Undiscovered Mexico: Holbox Island

© Marco Badalian

Buffered from Cancún by a national park, Holbox Island is quietly gaining traction among travelers searching for the under-the-radar and underdeveloped.

On the 26-mile-long, one-mile-wide island of Holbox, off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, there are no roads and no cars. Development exists only in a single fishing village, where some 2,000 locals live. Sandy lanes radiate 
from the restaurant- and bar-centric main square to rows of shops cluttered with tchotchkes. Nothing distracts from lazy days spent under a cabana. Evenings consist of little more than dinners at no-frills spots, like La Isla del Colibrí (Calle Tiburon Ballena, Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo; 52-984/875-2162), or at more jazzed-up places, like Esencia (Carretera Cancún-Tulum km. 265, Xpu-Ha, Quintana Roo; 52-984/873-4830; hotelesencia.com). Of the dozen or so hotels, choose Las Nubes de Holbox (rooms, from $670; Paseo Kuká S/N, Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo; 52-984/875-2300; hotellasnubesdeholbox.com), where the master suites grant views of the ocean and flamingos.