Last Updated on: 23rd May 2023, 04:53 pm
If you are trying to get to Isla Holbox, the easiest way is to fly into the Cancun Airport and take ground transportation from Cancun to Chiquila, Mexico. From here, you hop on the Chiquila to Holbox ferry and soon find yourself in paradise!
However, I recently tried to get my sister to plan her own Holbox vacation, and I realized that if you aren’t familiar with how to get around the Yucatan Peninsula then figuring out the best way to get between cities can be a little daunting.
I’ve traveled to and from Cancun on various modes of transportation, so let me share the three best ways to get from Cancun to Chiquila, ranked from what I believe is the easiest to hardest.
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Holbox Vacation at a Glance
Still need to finalize transportation, tours, or accommodations? Here are my recs to ensure a smooth trip to Holbox.
Popular Holbox Tours (Bioluminescence, Three Islands, Boat Tours, and More)
Magic Night of Stargazing and Bioluminescence (I did this!)
Three Islands Tour (Private tour of Passion Island Yalahau Lagoon, and Pajaros Island) (On my bucket list!)
Whale Shark and Snorkeling Adventure from Isla Holbox (On my bucket list!)
Where to Stay in Holbox
While large resorts are popular on the Riviera Maya, Holbox is full of fun hostels, independent hotels, and eco boutiques.
Here are recommendations for where to stay on Holbox for every budget.
Hotelito Villas Holbox Budget Hotel)
Corazon Mexicano Holbox (Mid-Range Hotel)
Hotel Villas Flamingos (Luxury Hotel)
Villas HM Paraiso del Mar (All-Inclusive Resort)
Welcome Pickups (easy transportation from the airport)
Discover Cars (for road trips and independent day trips)
Cruise Critic (Mexico cruise tips)
Odds and Ends
Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel, & the Yucatan (guidebook I use)
Flytographer (vacation photographer I use. 10% discount code: HISTORYFANGIRL)
Radical Storage (reliable luggage storage)
Get a travel insurance quote with Safety Wings (I’ve used them!)
How to Get from Cancun to Chiquila
Here we go!
Cancun to Chiquila by Bus (#3)
It’s very common for budget travelers to get around the Yucatan Peninsula using public Ado buses.
The advantage these buses have is that they are much less expensive than other forms of transportation in the region. This is the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Chiquila.
The downside to taking the bus is that you need to get to your bus terminal, which means taking an Ado shuttle bus to the Cancun Ado terminal before transferring to a bus to Chiquila.
Note that Ado shuttle buses go from the airport terminals in the Cancun Airport to Cancun and Merida as well as a few places along the Riviera Maya, including Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Puerto Morelos. So make sure you are on the right shuttle!
This means that your travel time will be longer. If you will be arriving at the Chiquila port after 8:30 PM, you won’t be able to get a ferry to Holbox Island until the next morning.
If this will be the case, I’d book a room in Cancun instead of getting stuck at the Ado bus station in Chiquila.
Ticket prices vary slightly by route. You can check schedules and the USD price on this Cancun to Chiquila schedule. You can pay for the tickets online in USD or MXN, or you can pay in MXN pesos at the terminal.
You can purchase your bus tickets ahead of time or at the bus station.
Cancun to Chiquila by Shuttle (#2)
If you don’t want to take a public bus, but you still want to save money by utilizing shared transportation, you can book a spot on a shared shuttle.
Shared shuttles will let you know the designated pick-up spot at the Cancun International Airport. Some shuttles will utilize an airport shuttle and another pick-up location for additional passengers.
If you want a spot on a shared shuttle, book it in advance so that you know you will have a spot. These can sell out quickly!
These are often marketed as Holbox Shuttles but know that you will still need to get yourself on the ferry, and all tips about making sure you don’t miss the last ferry still apply!
Cancun to Chiquila by Private Transfer (#1)
This is the easiest way to get from the Cancun Airport. It’s also great for families traveling with small children since you can arrange for a car seat ahead of time.
Many companies offer private transfers. Some use shuttle vans, minivans, or SUVs, while others utilize local taxis.
Note that some shuttles are public and some are private. You can usually tell by looking at the prices but don’t hesitate to ask your shuttle service before booking.
This is the most convenient way (and the fastest way) to get from Cancun to Chiquila since they will typically check for your flight’s arrival and even work around a flight delay.
If you are leaving from downtown Cancun or the Hotel Zone, you can typically get picked up at your accommodations.
You can compare prices through 12go. I also like to use Welcome Pickups, because they guarantee an English-speaking driver.
Travel Tips for Getting to Holbox from Cancun / Chiquila
Here are a few more things to consider when exploring your transportation options for a Holbox transfer.
What to Wear
Bring a light jacket or sweater. Some modes of transportation have very powerful air conditioning.
If you are leaving for Holbox from Cancun International Airport, check out my guide on what to wear on the plane to Mexico.
You can buy your Holbox Ferry ticket once you are in Chiquila at the ferry dock. You should bring Mexican pesos to pay in cash, as sometimes the card machines are down.
This happened to me in Holbox, and it was annoying finding an ATM near the ferry port at the last minute.
