Holbox Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Holbox gay guide to hotels & where to stay, things to do, beaches, restaurants, & gay nightlife.
The Gay Travel Experience: Holbox, Mexico
When I saw the beaches on Holbox Island, my jaw dropped. I could not believe my eyes. There are truly very few places in the world that can compare to the gorgeous shallow water along the Holbox coastline.
What could make this paradise better? Well, I’d say the fact that gay guys love Holbox certainly helps!
Soon after arriving on the island with my partner Michael, we learned that Holbox is quite a popular winter vacation spot among gay couples.
There were several gay guys in our hotel alone! It’s also of the newest New Year’s destinations in Mexico for LGBT travelers.
Throughout the week, we saw gay couples holding hands in the water, wearing some fashionable, sexy gay swimwear, and showing some adorable affection. Michael even ran into some gay friends from New York City.
The best thing about Holbox gay travel is that it’s an authentic and gay-friendly Mexican destination. Relatively new on the international tourist map, everything about the island is still genuine.
There aren’t any big hotel chains, overpriced restaurants, pushy tour salesmen, or anything like that. Many people compare Holbox now to what Tulum used to be 20 years ago.
Secondly, everyone is relaxed and accepting of gay travelers in Holbox. I didn’t have a single negative encounter while kissing my boyfriend in nightclubs, walking through town, or relaxing by the hotel pool.
Honestly, Holbox gay travel is one of my absolute top recommendations. In this guide, I’ll cover where to stay in Holbox, how to get there, bars, restaurants, safety, and more.
Gay Holbox: Where to Stay, Hotels & Hostels
When deciding where to stay in Holbox, consider the walking distance from a potential hotel to the town center.
Many tourists think that Holbox’s crystal blue water is in front of the hotels. But this gorgeous beach area is actually within a nearby national park only accessible on foot.
So, there’s no need to worry about which area of the beachfront your hotel is near. Beaches in front of the Holbox hotels are swimmable but tend to have a little seaweed.
There are a decent number of hotels on the southeastern side of the Holbox town center. Perhaps these are cheaper, but the location is not ideal if you want the best holiday experience with a nice beach view. Plus, most of the bars are over here, closer to the beach.
Holbox vacation apartment rentals are usually budget-friendly options. Many of them are gorgeous, too!
In addition to my favorite gay friendly hotels below, don’t miss wolfyy’s post on the most popular Holbox hotels, from beachfront to boutique.
Staying at Punta Caliza was absolute paradise. Punta Caliza is the top gay-friendly Holbox hotel. They have an iconic angularly shaped pool as well as private pools up against the windows of each hotel room!
Each room’s pool has a big door you can swing open into the main area so you never feel secluded.
Punta Caliza’s architectural design is so inviting, you won’t want to leave! The walkways around the property are so cozy and the rooms are relaxing. I definitely spent a few afternoons lounging by the pool eating ceviche.
The staff at Punta Caliza are stellar. They’re always available and willing to help make your stay perfect. Michael and I ended up making friends with everyone and actually felt like a small family by the time we said goodbye.
Casa Las Tortugas
Casa Las Tortugas is another impeccable Holbox hotel that’s popular with gay travelers. They have beachfront rooms for two or four people, as well as standard rooms and master suites. Some rooms have private terraces.
Every room is absolutely beautiful, with a clean beachy ambiance and exposed wood framing. Casa Las Tortugas also has an on-site wellness spa in addition to plenty of secluded spots on the property to lounge in paradise.
Hotel El Nido Holbox
Their gorgeously designed pool area has large cozy beanbag beds and a tropical vibe that you’ll never forget.
For more hotel ideas, check out wolfyy’s blog post on the best Holbox hotels!
Best Holbox Hostels
Backpackers looking for Holbox hostels will feel right at home at Tribu Hostel. This is definitely the best place to stay on a budget on Holbox Island. It’s also in a good area, nearby most of the popular bars and nightclubs.
Tribu Hostel has many different types of shared and private rooms. They truly span the range by offering options from ten-person bunk-bed dorms to a king suite which includes a private balcony. You can also book Tribu Hostel on Hostelworld.
If you’re traveling with partnered friends, they also offer an awesome “double bunk bed” room. It’s perfect for two couples to share, or for two travelers who just want a little extra room in their bed.
