Valladolid to Holbox (2024 Transport Options)

Both Valladolid and Holbox are popular destinations on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. One is home to the world-famous Chichen Itza; the other has beautiful white sand beaches and slow, island vibes.

You’d think, therefore, that there’d be plenty of options for travelling from Valladolid to Holbox. But, that’s just not the case – there’s only 3 options!

Find out what these options are, how much they cost and which is best for you in this guide.

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Zoe stood in the shallow waters at Punta Mosquito on Holbox, she is looking over her shoulder at the camera and wearing a brown polka dot swim suit

How to get from Valladolid to Holbox

The fact that Holbox is hard to get to adds to the beauty of the island. Sure, it’s as popular as ever, but this isn’t a place of high-rise buildings, sprawling resorts and mass tourism.

And because it’s remote, there aren’t many transport options – even though the distance from Valladolid isn’t that big.

If you don’t have your own car, your options for the journey from Valladolid to Isla Holbox are the ADO bus, a shared shuttle or a private transfer.

But, all of these only get you as far as Chiquilá – the port town on the mainland. From there, you’ll need to take a 30-minute ferry to Holbox Island.

And once you arrive on the island, you’ll need to make your way either on foot or in a golf cart taxi to where you’re staying. There’s only a few vehicles allowed on the island and they’re all for businesses or public services.

Bus vs Shuttle vs Private Transfer

If you’re not sure whether the bus or a private transfer is best for you, the table below compares the key differences and similarities.

And there’s more on each option – and the ferry crossing – in the rest of this post…

BusShuttlePrivate Transfer
Travel time to Chiquilá2 hours 40 minutes2 hours 2 hours
Hotel pick up?NoNoYes
Drop off locationChiquila ADO bus stationNext to the portNext to the port
Toilets onboard?YesNoNo
When to book2 to 3 days in advance – more at peak times2 to 3 days in advance – more at peak times3 to 4 days in advance
Cost~17 USD per person

36 USD with ferry ticket
22 USD per person

31 USD with ferry ticket
180 USD (1 to 3 people)
215 USD (4 to 6 people)
230 USD (7 to 10 people)
Best for:Low-budget travellers, solo, couples or small groupsLow to mid-budget travellers, groups of all sizesLarge groups, convenience over price, those needing flexibility in departure time
An orange-coloured church with multi-coloured bunting and a nun walking towards the entrance

ADO Bus from Valladolid to Chiquilá

Taking the ADO bus to Holbox is the cheapest way. And it’s a good value one for solo travellers, couples and small groups or families.

The buses are spacious, with comfortable seats and under-bus storage for large bags. You can sit back, relax and safely enjoy this relatively short (by Mexican standards) journey!

This is the transport I took when travelling to Holbox as I love DIY travel. There’s more space than being cramped in a minivan too.

Bus Times

Every day, there are 2 or 3 direct ADO buses from Valladolid to Chiquila taking 2 hours and 40 minutes. Each departs the Valladolid ADO bus station at:

  • 9.20 am and arrives at 1 pm
  • 12.20 pm and arrives at 4 pm
  • 2.20 pm and arrives at 6 pm (certain days only)

All of these buses start their journey to Chiquilá from Merida. This means there will be people on board already when the bus arrives in Valladolid – and there’s a chance of slight delays in getting to you. Be patient!

Importantly, travelling from Valladolid to Holbox means you cross a time zone – with Holbox one hour ahead. This is why a 2-hour and 40-minute journey appears to take an extra hour.


Tickets cost around 17 USD (272 pesos).

How & When to Book

I’d recommend booking your ticket 2 to 3 days in advance, as tickets do sell out.

During high season or over US or Mexican national holidays, I’d recommend booking as early as you can – ideally 5 days in advance.

You can book on the ADO website – if you can get it to work, it’s infamously bad!

Or you can book through Busbud. Make sure to only book a direct option though as it does list a few options via Cancun, which are also more expensive.

Booking through Busbud has the added benefit of free date and time changes up to 1 hour before your booked departure.

Another option is to book your bus and ferry ticket together. This costs 36 USD using ADO and Holbox Express.