Know the final departure time for the Holbox ferry if there’s any chance you’ll be getting in at night. If you are arriving in the morning, there will be many ferries available.
Holbox Day Trip Tips
If you are leaving from Cancun and going to Chiquila for a day trip to Holbox, a private transfer will give you the longest time on the island.
If you want to experience the Holbox Bioluminescence, you will need to stay overnight as the ferries are finished well before the luminescence is out.
Most buses and shuttles do not have Wifi. I turn on my international data in Mexico because it is included in my AT&T plan.
However, if you won’t have access to cell phone data in Mexico, make sure to download all the information about how to meet your transportation, the name of the shuttle or bus companies you are using, the shuttle or bus schedule, etc.
You should also download an offline map of the area in your Google Maps app.
If your transportation service communicates via Whatsapp (which is common) let them know ahead of time if you won’t have service once you are on the ground in Mexico.
Car Rental Tips
I would not get a car rental if you are going to Holbox. You cannot take the car on the island, so you will be paying a daily rate for it to sit parked in Chiquila.
If you are visiting Holbox as a day trip on a road trip around Quintana Roo, then pick up your rental car in Cancun. From Chiquila, you can continue to Valladolid, Merida, or down to the Riviera Maya.
If you want to take a road trip around Cozumel, I would wait to get your rental once you are in San Miguel, as driving a car to Cozumel is very complicated.
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Mexico
Lonely Planet Mexico and Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel, & the Yucatan are available as a paper copy or in a Kindle edition. You typically won’t find major guidebooks once you land, so get yours ahead of time.
I used both of these to plan my last trip to the Yucatan, and I read them cover to cover!
Mosquito Repellant is the single most important thing you’ll want on you as soon as dusk hits. Have enough to at least get through the first night if you’re packing light.
Full-Sized Travel Towel Unless your accommodations provide them, you will want to bring your own. I always bring my own towel to Mexico.
This is the best travel towel in the world. It’s pretty enough for the beach, large enough that you forget it’s a microfibre towel, and quick-drying, which is crucial in super humid parts of Mexico.
A Go Pro for underwater and action photography. Why go all the way to Mexico and not be able to capture some of the most exciting parts of your trip?
A Dry Bag for your stuff when you go on a boat or to the beach. You can get a larger one to use for a group or if you plan on taking a larger camera.
Otherwise, I use small ones with lanyards to hold my cell phone, money, and credit cards so I could take them with me swimming when traveling solo.
You might also want a separate waterproof holder for your passport. I’ve seen people who weren’t allowed to board their flights home because their passports got water damaged.
Before You Leave for Mexico – Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
I always get a travel insurance policy when I travel internationally. It’s come in handy when I’ve been stranded in Madrid, almost pick-pocketed in Milan, and gotten in a rental car accident in Cyprus.
I have used Safety Wing on international trips since 2020, and I highly recommend them.
Click here to get an insurance quote for your trip to Mexico!
Frequently Asked Questions about Traveling from Cancun to Chiquila (FAQ)
How to get to Chiquila from Cancun?
You can use one of the three methods detailed in this post: public bus, shared shuttle, or private transfer.
How much is a taxi from Cancun to Chiquila?
The price varies from around $175-275, depending on trip specifics.
How much is a shuttle from Cancun to Chiquila?
The price ranges from $35-60 per person, depending on which company you book.
How much is a taxi from Cancun to Holbox Ferry?
The price varies from around $175-275, depending on trip specifics.
How long does the ferry from Cancun to Holbox take?
The ferry from Chiquila to Holbox lasts twenty-five minutes. This does not include the 2-3.5 hours you will need to get from Cancun to Chiquila.
How far is Cancun from Chiquila?
While the two cities are closer together as the crow flies, the best driving route between Cancun and Chiquila is about 90 miles (146 km).
What is the best way to get from Cancun to Holbox?
You will need to select a ground transportation method from those detailed here, then transfer to the Chiquila-Holbox Ferry.
How to get to Holbox Ferry from Cancun?
The best way to to the Holbox Ferry from Cancun is to select a ground transportation method based on your time, price, and comfort level.
Mexico Travel Resources
101 Things to Bring to Mexico: Complete Packing List for Mexico + What to Wear
101 Things to Bring to Cozumel: Packing List for What to Wear & What to Bring to Cozumel
40 Essential Cozumel Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Cozumel Made Simple!
24 Hours in Puerto Vallarta: Itinerary for One Perfect Day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
23 Best Souvenirs from Mexico City: Gifts for Yourself and Your Loved Ones!
17 MUSA Cancun Tips: Planning a Visit to the Underwater Museum in Cancun
13 Tips for What to Wear to Chichen Itza + Outfit Ideas and Travel Tips
13 Tips for What to Wear to Tulum + Tulum Outfit Ideas
10 Tips for What to Wear on the Plane to Mexico + Airplane Outfits
10 Tips for Seeing the Holbox Bioluminescence: Tours, What to Wear, What to Bring, + More!
3 Ways to Get from Cancun to Chiquila Ranked from Easiest to Hardest