Simply…..Paradise! Isla Holbox is that perfect hidden paradise of barefoot wanderings and peaceful escapes. A castaway island, palm trees galore and sunsets that would melt even the toughest types, we certainly did save the complete best ‘til last on our Mexican Adventure and how lucky we were to find this authentic Mexican paradise. A three hour car journey from Tulum (40 miles north-west of Cancun) to the Port of Chiquila, then a quick twenty minute ferry ride, which was fun and easy and all part of the adventure, and we had arrived on the quiet, but oh so colourful hippy-chic paradise island of Isla Hobox.
Isla Holbox (pronounced ‘hole-bosh’) is a 26 mile long isle. It is separated from the mainland coast of Mexico by a very shallow lagoon, which at certain times of the year is home to thousands of flamingos,(unfortunately not when we were there) and exotic fauna. There are no cars just golf buggies and the odd the work truck, no real roads, just sand trails and streets…. Far, far away from everyday life. After being picked up in the bright yellow golf buggy, the three minute journey was a like diving into a sea of colour, flags, flowers, murals, bicycles, shells and happy, happy life, which engulfed us as we reached our home for the next four days.
We stayed at Casa Las Tortugas, which I came across in Conde Nast magazine, and promptly filed it under places we MUST go to, and on arrival realised straightaway that we had made a very good decision. Casa Las Tortugas is that perfect sync of bohemian chic, working in perfect symmetry to its calm, quiet and uncommercial surroundings, with authentic Mexican design running throughout the 21 roomed hotel. The bar and restaurant which is the heart of the hotel and sits in front of the gorgeous swimming pool (as if the beach was not enough) and sits under the main beach front palapa. It is beautifully decorated with fresh flowers, candles, lace fabrics, prints and comfortable sofas to while away the day with a book and a cocktail, with the view of the undeniably most paradisiacal beach we have been lucky enough to set foot on.
Palm trees draped over the whitest softest sand leading you to the calmest, tranquil and transparent water, the water more jade in colour than the Caribbean turquoise, but just as special and perhaps even more magical and so warm, so quiet; bewitching and peaceful!
We stayed in one of the standard plus rooms, which was bright and welcoming, full of traditional Mexican fabrics and with personal touches of handpicked furnitures, beautifully carved wooden chairs and colourful mirrors dotted around the white linen bed. The bathroom had a beautiful hand painted sink and natural stonewall showers, complete with Casa Las Tortugas’ delicious own brand ecological toiletries The standard plus rooms also come with a private balcony looking over the gardens with the most comfortable swinging sun loungers, perfect for siesta time. All rooms are beautifully named, Lillies, and Maracuja, cats snuggling in corners and tip toeing into our room, much to my delight, creating that home from home feeling.
It didn’t take us long to throw our bags down and go out to explore. The higgledy piggledy, unpretentious and warm town was on our door step. Authentic restaurants, bars and shops galore dotted around the main square, where kids played, bands sang, families gathered and hippies chilled. Colourful flags framed the streets of sand and we walked and walked getting happily lost down the dusty lanes off the main square. Isla Holbox is renowned for art inspired vibe with many artists in residence, hippies gathered here from 1970’s and the island has so far managed to keep up this essence, unlike other areas of the Yucatan which have been over taken by big chain hotels. Murals cover the walls of shops and homes which are dotted all over the island, so off we went in search of them all.
Ready to cool off in those jade coloured waters we made our way back to the Casa Las Tortugas, secretly clocking the bags, Mexican tops, purses and cushions, I would be coming back to buy….
The beach was endless, and we had the choice of brightly coloured beach hammocks, caracas’ of boats restyled into sun beds, and huge double sun beds fitted with beads and tassels and bells, ringing in the cool breeze. We picked a spot and the rest is history, it was as good ‘as it gets’, as they say!
We soon settled into our pattern of reading, swimming and Guacamole and Totopos but really were just so completely distracted by simply how lovely and so, so special the isle was. After a couple of hours Isla Holbox quickly became our most favourite place, we felt as if we had been cast under a delicious secret spell and one that we did not want to break for a a very long time……
…….More from Isla Holbox soon.
We booked Casa Las Tortugas direct through their website. http://www.holboxcasalastortugas.com/ Additionally we booked our transfers from Tulum to Isla Holbox with Holbox Travel, who sorted out all ferry tickets, all very simple and quickly arranged http://www.holboxtravel.com/