Skip to Content

How To Get From Cancun to Holbox: The Complete Guide

How To Get From Cancun to Holbox: The Complete Guide

Every year, Isla Holbox grows in popularity as a top destination for tourists visiting the Yucatan Peninsula. In fact, given its proximity and the ease of access of traveling from Cancun to Holbox, it’s just as straightforward to visit the island as a day trip as it is to stay for a few nights. In this guide, we’ll cover all transport options for getting from Cancun to Holbox.

For more information about exploring Isla Holbox, check out our Things to Do on Isla Holbox guide (coming soon).

Where Is Isla Holbox?

The paradise island of Holbox lies on the northern coast of Quintana Roo in the Gulf of Mexico. The mesmerizing turquoise waters and white sand beaches make Isla Holbox an easy must-do stop on most people’s visit to the Yucatan Peninsula, especially Cancun.

Given Cancun is just a two hour drive away from Holbox, visiting as a day trip or for a week’s stay is very easy to do. Below, we’ll detail the most common ways to get to Holbox from Cancun. Although, many of the modes of transport work from other popular stays in the Yucatan Peninsula like Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Isla Holbox Map

Feel free to click on the interactive map below to see where Isla Holbox is located and how to get there from Cancun.

How to Get From Cancun to Isla Holbox

As Holbox is an island, the easiest way to get there is by boarding the Holbox ferry from the small town of Chiquila. But, of course, you’ll need to get to Chiquila first. So, below, we’ll go through all options for getting from Cancun to Holbox via Chiquila for the ferry. These options include bus, rental car, shuttle service, tour and plane.

Travelling to Holbox by Bus From Cancun

The most cost-effective way to travel to Chiquila for the ferry to Isla Holbox from Cancun is by taking the bus. That’s exactly what Dan and I did and it was a very straightforward trip from Cancun to Holbox, and back. We always recommend using the ADO buses when travelling around Mexico as they’re the most reliable, safe and comfortable to travel on.

You can purchase tickets directly on the ADO website, using Busbud or by booking directly at the ADO bus terminal. The ADO bus terminal in Cancun is located here. Dan and I booked a return bus from Cancun to Chiquila for our day trip to Holbox. We bought our tickets directly from the ADO bus terminal the day before and had no problems.

If your plan is to visit Holbox as a day trip from Cancun, then we definitely recommend booking the return trip to guarantee a seat on one of the final buses returning to Cancun from Chiquila. We had seats on the last bus back to Cancun after our day trip to Isla Holbox and it was full.

Cancun to Holbox Bus Price

Dan and I paid $505MXN ($30USD) each for a Cancun-Chiquila return bus ticket to get to Holbox. We travelled around the new year and booked the night before from the bus station in Cancun. So, it’s possible the price was a little more expensive than usual. Of course, you can get up-to-date bus timetables and prices through the ADO website. Additionally, booking online and in advance often results in a cheaper fare.

You can also travel by ADO bus directly from Cancun Airport. So, you can fly into Cancun and head straight to the Holbox Island paradise for a longer trip.

Once you arrive in Chiquila from Cancun, you’ll need to walk a short way to the Holbox ferry terminal. You can see the location of the ADO bus terminal in Chiquila below. It’s a quick 5 minute walk from the bus station to the Holbox ferry terminal.

Cancun to Holbox map

Travelling to Holbox by Car from Cancun

If you’re renting a car in Cancun, or anywhere in Mexico, then it’s very easy to drive yourself to Chiquila to board the Holbox ferry. In fact, if you have a car, it makes visiting Isla Holbox very easy from numerous other popular destinations in Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula, not just from Cancun. Below, we’ll take a look at some popular destinations to travel from, including their respective approximate drive times and distances to Chiquila.

  • Cancun: 1 hour 45 minutes // 139km
  • Valladolid: 2 hours // 159km
  • Tulum: 2 hours 30 minutes // 167km
  • Playa del Carmen: 1 hour 30 minutes // 122km

If you want to hire a car from Cancun, or anywhere else in Mexico, then we recommend using DiscoverCars.com. You’ll find a variety of cars on Discover Cars, which are very easy to book online, with a great cancellation fee if needed.

Holbox Ferry Parking in Chiquila

There are plenty of car parks to leave your car in Chiquila before you board the ferry to Holbox. The majority of car parks are centred around the roundabout at the end of the main strip through town, and close to the ferry terminal. All the car parks near the Holbox ferry port are well set up for tourists heading to Isla Holbox, whether that be for a day trip from Cancun or even for a few nights’ stay. The general cost is $100MXN ($6USD) per day. Be sure to remove all valuables from the car and leave nothing on show.