Tribu Hostel offers more than just accommodations! The popular Bar Tribu is directly adjacent to the accommodations. Read more about it in this guide’s section on Holbox bars and clubs.
Holbox Gay Travel: Things to Do in Paradise
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Holbox has one of the most stunning beaches in the world. The two beaches mentioned below truly made me jump with joy.
Holbox offers more than beaches, though. Those who crave adventure can book a bioluminescence kayak adventure or a kitesurfing session.
Check out these top Holbox gay travel recommendations for things to do on the island.
Visit Punta Mosquito (Mosquito Beach)
The number one thing to do in Holbox is visiting Punta Mosquito before it’s too late!
I recommend Punta Mosquito with such urgency because my partner Michael and I were the only two people on this beach for as far as the eye can see. We were 100% alone, taking in the most beautiful beach vista I have ever seen.
For some reason, nobody goes to Mosquito Beach! Tourists don’t seem to know that it’s possible to visit. Schedule a boat with your hotel and just let them know when you want them to pick you up.
You’ll only need to wade into waist-high water at most to get on and off the boat (since there are no docks). Bring plenty to keep busy and prepare to take the most stunning photos of your life! The boat ride is delightful. Keep an eye out for flocks of flamingos.
You’ll need to bring some strong bug repellent if you will be at Punta Mosquito any time after sunset. Just as our boat came to bring us back to the hotel before sunset, I was attacked by horseflies. Those bites hurt!
Stroll Playa de Los Flamengo (Flamingo Beach)
Flamingo Beach is a short distance away from Playa Holbox. Flamingo Beach water is just as crystal clear as the water at Punta Mosquito, mentioned above. There are simply more tourists here. Flamingo Beach is a must-see on Holbox Island.
To get to Flamingo Beach, you can bike or take a golf cart taxi as far east as possible along Calle Paseo Kuka. You will arrive at the entrance to the Yum Balam National Reserve. There’s only one road this way, so you can’t miss it. From this park entrance, you must lock your bikes and walk.
Lastly, the walk to Flamingo Beach from the park entrance will be about 15 to 20 minutes. When you reach the shore, prepare to wade through some calm, waist-high water for a few minutes until you reach the sand bars.
A sturdy pair of sandals like Tevas will be incredibly useful for riding bikes and treading the beaches without flicking sand all over yourself.
From here, the water depth may vary from zero to knee height, depending on the tide. I found it so beautiful to see such long stretches of shallow water.
Kitesurf in Holbox
While making your way toward Flamingo beach, you will see various kite surfers just past the national reserve entrance. If there is enough wind, these guys will be having fun all day long.
I didn’t try it myself, but it sure looks thrilling. You can easily book a Holbox kite surfing experience with your hotel, if not online.
Perhaps just as entertaining for some, fly your own kite instead! there’s plenty of open beach space to have fun with a kite.
Book A Holbox Bioluminescence Tour
Holbox Island is one of the few places on earth where you can see the beautiful natural phenomenon of bioluminescence.
Late in the evening, you’ll kayak along the beachfront through the shallow waters to observe the glowing plankton. It really is a magical experience.
Holbox bioluminescence tours are very popular. You will see signs for them everywhere. The organizers usually take groups of 5 to 7 people, but private one or two-person tours are definitely available. Michael and I booked a group tour, but it ended up just being the two of us. We got lucky!
I also recommend you specify to the bioluminescence tour company that you prefer not to step through a ton of seaweed.
My partner Michael and I did not have a pleasant experience getting into the kayak. We had to step through ten feet of decomposing seaweed sludge. This isn’t the norm, but is something I hope you can avoid!
Also, leave your phone at home unless you have a dry bag and can manage to do your photography in the dark.
These tiny creatures, invisible to the naked eye, shed light like fireflies when you agitate the water. I won’t describe it in too much detail, because you’ll see it on your tour.
If you’re booking one of these experiences, you should be able to navigate a kayak and prepare to do so in the dark. If you’re not used to kayaking, I would imagine it to be a little scary!
Restaurants in Holbox
The food at Viva Zapata is some of the island’s best. Michael and I went once for lunch and stuffed ourselves with tacos. Another time I went for dinner and tried the shrimp in spinach sauce.
Both times Viva Zapata had a decently long wait for food. If you’re there for dinner, I would grab a drink at the bar while waiting for your table.
