Casa las Tortugas has a very friendly staff, excellent food, a great location on the beach and offers endless hours of quality relaxation. The hotel is small, with maybe 20 or so rooms. There is a small pool and plenty of area on the beach. The beach has chairs and large mattress like beds that hang from ropes and sway in the wind. There is service from the bar on the beach. There are occasional vendors who walk through selling items, but nowhere near as bad as the beach in Cancun of Playa del Carmen. There is a Yolo Board available for use in the ocean. The water is very calm and warm. It is quite shallow so you can walk out for about 100 yards.
The food on the island is hit and miss. There are some very good restaurants, and some bad ones. We found the restaurant at the hotel to be consistently excellent. We also liked La Palapa. It is owned by a guy from Italy and has authentic italian food. He has another place at the central mall that is just as good (sorry, we forgot the name). The island is famous for lobster pizza. We had some at the place that is supposedly the best in town (Elinas?) and it was so-so.
The entire island identifies itself with the Whale Sharks. The pictures are everywhere, and there are numerous places that offer tours. What we found out later is that the Whale Sharks used to migrate very close to the island several years ago (45 min. boat ride), but they have steadily been moving east (toward Cancun). The boat ride for us was about 3 hours each way. Basically, you don't have to go to Holbox to do a Whale Shark Tour. If you want to see Whale Sharks, but you also want to relax, then Holbox is the place. On the other hand, if you want to see Whale Sharks and you want to party, head for Cancun.
The Whale Sharks appear in different spots, so its hard to predict just how far out they will be on any given day. Seeing the Whale Sharks is also variable. The two days before we went, there were only 1 or 2 Whale Sharks spotted. There are 50+ boats out there so it can be very crowded. On the day that we went, the conditions had improved, so they were there in masses. There were well over 100 Whale Sharks, as far as the eye could see. All you had to do was to jump in the water, and eventually a Whale Shark would would come by. They basically just ignore the humans and feed on the plankton near the surface. They are giant creatures that are just magnificent to watch. There are also Manta Rays feeding along with the Whale Sharks. There are numerous rules about wearing organic sunscreen, staying a specified distance from them, only having 2 persons in the water at a time, and others that minimize the impact of having humans there.
The hotel puts on various functions for the guests. One night we had live music, one night we had a guest happy hour, with free appetizers. We met several other guests who were super friendly and shared tips on local restaurants, activities, and Whale Shark stories.
There is high-speed Wi-Fi in the rooms and on the beach so you can download a new book to your iPad, or upload video of Whale Sharks, from the comfort of a hammock on the beach. As a bonus, there are also plugs next to the swaying beds, so you can plug in for music speakers, etc...
Our only complaint (and this is pretty minor) is that there was nobody at the airport to meet us, as promised. We had to wait out in the sea of vendors outside the airport for about 20 minutes or so before someone showed up. I know that this is Mexico, and that promptness is not always a high priority, but searching through the sea of vendors, with everyone trying to sell you something, or trying to swindle you, is not a particularly great start. Unfortunately, there was another couple that experienced the same problem, so ours was not unique.
The trip from the Cancun airport takes about 2.5 hours. Expect to ride in a van for about 2 hours, and then take a boat for a 20 minute trip to the island. Once you are there, then it is only a short ride to the hotel. While on the island, you can rent a golf cart and go exploring. There are areas with flamingos out on the sandbars, with horseshoe crabs and stingrays (the water is clear, so it is easy to avoid stepping on them).
Overall, this was a fantastic location if you want to relax at a comfortable place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Beachfront boutique hotel, run by Italian family. 21 charming new rooms, Spa, Yoga center,Kiteboard school, Beach club and organic restaurant. The design influence of Francesca and her mother Greta is evident in the hotel’s 21 romantic rooms and suites, from the carefully sourced antiques and local artisan-made colonial-style furniture to the fine linens and contemporary twist on traditional Mexican fabrics. It’s a ‘bohemian-chic’ feel that fits perfectly with the relaxed ambiance of the resort. Add in roomy double-loungers and palapa daybeds on the beach – as well as a spacious new pool – and you have the perfect formula for lusciously lazy days. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Las Tortugas - Petit Beach Hotel And Spa
- Casa Las Tortugas - Petit Beach Hotel Holbox Island
- Hotelito Casa Las Tortugas Hotel