Isla Holbox

Visit Isla Holbox, One of Mexico’s Last Secret Beach Towns

Holbox is the Next Tulum. There’s a seductive ease to the comparison, particularly for a travel writer like me looking to quickly telegraph the vibe of this place, where silver-gray pelicans sit on weathered wooden poles poking up from aqua-blue water, a faded-red fishing boat slowly hums through the gentle waves, and a Mexican yogi returns from her daily asana class with a bicycle basket full of tropical blooms. But the parallels for Tulum pretty much end there: The island doesn’t have Mayan ruins a short drive away. It’s not overrun by boho-chic fashion types from New York and Los Angeles. It hasn’t had a Noma pop-up, a hotel pop-up, a celebrity boot camp pop-up, or any kind of pop-up, really. There’s basically nothing to do.

And that’s exactly what I like about it. Less than three hours from the insanity of Cancún—its all-inclusives, its two-for-one margs, its traffic, and its golf courses—Holbox is about as sleepy a spot as one can find nowadays, just a nature preserve, a stretch of beach, and a single small town, also called Holbox, that feels completely out of time. The question on everyone’s lips, though, is whether the island can hold on to what makes it unlike anything else.

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