Roots Pizza Holbox has several types of thin-crust, Mexican-inspired pizzas. They are known for their special lobster pizza. Roots is especially good for large groups of 7 to 10 people. They have large round tables to share with family or friends.
Foodie Market is a quick and easy spot for dinner or an evening snack. There are different windows from which you can order traditional Mexican food or other world cuisines if you so desire. The tacos here were delicious.
La Tapatía has some cheap Mexican soul food. I experienced some of the friendliest service at this Holbox restaurant. The friendly waitresses were all smiles and told us their top dinner choices. I also loved the music!
No matter what Holbox restaurant you’re at, you can never go wrong with ceviche, a local favorite. An order of guacamole and ceviche with chips is the perfect appetizer or midday snack.
Holbox Bars & Clubs
There are a handful of absolutely stellar bars and clubs on Holbox Island. Try out the recommendations below and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Luuma Cocktail Bar
Luuma is everything you could ever want from a cocktail bar. They provide an amazing experience and some incredibly flavorful custom drinks.
Once you try their cocktails, you’ll understand why I love this bar so much. Luuma’s bartenders are enthusiastic and are super proud of their work.
The earlier in the evening you arrive, the better your chances are at getting a table or a spot at the bar. Luuma doesn’t take reservations, so it’s first-come, first-served.
The Hot Corner: A Holbox Gay Travel Must
Wondering where the biggest party in Holbox is? It’s at The Hot Corner! The Hot Corner is the most popular bar in Holbox to party outside and start the night off right.
Enjoy the fresh nighttime air and meet some new friends at parties that spill into the street. The Hot Corner is a covered outdoor area with plenty of seating.
I love how both local Mexicans and residents mix in with the tourists while spending a night at The Hot Corner. The locals love to party and you’ll definitely see them drinking their cases of beer out in plain sight!
Taberna Salma: The Best Nightclub in Holbox
Taberna Salma nightclub has some of the best music and DJs I’ve ever heard in a tropical place. The deep bass and piercing red lights create a clubby ambiance like no other.
Salma is a traditional restaurant and cocktail bar in the earlier hours and stays open serving drinks late into the night.
Salma always attracts a crowd that’s ready to dance, especially after The Hot Corner closes just a block away. During my visit, at 2 AM, anyone from the other bars that still wants to party goes to Salma.
There’s a ton of seating and space to socialize. Salma is free to enter and is closed on Sundays.
The Holbox After-Hours Bar
Still looking to party after 3 AM? La Perla Holbox is the gritty after-hours dive bar where late-night partiers flock.
The number of people at La Perla after 3:00 AM does seem to fluctuate. One night it was completely empty, while the next night a crowd poured in at 3:15 AM. It’s not too far from Salma, so it never hurts to check things out.
Last but not least on my list of top Holbox bars is Bar Tribu. The bar is part of Hostel Tribu, as mentioned earlier in this guide. Anyone who loves making art, music, and meeting like-minded individuals should check out the bar, or consider staying with them.
Holbox Gay Travel Tips
Local Infrastructure is Less Developed
While the island is beautiful and has many luxurious conveniences within hotels, the infrastructure, in general, is not highly developed. Slow Wi-Fi internet, poor cell service, and muddy clay roads are some examples.
These modern inconveniences should not deter you from visiting the paradise that is Holbox. A large part of this island’s charm is how it has not been commercialized and trampled by tourists as Tulum has.
In my opinion, it is better to plan with this knowledge in mind instead of finding out after you’ve arrived.
How to Pronounce "Holbox"
By the way, make sure to pronounce Holbox correctly! Don’t be that tourist that goes somewhere without knowing how to say it! The letter “x” in Holbox takes a “sh” sound. It’s HOL-bosh. The “Hol” is pronounced exactly as if you were going to say “Hola.”
Pack Your Tropical Vacation Essentials
Before you head off to paradise, check wolfyy’s useful list of what to pack for the tropics. You’ll find my favorite waterproof gear, lightweight clothing ideas, rain gear, and tons more.
How to Get to Holbox Island from Cancun Airport
A large part of the reason why Holbox isn’t flooded with tourists is because it’s not exactly easy to get to! Prepare for a bit of a trek. I promise though, it will be worth it.
First, I’ll describe the most common way to get to Holbox. After, I’ll mention the option of booking a private plane!
