Playa Norte is Isla Holbox ’s scenic main beach, extending eastward along the island’s long north-facing shore; it’s broad and flat, with white sand, and dotted with stands of tangled dune grass.
The number of homes and hotels along the beach grows every year—most have lounge chairs available to guests, but there’s less and less open space for everyone else to lay out a towel. Still, Playa Norte is great for beachcombing and shell collecting, and sunbathing if you walk far enough down, or better yet, spring for a hotel with its own patch of sand.
Note: Fortunately, the golf cart traffic, which used to travel along the beach, has (mostly) been diverted to Paseo Kuka, a street that runs parallel to, and one block inland from, the beach.
Located in Yalahau Lagoon, Isla Pájaros (Bird Island) is a wildlife sanctuary and the permanent home to some 150 species of birds, including frigate birds, white ibis, double-crested cormorants, roseate spoonbills, and boat-billed herons. In addition, between May and September up to 40,000 flamingos nest on Holbox before their long winter migration to South America.
Environmental restrictions mean you can’t simply wander on Isla Pájaros, but two observation towers and walkways make spotting birds easy. Most tour operators offer bird-watching trips here (US$45 pp), usually by lancha (motorboat), though kayak tours also can be arranged.
Said to have been used by pirates to fill their water barrels, Yalahau Spring is an ojo de agua (natural spring) on the edge of the mainland. Today, it is a picturesque swimming hole complete with a large palapa, picnic area, and pier. A trip here typically is combined with a stop to Isla Pájaros.
Just 15 minutes from town by boat, Isla de la Pasión is a tiny deserted island just 50 meters (164 feet) wide. It’s known for its white-sand beach and beautiful emerald waters—perfect for a relaxing day at the beach. There are trees and a large palapa for shade. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks—there are no services on the island.