Spanish Muse: Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox

May 25, 2016

We recently returned from Isla Holbox, a 26 mile long island off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It was quite a trek getting there; a five hour flight, then a two hour car ride (on some desolate dirt roads), then a 30 minute boat ride, followed by a 10 minute golf cart ride. We were traveling all day, but the experience was worth every minute of travel time. The town is quaint, but radiates with colorful energy. I rarely saw a white wall as most are covered in brilliant murals. Holbox hosted the first International Public Art Festival (IPAF) in Mexico in 2014. IPAF focuses on artistic works that mirror the integrity of the local culture. The entire town is covered in sand as cars are not allowed on the island, this creates a tropical feel everywhere you go. Beach dogs roam the town and inviting airy restaurants line the streets with local faces welcoming you with a big smiles. I loved being able to speak Spanish with the locals, it helps me connect with them right away. 

One morning I decided to get up early and wake up with the town. I jumped on my bike and rode up and down every street in town. I watched the early risers buying fruit and eggs in the Mercadito. Everyone seemed to know eachother. I got a fresh squeezed orange juice and kept riding. Along my ride I came across the local school, I heard music and children cheering. I came up to the gate and watched in amazement. It was 8:30 am and the children were having a dance off to get them pumped for the day. I had never seen anything like it. To see those young children, so excited about dance and music, cheering each other on, laughing hysterically. The freedom of expression they displayed, without judgement from the other students, was beautiful to watch. In that moment, I saw all the beauty that is Holbox. My eyes teared up. I watched for a long time and allowed myself to get lost in their joy. It was a great moment I will forever carry with me. 

Now you can't visit Mexico and not talk about the food! The fare mostly consisted of seafood and lots of fresh fruit. We didn't see much vegetables or meat on menus, but we were not complaining. The items that really stood out was the ceviche at Las Panchas, the tacos al pastor at El Taco Gordo and the Pina Coladas at Mawimbi. I've will never forget those drinks, they were like frothy coconut clouds.

Recientemente visitamos Isla Holbox, una isla de 26 millas de larga en la frente de la Península de Yucatán en México. Fue un camino largo para llegar, un vuelo de cinco horas, luego un viaje en coche de dos hora, un viaje en barco de 30 minutos, a continuación, un paseo en carrito de golf de 10 minutos. Estábamos viajando todo el día, pero la experiencia valió la pena cada minuto de tiempo de viaje. El pueblo es pintoresca, pero llena con energía de colores. Rara vez vi una pared blanca en cualquier lugar, ya que la mayoría están cubiertas de murales brilliantes. Holbox organizó el primer Festival Internacional de Arte Público (IPAF) en México en 2014. IPAF se centra en las obras artísticas que reflejan la integridad de la cultura local. La ciudad entera está cubierta de arena, por lo que no se puede entrar coches, lo que crea un ambiente tropical donde quiera que vaya. Perros de playa deambulan por el pueblo, por todas partes si siente invitando a los restaurantes locales y caras dando la bienvenida con unas gran sonrisas. Me encantó poder hablar español con la gente local, me ayuda a conectar con ellos de inmediato.

Una mañana decidi levantarme temprano y despertar con la ciudad. Salté en mi bicicleta y monté sobre todas las calles del pueblo. Vi a los madrugadores que compran frutas y huevos en el Mercadito. Todo el mundo parecía saber unos de otros. Me dieron un jugo de naranja recién exprimido y me fui en mi bici. A lo largo de mi viaje me encontré con la escuela local, oí la música y los niños animandos. Llegué hasta la puerta y vi con asombro. Era las 8:30 am y los niños estaban teniendo un baile fuera para comensar el día. Nunca había visto nada igual. Para ver los niños pequeños, así de feliz sobre la danza y la música, animando unos a otros, riendo histéricamente. La libertad de expresión que muestraban, sin juicio de los otros estudiantes, era digna de ver. En ese momento, vi toda la belleza que es Holbox. Mis ojos se llenaron de lágrimas. Observé durante mucho tiempo y me permití que me pierdera en su alegría. Fue un gran momento que voy a llevar siempre conmigo.

Ahora no se puede visitar a México y no hablar de la comida! La comida consistía en su mayoría de mariscos y un montón de fruta fresca. No vimos muchas verduras o carne en los menús, pero no nos quejamos. Los elementos que realmente se destacó fue el ceviche en Las Panchas, los tacos al pastor en El Taco Gordo y las piñas coladas en Mawimbi. Yo nunca voy a olvidar esas bebidas, que eran como nubes de coco espumosas.


  1. Wonderful colourful photos!

  2. I had never heard of this island.. what a great set of beautiful and colorful pictures :)

  3. I love all the pictures, I want to go there. xoRossana

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  8. What a beautiful place! I know the food was amazing lol!


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