Using Google Maps, you can check the locations of the different car parks, opening hours and customer reviews.

Parking at Chiquila Holbox Ferry

Travelling to Holbox by Private Shuttle From Cancun

Another option for travelling from Cancun to Holbox is to arrange a shuttle bus/car. This private service can take you between Cancun and Chiquila to board the Holbox ferry. Indeed, it’s possible to arrange a shuttle bus for your trip to Holbox from many of the other popular tourist destinations in Quintana Roo, not just from Cancun.

Arranging a private shuttle is perhaps the most convenient option if you are heading straight to Isla Holbox upon arrival at Cancun International Airport. Both GetYourGuide and Viator are reputable companies you can book private shuttle transfers between Cancun/Cancun Airport and Chiquila to get you to Holbox.

You might also consider a taxi from Cancun or Cancun Airport to the Holbox ferry terminal in Chiquila. This private transfer will likely set you back around $200USD.

Catching the Ferry From Chiquila to Isla Holbox

So, now you’ve made it to Chiquila from Cancun, you need to board the ferry to Holbox. At the very end of the main road running through Chiquila (Kantunilkin-Chiquila road) is the ferry terminal to Holbox (it’s referred to as Holbox Express on Google Maps).

Once there, you’ll see there are a couple of ferry companies to choose from – Holbox Express and 9 Hermanos. Both these Holbox ferry companies offer the same thing. The boats are nearly identical, the prices are the same and they leave and pick up from the same places. So, essentially don’t worry too much about which ferry company you go with.

Cancun to Holbox map

Between the two ferry companies, the first ferry to Holbox leaves at 6am and the final ferry of the day returning to Chiquila is at 8.30pm. The 9 Hermanos ferry company departs on the hour and the Holbox Express ferry company departing on the half hour. So, basically, ferries to Holbox run every 30 minutes.

FYI – the Holbox ferry times can be found on the official ferry company websites and also displayed on the ticket booths at the ferry terminal in Chiquila.

Holbox Ferry Tickets, Prices & Journey Times

You can buy Holbox ferry tickets online on the official websites of the ferry companies. Or, you can simply buy them at the Holbox ferry terminal ticket office. Prices are the same however you choose to purchase your ticket. In addition, it would be highly unlikely for a ferry to completely book out, so you should be fine to rock up and pay at the ticket office in Chiquila.

The Holbox ferry price is $220MXN ($13USD) per adult and $180MXN ($11USD) per child. Residents of Quintana Roo can also purchase a ticket for $180MXN. The cost is for a single journey. It’s a good idea to carry pesos and pay in cash. Although, it’s possible to pay by card, just be mindful that card transactions will usually incur a fee.

Dan and I actually purchased our Holbox ferry tickets on the bus from Cancun to Chiquila. It was the same price and we had the freedom to board either Holbox ferry service. Additionally, the ferry tickets can be included as part of an Isla Holbox Tour.

The ferry from Chiquila to Isla Holbox (and back) takes 20–30 minutes, max. This is true for both Holbox ferry companies. So, it really doesn’t matter whether you choose 9 Hermanos or Holbox Express. We also found the journey to be very smooth. But, if you suffer from sea sickness, you might be wise to take some travel sickness tablets beforehand, to be on the safe side.

For more information on catching the ferry, read our Holbox Ferry From Chiquila: 9 Useful Things To Know guide.

Travelling to Holbox by Plane From Cancun

If you don’t have sea legs, then you can catch a flight from mainland Mexico directly to Isla Holbox. This way you avoid the Holbox ferry from Chiquila altogether. Of course, flying to Isla Holbox is by far the most expensive option. But, the flights are scenic, private and very quick.

You can fly from Cancun to Holbox with Flights Holbox. The private planes to and from Cancun to Holbox have varying capacities from 5 to 15 seats. A flight from Cancun to Holbox takes no more than about 35 minutes so it’s by far the quickest way to travel.

Additionally, planes can be chartered to Holbox from other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Travelling to Holbox by Tour From Cancun

Another option to consider when it comes to visiting Isla Holbox is a tour. A tour to Isla Holbox is also a great idea if you’re travelling from somewhere other than Cancun. A day tour to Isla Holbox will often include the cost of getting the ferry to Holbox, plus all transportation from Cancun (or whichever town you’re in) to Holbox. Be sure to check with whichever tour company you book with as to what is included in the price.

GetYourGuide offers some very popular tours from Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Tour prices vary depending on the length of the tour, what’s included and where in Quintana Roo you travel from. Typically though, a day trip from Cancun to Isla Holbox will cost around $100USD.

