Isla Holbox, Mexico, is a hidden little gem, close in location to Cancun, but that's where any similarities end! It's a small sandbar island encouraging more independent travellers, families and those not seeking resort/package holidays. You can hire a golf cart or bicycle to get around the isla, but there's no cars here, and even flip flops are optional for the sandy streets. Isla Holbox in Mayan means 'black hole', and every season there's a few guests who come for a 'couple of days' and stay far longer than intended!
What Kind of Woman Would Like Kiteboarding in Holbox?
Holbox suits a wide range of people – there's different sides to the isla to suit different people! For those early birds there's a few hotels offering early yoga and lots of little cafes, there's family friendly shallow waters, and white sandy beaches to explore. You can do as much or as little as you like, exploring and walking to the end of the isla in less than an hour, trying to spot the local flamingos, pelicans and wildlife, finding a peaceful spot just to yourself to sunbathe, or siesta in a hammock.
For those that like to party there are a few options! In times of no wind it's known that drinking tequila makes the wind gods come! The parties start about 11pm with live music in various bars around the isla. There's some good visiting bands at Tribu with music ranging from salsa, live jam sessions, cumbia and more, or salsa dancing in the street at Hot Corner! For me the best is to enjoy a enjoy happy hour on the beach at sunset after kiting.
Accommodation ranges from luxury boutique hotels, to hammocks in a palapa or tents on the beach, with a good variety of posadas, hostels and hotels inbetween.
Special Considerations for Women Adventure Travelers in Holbox
Holbox is a super safe little island. At the busy times of Christmas, Carnival and Easter don't fall under the illusion that it's a paradise island and leave your belongings unattended. Just as you would at home, keep an eye out! Be mindful and ask a local bar if you can leave your bags with them whilst you enjoy a quiet swim. It's also one of the few places I've had no issues walking back to a hotel late at night.
The locals are friendly, and if you go out to some bars the guys are usually very happy to help the ladies learn the basic salsa steps. It's a friendly community where the locals hug, kiss and cheer each other and are very welcoming. Be aware that internet connection is pretty patchy on the island, and the two ATM's are only filled twice a week, but often run out, so it makes sense to bring some pesos with you.
Kiteboarding in Isla Holbox, Mexico
There's two kite spots which cover wind directions from West through to South-east.
The windy season is from early November through til the end of May.
The 'winter' (Nov- Feb)
brings the 'el Norte' winds, which means often strong winds on the first day (25+ knots), which drops on subsequent days to 15-20 knots, maybe less on the next days. With the norte we can use a super nice shallow spot called Las Nubes, with a sandbar about 100m out. Great for learning, photos and more. However when the norte comes it brings colder air from the States, so bring a shortie 3/2 wetsuit for these days. Even if the sun is shining the water temperature can be a little chillier than usual (20 degrees rather than 25 degrees). This spot is awesome for foilboarding, although you need to bodydrag out after the sandbar, and about 100m further when it's low tide. It's flat and there are no hidden underwater hazards. The beach area isn't that wide, but there is plenty of space in the water! Just pack your kites away when you're finished.
March – May
brings steadier winds, usually 15-20knots, predominately from an easterly direction, meaning we go by boat to Punta Mosquito (a misnomer, when it's windy the mozzies aren't there!), to get a cross on shore safe direction for teaching and riding. There is often an afternoon thermal kick which means winds are from 14-20knots. This spot is a 25mile long beach, completely free of shops, restaurants and hotels. It is purely beach and nature making it all yours to explore. There's some little waves (<1m) and chop so it's worth bringing a surfboard to play with.
Kiteboarding equipment recommendations for a 130-160 pound intermediate female kiteboarder:
Winter: twintip 6, 9, 12
March – May: 9, 12
If you've got bigger kites then bring them. There's space at the beach to leave them, and we have space on the boat to take them – you know the deal, you can't fly it unless it's on the beach with you. If you really want to kite everyday then bring your 15m just in case!
You'll also need to buy a permit to kite in this Natural Park. It's $10 USD and lasts all season with the proceeds benefiting the Isla, clearing up trash and levelling the streets. The local kite school has them for sale and are happy to give you information on the authorized kite areas. Cathy Padgett is an instructor at Holbox Kiteboarding and can help you out.
Find out more info on:
Bottom line. It's a windy, sandy paradise island! It's slowly getting more popular, but the pace of life here is slow. It's Mexico's best kept secret island, who knows for how long.....!!