ISLA HOLBOX: THE ISLAND OF RELAX
My first big disappointment
In Isla Holbox I had the first big disappointmen in my travels.
I have always associated Mexico with the EZLN and the Mayans but when I started planning my trip I looked for everything that might interest me.
Among the various possibilities, I discovered that the waters of Holbox Island are frequented, at certain times of the year, by whale sharks.
Up to 62 ft lenght and weighing 93,000 lb, it’s the largest non-cetacean animal in the world.
It’s not dangerous for humans (unless you get hit swimming too close) because it feeds mainly on plankton.
So I decided to spend two nights on the island to see this giant of the seas in its natural habitat.
But the weather disagreed.
Isla Holbox greeted me with a heavy deluge and the rain fell almost uninterruptedly for 4 days, stopping boats and chance of seeing whale sharks.
I canceled my reservation in Cancun to stay and wait for a better weather but it didn’t change.
With many regrets, I had to leave the island to fly to Cuba.
When you don’t go to a zoo, you risk not seeing the animals you were looking for.
For the first time since I started traveling, I had to deal with nature.
It also happened to me a few years later in Fiji, when too much wind kept the giant manta rays away.
But I must also say that I was lucky to see penguins in Patagonia, polar bears in Svalbard Islands, elephants in Laos, pandas in China, sharks in Fiji and whales in Tonga.
A goodbye is a new beginning
Certain places will remain forever linked to some fundamental decisions of our life.
Trolley or backpack? Sooner or later we all think about this question.
The answer is often determined by the type of trips and experiences.
I started traveling with a trolley because it’s easy to choose the comfort of the wheels compared to a weight to carry on the back.
But is this still valid?
Have you ever had to carry your trolley with all its weight on one side of your body, unbalance, up an infinite wooden staircase, then walk under a deluge for 2 km on an island where there are no asphalted roads but only sand, with the wheels that lock and become an additional slowing down while you’re completely soaked?
Yes, all this happened to me in Isla Holbox!!
Here, for this reason, I decided to say goodbye forever to my trolley and start my life as a backpacker traveler.
And I never regretted it.
WHAT TO DO IN ISLA HOLBOX
I escaped in advance from the eternal crazy fun of Cancun to arrive in about 3 hours in the slow and calm Holbox.
The whole island is pedestrian zone so you could walk in search of the best souvenir or Mexican restaurant with the best tacos, lobster or ceviche.
Excluding work needs, the only means of transport are bikes and golf cars. Yes, just the electric cars used at the golf courses.
In the evening, residents and travelers go in pubs or in the main square, where there is live music.
The beaches are long stretches of fine white sand, with shallow water that degrades very slowly.
Holbox is part of the Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve and is a natural refuge for various endangered species.
Most of the inhabitants are interested in keeping this ecosystem intact and participate in sustainable tourism projects.
From May to September it is usually possible to swim with whale sharks but, as mentioned, unfortunately the weather was not my friend and I was unable to live this experience.
If there are whale sharks, it means that there is also their favorite food: plankton.
Fireflies are the first animal we associate with the emission of light.
This phenomenon occurs thanks to some chemical reactions that take place in their body and involves many living organisms. Among these there is also plankton.
These organisms are unable to actively swim and are therefore transported by waves and currents.
And when the plankton shines in the dark, you see a spectacular sea of stars.
According to some scientific studies, bioluminescence is a defense weapon used by these microorganisms.
The intensity of the lightning flash at night annoys various predators, often photophobic, and also makes them visible to hunters of a higher trophic level.
At night, especially in the western part of the island, it is therefore possible to see the bioluminescence of plankton.
Besides total rest, other possible activities are kayaking in the mangroves of the lagoon and the observation of animals such as flamingos and pelicans.