Driving to Isla Holbox (Holbox Island)

Holbox Island is almost due north of Cancun on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo.  Trouble is, the roads Cancun don’t go much past Punta Sam, the car ferry port to Isla Mujeres. You have to drive west about 1/2 way to Merida and then north to Chiquila where you park and take about a 1/2 hour ferry ride to get to Holbox. There is a regular highway that most people take and a toll road. I decided to take the toll road both because it is faster and because I couldn’t find it last time I drove from Cancun to Merida. I wasn’t going to let this beat me.

I had looked at a map before I left and I knew there was a short cut from the airport by going south toward Playa del Carmen and then turning right a mile or so past the airport. That road runs into the toll road from Cancun to Merida. Ok, how hard could this be? I don’t need GPS, I’ve got this nailed. Off we went in the Beemer Jr. Ruth set up the GPS on the iPhone and it deemed to know more or less where we were going. A few miles after we turned right after the airport, it told us to turn right. There was a road sign there, but it was badly mangled from some prior mishap and was unreadable. Well, who am I to question GPS? (Well, maybe the time it took me the whole loop around Midland, Texas to a restaurant I could have seen out my rear view window at the start.) So we went way out of the way, when straight would have been correct, but we finally got to the toll road and hammered down at just under 110! Well, 110 kilometers which is 68 miles per hour. Trust me, Ruth, my right seat driver, didn’t let me get over 65 MPH.

There are good things and bad things about toll roads. The good thing is they are divided with lanes in each direction, there are very few exits and you usually can’t even see the other side so there’s no real chance of bad, wrong way collision.  The bad thing is there are no exits for cold beer. Man, I’m going back on the main lanes. Or not, the last trip on the main lanes from Merida to Cancun must have  dulled my memory. Fast is better!

There are almost no road signs on the toll road and we kept thinking we had passed our exit. the iPhone GPS kept telling us to turn here and there where there were no roads. That will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling out in the middle of the jungle an hour away from civilization. There were no towns, no roadside parks, no billboards, no, well nothing but the road and jungle on each side. There probably could be an entry scene for Jurassic Park here! Finally, we got to  the exit and had to pay the toll.  We went through the first booth and the lady told us we were going the wrong direction. Since very few people drive on the tollway, we were able to thank her and back up about 500 feet to an exit. At the second toll booth we pushed a button and got a ticket. Then we went to a third toll booth on the Holbox exit, gave them our ticket and paid the toll of about 220 pesos. I knew I would need the pesos I bought in Houston before the trip even though the exchange rate was not as good as a bank down here in Mexico..

Finally we were going north toward Holbox. The only real town between the toll road and Chiquila where you get the ferry is Kantunikin about a half hour from the toll road exit. We were ready for a cerveza bien fria (cold beer) and needed to do the old person thing (use your imagination).