Booking your transport this way means you only need to make one purchase. And you can go straight from the bus to the dock without having to stop and buy tickets from the ferry vendors.

> > > RELATED POST: How to get from Isla Holbox to Chichén Itzá (for as little as 30 USD by Public Transport)

The white sand beach and turquoise coloured sea in Isla Holbox

Valladolid to Holbox Shuttle

Sometimes shuttles are great options. Often they tend to be more direct, catering more for tourists than public transport.

But, considering that the bus from Valladolid doesn’t stop anywhere before arriving in Chiquilá. There’s limited added benefit to getting a shuttle.

You’ll probably have less leg room, fewer on-board facilities and you’ll feel the bumps a lot more. But, they do provide excellent value – especially if you buy a shuttle + ferry ticket.

A shuttle from Valladolid to Chiquilá costs 22 USD and takes 2 hours. There’s 1 or 2 running each day, in the morning and afternoon.

But a shuttle + ferry ticket costs just 32 USD, saving around 100 pesos compared with buying them separately!

You’ll get picked up in central Valladolid by Banco BBVA and dropped off right next to the port. Where you’ll take the ferry across to Isla Holbox.

It couldn’t be easier!

An orange-coloured church with multi-coloured bunting and a nun walking towards the entrance

Valladolid to Chiquilá Private Transfer

Getting a private transfer to Holbox is a great treat-yourself option. But it’s also great value for larger groups.

The journey takes around 2 hours – possibly longer if the new toll road isn’t used – to get to Chiquilá. You’ll be dropped off next to the dock where you can buy your tickets for the Chiquilá ferry.

And the main plus point compared with taking the bus, is that you can book your private transfer for any time of day. Perfect for if you’re wanting to visit Chichen Itza in the morning!

Cost & How to Book

Costs vary by company and there’s a few out there. I recommend using Holbox Shuttle as they have a good reputation and reasonable prices, you can book on their website.

Private transfer prices from Valladolid to Chiquilá are per vehicle. Therefore, the larger the group, the better value you get:

  • 1 to 3 people: 180 USD
  • 4 to 6 people: 210 USD
  • 7 to 10 people: 230 USD

For groups of 11+, you’ll need more than one vehicle.

Make sure you book at least 3 or 4 days in advance. More if you’re travelling around holidays.

A close up of the front of the church in Valladolid showing two towers with palm trees in front of them.

Chiquila to Holbox Ferry

For the final leg of your journey to Holbox, getting the ferry is the easiest and most convenient option.

Two companies operate boats across to Holbox: 9 Hermanos and Holbox Express.

The 9 Hermanos ferries leave on the hour (first: 6 am, last: 9 pm) and Holbox Express ferries leave on the half-hour (first: 6.30 am, last: 9.30 pm). The crossing takes just 30 minutes – you’ll have your toes in the beautiful white sand (of beaches like Punta Mosquito) before you know it!

Tickets for both companies cost 220 pesos each way (180 pesos for children). Buy your ticket at the kiosks near the roundabout in Chiquilá.

It’s also possible to negotiate with a local boat owner for a private crossing. But this is a bumpier ride as you’ll be in a small, motor-powered boat rather than a ferry.

Are there really no other ways to get to Holbox?

If you don’t have your own vehicle, your only options are the bus, shuttle or a private transfer.

You can drive to Chiquilá, but you can’t take your car to Isla Holbox. Instead, you’ll need to find parking in the port town – the going rate is 50 to 100 pesos per day.

Train from Valladolid

There are no trains from Valladolid to Holbox. Although the Maya Train has recently started operating, neither Holbox nor Chiquilá are located on the train line.

Flying to Holbox

This isn’t an option since Valladolid doesn’t have an airport. In addition, Holbox only has a small landing strip suitable for small, private planes.

If you have any questions or want any more information, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Information is correct as of March 2024 but is subject to change in future.

More Mexico Travel Guides…

Travelling from Cancun to Holbox: All Transport Options

Cancun to Tulum [And The Other Way] (Transport Guide)

How to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen (Simple Transport Guide)

Cancun to Caye Caulker: The ADO Bus is Back + Other Options!

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