Getting Around Isla Holbox

Once on the island, you’ll find there are no cars. The best way to get around Isla Holbox is to either take Holbox’s version of a taxi (it’s a golf cart with monster wheels) or simply walk. If you’re visiting Holbox for longer than a day trip from Cancun, then you might want to hop in a golf cart if you have luggage. The typical price of a short journey in Holbox is around $20–30 MXN ($1–2USD).

FAQs

How Do You Get to Holbox From Cancun?

You can either take the bus, private shuttle or rental car to Chiquila and jump on the Holbox ferry. Alternatively, you can take a tour or fly from Cancun to Holbox. See How to Get to Isla Holbox for more information.

Can You Fly From Cancun to Holbox?

Yes. It’s the most expensive way to travel from Cancun to Holbox, but it’s the quickest.

How Far Is Cancun From Holbox?

From Cancun to Holbox is approx. 1 hour 45 minutes and 139km.

Can You Drive From Cancun to Holbox?

Yes. In fact, having a rental car and driving is one of the most convenient ways of travelling from Cancun to Holbox via the ferry at Chiquila.

How Much Is the Taxi From Cancun to Holbox?

A taxi from Cancun to Holbox will likely set you back around $200USD. Time to start working on those haggling skills!

How Long Is the Shuttle From Cancun to Holbox?

The shuttle service takes a couple of hours between Cancun and Holbox. But, timings depend on whether you’ve booked it purely for yourself or are sharing with a handful of other tourists, as the shuttle may need to make more stops to collect everybody.

How Long Does it Take to Drive From Cancun to Holbox?

No more than two hours.

Cancun to Holbox

What to Do in Holbox?

From laid-back beach culture, colourful street art, delicious local cuisine and swimming with whale sharks, Isla Holbox provides a jam-packed adventure that shows Mexico off to its finest. For more on what to do in Isla Holbox, check out our guide here.

Where Next After Isla Holbox?

Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is a fantastic destination full of ancient Mayan Ruins, beautiful cenotes, dreamy coastlines and of course, delicious cuisine. Below, are some of our favourite places we’ve visited, to date.

  • Valladolid: a vibrant city of colour, history and natural attractions. Be sure to visit Cenote Suytun, Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula (the Dzitnup Cenotes), as well as the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. Indeed, Valladolid is a beautiful city and one of the best locations to visit some of Mexico’s best cenotes.
  • Tulum Ruins: visit the beautiful Tulum Ruins set perfectly on the Quintana Roo coastline.
  • Coba Ruins & Cenotes: the large ruins of Coba are truly spectacular. Also, you simply must add on a quick bike ride to the Coba Cenotes nearby.
  • Bacalar: known as the lagoon of seven colours, Bacalar is a laid-back dream of good food, coffee and relaxing water sports. You certainly won’t regret going here when you visit Mexico.
Cenote Samula Valladolid
Cenote Samula, Valladolid

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a real necessity, especially when travelling through Mexico and Central America.

SafetyWing is an excellent budget-friendly travel insurance provider. Personally, Dan and I have used SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance many times to insure our trips. The Nomad Insurance is fantastic value for money with a smaller additional cost to add a partner. Unlike most other insurance companies, there’s an option to pay on a monthly basis, similar to having a prepaid phone plan. Better yet, there’s no lock-in contract. In addition, you can cancel at any time, which will take effect the month after.

For shorter trips, it’s also possible to use Nomad Insurance for trips lasting just days or just 2–3 weeks. Indeed, SafetyWing is cheaper than almost all other travel insurance policies and covers just as much and sometimes more.

SafetyWing is a modern travel insurance company that is certainly leading the way in terms of how travel insurance should work in the future.

Cancun to Holbox Tips

  • Carry cash: it’s simplest to pay with cash when travelling from Cancun to Isla Holbox to avoid any credit card fees. In addition, Isla Holbox only has a handful of ATMs, so getting pesos out whilst you’re there could be a little problematic.
  • Luggage: there’s plenty of space to store luggage on the Holbox ferries since many people will visit for longer than a day.
  • How to get to Holbox from Tulum and Playa del Carman: all of the above information works for getting from Tulum and Playa del Carmen to Holbox too. We recommend the ADO bus.
  • Day trips: don’t forget, there are plenty of great tour options out there to get you to and from Isla Holbox for the day.

If you have any useful tips for other travellers going to Isla Holbox, drop them in the comments below.

Beck Piggott

With an art and design based background, Beck uses photography and writing to help inspire readers to climb mountains, hike coastal trails and chase waterfalls around the globe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *