Blessed with some of Mexico’s most unblemished natural beauty, Holbox Island has become increasingly popular with tourists looking beyond the typical hubs of Cancun and Tulum. And the rapid rise in popularity of this tranquil slice of Caribbean life has revealed an intriguing Mexican culture that is still transitioning into the modern age.
Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time on the tiny island can tell you there is a completely different local mindset than that of the mainland. It’s not that islanders don’t care about what’s going on in the world, it just seems they are more in tune with the things the rest of the world has forgotten.
Here, there is an unmistakable, laid-back, collective consciousness that moves to an island groove, which visitors just want to fall into.
This island culture is most visibly manifested in the mural and street art, where enthusiasts will be thrilled by the brightly colored paintings that adorn so many of the island’s walls and surfaces.
Holbox began introducing this artwork in 2014 at the inaugural edition of Mexico’s International Public Art Festival. The artists were carefully selected, so the quality of the island’s bright and engaging street art is truly impressive.
However, with any island, there wouldn’t be much of an island culture without mention of the beach. The waters lapping the shores are gin clear and bright shades of green. These are some of the cleanest beaches you’ll ever see, and you will swear they are endless! The sand is powder white and feels like silt when stepping into the water. Beach activities here include shell collecting, kiteboarding, reading and kayaking. You will hear the occasional motorboat go by, but otherwise these beaches are peaceful.
Yum Balam, specifically, is located on the south side of the island. This area is one of the best places to snorkel, and a prime area to learn to scuba dive. It’s a freshwater lagoon where much of the deep sea fishing trips depart, and you might also be lucky enough catch a glimpse of the pink flamingos.