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This Beach Near Cancun Was Just Ranked One Of The Best In The World

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Cancun has once again secured the top spot as the most popular destination in Mexico and for good reason.

The city boasts impeccable weather, stunning beaches, and crystal-clear waters that’ll leave even the most seasoned traveler stunned.

However, as more tourists get the chance to witness the beauty that Mexico has to offer, it’s only natural to wonder what else the country has in store.

Holbox beach

According to a recent report from Enjoy Travel, there’s a hidden island, just a ferry ride away from Cancun’s busy streets, that provides stiff competition to the current top destination.

Mexico’s Hidden Gem

Though Holbox has been a go-to beach destination for locals since the late 19th century, the island only rose to mainstream popularity in the late 1990s. As more tourists flocked to the area, Punta Mosquito quickly took the unofficial title of Holbox's best beach.

@visitqroo Playa Punta Mosquito en #Holbox México 🇲🇽 #visitqroo #puntamosquito #quintanaroo #traveltiktok #travelcouple #playa ♬ Andrea – Bad Bunny & Buscabulla

Even since then, most visitors have favored the island's flashier sibling – Cancun.

aerial view of Cancun

Recently, though, as more Mexican hotspots have become too crowded and expensive to enjoy, tourists are turning their eyes toward these smaller, often overlooked destinations that provide a quieter, more peaceful experience without sacrificing any of the fun. 

Even those who are set on experiencing Cancun can easily set a day aside to enjoy the natural splendor of Punta Mosquito.

The two are, after all, only 41.5 miles (67.2 km) apart, and there’s no shortage of transportation alternatives to choose from.

Though it is possible to fly to Holbox, most people opt to go there by ferry.

The average ferry ride should last no more than 1 hour and 50 minutes and tickets start at $12.

You can always choose to cover some of the distance by car or bus, but sticking to a traditional ferry ride is probably the most cost and time-effective option.

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Ferry in Cancun

What Makes Holbox So Amazing?

Seeing as Holbox is an island famous for its pristine white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking sunsets, it’s easy to understand why so many visitors are flocking to it in hopes of still catching a glimpse of its untouched beauty.

Sea turtle swimming in a beach in Holbox

After all, the island has a lot to offer.

However, what sets Holbox apart from other highly coveted neighboring destinations? Why is it so amazing?

Walkable Streets

One of the most unique perks this gorgeous island has to offer is a lack of cars.

Going out in big hotspots like Cancun, while invigorating, can often feel stressful or chaotic – the exact opposite of what most of us are looking for in a beach getaway.

Strange as it may seem, the charming streets of Holbox are devoid of cars, with most locals and tourists relying on bikes, golf carts, or, better yet, their feet, for transportation.

street in Holbox

There’s a certain sense of peace and joy that comes with walking around a gorgeous town without having to deal with the sound of traffic whooshing by you. 

A Natural Beauty That’s Protected By Law

Though there’s no shortage of stunning scenery in Mexico, the type of pristine allure that you’ll get to enjoy in Holbox is hard to replicate.

In fact, the island is part of the Yum Balam Protected Area, established in 1994.

Holbox beach with lounge chairs along the sand and palm tress

The nature reserve, the first of its kind in Mexico, aims to protect the rich flora and fauna found within its confines.

That’s why those looking to get a glimpse of the breathtaking scenery or observe the area’s stunningly diverse wildlife will far prefer Holbox over Cancun, or any other hotspots in the country, for that matter.

The Ideal Snorkeling Destination

Holbox is legendary for whale shark sightings, making it a must-visit for snorkeling enthusiasts whenever they are in Mexico.

Moreover, since whale sharks are the biggest fish species on the planet, casual swimmers are also jumping at the opportunity to swim among them.


From June to September, these gentle giants populate the crystal clear waters of Holbox, so if snorkeling is in your itinerary, make sure to time your visit accordingly. 

Diving sessions start at $170, and considering that you’ll be having the experience of a lifetime, they’re more than worth it.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Leonard Miragliuolo

Friday 25th of August 2023

If you bring a weapon or hire an A guard service then I would go back to Mexico, no thanks, most dangerous country in the world, thanks to a failed Mexican government and Mexican Mafia, who control everything. Thailand is definitely a better choice. Thanks Leonard


Tuesday 12th of September 2023


Dustin H

Friday 25th of August 2023

@Leonard Miragliuolo, Keep watching the news.. you have been brainwashed.. bc the only time you hear about Mexico is the boarder and cartel. Just spent the last month in Mexico and spend 8 months a year here.. fun though they are scared to come to USA bc they think you can’t leave the house with being part of a mass shooting… the news has y’all brainwashed and it shows. No one can think for themselves these days everyone is told what to think and they just go along with it.. I’m guessing you are vaxed and boosted too.

Joseph Elster

Sunday 20th of August 2023

This author has obviously never been to holbox! It hadn't rained for at least 3 days when we arrived. Walkable streets? Sure just bring your mud boots! Lodging and food prices here are way over inflated compared to even tulum! Well the beaches may be beautiful, having to deal with Beach clubs who are really not interested in catering to tourists makes for a very unenjoyable experience.

Been there once no desire to return!

The flying Empanada

Sunday 20th of August 2023

I went to Holbox in 2020 -- during the height of Covid. One of the best travel decisions I've ever made. I was able to book hotels right on the beach that would usually be booked a year in advance, and experience the island without all the tourists. Once in a lifetime experience.


Sunday 20th of August 2023

I've been to Holbox last week. The beaches are still awesome but in general the island is overcrowded, dirty and way to expensive for what you get. The whale shark tours take are taking all day now without a guarantee you're gonna even see one. Even the locals told me it's better go start from Isla mujeres because it's cheaper and faster.

I loved holbox with all my heart and lived and worked there for years but I'm not gonna go back.


Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

@Rico, is the water there, truly beautiful? I know in the Myan Riviera, the water is not pretty anymore due to the staining of the seaweed! Its hard for us to travel there anymore bcuz of this.


Vicki M