Isla Holbox (hol-bosh) is a hippy-chic island about a 2 hour drive from Cancun, where the pace is slow and the streets are sandy. After our yoga teacher training in Tulum we headed to the town of Chiquila to catch the ferry over to the Holbox. We hopped on the ferry and sat on top for the 25 minute ride. There are not any cars on the island, but instead we stood in line to catch a golf cart taxi to our hotel Casa Las Tortugas. The hotel had a great view of the ocean and a pool to kick back and relax.
We spent our first day exploring the beach. The beach was very shallow and we discovered starfishes, seashells and hammocks in the ocean.
We rented bikes and explored the tiny town. Finding a little local Tortilleria and soaking in the colorful island.
Day 2 My little boy is always bringing home a new book about sharks on library day and one of the popular tours of the island is to swim with the largest shark, the whale shark, about the size of a school bus. The whale shark can grow over 40 feet and weigh over 20 tonnes, yet they don't have big teeth. We booked a tour with VIP Holbox to swim with the Whale Sharks, knowing it would be a huge highlight of our vacation. It was full day tour and there is no guarantee of actually seeing the sharks, however the guide said it will be like "going on a safari." As we headed out to see the sharks we passed a beach that was full of pink flamingos. You were not allowed to get close as it was a sanctuary, so we just looked at them from afar. After a 2 hour boat ride there was news that the whale sharks were sighted by other local guides, but the catch is that they were another 2 hours out to sea. We watched as the land slowly disappeared and our anticipation picked up. We were tempted to turn back as it was a very uncomfortable and long trip, but reminded ourselves this was part of the adventure.
The whale sharks were spotted and we couldn't wait to jump in with our guide. The captain lined up the boat in front of the shark swimming toward us and then said "jump". The adrenaline was pulsing and when I looked under water at their giant mouth sucking in big mouthfuls of water I was overwhelmed with both fear and excitement, an experience I will not forget. Seeing them above water was very different then looking at them eye to eye. After one passed by you would turn and see another coming your way. My heart was pounding and my legs shaking as I got back in the boat so that 2 more of us could take their turn. The long bumpy ride and sea sickness was all worth it at this moment. We had lots to talk about on our 4 hour ride back to shore. Each of us telling our own shark tale.
On our way back we passed a few local fisherman and purchased some freshly caught snapper and grouper. The captain whipped up some fresh ceviche and guacamole for lunch and we capped off our safari snorkeling at a little reef where we saw sea turtles and manta rays.
We had an early flight and the ferry schedule did not line up so we hired a local fisherman to pick us up early at out hotel. We loaded our boat with luggage and headed out on a calm peaceful early morning boat ride. As we headed toward the port city we saw flock of pink in the sky. We turned the boat and headed towards a flock of flamingos flying in perfect synchronicity.