Getting from Cancun to Chiquila: A traveler review

Located near the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Chiquila is known for being a base for taking the ferry to Holbox Island. Traveling from Cancun to Chiquila is a popular route for in-the-know travelers, but it’s still secluded enough where public transportation options are sparse. 

I traveled to Chiquila from Cancun via a Transfer Holbox shuttle. I’ll share my experience here so you know what to expect before you embark on your journey.

How far is Chiquila from Cancun?

Chiquila is located about 140 kilometers from Cancun. The road to get there cuts through dense, low-lying jungle—a welcome change of scenery from Cancun’s high-rises, in my opinion.

Despite the drive’s rural feel, the roads are paved (although the ride can still get bumpy in spots), and you’ll encounter cute little towns along the way. As you’re leaving Cancun, you’ll also pass entrances to tons of hidden cenotes (sinkholes).

My trip between Cancun and Chiquila took around 2 hours, 20 minutes. Traffic was non-existent in the long stretches through the forest, and stop signs were the only barrier slowing us down in the towns.

Catching the shuttle to Chiquila

At the time of my trip, Transfer Holbox was only running their transfers from the Cancun airport, although they sometimes offer transfers from the downtown ADO bus station.

My driver arrived on time wearing a Transfer Holbox t-shirt and holding a sign with my name. He was super friendly and walked me to a large van, where I learned that I would be the only passenger in what would typically be a group transfer due to a delayed flight.

Shuttle features

Transfer Holbox uses different size vehicles for their trips to Chiquila depending on the number of passengers they have. Since I was their only traveler, I had a roomy van to myself.

The van had two rows in the back with three seats each. It also had space in the front for a passenger. There was plenty of room behind the seats for large pieces of luggage. However, if you return to Cancun after your visit, I recommend packing a small bag. It certainly made my trip easier!

On my return to Cancun, I rode in a large sprinter van. It had bucket seats, more legroom, and a USB charging port at each seat. There were only two other people in the vehicle with me, but since Transfer Holbox had dropped off a large group in Chiquila, we got to take advantage of their more luxurious ride.  

Choosing a seat

I’m all about finding the best side of the vehicle to sit on for views. And when it comes to traveling between Cancun and Chiquila, both sides offer equal scenery—you’ll get to see cenote entrances, shops in the towns, and lots of trees.

That said, if you’re prone to carsickness, I recommend sitting in the front or a middle seat where you can see the road in front of you. The road isn’t inundated with curves, although there are some. However, it’s the pothole dodging that could make you feel a bit queasy, especially as you approach Chiquila. 

Restroom break

During both legs of my trip, the driver offered to stop in one of the towns for a bathroom break. I can’t comment on the restrooms since I chose to continue on, but I do know that you’ll have access to bathrooms at the Chiquila port upon your arrival.

As a side note, since you won’t have cell phone reception for much of the ride, stopping in a town also offers the chance for you to reconnect with the outside world.

Shuttle schedule between Cancun and Chiquila

Transfer Holbox operates a handful of daily departures to and from Chiquila. Below are the times you can choose.

Cancun to Chiquila 

Departure from CancunArrival in Chiquila
9:3012:00
10:1512:15
13:0015:00
15:3018:00
15:4517:45
18:3020:30

Chiquila to Cancun

Departure from ChiquilaArrival in Cancun
9:3011:30
10:3012:30
12:0014:30
13:3015:30
15:3017:30
18:0020:30

Is Chiquila worth visiting?

Since you want to travel to Chiquila, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s because you want to take the ferry to Holbox Island. Before my trip, I read that Chiquila doesn’t offer much aside from a port. While this is mostly true, it does have a short boardwalk along the water, a handful of restaurants, and a few budget-friendly hotels.

If you arrive in Chiquila hungry and have time before your ferry departs, I recommend heading to Laguna Conil. This open-air restaurant sits on the second floor and offers beautiful views over the port.

What if I miss my ferry?

As you work on determining what time you should take a transfer from Cancun to Chiquila, you’re likely also trying to juggle what time to take the Holbox ferry. Rest easy, fellow traveler—the ferry to Holbox is flexible and leaves frequently.

So, if you purchase your ferry ticket in advance and arrive late, simply wait for the next ferry with the same company. You shouldn’t have to wait more than an hour, and it’s a great opportunity to stroll around Chiquila.

Other ways to arrive in Chiquila

If you rented a car for your Yucatan trip, you could drive from Cancun to Chiquila, for the roads are safe and easy to navigate. Once you arrive in Chiquila, there are several parking lots near the port where you can pay to park your car by the hour or day. Private transfers and taxis also operate between Cancun and Chiquila. You can also book a small plane to fly directly there from Cancun.

Ready to visit Chiquila?

Traveling from Cancun to Chiquila is a wonderful opportunity to see a more remote part of the Yucatan. Although Chiquila is most known for being a base to visit Holbox Island, it’s still deserving of a bit of your time before you hop on the ferry. As a final note, while shuttle transfers make it possible to travel between Cancun and Chiquila in a day, I recommend spending the night on Holbox Island to break up the trip and have more time to explore.

Want to travel across the land and sea?

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