Saturday, 14 April 2012

Day-Tripping to Isla Holbox - Travel - Destinations

Though there are numerous day-trip opportunities available to tourists staying in Cancun, locals and experienced travelers return to a charming destination known as Isla Holbox time and time again. Located 40 miles northwest of Cancun, Isla Holbox is known for its exotic scenery and unique local culture. Much like the remarkable beachfront Hotel Zone in Cancun, Isla Holbox rests just off the Mexican mainland along a picturesque section of the Caribbean coast. As a result, the 7.5-mile-long island is known primarily as a beach destination where day-trippers can stretch out on quiet stretches of sand or play in the warm Caribbean water. While enjoying the views, visitors to the Isla Holbox can also indulge in local delicacies and revel in the island's inviting atmosphere.

Like many destinations in the Cancun area, Isla Holbox possesses both Mayan roots and a modern history dominated by generations of fishermen. In Mayan, Holbox means "black hole," a reference to the dark, seemingly bottomless lagoon located on the southern tip of the island. Just as the ancient Mayan civilization relied on the vibrant, fish-filled waters surrounding Isla Holbox, the island's current population of just over 1,000 residents are known as expert fishermen that regularly offer their freshest catches to restaurants and resorts throughout the Mexican Riviera.

While much of the seafood caught offshore from Isla Holbox finds its way to Cancun, there are several remarkable cafes and food counters on the island that feature fresh, local fish and unique regional recipes. Both in the main village and near the beach, visitors will find affordable snacks such as ceviche, empanadas and fresh tropical fruit on sale throughout the day. Coconut cocktails - available mixed with rum or as non-alcoholic treats - are the island's favored drinks, as numerous plantations provide locals with endless supply of the tropical fruit. Amongst the small cafes and food counters in the main village, visitors will also find a number of souvenir shops that sell everything from handmade arts and crafts to locally-produced hammocks.

While there are plenty of ways to enjoy an afternoon in the main village, the scenic beach remains the most popular attraction. The white sand beach of Isla Holbox boasts excellent views of the Caribbean Sea and opportunities to swim amongst dolphins and the world's largest fish, the whale shark. The beach of Isla Holbox is home to a wide array of hammocks and shade umbrellas for year-round relaxation, while coconut trees and other native plants add an off-the-grid, tropical atmosphere. On the inland side of the island, visitors can witness flocks of flamingoes, pelicans and other tropical birds amongst a vibrant lagoon ecosystem. Recognizing the environmental diversity present on the island and in the surrounding waters, Mexico created the Yum Balam protected area in 1994 to preserve the island's natural treasures for generations to come.

Those that want to explore the lagoon and some of the island's other natural destinations will find an interesting method of transportation available to tourists. While there are a small number of automobiles on the island, the primary method of transportation for locals and visitors alike is the golf cart. As there are no golf courses on the island, these tiny vehicles were adopted by locals for their ability to maneuver the village's white sand streets, while the modest top speeds have always seemed like a perfect match for Isla Holbox's laid-back lifestyle. Visitors hoping to enjoy the island at an even more leisurely pace will find plenty of bicycles for rent, while small motorbikes are available for those in search of a bit more adventure.

Isla Holbox can be reached from Cancun by ferry or airplane. Families that rent automobiles in Cancun can drive to the village of Chiquila and board the ferry to Isla Holbox with their vehicles, while bus and shuttle services can also transport visitors from Cancun's Hotel Zone to the ferry dock. Those hoping to enjoy a speedy trip to Isla Holbox can book a seat on one of Aerosaab's Cessna flights from Cancun to the new airstrip on the island. The five-seater aircrafts that fly to Isla Holbox each day also provide excellent views of the Caribbean Sea and lush rainforest areas north of Cancun.

As few destinations near Cancun truly provide the sensation of taking a trip back to a simpler time, Isla Holbox stands as one of the region's most fascinating day-trip opportunities. Resting only 40 miles from Cancun's Hotel Zone, Isla Holbox is also a convenient tropical hideaway for families hoping to experience a different side of the Yucatan region.

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