The last leg of our trip to the Yucatan peninsula took us to two beautiful spots: Río Lagartos and Isla Holbox. Río Lagartos, which means Allegator River, is a tiny town located at the lagoon Ria Lagartos. The lagoon is part of a natural reserve and boasts the densest population of flamingos in all of Mexico. We stayed for one night and went on a private tour of the lagoon with Rio Lagartos Adventures, an eco tour that puts the safety of the animals first. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the wildlife in the lagoon and amongst others pointed out various types of herons, pink spoonbills, and pelicans. We were also incredibly lucky to see a small crocodile hiding in the roots of the mangroves. And of course we got to see a beautiful flamboyance of flamingos. The pictures I took of them with my phone are pretty terrible, because we didn't want to risk scaring the flamingos by getting too close. But trust me when I say it was amazing to see them in such big numbers.
Our guide also took us to the salt lakes and mud bath where we gave ourselves a free (almost) full body mud mask. There is not much else to do in the village, so after dinner we pretty much went straight to bed. We stayed in a small hotel called Punta Ponto which is run by a very kind man. In the morning he had prepared us a simple breakfast with some fruit and toast and while we were eating we spotted several tiny hummingbirds that were attracted by special hummingbird feeding mechanism hanging in the garden.
After breakfast we drove to Isla Holbox which took about three hours. Isla Holbox is definitely one of those 'paradise on earth' type of places. You have to leave your car behind on the mainland and get the ferry from Chiquilá to the island, because no cars are allowed on Holbox itself. Once there you'll have to get around by foot, bicycle or golf cart. None of the roads are paved which adds to the paradisal vibe of the island. It is also a very colourful island with beautiful murals and street art everywhere to feast your eyes on.
There are a couple of things that are good to know before you go to Holbox. First of all, a lot of shops and restaurants only accept cash and there is only one normal ATM on the island. The other machines all charge a lot to draw money and this one normal ATM is usually out of money. To make things even more complicated, the ATM often doesn't work with non-Mexican bank cards (we tried Dutch Maestro and UK Visa and Mastercards). So in short, bring enough cash!
The second important thing is that you should use a high factor sunscreen while on the island. I usually don't use anything higher than factor 30, so I thought it was a bit strange they only sold factor 50 and up in the island stores, and unfortunately, found out the hard way that that was for a good reason. It depends a bit on what you do while there, but when you decide, like us, to take a walk along the beach on the north side of the island you have to be careful. The sand is incredibly white and it's usually windy so you don't notice how strong the sun is really burning. I would absolutely recommend walking along the coast, because it's a very fun landscape with sandbars appearing and disappearing during the tides, but do make sure to bring the right sun factor! On the west coast of the island there's a beach called sunset beach, which is absolutely worth going to to see a stunning sunset.
You've probably already noticed from all of my posts about Mexico that I'm crazy about the food we had there, and Holbox was no exception. For breakfast we went to several different places where we amongst others, had fresh fruit bowls and scrambled eggs with black beans and tacos. For dinner I can recommend two great restaurants. The first is Luuma, which doesn't actually serve Mexican food, but it's all very tasty. It's quite a fancy looking place, located completely outside in a garden. They serve tapas style dishes and delicious cocktails. Compared to other places we'd been to, this was a bit more expensive, but still very cheap compared to similar restaurants in Europe.
The second restaurant I'd highly recommend is Viva Zapata. It's very popular, so you might want to reserve a table. They serve a lot of seafood dishes with fish, prawns, clams, etc caught the same day. If you go there you should definitely order the ceviche, which is absolutely amazing. And I ordered the habanero seafood pasta which was a quite spicy but really delicious as well.
If you want to do a bit more than just chill on the beach there's plenty of other things to do on Holbox. The island is a very popular destination for wind- and kite surfing, because Holbox tends to have good wind conditions for these sports. From May until August, Holbox is also the ultimate location to spot whale sharks. In this period they come together nearby the island to feed on plankton.
I will definitely go back to Mexico to see more of its rich culture and history and I'll make sure to include Holbox in the travel itinerary again, because it's just the perfect place to relax after travelling around. With this post I conclude my travelling stories about my trip to Mexico. I hope you enjoyed reading them!
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