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“Dolphins! I see dolphins jumping out of the water!”
I looked up in the direction Hal was pointing and there they were! Two of them leaped right out of the water directly in front of our boutique hotel, Casa las Tortugas. I’d never seen wild dolphins do that before.
It’s crazy, we were sitting at the restaurant patio having our breakfast and watching dolphins. And this was only our first day.
Welcome to Isla Holbox!
Isla Holbox is an island north of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Even thought it is only a two hour drive from Cancun to the ferry to the island, Holbox hasn’t been invaded by mass tourism. Holbox is a great alternative to Cancun and Tulum.
A Boutique Hotel in Isla Holbox
Casa Las Tortugas was one of our chosen hotels while in the island. It sits in a very convenient location. On Isla Holbox, people get around with golf carts; there are almost no cars on this sleepy island. But you won’t need to rent a cart here because Casa Las Tortugas is right at the edge of Holbox village. You can walk to the shops and restaurants in no time. Whenever you want to explore the island more, it is easier and cheaper just to rent a bike (as well as being more environmentally friendly than the gas-powered carts).
The design of Casa las Tortugas is clean and chic. The different buildings are snugged together around a beautiful swimming pool. Vibrant and earthy colors dominate.
Check out the lodging video review we did while at Casa Las Tortugas (click here for prices and availability). I am pretty sure you’ll want to stay at this cute boutique hotel next time you visit Holbox!
At Casa Las Tortugas you’ll find the peace and quiet you were looking for. Grab that fresh tropical fruit juice and enjoy your Holbox vacation.
The Rooms at Casa Las Tortugas
We stayed in three different rooms, each with a ceiling fan, a safe, and air conditioning. The unique shapes and decoration of the rooms gives them each their own identity. Some have ocean views and others overlook the gardens and pool.
We spent our first night in the Arco Iris (Rainbow) room. You climb up a private set of stairs and then realize you have a huge private outdoor space all to yourself. The balcony has a hanging double bed and the breeze makes it a great space to hang out and take a nap.
We then moved on to the Mapache (Raccoon) room. This is a double room with a patio area where a table and two chairs are the favorite hang out of one of the resident cats. Yes, even kitties appreciate a nice boutique hotel!
On our last night we stayed in another suite, the Fresa (Strawberry) room. This spacious room has two double beds and a big bathroom with views over the swimming pool. A balcony wraps around the whole side of the room with a hammock to enjoy a quiet moment. This room also has a fridge, which will come in very handy when you visit the fresh fruit shops in town.
You Won’t Want to Eat Anywhere Else in Holbox
This is one of the things I loved most about Casa las Tortugas: the restaurant. Its name, Mandarina, successfully reflects its essence: fruity, fresh, organic.
Their fresh juice menu is to die for. And if you need a little more kick in your drink, then definitely try one of their cocktails. The margarita was the best I had during our two week tour of the Yucatan (and we had a few).
When you stay at Casa las Tortugas, your breakfast is included and you don’t want to miss it. Breakfast consists of fresh juice (we had watermelon and guava), coffee and a choice of fresh fruit with yogurt and granola or scrambled eggs.
Mandarina’s kitchen uses organic ingredients as much as possible. Their bread is baked on the premises. One night for dinner we were offered four different type of delicious bread rolls (white, whole wheat, and one with seeds) along with a side of green pesto to dip them in. To top it off, their pasta is also made in house. We had to try it, so I convinced Hal we should have the squid-ink-infused ravioli. He had never tried squid ink before and wasn’t very thrilled about the idea. He was converted at the first bite.And what about the view?
Palm trees and hanging beds
There is only so much sunbathing you can do. (Yes, really.) Nowadays, I can only stand fifteen minutes of hard core sun soaking. Therefore, I am grateful for the beach-front design of the hotel. Most of the beach chairs and hanging beds are strategically placed under the shady palm trees or umbrellas and they get plenty of sea breeze. They are great for reading a book, drinking a margarita, or just to watch the ocean.
Even at night, this is the perfect place to hang out. At dusk, the Christmas lights that frame the hanging beds light up to transform the hotel beach front into a chill-out space where you can have a cocktail and contemplate the stars.
Gaudi’s vacation home?
Everywhere I looked there was something that reminded me of home. It was those organic shapes and colorful mosaics. But why were they so familiar to me? Suddenly I looked at one of the benches and realized. It was just like one of Gaudi’s benches in the Park Güell in Barcelona! Then I looked around and saw it everywhere, on the lobby’s column, on the facade, on the hotel’s entrance… the spirit of one of the most famous architects lives in Casa las Tortugas. Or at least uses it as a vacation home.
Relax, You are at Casa las Tortugas
Casa las Tortugas offers more than just their awesome beach beds for chilling out. Their onsite spa, Agua, has many more options for getting pampered. Feeling like a chocolate body wrap? Or a massage with lemons? How about the honeymoon package where you and your partner can enjoy a couple’s body massage, a facial treatment, and a bath with milk, flowers and aromatherapy?
They even offer yoga four times a week. Ask at reception about times.
Things to do in Holbox for the Adventurous Ones
June to September is the whale shark season in the Yucatan peninsula. It can get really overwhelming with all the whale shark tour operators found on Isla Holbox but no need to worry about booking your tour, Casa las Tortugas can arrange it for you. The tour boat will pick you up at around 7am from the hotel beach and will make sure you have a wild experience.
If you are interested in swimming with whale sharks, Isla Holbox is way less crowded than Cancun. You can swim with whale sharks and avoid mass tourism, all in one trip. Score.
During winter, when the whale sharks are gone, you can learn how to kite surf at Casa las Tortugas’ own Holbox Kiteboarding School.
They can also arrange other tours like kayaking around the island mangroves or a visit to some Maya ruins on the mainland.
Casa las Tortugas is a great base for your whale shark vacation in Isla Holbox. If you are looking for a place to relax, eat delicious food, and perhaps do some yoga or get a spa treatment, this is definitely the place to go to. We can’t wait to stay here again.
Disclosure: We received free lodging in exchange for this review, but these are our own views.
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