Unplug and Unwind in Paradise
Cancun is known for its magnificent beaches, colorful culture, and bustling downtown streets. And at the height of tourist season, it’s flooded with crowds of visitors from all over the world--not exactly the peaceful getaway you might have had in mind.
But if you’re willing to make the trek outside of Cancun’s busy hotel zone, you’ll find yourself in the quiet and untouched side of the Yucatan Peninsula. Holbox and Isla Mujeres are two of the most secluded spots on the map. Just a quick boat ride from Cancun, but what feels like a world away, you’ll find yourself indulging in authentic Mexican cuisine, local festivities, scenic views, and a slower pace of life.
The sleepy fishing village of Holbox offers a quiet retreat for visitors looking to escape the bright lights and noisy streets of Cancun’s hotel zone. Holbox Island moves to the slow rhythm of ocean waves softly crashing against the shore. Local boutiques colorfully line the unpaved, dirt roads of downtown, and hammocks gently sway to the ocean breeze all along the beachside. The abundant wildlife--from flamingos to snowy egrets and thousands of other species--create a colorful palette, reflecting the vibrancy and natural beauty of the island.
This nature-rich sanctuary gives visitors an authentic taste of Mexico. You won’t find any resorts, only quaint lodgings. To preserve the peaceful and serene atmosphere, the island prohibits cars, allowing only motor bikes and golf carts.
Kayak in the Mangroves
As you kayak through thick, winding mangroves in the scenic Holbox forest, keep an eye out for crocodiles basking along the banks and groups of colorful flamingos. As you wind through the mangroves, you’ll hear the chirping of various native birds that aren’t often seen in other parts of the Yucatan. Book a tour.
Swim with Whale Sharks
Swim along one of the most magnificent fish in the sea--Whale Sharks. In the summer, these majestic creatures migrate to Cancun’s nutrient-rich waters to feed. These gentle giants are filter feeders, harmlessly roaming around and eating plankton from the bottom of the sea. And despite their enormous size, they pose no threat to humans. Book a tour.
Take a quick thirty minute boat ride from Holbox to Isla Pajaros (Bird Island) to admire a wide variety of birds: flamingos, pelicans, ducks, frigate birds, white ibis, snowy egrets, and many more. Separate paths and walkways allow wildlife enthusiasts to get a close look at these protected birds in their natural habitat without disrupting their delicate ecosystem.
Reel in the big catch of the day or fly fish off the pristine shores in Holbox Island. With a wide variety of migratory fish including tarpon, snook, barracuda, cobia, and snapper this place is a fisherman’s paradise. You’ll be guided by fishermen that have fished the Caribbean Sea their entire lives. Book a tour.
The mesmerising quiet town of Isla Mujeres is a haven of awe-inspiring vistas and unspoiled beauty for visitors looking to reconnect with nature. Stroll along endless miles of pristine white sand beaches, explore colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, and soak in picturesque sunsets as you unwind and unplug from the world around you. The downtown is brimming with quaint restaurants serving authentic Mexican Cuisine, and charming shops stocked with local crafts.
For centuries, Isla Mujeres was primarily a fishing village. But today, along with fisherman, the island is home to artists, divers, and others seeking the serenity and peace that this island has preserved.
The MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) is an underwater museum of over 500 sculptures in the National Marine Park. The museum was created to protect and alleviate the pressure of local reef systems by attracting divers to an alternative location. Since its opening in 2010, it has instantly become one of the most popular and well-known attractions for divers and tourists from all over the world. Book a tour.
The Turtle Farm
Tortuga Granja (The Turtle Farm) conserves four species of endangered sea turtles: the green turtle, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback. Once the turtles have laid their eggs, volunteers will place them in an incubator for a 60-day period. When the eggs have hatched, many of the turtles will be released back into the sea to live out their normal lives.
Kick back and relax on one of the world’s most renowned beaches--Playa Norte. With gorgeous coral reefs, sightings of sea turtles, and snorkeling with whale sharks there’s no shortage of ways to reconnect with nature on this island. And when you’re done basking in the sun or swimming in the crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea, head over to quaint restaurants and local bars lined along the beach for a quick bite or a refreshing drink.
Legend has it that Fermín Antonio Mundaca de Marechaja built these grounds to win the heart of a local woman he had fallen in love with. But as some love stories go, the woman did not return his affection. Broken hearted, Fermin let the place fall into disarray. A stroll along property walkways reveal a beautiful gothic style garden, Mundaca’s partially standing house, a pond, and traditionally Mayan huts within the property.
Before You Go
Isla Holbox and Isla Mujeres are two hidden gems in the Yucatan Peninsula. The quiet vibe of these sleepy villages make it the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature. But don’t expect the restaurant and bar options that Cancun has to offer--instead enjoy relaxing at quaint stores and shops by the water.
Relaxing Water Tours
Xel-Ha All Inclusive Tour with Transport$119
Subsee Explorer Tour$47
Jungle Tour "Sunrise Marina"
Learn Scuba Diving with "AquaWorld" Tour$115
AquaWorld Cozumel Snorkel Tour$104
Cozumel Certified Scuba Diving Tour$188
Coba - Mayan Encounter Tour
Caribbean Funday Premium Tour$89
Xel-Ha All Inclusive Tour Admission Only
Certified Diving with Marina Punta del E$76
Snorkel Native Park Tour
Isla Contoy Asterix Tours$105
Hummer Jungle Tour$188
Rio Secreto Tour
Dolphin Swim Adventure Tour Isla Mujeres$96
Dolphin Encounter Tour Isla Mujeres Dolp$80
Dolphin Royal Swim Tour Isla Mujeres Dol$117
Discovery Island Tour$53