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12 Tickets to Paradise: Isla Holbox, Mexico
What makes the perfect island? Having it all to yourself. These 12 adventure oases are guaranteed to transport you well beyond the masses.
Text by Meg Lukens Noonan   Map by Pietari Posti

Isla Holbox, Mexico
Fly-fish in Utopia

BASE CAMP: Isla Holbox Flyfishing Lodge

ACTIVITY: Cast for sporty early-season tarpon

When the mexican government offered to pave the sand streets of Isla Holbox, the 1,600 or so residents of this dagger-shaped cay, just off the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, said "Gracias, pero no." That's the kind of independent spirit that pervades this easygoing, little-visited outpost—a well-guarded enclave of fishermen, divers, and seriously tan Italian expats who have an aversion to wearing shoes. 
To get here, make the 30-minute ferry crossing from Chiquilá on the mainland, then drop your bags at the just opened Isla Holbox Flyfishing Lodge, a five-room wooden guesthouse directly on the beach. You'll be greeted by Luciano Govi, the poetic and perpetually smiling on-site manager, who came to Holbox to see a friend in 2004 and never left. "I found in this island a forgotten world," he says.

Map: Isla Holbox, Mexico

GAME PLAN: At sunrise head out in a panga, or skiff, with a local guide to work the turtle grass flats in search of small but feisty baby tarpon—the winter months' prime game fish. If they aren't biting, paddle a kayak into the mangroves, tool around on a beater bike, or swim in the Yalahau cenote (a sinkhole filled with fresh water) on the mainland. In summer, snorkeling with migrating whale sharks is a big attraction. When the sun goes down, walk into Holbox town, a car-free community of brightly painted houses, fruit smoothie stands, and terrific alfresco seafood restaurants like Los Pelícanos. Get a scoop of guanaba ice cream at Maresa's for the lazy stroll back to the lodge and savor the sound of silence.
THE VITALS: Isla Holbox Flyfishing Lodge ($1,495 per person for three days, including most activities and breakfast; Frontiers Travel offers four-day
fly-fishing packages ($1,795 per person;

Wild Islands: 12 Tickets to Paradise

Aitutaki, Cook Islands Maldives
Eleuthera, Bahamas Molokai, Hawaii
Barbados Seychelles
Cayos Cochinos, Honduras St. Kitts
Guadeloupe Sumba, Indonesia
Isla Holbox, Mexico Vieques, Puerto Rico

All Adventure Islands

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