From the Cancun airport, you will need to take a shuttle van to Chiquilá. The ride is about two hours. From here, you catch a ferry to the Holbox Island port. The ferry ride is about 30 minutes.
You can use Bookaway to book a ferry in advance, so you can secure a seat. I found it to be quite peaceful and loved seeing passengers waving from passing ferries.
Upon arrival, you’ll take a local buggy taxi to your hotel. Be aware that there are no paved roads on Holbox Island. Prepare for a bumpy 10-minute ride. Avoid wearing any shoes that you don’t want to get dirty. If there are any puddles, they may splash your feet.
Arrange everything regarding your Holbox airport transfer beforehand if possible. After a flight and the long drive to the ferry, it will be much less of a hassle if everything is booked and paid for. If you do decide to wait until arrival, keep in mind that locals will accept American dollars.
Private Planes from Cancun to Holbox
Does this all sound too stressful? Holboxeno offers private planes from Cancun airport to Holbox Island.
This short 30-minute plane ride costs roughly USD $540 in total. This price is for the whole plane, so it can be split with up to 9 people. You can join a shared plane or book an exclusive ride for you and your significant other.
Is Holbox Gay Travel Safe?
Mexico often gets a bad reputation for safety. And while there are definitely some towns and areas of Mexico that are unsafe, Holbox certainly is not one of them.
The entire time I was in Holbox, I felt very safe, even while wandering the town center in the middle of the night.
Holbox locals are a happy bunch. They love their island and are friendly to tourists. I saw no sign of anyone attempting to pickpocket anyone or do anything questionable.
Since tourism to Holbox is relatively new, pretty much everything is authentic. Even the attitudes of the native people.
Best time to Visit Holbox, Mexico
Since Holbox never feels too crowded, even at the peak of tourist season, you never need to worry about avoiding crowds as you would in most other tropical Caribbean destinations in winter. The main concern is about avoiding high temperatures and rainfall.
The best time to visit Holbox is from November through early March. Travel is even better during the winter holidays since New Year’s Eve attracts a rowdy crowd. Even during this time, nothing feels crowded at all.
April through October will have quite high temperatures, which some tourists avoid. Soaring temperatures combined with high humidity can make it uncomfortable to spend lots of time outside.
Starting in June, rainfall is high, also continuing through October. Most tourists avoid these months.
Do Holbox Beaches Have Seaweed?
The biggest confusion about Holbox concerns the beaches. Many tourists see the stunning azure waters in photos and naturally expect all Holbox beaches to look like this. The truth is that the best beaches are to the east of Playa Holbox and the town center.
Holbox beaches in front of the waterfront hotels have seaweed some of the time. Playa Holbox is part of this area. Oceanic fluctuations cause seaweed to wash ashore periodically.
It’s difficult to predict when this will happen, so there is always a bit of a gamble involved with choosing holiday dates. Most of the time though, the best beaches like Punta Mosquito will still be clear.
Using ATM’s in Holbox
There are plenty of ATM machines throughout the town center. You can save a sizable amount of money by only using Holbox ATM machines that dispense Mexican Pesos.
Almost all of the ATMs in Holbox dispense US dollars, many at an unfavorable rate to the Peso. Get Pesos directly, instead. Although restaurants and bars will take dollars, they will once again give an unfavorable rate at your expense. That would mean converting money at a bad rate twice.
Get your Pesos at Bancomer, a local ATM in the town center. Reviews online as well as other tourists might tell you it’s the only one on the island that gives pesos, but this isn’t true.
There is another Mexican Bank ATM nearby that is not on google. It is across the street from Hotel Casa Bárbara on Calle Tiburon Ballena (I forgot the name of the bank). The building/ATM color is green and the physical ATM is on the backside of the bank building.
What Can You Buy At Holbox Pharmacies?
Everyone is always a bit curious about the medications and supplements that are legally available for sale in Mexico. Holbox has a few pharmacies where you can indeed buy certain medications that are not available in many other countries.
As is typical in the Mexican tourist areas, not all pharmacies sell the same things. Many times, one pharmacy will only carry the most basic of medications while another will advertise the rarer drugs. Disclaimer: always abide by your country’s laws regarding international transport of medications and supplements.
Need more travel inspiration? Explore wolfyy’s full collection of gay travel guides.