Hi there my Steemian friends and followers!
I am here with another episode of my Beauties of Yucatan series. This time around, I will take you to the astonishing island of Holbox, one of Mexico´s hidden gems and a true heaven for all nature lovers.
Meaning "the black hole" in the old Mayan language (because of one of its lagoons with a dark bottom), Holbox is an elongated island found off the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The island is connected with the mainland by ferries that go from/to the small coastal town of Chiquila (the ride takes between 20-30 minutes and it costs 150 Mexican pesos / approximately 6 USD one way).
The island´s land area occupies some 56 sq km (22 sq mi) a vast majority of which is still uninhabited, covered with pristine nature consisting of lush tropical vegetation, spotless white powdery beaches and incredibly clear and warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Home to abundant and diverse wildlife, Holbox is particularly known for 3 things - as a hotspot for whale shark watching, as a place where you can observe bio-luminescence and as a birdlife haven with flamingos, pelicans, cormorants, frigatebirds and other bird species inhabiting the island´s shores and sand banks.
A significant part of Holbox is currently protected as it belongs to the Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve but I am afraid that the spectacular nature might soon start to be repressed at the expense of the growing tourism industry. In fact, I have heard and read way too many times that it is just a matter of time before Holbox involuntarily follows the destiny of places like Cancun, Playa del Carmen or - most recently - Tulum where the rapid urbanization combined with the boom of mass tourism have destroyed the original natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere of these former sleepy fishing villages on what is now the bustling Mayan Riviera, arguably the most touristy part of Mexico.
Let me now show you some of the photos that I took on the Holbox Island two weeks ago so that you can have a better idea of what this wonderful place looks like these days.
The dead trees sticking out of the water are very popular with local birds who love to sit on them.
Sign at the entrance to the Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve. The admission is free. There are actually no gates to the reserve, just these signs.
Pair of the double-crested cormorants lurking for fish
These cool water hammocks are very typical of Holbox. That´s what I call the ultimate Caribbean chill out :)
I just love these moments when it feels like I have the whole beach just for me :) Something you can hardly enjoy on the Mayan Riviera these days.
Holbox is also known for astonishing sunset sceneries. I took these sunset shots near the Punta Coco beach in the western part of the island.
Little harbor in the town, right next to Playa del Holbox.
Tourists walking on the sandbar towards Punta Mosquito. Hopefully, tourism will be controlled here so that the island´s unique ecosystems and beauty will remain untouched.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour around the picturesque Holbox Island. If you want to see it the way it is now, you better hurry up because as I have already mentioned, the situation might change soon. Although the number of tourists coming to the island is already slowly increasing, as of now the place still keeps the original, laid-back atmosphere, enhanced by the fact that cars are still not allowed there (the Holbox "traffic" consists mostly of just golf carts and bikes) and local streets and roads are still sandy (unpaved). However, a lot of construction works have been going in the town and along the beaches so in a few years, the island might look very differently.