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  • Alexis Beard

Lost Paradise. Destination: Holbox.

Holbox is one of the best-kept treasures of the Mexican Caribbean. Though its name in Mayan means ‘black hole’, it’s a world that from afar appears jade green, because of the waters of the Yalahau lagoon, that separate it from the continent, and because of its mangroves, palm trees and ravines that contrast with the long, sandy beaches, the pastel blue sky and the brilliant sun.

The atmosphere is bohemian and relaxed, with a touch of exclusivity that is unique to the island. It’s impossible to resist being seduced by its rhythm of tranquility and peace. The little airport and sandy streets reveal the humility of its inhabitants, while their welcoming smiles speak of a wealth that goes beyond what we know. The kindness of the islanders and the Latin hospitality made us feel as though we were coming home with an infinite number of friends.

In the island of Holbox, the development of sustainable tourist projects that accommodates and respects the diverse ecosystems, fauna and vegetation endemic to the region, while maintaining the environment, is paramount.

Its beautiful boutique hotels, the cheery town, and exquisite cuisines give a touch of reality to a place that seems a fantasy land where the hours mark their own pace. It was remarkable easy for us to surrender to the island’s quiet rhythm of life, until we found ourselves wondering if we ever had a care in out lives. Here, time belongs to each one and everything flows and moves to the slow pace of peace.

Casa Sandra

According to the New York Times, the restaurant boutique Casa Sandra is one of the best places to dine in Holbox. According to René Redzepi, it was in this hotel that the best fish in all of Mexico was prepared. And as Roberto Solís, one of the most recognized chefs in the country, once said, ‘Casa Sandra is the best beach restaurant along the coasts of Yucatán’. Here, we were able to find a great variety of dishes, from octopus tacos, cochinita, ceviches, shrimp, meat and fish hamburgers, seafood, pasta to delicious desserts.

One of Casa Sandra’s greatest attractions is the Sibumi Spa. With none of the pretension of a city Spa, the hotel possesses a small, kind place for healing.

Every detail has its own reason for being: from the little art gallery with paintings from various artists- including Sandra, the owner, to the beautiful furniture that call the place home. Feelings, emotions, poetry, dashes of color, the smell of black coffee, hammocks, tapestries in the balconies, soft bed sheets, the many angles of the sea, and the romantic nights create the magic of the place ‘of one’s dreams, a home away from home’.

Las Nubes

This is the place where sea and sky mesh. Blessed with the best location among white, virgin beaches, lies the boutique hotel Las Nubes (the Clouds), with 28 beachfront rooms before the Caribbean Sea. Its the perfect place to enjoy striking vistas throughout the day, to relax in its private beach, explore the surroundings via kayak or bicycle and enjoy the exquisite international Mexican food with a delicate Caribbean touch.

Situated by the sea lays the restaurant El Sabor de Las Nubes with its talented chef ready to create an unforgettable gastronomical experience. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, its offers an innovative menu but is also ready to accommodate any special requests by the guests. At night, the invitingly candle-lit restaurant is the perfect location for a romantic dinner a few meters away from the crunching of sea waves.

The Orquídea Spa at Las Nubes is an elixir of tranquility anchored to a natural paradise. It offers different types of massages, beauty treatments and alternative therapies to regain balance between mind, body and spirit. Beyond offering a particular treatment, it focuses on creating a unique experience from the moment we walk through the door. With a high attention to detail, only high-standard organic projects of Mexican origin are used.

In this hotel we were at harmony with nature while falling in love with its exuberant orchids and the soft sound of the gentle breaking of Caribbean waves.

Hotel Villas Flamingos

Situated in a natural garden, Villas Flamingos Holbox offers the opportunity of discovering nature and resting from city stress in a contemplative atmosphere before the sea.

This property is located in the flora and fauna protection area Yum Balam, and is accessible via water from Chiquilá, where a boat can be taken to cross the lagoon in approximately twenty minutes. Within the island, the streets are made of white sand and only few cars are allowed to roam about.

Its restaurant is situated before the beach with spectacular ocean views, the best scenery to enjoy the typical Mexican dishes with a taste of the chef’s own imagination.

On Saturdays a beach barbeque is organized with fish and seafood from the island, where we enjoyed eating with our feet inside the water.

Gastronomical Festival

The Gastronomical Festival of Holbox is an annual event that presents the the greatest talent of the island’s people: the cuisine. Each dish brings with it a story and cultural baggage, as well as tradition, innovation and creativity. The hotels and their respective chefs present their menu as if they were presenting their child, with pride and unmistakable love. Each chef has its own style and technique, delighting visitors with divers flavor and surprises.

The promoter of this event, Dennise de Kalafe, found on her arrival on Holbox a much greater gastronomical offer than that of near tourist areas, which led her and a group of restaurateurs to create the League of Restaurants I.H. This motivated her to introduce the world to the Holboxian richness in ‘the art of eating well’ and transform the island into the gastronomical capital of the Mexican Caribbean.

This divine island seduces with its pacific and relaxation energy, which does not mean monotony and boredom. There’s plenty to do, beginning with massages and bicycle tours to make for a unique and unmatched experience.

Swimming with the whale shark

For those who enjoy really thrilling experiences, this beautiful place offers the option of swimming with the gigantic whale shark, the biggest fish in the world, which can grow up to 18 meters. More than 1400 individuals have been spotted in a single season, possibly the largest concentration worldwide.

The locals call the whale shark ‘dominoes’ on account of the white spots on their backs. This giant feeds only on plankton; it’s a gentle and docile fish, which makes approaching them something safe for swimmers. Since many years ago, the whale sharks arrive at the north tip of the Yucatán peninsula and island of Holbox to feed and mate from May to October. Due to is sweet nature, its possible to come close enough to touch them, which undoubtedly makes this into a unique and unforgettable experience.

Between stroll through the beach, with its many white shells, relaxing moments inside the blue sea, and the excellent food, Holbox becomes a difficult place to leave behind and all those who are lucky enough to discover this island always come back, anxious to be seduced once more.

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