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Old 09-29-2006   #1 (permalink)
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Holbox

Hi to everyone, have you been in holbox??? I heard is a beautifull place with beautifull beaches, and that is like playa del carmen 15 years ago??

What can you tell me abouut this beautifull place?? do you have pictures of ir?? there is not much on internet about this place.

Live life.
JC
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Old 09-29-2006   #2 (permalink)
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I went there while a tropical storm was building up, so it wasn't the best conditions to give it a fair review. There are no cars, golf buggies are la mode - even a streched taxi version.

However, it's a stop off point if you go snorkelling with whale sharks, which is a must!
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Old 09-30-2006   #3 (permalink)
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We were in Hobox in August. If you are looking for a simple, quiet, tranquil, slow paced destination, this may be it for you.

I doubt Holbox will ever approach the attraction of Playa. I am not anti-Holbox BUT. . . .There are just too many places that are equally nice or have more facilities, restaurants, and are MUCH easier to get to. And I think there are some natural impediments for development.

It is over 90 miles from CUN airport to the ferry terminal at Chiquila - and most of the roads are of poor quality. There are an excessive number of topes / speed bumps to scrape the bottom of your car - some are quite nasty. Our average speed was under 30 mph. You then must take a ferry to cross the bay to Isla Holbox (yes it is an island). The trip is 7 or 8 miles and ferries are not too frequent. The overall trip from the airport to being on the island can easily be 4+ hours.

On the whole, the beaches do not match those of Playa. The beaches are OK - they seem to be working on replenishing them. There are sandbag jettys every 100 yards or so. In the US Northeast we call them groins. Thought the beaches seem nice, the water is the Gulf of Mex - not the Caribbean. It is decidedly more green than aqua blue. And, in the spot we checked it was only 2 feet deep at 75 yards out from shore. Not enough to really swim in.

I was told that there is no reef at all for snorkeling or diving.

I was told that due to the proximity of the swamps and the mangroves that the mosquitos can be dreadful - though we did not have this problem. We did douse ourselves with repellant as a precaution.

There are no paved roads - just packed sand. Golf carts seem the only transport. And when you call for a golf cart taxi (they don't roam around) you better program some waiting time. We missed the ferry. We hired a launch (lancha) to make up time. It was a rough, and wet, ride. We would not repeat that - just wait for the next ferry.

The whale shark tours only run in the summer months. This is a great experience - but it is expensive. I couldn't see doing it more than once. It is probably not enough time to build the real tourist trade on. I believe similar tours are now available to Isla Contoy - via Isla Mujeres. This is an easier palce to get to and has more options for hotels, restaurants, nightlife, beaches, etc.

At night the "town" on Holbox is pretty dead.

There is not a large area of territory for tourist facilities AND the large local populace to support the labor intensive tourism industry. Much of the island in undevelopable.

Sorry to contradict your hypothesis. But I'm certain that it is NOT the next Playa. And I think many of the locals like it that way.

On the positive side, it was very quiet. At night it can be completely dark on the beach and you can see more stars than anywhere near Playa. Unlike Playa, you can see the sunset over water from the beach.
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Old 09-30-2006   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the report Sourcerer.

I was thinking of going to Holbox.

Think I'll stay in Playa now.

I may give Cozumel a try though.

Paul
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Old 09-30-2006   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sourcerer
We were in Hobox in August. If you are looking for a simple, quiet, tranquil, slow paced destination, this may be it for you.

I doubt Holbox will ever approach the attraction of Playa. I am not anti-Holbox BUT. . . .There are just too many places that are equally nice or have more facilities, restaurants, and are MUCH easier to get to. And I think there are some natural impediments for development.

It is over 90 miles from CUN airport to the ferry terminal at Chiquila - and most of the roads are of poor quality. There are an excessive number of topes / speed bumps to scrape the bottom of your car - some are quite nasty. Our average speed was under 30 mph. You then must take a ferry to cross the bay to Isla Holbox (yes it is an island). The trip is 7 or 8 miles and ferries are not too frequent. The overall trip from the airport to being on the island can easily be 4+ hours.

On the whole, the beaches do not match those of Playa. The beaches are OK - they seem to be working on replenishing them. There are sandbag jettys every 100 yards or so. In the US Northeast we call them groins. Thought the beaches seem nice, the water is the Gulf of Mex - not the Caribbean. It is decidedly more green than aqua blue. And, in the spot we checked it was only 2 feet deep at 75 yards out from shore. Not enough to really swim in.

I was told that there is no reef at all for snorkeling or diving.

I was told that due to the proximity of the swamps and the mangroves that the mosquitos can be dreadful - though we did not have this problem. We did douse ourselves with repellant as a precaution.

There are no paved roads - just packed sand. Golf carts seem the only transport. And when you call for a golf cart taxi (they don't roam around) you better program some waiting time. We missed the ferry. We hired a launch (lancha) to make up time. It was a rough, and wet, ride. We would not repeat that - just wait for the next ferry.

The whale shark tours only run in the summer months. This is a great experience - but it is expensive. I couldn't see doing it more than once. It is probably not enough time to build the real tourist trade on. I believe similar tours are now available to Isla Contoy - via Isla Mujeres. This is an easier palce to get to and has more options for hotels, restaurants, nightlife, beaches, etc.

At night the "town" on Holbox is pretty dead.

There is not a large area of territory for tourist facilities AND the large local populace to support the labor intensive tourism industry. Much of the island in undevelopable.

Sorry to contradict your hypothesis. But I'm certain that it is NOT the next Playa. And I think many of the locals like it that way.

On the positive side, it was very quiet. At night it can be completely dark on the beach and you can see more stars than anywhere near Playa. Unlike Playa, you can see the sunset over water from the beach.
My BF is curious to know if the fishing is good from Holbox and what kind of fish might be biting in March. I did do a search and found nothing.
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Old 10-01-2006   #6 (permalink)
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re: holbox

Whole-bush is laid back in spades ... visited once for an overnight many years ago so a lot can change ... most of the fishing and snorkle opportunites are by boat ... I think it is safe to say that things change some based on season ... sorcerer did a fine report
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Old 10-01-2006   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sourcerer
We were in Hobox in August. If you are looking for a simple, quiet, tranquil, slow paced destination, this may be it for you.

... On the positive side, it was very quiet. At night it can be completely dark on the beach and you can see more stars than anywhere near Playa. Unlike Playa, you can see the sunset over water from the beach.
Sounds like my kind of place indeed. Thanks for the into.
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Old 10-01-2006   #8 (permalink)
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Holbox

Holbox is a good trip. No question it is quiet, but a great adventure. The comment on topes is accurate (seriously at least 125). Although not numerous there is a wide range of accomodations. The bugs are indeed nasty at sunset. Beaches are shallow but amazing number of smaller seashells for easy picking. Greatest shortcoming is the lack of diversity and limited reastaurant choices. If your interested in road trips and like seeing Mexico I'd recommmend it for 3 to 4 days of a two week trip. I plan to go back for another visit, probably during whale season.
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Old 10-02-2006   #9 (permalink)
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Carnaval in Holbox

We went for Carnaval this year and had a great time. I highly recommend the lobster pizza and beachcombing. It is definately quiet, we were approached on the beach to ask what we were doing walking there, as there was no one else on the beach. There was a lot of residual damage from Wilma so it was understandable, as many houses, hotels were open and damaged and had stuff in them.

Things to do, fishing, kite surfing, eco stuff, stargazing, etc.

It is probably good if your Spanish is decent, but if it is, you will have fun. The locals put together song and dance routines that are a riot. They go through town all day and perform their routines in the streets, at friends houses, and in the bars (not like Playa, more like Cantinas). It is really geared for the locals but it is a lot of fun. I agree that it is probably not the next Playa though, which is not all bad for a bit of a change. (save the anguished reply if you think I am down on PDC, we love Playa and own there, but sometimes a change is fun too)
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Old 10-03-2006   #10 (permalink)
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We were in Holbox last year, pre-Wilma, so some things may have changed, but overall we loved Holbox. The whale shark experience was awesome, one of those once in a lifetime things that you will remember forever. The local fishermen who took us out were extremely respectful of the marine life, very knowledgeable of the area and the local fauna. We loved it.
Holbox was very quiet compared to Playa, but we found the accomodations lovely, particularly at sunset. Admittedly, we didnt have air conditioning and hotel services where we stayed were somewhat limited, but the rooms were large and comfortable, equipped with ceiling fans, and the beach was stunning. In the evenings we walked into town. There were not a huge number of restaurants but what was there was awesome! The fresh seafood and ceviches were incredible. We ate at one restaurant, Mariposa, where the owner made a fried rice dish that we are still talking about. Another evening we ate at a restaurant that specialized in dishes cooked and served in molcajetes, and they were fabulous. In the evenings we would walk into the zocolo and the locals would serve marquesitas-the yummy cheese ones, which we have gotten in Merida, but also chocolate ones, made from Nutella, which seems to be a local thing. It was great. Evenings in Holbox are slow, very casual, and there is no night life to speak of.
We rented golf carts and drove around the island. The bird watching is incredible. There seem to be miles of unspoiled beach and marshland. Yes the mosquitoes are horrendous in some areas.
Holbox is certainly not going to be the next Playa. For one thing, its too hard to get there. And there are no cars, no ATM's, no night life, few swimming pools and none of the usual tourist amenities. But it is charming. The food is fantastic. The people are friendly, and the pace is very slow and quiet. Its a great getaway for a few days, with some awesome natural attractions mixed with a lot of peace and quiet.

Hope this helps
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