Holbox Photo Diary + Recommendations.

Punta Caliza, Isla Holbox

If you follow along on Instagram, then you will know that two of my girlfriends and I took a little vacation to Isla Holbox at the beginning of the month. Holbox (pronounced “Ole-bosh”) is a tiny island about 40 miles northwest of Cancun. It’s absolutely beautiful and totally off the grid. The beaches reminded me of Tulum (before it got ruined) and the town reminded me of Sayulita (but cleaner). It made for the perfect remote getaway.

I got so many questions about our trip (especially our hotel + how we got there, etc.) so am going to do my best to answer them all while also sharing some pics from our trip!

Grace and her friends at Punta Caliza, Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox Photo Diary

Where we stayed: 

We stayed at Punta Caliza. We LOVED It. The hotel was actually the reason we booked the trip; we’d been stalking it on Instagram for ages! It’s a tiny, family-owned boutique hotel (just twelve rooms!) and so beautifully designed. The pool is amazing (as is the bar + restaurant… they had the best ceviche + mezcal margaritas and a really yummy (free!) breakfast in the morning). This place is going to blow up – if it hasn’t already. They just were featured in Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot Issue as one of the best new hotels in the world so it’s getting popular fast and they’re small!

Every room has its own entrance to the pool and access to the beach which is wonderful. The beach is about a 5-10 minute walk and Punta Caliza has its own little area with chairs/umbrellas, etc. The water is beautiful and crystal blue and reminds me of how Tulum used to be before it got ruined.

I will note that they do have a no children under 12 policy (sorry). This was a draw for us as we wanted a quiet girls weekend where we could drink margs and read in the sunshine without any little ones running around. I have heard great things about Casa Los Tortugas which sounds more family friendly. I will also say that it seems they raised their rates quite a bit. Our room was about $150 a night (slightly more with taxes). A friend of mine reached out and was quoted $800 USD/night (yikes) so I don’t know if it’s just a very busy time of year or they’ve increased their prices. (We didn’t receive a media discount or anything; Becca was the one who booked it so they didn’t even know about my blog.)

Getting There:

Okay, it’s a hike! I would recommend booking transportation through your hotel, which is what we did.

You fly to Cancun (very easy from New York) and then drive (we had a driver) two hours and then take a 30 minute ferry. Our hotel picked us up in a golf cart. For the three of us (total) this cost $185 each way, which includes ferry tickets. We took an 8am flight and weren’t settled into our hotel til about 4pm later that day.

Marguerita, Isla Holbox

What to Do:

Honestly, we didn’t do a lot! The town is REALLY cute (it reminded me a lot of Sayulita). Every day we wandered around the town, got juice, shopped a little bit (there are a LOT of cute shops!), and then went to the pool/beach. But we were only there for three days and we were all pretty exhausted after our live show / work stuff so we were happy to just lay low and read in the sun. We were all on a very strict book a day diet!

We heard good things about the bioluminescence tours but didn’t do that – maybe next time! You should also rent bikes and explore the island.

Hotel Punta Caliza

Restaurants:

I will be honest (and someone is going to rip me apart for saying this but I would want to know this – also know that I’m tough crowd and am always honest) – the food was kinda underwhelming! We kept thinking we were missing something but talked to a few other groups of tourists we met and they felt the same way so we felt a little better. The ceviche at Punta Caliza was amazing – we had it every day as lunch or at least a snack. But what we really wanted was authentic Mexican and had a hard time finding that.

  • Mandarina at Casa Tortuga – we went here twice for dinner! The first night we ate at their main restaurant (a mix of seafood and Italian) and on our last night ate on the roof and had sushi.
  • Barbra Negra – really good fish tacos.
  • Luuma was probably my favorite meal we had and the nicest restaurant we went to. We got the veggie board and a ton of tapas.

There are tons of spots to grab a drink if you walk along the beach.

We also had really great coffees at Clandestino.

Grace Atwood is at the pool, Punta Caliza

What to Know Before You Go:

  • There is one ATM on the whole island (or so I’m told, we didn’t see it!) and it doesn’t always work so take out pesos before you go! I took about $180 in USD for the whole time we were there (three full days/four nights) and it was more than enough although we did eat a lot of ceviche + drink a lot of margs at our hotel. The food is very inexpensive.
  • If you love dogs, you are in for a treat. There are SO many cute pups, everywhere! I was dying and wanted to take them all home!
  • Most restaurants do not take reservations so get there a little early and plan to grab a drink nearby (there are tons of great little bars around every corner.)
  • The Wifi and cell service are NOT great. This is a draw for a lot of people but I wish I knew ahead of time as I would have prepared as if I were going to Cuba – you will be disconnected.
  • There are no cars on the island! Everyone gets around on golf carts which is very charming.
  • It’s so casual. Like, you don’t even really need shoes (seriously, all the roads are sand – at dinner a lot of people were shoe-less!)

