[Wishlist] Isla Holbox – Whale Sharks

A diver photographing a whale shark. Image by Jones/ Shimlock-Secret Sea Visions / Getty Images.

Isla Holbox, Mexico

A 25-minute boat ride from the mainland, Quintana Roo’s sleepy northernmost island is the antithesis of crazy Cancun, just 150kms to the south.

  • When to go: tours depart daily from June to September, when the whale sharks arrive to feed and mate. July to August is peak season.
  • Where to stay: some tour companies offer speedboat pick-up from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but relaxed Holbox is a great alternative to the main tourist centres (and closer to the sharks). Lodging ranges from cheap hostels (try Tribu Hostel) to mid-range guesthouses (Holbox Apartments and Suites) and a smattering of plush hotels (Palapas del Sol;
  • Operators: Willy’s ( is among the most reputable.
  • Tour price: be wary of operators offering tours for less than $80.

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