While swimming on a trip off the Caribbean coast, I asked myself, “Do I mention the two, large, shiny grey sharks directly below me in case chaos ensues… or keep it to myself so I don’t ruin the moment for the mothers and children swimming around us? Nah, don’t say anything. We’re fine.”
But that's another story, click here for the rest of that Holbox story on Medium.
Below is a quick recap of some of the other highlights and the rest of some of the images that didn't make it into the Medium post.
Where We Stayed, What We Ate, Things We Did
Hotel Puerto Holbox — There are plenty of boutique hotels on the island that sit with beachfront access. We found staying to the west of town was quieter since the central area and east of it has more main streets, which means more pedestrian and diesel golf cart action. It seems slightly more peaceful on this side of town. Plus, Freddy's your boy when you stay here. He'll take care of anything — including chopping up some fresh coconuts for your rum.
Los Peleones — This second storey spot is currently #1 on Trip Advisor for restaurants in Holbox, with a certificate of excellence for 2013. While it's not the cheapest place to find food on the island, it's by no means expensive for the service and food you get. Our plates were somewhere between $120-150pesos each. Beers are $30 while mix drinks are the standard $60-80pesos. We had some quality, homemade pasta and as attentive service as you'd ever want.
Cariocas Pizza — This was the first dinner we had on Isla Holbox. The place was packed, but they seemed to manage the rush well, even after a misstep with our order. The owner is from Napoli and must've brought over his mama's Italian recipes, because what they were serving on those pies was a damned fine marinara sauce. If you like pizza, which you do, go here.
Raices — We ate here two lunches in a row. It's a small palapa bar on a quiet part of the beach just out of town. Their fish ceviche could just be the best ceviche I've ever had. I'm not going to pretend I'm some kind of culinary expert or anything, but I eat a lot of ceviche. A lot. You get huge chunks of freshly caught fish, a great mix of lime, onions and peppers. Ask for the fresh chopped habanero for an added bonus.
I'd go back to the island just to eat here, but don't expect anything fancy, just good ceviche, a run-down palapa, cold beer and a view of the ocean.
Golf Cart Rentals — We rented ours from a spot next to Hotel Casa Barbara. The owners were mellow, just hanging outside with their friends on some plastic chairs. We didn't have ID and only half of what we needed to rent up front. When we suggested we'd go to a bank machine first to get the balance, they waved us off and just said, "See you in four hours. It's okay."
So basically, without ID, any proof of having funds or even so much as taking our names, we got to roll out for about $8 an hour. Not like you can really take off anywhere with their cart on this mini island. Good people, there are dozens of places to get carts, but go on and rent from them.
Pedro Rodriguez — This guy was the only person who ripped us off over the whole trip. At first he explained it was because we were late at night taking a taxi "after 11pm" that caused this higher-than-normal tariff. Taxis are about $30 pesos anywhere on the island unless you roll with our boy Pedro. Expect to pay more.
The next day he was the taxi that showed up at our hotel to take us to town and didn't even recognize us. This made for a good laugh when he again overcharged us, making up a different excuse that this side of the island is more expensive. Watch out for the sharply dressed, older cabbie with a moustache and gentleman's fedora. He's anything but. Pedro Rodriguez, we will meet again in this life or the next!
Punta Mosquito — This is about as far east on the island you can go without getting wet first. There's a river that connects to another part of the island that's easy to cross by a short swim. Head out here on bike or with your golf cart. Bring a blanket and some cold drinks, it's a beauty for sunset — but bring some repellent too, once the witching hour hits you're going to be dealing with insects.
Tortas, Tacos and Late Night Gambling — I don't know how frequently the evening fair happens around Holbox, but it was on every night we were there. We grabbed street food to walk around with that was pesos on the dollar and delicious.
There was an arcade set up, foosball tournament and your other typical fair games: Test your pitching aim, shoot at targets with a wildly inaccurate bb gun, attempt to pop under-inflated balloons with dull darts. You know the scam, but you pay to play anyhow, because maybe tonight is your night for that big pink bunny. It's not.
However, there's one glimmer of hope within the usual cash grabs. A modified version of La Loteria (Mexican bingo) that involves the dealer rolling a set of oversized dice with Loteria symbols on each side. You place your bets on Loteria cards laid on the table, much like roulette. Shake, and read. If your symbol is called, it pays 6:1.
We took our first roll and we won big. $60 pesos big. Katy and I rode that high until the devil played us out. It was a hell of a ride, and there are two valuable lessons I learned that night: Never bet on the devil and always bring more change.
Take a look below at some more pictures and hit us up through the contact page if you have any questions or are thinking of heading to Holbox. If I remember some more items, or feel so inclined, I may update this page as a little Holbox resource.