Warning: This blog contains material that could be detrimental to your mental health and overall well-being. View the photographs with caution and if you experience any symptoms of lightheadedness, malaise, speaking in tongues or an urge for an ice cold Mojito contact you travel agent immediately. Failing do to so could lead to hysteria, chronic incoherence and in extreme cases much worse.
Holbox pronounced Olbosh is not an elixir tonic or some wheat-grass concoction that I took for my tummy but an old Mayan name for a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. It means ‘Black Hole’ supposedly after the number of natural springs and its shallow lagoon which, in the past, was considered by the Mayans to be a fountain of youth. Still don’t quite understand why it’s called ‘Black Hole” but there you have it, it’s Mayan.
The few roads on the island are compacted sand and there are no cars other than the occasional service vehicle that comes over on the ferry. All transport including taxis use golf carts other options are motorbikes or bicycles and of course small boats.
On the village edge and right on the beach there are a few resorts all built in the ‘palapa’ hut style which is in keeping with the surroundings for those who fancy a little more comfort.
Holbox is about 42km long and a couple wide and a beach runs along its entire northern side which faces the gulf. Many of its 1600 inhabitants make their living fishing, others from tourism and infrastructure industries.
There are only a few roads and none that span it’s entire length, they all end just outside the village, to get to the rest of the island you need a boat which one can take from the small jetty.
No 1 activity here is enjoying the beach and trudging through the soft sand for a beer or margarita, then nibble on a plate of Ceviche to round off the morning. Ceviche is the Mexican dish of marinated seafood in lime juice with onion and some parsley, Yumm.
Then it’s back to the grind, looking out to sea or watching the pelicans dive-bomb for their afternoon snack, as for the seagulls they are antisocial wherever in the world you go.
To get away from it all we booked ourselves with a group on a little boat to run along the northern length of the island for a day. There was Malene and I and the rest were Mexicans on holiday including a nice couple of Mexicans originally from China.
The sea was calm and warm and the breeze from the boat did the trick and kept us all cool, it also gave me a Michael Douglas hair do. Our first stop was to catch lunch which the guys would later serve up as ceviche so we were given hand lines, some bait and put to work.
Who caught the largest fish of the day? Michael Douglas of course.
Our snorkel time was equally eventful, I have never seen so many fish grouped in just one spot before but the highlight were the turtles who swam so close I could touch them. Unfortunately no go-pro so no underwater photographs which I wish we had. There was a strange fish, which I’ve yet to identify, with only top and bottom fins and swam in a very unusual way.
Next up was a secluded cove where we explored the island which is totally untouched, that is where I came across the Godzilla of all hermit crabs, the largest guy both Malene and I have ever seen.
Finally it was lunch and some ceviche served up on the boat, we had way plenty.
That night we strolled through the village and being Mexico it would not be normal if some activity was not going on, this time it was a pinata thumping by the local children. We were too tired to remember our camera but watching the children, one line of boys and one with girls in the town square hitting the life out of BuzzLightYear to get to the sweets was fabulous. As always the boys were so exited and wielded the big stick with deadly accuracy but had they missed they would have cleaned up all the little ones who were too small to take part but stood and watched just feet away. We held our breath but the locals seemed cool about the whole thing. Eventually when Buzz was near shreds the man holding the rope just let it go and a massive scrum of mostly boys tussled over the lollies. All were happy.
Later we went back for the camera
A week in Holbox flew by, I just hope that when we visit it again it will not be overrun by tourists and commercialization but manages to keep its simple charm.
One good thing which may be intentional is that it’s hard to find a reliable schedule of buses or any form of transport to take you to Holbox and it’s even more impossible when in Holbox to find a schedule out. That is how Mexico works and it just might save it.