Trying to choose between Cozumel, Isla Mujeres or Holbox is like trying to decide between fine wine and top-shelf scotch; it really just depends what you want to have with it as a main course! All three of these pristine Mexican Caribbean islands are home to some of the best beaches in the world and offer many unique activities.
Best Beaches in Yucatan Peninsula
Of course, it’s virtually impossible to decide which one is the absolute best beach in this part of Mexico… Mostly because they are all so incredible and unique, but also because much of deciding what’s “best” or “better” has more to do with individual preference than anything else… So instead, here’s a quick overview of what each of these top Yucatan Mexico beach destinations has to offer:
Cozumel Mexico Things to Do
Situated just offshore from downtown Playa del Carmen in the heart of Mexico’s magical Riviera Maya region, Cozumel is a diver and snorkeler’s paradise and major cruise ship port, with the world’s second largest barrier reef just offshore and a laid-back Caribbean vibe. The distance between Cozumel and Isla Mujeres is about 190 kilometers, so it’s possible to visit both of these Yucatan Peninsula islands throughout the course of one vacation.
The island of Cozumel offers beautiful white-sand beaches and delicious cuisine, with dozens of ancient Mayan ruins to explore. As the oldest Caribbean island and largest in all of Mexico, Cozumel has fascinating geography and it’s easy to get around scooter or car. There is a Cozumel ferry to downtown Playa del Carmen, making it easy to experience all the shopping, dining and entertainment just steps from the ocean on Fifth Avenue in this vibrant multicultural beach town. And if you decide you just can’t get enough of what this Mexican Caribbean gem has to offer, there are plenty of beachfront homes for sale in Cozumel, as well as luxury condos and other affordable real estate!
Isla Mujeres Things to Do
With a name that translates to mean “Island of Women”, Isla Mujeres is lined with sugary-soft white sand beaches and sweeping coastlines, with many fewer people than you will find nearby on the shores of Cancun’s bustling Hotel Zone. The result is fabulously unspoiled beaches and mesmerizing sunsets after days spent snorkeling in clear blue turquoise water or lounging on the beach while sipping cocktails – the choice is yours!
The Isla Mujeres ferry to Cancun makes it easier than ever to travel back and forth, so you can experience the best of both destinations. While on the island, be sure to check out Norte Beach near the ferry, where chairs and umbrellas are available to rent and the waters are typically quite calm. At Punta Sur on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres you’ll discover the ancient Mayan ruins of the Temple Ixchel, a site that also offers beautiful views and countless photo ops.
Isla Holbox Things to Do
Positioned just off the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico, Isla Holbox is much more remote than Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, which also means it offers access to nearly completely untouched natural beauty with vast, unspoiled coastlines and a few hotels. It takes between 2 and 3 hours to reach Holbox from Cancun, but don’t let the distance stop you from going! This is a quiet, serene place with a surprising number of great restaurants given the small size and lots of great places to stay, whether you’re looking for eco-luxe or a typical hotel.
The island’s small main town of Holbox has a laid-back vibe that is definitely flip-flop-friendly, offering an ease of living that’s hard to find anywhere these days. Get there via bus from Cancun or downtown Playa del Carmen, drive yourself, or go a pricier route by hiring a taxi. There is also a ferry that is passengers-only, so plan to leave your car on the mainland before you travel via the Mexican Caribbean Sea. Once you reach Isla Holbox, it’s easy to explore its gorgeous Yucatan Mexico beaches via bicycle and on foot.
Do you have questions about visiting Cozumel, Isla Mujeres or Holbox? Tell us in the comments!
Looking for a great place to stay? Read 5 Best Family Hotels in Tulum, Mexico and start to plan your next vacation now!