Street Art, Mexican Art and Fiestas
From a Fishing Village to a Lifestyle Place
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Holbox Island is best known for its remoteness, well-preserved natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle. Here you won’t find any grand monuments of the Mayans, who built their pyramids and colossal structures all over Yucatán.
But a closer look reveals many modern cultural highlights created in recent years and decades by local and immigrant creatives. Holbox was hardly known outside of Mexico for a long time, so that many old traditions could be preserved here and new ones could develop independently.
One of the most remarkable features of Holbox, which cannot be found in any other place in Mexico, are the colorfully painted houses and walls. So-called “Muralistas” have always shaped the appearance of the island with their murals.
Their works are now so numerous and the motifs so multifaceted that guided tours for walking through the village are offered. And even wall calendars with these works of art have been available for purchase on Amazon for some time.
We have compiled a modest selection of the most original images of the most beautiful murals and graffiti for you in the following gallery.
Mexican Fiestas, Celebrations and Festivals
If you have ever traveled to Mexico, you have certainly experienced what it means to celebrate a fiesta there. Unlike in other countries, in the Central American countries every occasion, no matter how small, is used for an extensive festivity to celebrate for days on end.
Among the Christian religious celebrations is the Semana Santa at Easter, whose festivities extend over a week. Here processions, church services and parades take place and tents and stages are set up on the beach for the numerous visitors from the mainland.
One of the flashiest attractions on the island is the Holbox Carnival. The islanders decorate themselves in groups with colorful robes modeled after the Indians, Mayans and Aztecs and parade through the streets all night long for several days, dancing one performance after another. At the end they are awarded in the main square and the best group wins a prize.
Of course, the Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, should not go unmentioned. Although this corresponds to the European All Saints’ Day, it has a completely different meaning here and is celebrated as a joyful, colorful festival. More about festivals and celebrations can be found on our Events page.
Dance and Music
As it is common in all Latin American countries, music and the dances that go with it are also extremely important in Mexico. The best known is certainly the so-called Mariachi Band, a traditional group of musicians with guitars, violins, trumpets and many other stringed instruments. However, one looks for this Mariachi music on Holbox in vain. Apart from the local music band that can sometimes be heard in town during the day and the odd guitar player walking up and down the beach, a somewhat younger band culture has spread on the island.
Mostly local Mexican music groups play live in small bars and encourage the listeners and guests to dance exuberantly with lively salsa rhythms or modern rock and pop songs. And, of course, DJs play in the bars. By the way, if you want to devote yourself more intensively to dancing, we especially recommend the Tribu Bar, where you can find the right music almost every evening, the Pura Vida Sushi Roots Bar or the Hot Corner, where live bands from Mexico also frequently perform. Read more on our page about bars and pubs.
Due to the indigenous ancestry of the Mexican population, a wide variety of typical handicrafts can be found throughout the country. On the island of Holbox, as in all tourist places in Mexico, you can buy the usual souvenirs, many of which are not even made here. From brightly painted dishes, costume-like garments, accessories, jewelry and figurines to drinks and salsas, you are sure to find one or two original souvenirs for everyone.
Nevertheless, it is worth taking a closer look, because some special items can only be bought here. For example, in the Holbox Galeria or on the first floor of the Hotel el Pueblito near the main square, which with some stores reminds of a small shopping center.
The Papa Rana shop offers a wide range of Holbox-branded fashion items and accessories, while Noa jewelry sells genuine silver and gold jewelry made from shells and other island motifs. You can find an overview of the best stores on our shopping page.