Mexico Las Nubes: An off-the-beaten-path escape By Meagan Drillinger / February 09, 2017 Share 1 The bungalow suites at Las Nubes hotel on Isla Holbox. -- With destinations such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen teeming with travelers, it's hard to imagine finding a place among Mexico's Caribbean beaches that still feels like a world apart. Yet as soon as I stepped off the ferry onto the dock at Isla Holbox, I knew I was in for a completely different kind of Mexico experience.Isla Holbox is an island off the north tip of the Yucatan. It is about 19 miles long, and ranges from about 500 yards to a mile wide. Ferries run to Holbox from the port town of Chiquila, usually on the hour. Visitors can take a bus to Chiquila from Cancun and Playa or can hire a taxi for about $100. Tucked within the Yum Balam reserve, Holbox is home to more than 150 bird species, and in the summer it's a perfect spot to swim and snorkel with whale sharks.Reminiscent of the southern islands of Thailand or the bohemian hideaway of Caye Caulker in Belize, Isla Holbox is little more than a glorified sandbar and mangrove forest, ringed in sugary sand with a basic set of streets flanked with colorful bars and restaurants. Golf carts and beach cruisers have the run of the roads, as do bikini-clad, backpack-toting travelers looking for the closest shrimp tacos and a frosty Dos Equis beer. I loaded my backpack onto the front of a golf-cart taxi and made my way from one end of the island to the other to check into my hotel, Las Nubes. The property is a quiet, near-luxury oasis at the end of the hotel stretch, almost on its own secluded point of Holbox. The boutique hotel has 28 bungalow-style suites, three pools, a spa and one of the island's top restaurants. Each room is equipped with air conditioning and free WiFi (though connectivity is infinitely better in the lobby and around the restaurant and bar). El Sabor de las Nubes, the hotel’s gourmet restaurant and bar, offers spectacular sunset views. The focal point of the hotel is its main lobby-meets-restaurant, a bilevel, wooden structure that looks out over the Caribbean Sea. Here is El Sabor de las Nubes, a gourmet restaurant and bar that promises fantastic sunsets and strong cocktails. Opt for the ceviche and a potent mango margarita on the rocks. In the morning a breakfast of fresh fruit and pan dulce (sweet bread) is included in the stay, but rounding out your meal with huevos al gusto (eggs to order) will never be a mistake. The hotel is equipped with several complimentary beach cruisers to explore the island. The main town is just over a mile away, and along the way you'll pass a row of friendly palapa beach bars and restaurants, which certainly warrant a pit stop. The one to beat is Raices, known for its views of the Caribbean Sea and the fresh fish caught and grilled daily. The rustic-and-relaxed beach hideout features live reggae music, which sets the scene as you sip on a cold beer and pile tortilla chips high with shrimp aguachile. In town there are two restaurants that every local knows: Las Panchas and Viva Zapata. Las Panchas is known for its Yucatecan snacks, like tamales and salutes, which are fried tortillas with a variety of toppings. Viva Zapata's claim to fame is its mixed seafood platter, which contains grilled lobster tail, fish, crab and other fresh shellfish. At night, backpackers and locals flock to Pura Vida Sushi, whose upstairs bar slings cocktails and beverages into the early hours of the morning. A junior suite at Las Nubes. Isla Holbox is not for the adrenaline junkie, as life gives way to lazy hammock swinging and napping under the Caribbean sun. But if you want some sort of action, it can be found in the form of kayaking through the mangrove forests or stand-up paddleboarding on the lagoonlike sea. And then there's always snorkeling with whale sharks in July and August. But travelers coming to Isla Holbox are looking for a quick escape from reality and connectivity, a chance to unplug, kick back and pretend that life ceases to exist just a few miles off shore. Rates at Las Nubes begin at $200; see www.lasnubesdeholbox.com.