Experiencing Joy & Disappointment in Isla Holbox

I’d done my research. It was a visit to Isla Holbox I wanted. All the photos looked lovely, the descriptions so positive, a little information on how if the rains came, it flooded the sandy roads and turned them into mud, had been read. We were prepared for some elements of roughing it. It is an island after all!

We’d worked out the best way to arrive at this Caribbean destination was by using the ADO Coach. Easy to book and ride, close to our Cancun downtown airbnb. A little over 3 hours on the bus – a tad confusing changing from coach to ferry and a need to buy the tickets before walking down the pier. A little disorganised on the loading but always to be expected we’d experienced so far in Mexico. Crowd control did not seem to be top of the priorities but mask wearing and sanitising were. We worked with it and rode over.

The width and depth of the muddy puddles took a bit of slippery getting used to and my mind did turn to maleria and dengue fever.

We’d struggled to find a Guest House which suited our needs and desire whilst on the island. Eventually looking to the outskirts of the village, which proved to be a pain at times because it was always a long walk there and back to the centre – yet at the same time it was a delight, because it meant we were away from all the nightlife and noise of tourists and travellers after dark.

Although, in the laundry across the road, we came home one night to hear what sounded like warbling. An indiscernible sound initially, which on closer inspection, as we spied through the open mesh of this island business, was actually singing and there seemed to be a service of some sort ongoing. Ours was not to judge. Sleep that night was serenaded by this peculiar sound, accompanied by the masterful strumming of guitars. It was strangely comforting and we knew we were in Mexico.

Boox Casa our choice of accommodation out of those left available for the time we were there. Looking boho lovely on Booking.com but slightly tired in reality. It needed a bit of tender care and repair to make it top notch. On using the pool, it was Vin who cleaned out all the leaves and our host, as nice as he was, simply looked at him doing it as he walked past. It made us giggle…

The view from the rooftop terrace of Boox Casa.

Exploring the beach front left me painfully disappointed. All the photos I’d seen, showed Isla Holbox as this picture perfect beach destination. Yet I think most photos I’ve looked at now, after visiting, are very generous with the angles and depiction.

I felt disappointed.

The positively slanted information I had been reading, didn’t seem to show the reality of what I was experiencing. And yet, I also began to find joy in different encounters we had, rather than the blonde sandy beach, with deep caribbean blue waters I thought I would encounter. With the tide times leaving it low during the day, we encountered as we walked out smelly, stinky mud. Although catching sight of the dolphins as they swam by, certainly warmed the heart.

This was not turning out to be the island of rest we desired but had actually become hard work. How my heart craved for the Thailand holiday we’d had to cancel and the cool interiors of the AWA Hotel on Koh Chang I knew I could simply sink in to. No thinking allowed. The pandemic had kicked our asses and we didn’t want to kick it back, just simply wanted to lie in the sun and relax. Even that was proving difficult as the weather wasn’t playing ball!

This trip was proving to be a challenge but more was to come and we found joy on the island through our cultural encounters!

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