeling a bit lazy so I grabbed a taxi from the docks. The taxi was actually a tricycle (no engine). It dropped me at this pension he recommended. It wasn't a bad deal so I grabbed it.
Getting around the island is easy, just use your feet :). Do notice the peacefulness of the place though. The streets are just plane sand filled with cute little golf carts, scooters, bicycles, tricycles, and pedestrians. You can rent any one of these options at various prices. The cheapest is the pedestrian route, which is generally free :P.