By Theresa Russell
A hotel oasis on the quiet, idyllic island paradise of Isla Holbox in Mexico, La Palapa offers quaint guest rooms and friendly staff.
A tropical island without a palapa, the ubiquitous palm-thatched open shelters that dot many a beach in the Yucatan, is like a visit to Mexico without a tortilla. La Palapa, our hotel on Isla Holbox, instantly set the tone for our stay. After all, it was situated on a gorgeous stretch of beach—just as a palapa should be. Originally, La Palapa functioned as a backpacker retreat where guests strung hammocks or slept under the palm-thatched roof of the structure. Hurricane Wilma changed that and the current hotel was built in 2005, combining the elements of the palapa with the more traditional style of a hotel.
My eyes immediately focused on the conch shell fixtures in the shower and sink and the designs in the concrete floors. They bring the beachy feel into our room, and reconfirm that we are in beautiful Mexico.
The incomparable ocean view outside eliminates the need for a television. Freshened by natural breezes, the rooms require no air conditioning, but the ceiling fans would adequately fulfill the need for any additional cooling.
The balconies provide a place to enjoy the breeze and the view; a beach area for guests offers chairs for enjoying the sandy shore.
This area is rarely crowded or noisy as the guests here are active and take advantage of the many activities on the island whether it be walking, beachcombing, birdwatching or stargazing.
La Palapa’s onsite restaurant and bar provide nourishment and refreshment, as well as a spot for guests to mingle at the end of the day.
You will find Carolina and Daniel manning the front desk, who will greatly enhance your experience on Isla Holbox and your enjoyment of the stay. There is no tourist information on the island so visitors are dependent on their knowledge, recommendations and suggestions for activities.
I knew exactly where to search for flamingos, how long it would take to reach Punta Coco and which boat operator could not only give us a tour, but take us back to Chiquila afterward—all thanks to Carolina and Daniel. They will even make arrangements for you, a real benefit for those guests who don’t speak Spanish.
Both Carolina and Daniel are former visitors to Isla Holbox who succumbed to the charms of the island, never returning again to their respective countries of Spain and Argentina. Now that says more about Isla Holbox than words ever could.
The La Palapa website offers wonderful information for reaching and enjoying Isla Holbox, so check it out before you come to this beautiful spot.
About Theresa Russell
Claiming her lust for travel began on her first journey through the birth canal, Theresa is genetically programmed to travel and to have fun doing it. She especially enjoys adventure and experiential travel and always finds something at a destination to write home about.