Isla Holbox Island Vibe

16.05.20 11:07 PM By Putri

We just celebrated our anniversary and this relationship is the longest relation we both ever have in our lives! How long have we been together? Uh, that’s the thing, we don’t have the same understanding of when the relationship actually started.

One thing for sure, I guess Nico deserves a medal for dealing with assorted insanities that comes with being with me all these years. We’ve done some pretty awesome (and stupid) things together, and let there be thousands more to come.

Last anniversary we were in Isla Holbox, and that’s the story for today! We spent three days in the island without any definite itinerary because our knowledge of the place prior arriving was near to zero. All we expected was to get some relaxing island vibe, and that’s exactly what we got, plus some awesome surprises that popped up unexpected (that’s what surprises are, unexpected, d’oh! Says me to my obvious self). 

We stayed at Casa Margot. The hotel boutique looks like a giant chicken coop in the middle of nowhere surrounded by empty spaces but it has my dream-like room and design on the inside. A mix of modern minimalist, rustic, and traditional at the same time. It looked so basic yet simultaneously felt so luxurious.
It was raining almost every afternoon while we were there, which kind of limited us to wander around the island. We had to take refuge every now and then from the rain until it stopped and the sun was again flirting with making an appearance. 

The access to Punta Coco, one of the nicest beaches on the island and famous for its beautiful sunset, was flooded the entire time we were there. It was impossible to get there. We ended up on the part of the island where it looked abandoned. Eerie and peaceful at the same time. 

Being a car free island, you can go around by renting a golf cart, taking a golf cart taxi, rent a bike, or simply walking to explore Isla Holbox. We opted to explore the island by foot, and I think it was the best decision. 

The kind of sign that makes you wonder what’s the story behind it.
The kind of sign that makes you wonder what’s the story behind it.

There are tours from Isla Holbox to the neighborhooding islands and some other activities. But we decided to take it easy and didn’t sign on any tours. I thought we’d be relaxing by the beach, basking in the sun, sipping fresh bottomless pina colada, but we all know Nico is not like me, he is not that good at doing nothing. So we ended up strolling for kilometers along the beach everyday. 

We walked and walked and walked.

We walked in the morning. 

We walked at sunset time. 

We walked along the empty beach.

Among a thousand hungry pelicans and seagulls on the dock.

Through the bars by the beach.

We walked all the way east to Playa del Flamingo through the sandbank on low tide. The sandbank was so white and the water was so pristine you could see the fishes. 

Playa del Flamingo is part of the Yum Balam reserve area, before Punta Mosquitos. It’s the area where flamingos are often seen in thousands during the migration season, hence the name. We weren’t there at the right season, so I wasn’t expecting anything. As we walked along the sandbank, we met interesting birdies. Like the stork taking a break from delivering a bundle of joy. Wait, is it a stork or egret? Or stork and egret is actually the same bird? Err…  Now you have to understand that my knowledge about birds is fairly limited to seagulls and chickadees. For sure this area is definitely interesting for bird watching. 

Look at these tiny, long legged birds. What are these? 

And these crooked beak birds. What’s with the beak? 

And when I least expected, bam!!! FLAMEEEEENGGAAAAWS Y’ALL!!! 

Flam-fecking-mingos!!!! FLAMINGOS! I have annual favorite animals, and this year are flamingos and Llama. So seeing flamingos with my own eyes when I least expected was the most beautiful surprise!! I felt like just hugging their flimsy long neck and happy cry as if I just met my long lost favorite aunt. I wanted to take one home but Nico said I might get arrested if I do that and the punishment might be harder than smuggling a kilo of cocaine. It doesn’t make sense, but I believe him anyway. 

Stunned by the flamingos, we didnt notice that the tide was building up and the sandbank was slowly disappearing. Before we knew it, we were cut off from the long sandbank that leads back to civilization. All what’s left was the open ocean on our right and front side, and Yum Balam reserve ACROSS THE LAGOON.

We decided to go across the lagoon to reach the Yum Balam reserve area. Walking in this lagoon looked like a bad idea. We couldn't see the bottom, we didn’t have any idea if it even had a bottom, and absolutely we had zero clue what might lurk beneath the murky water while we walked. Suddenly, a tiny ripple was heading our way and a baby stingray tried to attack Nico. Not sure if that stingray was dangerous but we know a stingray killed Steve Irwin so we didn’t take any chance and ran in panic trying to get out of the water as soon as possible. Do you even know how hard it is to run on sandy lagoon?

My heart was pounding so fast and I was in a five dimensional panic situation. And yes, that was a made up sentence. All that was on my mind while running was: What the heck was that thing? Could we outrun that thing? Could we outrun each other? What if I step on sea urchin? Does the lagoon get any deeper than this? Why didn’t I wear a bra this morning? running with boobs bouncing out of control was so uncomfortable.

A Cormorant looking down on us and judging our decision in life.

We continued our walk back to civilization through the Yum Balam reserve. Walking in the reserve wasn’t that enjoyable, to be honest, but at least we could see where we’re stepping. There’s almost no path, the vegetation is pretty high, it’s damp, and full of insects and dead horseshoe crabs. 

I was happy and relieved when we saw the Las Nubes hotel. That hotel is the last hotel before the reserve. Seeing that hotel from afar was like seeing a sign of civilization to me. Hurrah! 

On the way back to the town center, we shared a fresh coconut sold by a beach vendor. It was the most memorable palategasm I had on Isla Holbox; a fresh yellow coconut with a sprinkle of fresh lime and salt for less than a dollar. I love fresh coconut, and to me, it is obligatory to drink fresh coconut whenever I see coconut trees in the vicinity am on a beach. This coconut I had on this island was different from the ones I had back home in Indonesia. The coconut is smaller and it’s yellow. The hollow part on the inside is tiny but the meat of the coconut is thick and soft. So yummy!

And it was only at the hotel that we read that the lagoon is actually crocodile infested, and the stingray should’ve been the least of our worries… 
But even then, our walks were the best part of this anniversary getaway. And if Nico would ask me if I wanted to have another walk. Or crossing another lagoon. Or river. Or national reserve. Or whatever else we might find. My answer would be yes, yes I would (terms and conditions apply).