Cancun has once again secured the top spot as the most popular destination in Mexico and for good reason.
The city boasts impeccable weather, stunning beaches, and crystal-clear waters that’ll leave even the most seasoned traveler stunned.
However, as more tourists get the chance to witness the beauty that Mexico has to offer, it’s only natural to wonder what else the country has in store.
According to a recent report from Enjoy Travel, there’s a hidden island, just a ferry ride away from Cancun’s busy streets, that provides stiff competition to the current top destination.
Mexico’s Hidden Gem
Though Holbox has been a go-to beach destination for locals since the late 19th century, the island only rose to mainstream popularity in the late 1990s. As more tourists flocked to the area, Punta Mosquito quickly took the unofficial title of Holbox’s best beach.
@visitqroo Playa Punta Mosquito en #Holbox México 🇲🇽 #visitqroo #puntamosquito #quintanaroo #traveltiktok #travelcouple #playa ♬ Andrea – Bad Bunny & Buscabulla
Even since then, most visitors have favored the island’s flashier sibling – Cancun.
Recently, though, as more Mexican hotspots have become too crowded and expensive to enjoy, tourists are turning their eyes toward these smaller, often overlooked destinations that provide a quieter, more peaceful experience without sacrificing any of the fun.
Even those who are set on experiencing Cancun can easily set a day aside to enjoy the natural splendor of Punta Mosquito.
The two are, after all, only 41.5 miles (67.2 km) apart, and there’s no shortage of transportation alternatives to choose from.
Though it is possible to fly to Holbox, most people opt to go there by ferry.
The average ferry ride should last no more than 1 hour and 50 minutes and tickets start at $12.
You can always choose to cover some of the distance by car or bus, but sticking to a traditional ferry ride is probably the most cost and time-effective option.
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What Makes Holbox So Amazing?
Seeing as Holbox is an island famous for its pristine white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking sunsets, it’s easy to understand why so many visitors are flocking to it in hopes of still catching a glimpse of its untouched beauty.
After all, the island has a lot to offer.
However, what sets Holbox apart from other highly coveted neighboring destinations? Why is it so amazing?
One of the most unique perks this gorgeous island has to offer is a lack of cars.
Going out in big hotspots like Cancun, while invigorating, can often feel stressful or chaotic – the exact opposite of what most of us are looking for in a beach getaway.
Strange as it may seem, the charming streets of Holbox are devoid of cars, with most locals and tourists relying on bikes, golf carts, or, better yet, their feet, for transportation.
There’s a certain sense of peace and joy that comes with walking around a gorgeous town without having to deal with the sound of traffic whooshing by you.
A Natural Beauty That’s Protected By Law
Though there’s no shortage of stunning scenery in Mexico, the type of pristine allure that you’ll get to enjoy in Holbox is hard to replicate.
In fact, the island is part of the Yum Balam Protected Area, established in 1994.
The nature reserve, the first of its kind in Mexico, aims to protect the rich flora and fauna found within its confines.
That’s why those looking to get a glimpse of the breathtaking scenery or observe the area’s stunningly diverse wildlife will far prefer Holbox over Cancun, or any other hotspots in the country, for that matter.
The Ideal Snorkeling Destination
Holbox is legendary for whale shark sightings, making it a must-visit for snorkeling enthusiasts whenever they are in Mexico.
Moreover, since whale sharks are the biggest fish species on the planet, casual swimmers are also jumping at the opportunity to swim among them.
From June to September, these gentle giants populate the crystal clear waters of Holbox, so if snorkeling is in your itinerary, make sure to time your visit accordingly.
Diving sessions start at $170, and considering that you’ll be having the experience of a lifetime, they’re more than worth it.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com