How To Get From Playa Del Carmen To Holbox
Wondering how to get from Playa del Carmen to Holbox?
Look no further! After completing the trip myself this week, I am happy to share the details of how we got from Playa Del Carmen to the island of Holbox.
Take The ADO Bus From Playa Del Carmen To Holbox
I took the ADO bus from downtown Playa Del Carmen to get to Holbox. Of course, you can't take the bus all the way to Holbox, so we will also talk about how to take the ferry to the actual island.
In my opinion, the ADO bus is the best way to travel. I know there are other ways, but today we will talk about the bus because it was so efficent and easy it made our trip much less stressful.
Because you can't get to the actual island of Holbox by bus, you'll need to go to a town called Chiquila first. From the town of Chiquila, you will catch a ferry that takes you directly to Holbox. Let's start with the first step, getting a bus from Playa Del Carmen to Chiquila.
Getting The ADO Bus In Playa Del Carmen
In the middle of downtown Playa Del Carmen sits a bus station run by the company ADO.
ADO is a reputable bus company that has many common routes in the Riveria Maya.
All ADO buses to Holbox are large 40 seat coach buses with the following amenities:
- Air conditioning
- TVs (In Spanish)
- Reclining seats
- You have the ability to choose your own seat
- Large luggage stored underneath the bus
- Some buses have outlets under the seat for phone charging
Where Is The Bus Station In Playa Del Carmen?
The bus station is located in downtown Playa Del Carmen.
Address: The corner of 5th Avenue and Avenue Benito Juarez.
There’s a convenience store located in the bus station and an ATM upstairs.
Look for a large Playamart store across the street from the bus station. It will have a large turtle mural like the photo below. Take a selfie for the gram while you’re waiting for the bus.
You'll also see a McDonalds located across from the bus station on 5th avenue.
How Do I Buy A Bus Ticket To Get From Playa Del Carmen To Holbox?
You can buy a bus ticket online, but when I tried they did not accept my credit card.
The bus ticket from Playa Del Carmen to Chiquila is $270 Pesos ($14 - $15 dollars). If you can't purchase online, you can purchase the tickets at the bus station. Show up at least 30 minutes before your bus is leaving or go a day earlier if possible (especially during busy season).
Don't forget that once you arrive in Chiquila, you will have to purchase a separate ticket for the ferry from Chiquila to Holbox. But more on that below 🙂
What Time Does The Bus Leave From Playa Del Carmen To Chiquila?
You will want to verify the times of your bus departure via the ADO website, even if you do not intend to purchase through the ADO website. The times seem to vary every day, but I have never seen a bus leave after 10:30 am headed to Chiquila.
I looked at the bus departure times on a separate day, and there was only one bus leaving at 9:25am on a Saturday so please make sure you check the ADO website for the day you plan to travel.
The bus ride may take 2 hours 10 minutes - 2 hours 50 minutes. The bus left exactly on time and arrived in Chiqulia in exactly 2 hours and 10 minutes. I was super impressed!
Getting A Ferry To Holbox In Chiqulia
You've arrived in Chiqulia! Congrats. Now it's time to get to get from Chiqulia to Holbox. Because Holbox is an island you can’t take the bus all the way there.
If you want to purchase your return ticket to Playa Del Carmen, you can do it at this bus station once you arrive in Chiqulia. However, the ticket window doesn't open until noon so depending on what time to arrive you may have to wait a bit. In the meantime, there's a juice place and Holbox souvenier shop across from the bus station to occupy your time.
But if you're ready to head to the ferry and get to the island of Holbox - take a left once you get off the bus and walk towards the sign below.
Once you get to the Chiqulia letters, go left. You'll see two ferry companies. One is called 9 Hermanos (blue) and the other is called Holbox Express (red). 9 Hermanos leaves on the half hour (30 minute mark) and Holbox Express leaves on the hour.
Ultimately, there is a ferry leaving every 30 minutes from 6:00am - 8:30pm and both companies will take you to the same dock on Holbox so need to worry. You can also follow the heaps of tourists to the ferry as most people are headed in the same direction. The ferry is 150 pesos (about $8 dollars).
Getting Around On Holbox
Holbox does not allow cars on the island. Therefore your only means of transportation are golf carts, bikes or walking. Even the "taxis" are golf carts! You'll see a line of them waiting to take you to your hotel or hostel when you arrive on the island.
There are no paved roads and if you arrive during rainy season, the roads are muddy. If you have a lot of luggage it may be best to get a golf cart taxi. PRO TIP: If possible, pack light when going to Holbox. It will make the trip much easier. Expect to pay between 80 - 120 pesos for a golf cart taxi.
You can also rent your own golf cart or bike. It's common that your hostel or hostel will have bikes for rent. Again, if you're renting during rainy season be aware that your golf cart battery will get weak and possibly die (like ours did a few times). Just give it about 10 minutes to dry out and it should start up again.
Expect to pay about 600 pesos for 3 hours of golf cart rental or 100 pesos for 3 hours of bike rental.
Where To Stay On Holbox Island
Holbox Hostel Option
We stayed at Hostel Che which was a 5 - 7 minute walk from the arrival dock and about 10 minutes from the beach.
PRO: Great pool, good food, clean rooms, air-conditioned rooms, bikes for rent
CON: Far from the beach compared to other hostels
A shared dorm can range from $13 - $18 dollars a night. Take a look at Hostel Che's availability here.
Holbox Hotel Option
If you're looking for a hotel within a reasonable budget, I recommend Zomay Hotel.
PRO: Located on the beach, amazing tacos at their restaurant, adorable bar area with swings and a good crowd gathers for sunsets!
CON: The rooms aren't the most modern, but for the price you pay and proximity to the beach I say it's a good deal!
A room ranges from $80 - $100 a night. Take a look at Hotel Zomay's availability here.
Returning To Playa Del Carmen
The ADO bus station leaves in the afternoon when returning from Chiqulia to Playa Del Carmen. This was the bus schedule posted in our hostel.
Again, you can purchase the bus ticket at the station before you leave. However, if you need to purchase the day of, just make sure you show up at least 30 minutes early. If you are traveling during busy season (November - March) I suggest arriving even earlier.
There are also collectivos that can return you to Playa del Carmen. We were quoted 250 pesos. I opted not to take one as I liked the comfort of the ADO air-conditioned bus, but the collectivo is slightly cheaper and faster.
If the ADO bus is not an option you should be able to find a collectivo hanging around. The collectivos are mid-sized white vans that are quite common in Latin America and have no branding on the side. You’ll hear locals/drivers shouting “collectivo a la Playa del Carmen or Cancun”
The 2 hour and 10 minute bus ride will return you to the main ADO bus station in the center of Playa Del Carmen (at 5th and Avenue Benito Juarez). There is a taxi stand outside of the bus station if you'd like to return to your destination that way. Do note, they often overcharge at this stand. DO NOT pay any more than 50 pesos if you are staying within Playa Del Carmen.
If you need a bit more advice about what to do in Holbox, take a look at 5 best videos about Holbox or watch my video below!