Grace's friends

Would I go back?

I definitely would. I will just say that I am a little torn on if I actually will. It is such a hike to get there, and once you are there it’s amazing. But I got restless and was a little bored by the food options. I probably wouldn’t want to go for more than three or four days. And I would also make sure I didn’t have to work at all while I was there!

So it’s a pain to get to for just a few days but if you are the type of person who wants a week long sleepy vacay (which makes the long travel days more worthwhile), this is your spot!!

Grace is wearing a white maxi dress in Isla Holbox Grace is wearing a white maxi dress in Isla Holbox Restaurant in Holbox Beach in Isla Holbox Beach in Isla Holbox Grace is at Isla Holbox

If you like this”Isla Holbox Photo Diary”, also, check out, Cuba Travel Guide and Tulum Travel Guide.

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Comments

  1. Gorgeous shots, the hotel is so beautiful! I’ve added this to my bucket list now… hopefully I get to visit in real one day! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Shana says 4.24.19

    Gorgeous photos! I looked shortly after you originally mentioned it and it was ~$730 USD for October 2019. Maybe that is starting to be high season? I was thinking it was the tail end of hurricane season so maybe I would be good 🙂 Regardless your trip looks amazing!! Back to my search for a 10 year anniversary, adult only, get away destination!

    • grace at the stripe says 4.24.19

      Ooooof that is so crazy to me! I hope it’s just a seasonal thing. We all marveled over how affordable it was!!!

  3. Lisa Autumn says 4.24.19

    OG what a gorgeous place!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  4. Carmen Garcia says 4.24.19

    Love it. Thinking about going in July. This has been on my bucket list for years. Better go before it becomes too commercialized.

  5. Carmen Garcia says 4.24.19

    Btw another great spot is is Majahual past Riviera Maya. Amazing quiet and if you drive a bit more you must go visit Bacalar the fresh water lagoon with turquoise waters. Mind blowing.

  6. Marisol says 4.24.19

    I love your pics of Punta Caliza!!!! I went a couple of years ago and Punta Caliza hand’t opened yet. My boyfriend and I stayed 5 days and it was absolutely fabulous because we needed to rest. We stayed at Hotel Flamingos, which is located on the other side of island where Punta Caliza is. Our hotel was very nice, but they were a lot of kids running around the pool so we moved to the lounge area and we were absolutely fine… and amazing margaritas and ceviche as well! We went at the end of October ’17, about a week before high season. You can also call the hotels directly and see if you can get a better deal. The majority are family owned so they might be flexible as they’re cutting intermediary fees. I would recommend going on a tour with the locals, like snorkeling in Cabo Catoche (where the Mexican Gulf and the Caribbean collide), the tour of the three islands, and check the Flamingos! but be respectful to the flamingos, let them be in their natural habitat! I agree with Grace regarding the food, it was just meh, even La Chaya were many friends recommended the Lobster. I’m from Baja where one of the typical dishes is deep fried lobster, and the lobster at La Chaya felt just meh. However, I had an amazing dining experience at El Chapulin, the chef goes to the market each day to see what is fresh and makes a menu out of that. It was the highlight of our trip! I didn’t go to Luuma or Casa Tortugas because they were closed for renovations and were about to open the day we were leaving, but many friends recommended them as well.

    If you have a driver or friend in Cancun area, you can ask for a driver recommendation and probably save money in transportation. However, I would only recommend this if you have a trusted source, since most likely they won’t speak English. My rides were $60 dlls each way, as I used the driver my good friend has been using in the area for over 10 years. But, if you don’t know anyone, you should def use the hotel recommendation just to be very safe. Cheers!

  7. Sarah R Campbell says 4.24.19

    Have you been to Hotel San Cristobal in Todos Santos? It’s west coast so a bit harder to get to from NY but I thought it was totally worth it – great property, amazing vibe, fantastic restaurant (and near to quite a few other cute and delicious places) right on the ocean and on the outskirts of a perfect little Baja town. It does cater a little too obviously to the “influencer” crowd but I highly, HIGHLY recommend it nevertheless.

  8. A Girl, A Style says 4.24.19

    This hotel looks so incredible! Coincidentally my cousin is going there this week (I’m insanely jealous), so I’ve sent her straight to this post. I haven’t been to Mexico since I was a kid, so this has only made me even more desperate to return!

    Briony xx