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“A slice of paradise”

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Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol
Ranked #1 of 36 Holbox Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 October 2013

Thank you to the wonderful Palapas Del Sol family. Our stay was picture perfect and we were treated with hospitality, warmth and generosity.

This lovely, small retreat from the world is hosted by Samuel and Estella who work incredibly hard to keep you comfortable, fed like royalty yet feeling part of their extended family. Martin is incredible and was always there for us, making sure we were happy and that all our needs were attended to, always with a smile. I promise to return.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Lin K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 October 2013

We spent four nights at Palapas del Sol and this place is amazing. The hotel is pretty and very clean, also it is very small and the beach is empty which makes you feel as if you have really rented a house, and not a room in a hotel. The staff is amazing, and treat you like family. Martin is a very good host, and Estela prepares best dishes on the island. The breakfasts are delicious. The hotel has the best beach on the island, and it is situated only within 15 minutes walking distance from the center of the island. There are no disadvantages - this place is a pure paradise.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Zofia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2013

The whole stay at Palapas del Sol has been amazing.
The kindness of the staff was a huge contribution, special thanks to Martin.
The onsite food is simply delicious, a lot of exotic fruits, cocktails, coconuts
The location of the hotel on the island was perfect for us, slightly away from the centre which gives a good feeling of being lonely on the island, though walking 10 minutes on the beach will lead you straight to the main place.
Excellent value for money for the hotel, food and drinks

I definitely recommend this hotel.
Big thanks to the team once again

Room Tip: Front beach rooms offer an amazing view.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank ClementNowak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2013

Reading other travelers' reviews of Casa Palapas del Sol, I find it difficult to write anything that has not already been written about this charming hotelito....but never at a loss for words, I'll try!

My husband and I booked a room at Casa Palapas del Sol for 8 nights in mid-July 2013. Desiring a small hotel that offered complete peace and quiet, Casa Palapas del Sol fitted our needs perfectly. The tiny inn is pleasant with a laid back atmosphere inviting one to relax and let the cares of the world drift away. It is a place from which we truly did not wish to depart.

Unlike nearby overbuilt Cancun, Holbox accommodations are tiny hotelitos that are generally built on a small scale. Keeping with that tradition, Casa Palapas del Sol offers two-unit, two story bungalows. The bungalows sport thatched roofs along with inviting hammocks on the shady porches. This is NOT the Ritz but rather a pleasant, friendly and spotlessly clean inn that I frankly find much more appealing than upmarket marble-and-glass hotels. If you crave a Clefs d'Or concierge and Four Seasons' elegance, Casa Palapas del Sol and frankly, Holbox is not the place for you.

No mass tourism has arrived in Holbox....at least not yet. For that I and other travelers on Holbox Island are thankful. Rumor has it a developer wishes to put in a massive concrete and steel, gated All-Inclusive-Cancun-esque hotel complex but that project has been stalled or shelved for some reason. To a person, every local we spoke with in Holbox is vehemently opposed to the introduction of mass tourism on the island. It's safe here, one can walk the beach at night without fear of being robbed, bicycles left outside a house at night are there in the morning, everyone knows everyone else, the pressure of rampant high rise construction has not yet wrecked the local ecosystem and so on. People who call Holbox home treasure the laid back atmosphere and have no desire for it to change.

Locals are friendly and hospitable in Holbox but that's a reflection of small town Mexico as well as Mexicans in general. Casa Palapas del Sol's owners are nice, extremely hardworking people, always quick with a friendly smile while doing all they can to ensure their guests' comfort. Shy, talented Stella created excellent meals that were as good as any dinners we enjoyed in town. Martin was very helpful, always bustling around taking care of this or that while ever helpful with suggestions, answers to questions or booking excursions or transfers. The staff aims to please; on two occasions we wanted to engage a golf cart taxi to town we were thoughtfully offered the opportunity to ride along with the family to el centro in their golf cart rather than bother with a taxi. That's just another example of how accommodating the hotel owners and staff are.

Town is a short stroll away, about 10" to 15" minutes by the sandy road or beach. A golf cart taxi to town is reasonably priced (in summer, 2013, about US $4-$5 per ride). If walking at night, bring a headlamp or flashlight to illuminate one's path. A few lights are scattered along the road but unless there is a full moon or a passing golf cart taxi's headlamps light up the road, it can be very dark out there. Unlike where most of us live, there is little ambient light from buildings or street lights; the stars overhead are generally the only lights at night.

As of July 2013 Casa Palapas del Sol has a sweet little dog, Cubita. She was often found near my feet asking for a hip rub (Cubita is very old now but ultra affectionate; she likes to beg for her favorite meal of fish although this behavior is discouraged by the inn). Personally I love a property that is dog friendly. We met a family from Cozumel who chose to stay at Casa Palapas since their canine companion was welcome there.

Both my husband and I enjoyed our daily ritual of lounging in hammocks underneath a thatched beach palapa near the azure water, counting the flamingos that winged past or spotting the occasional dolphin swimming farther out to sea. The only traffic consisted of a few people coming and going past the hotel on bikes or just walking by with the occasional golf cart thrown into the mix. Mercifully there are no beach hawkers bothering guests at Casa Palapas del Sol. It's ultra-quiet; as of this writing there are no beach bars with throbbing music keeping hotel guests awake all night long. All you'll hear at Casa Palapas del Sol are waves and gentle breezes at night. Nighttime skies are not marred by ambient light so stars leap out of the velvety blackness, twinkling as they light up the night sky. When thunderclouds prowled about the area we enjoyed sitting on the beach watching the light show over the mainland as the storms rumbled toward Holbox.

As others have mentioned in their reviews, one thing to be aware of is that Holbox suffers from a plethora of mosquitos and no see 'ums in summertime (not so sure if this it the case in wintertime). Mosquitos abound, particularly at dawn and dusk but one can use repellent to dissuade the little buggers from bothering you. Bring insect repellent with you. If you forget to pack bug juice Casa Palapas del Sol keeps a basket of insect spray or cream on hand for guests' use. The no see 'ums aka sand fleas are really horrid. They seem particularly voracious at dawn and dusk. Apply insect repellent liberally or you'll scratch, swat yourself and look as if you have a nervous tic to end all nervous tics. Ceiling fans and a room air conditioner keep the little demons at bay in the rooms. Fortunately during the night sleeping was very comfortable. During July we had to keep our room's glass windows closed for the no see 'ums can pass right through the screens on the windows with ease. Unfortunately we could not spend much time on our room's porch unless coated in insect repellant due to pesky mosquitos. One fellow guest wisely brought along a little fan that contained insect repellant that was useful during dinner service at Casa Palapas del Sol. In the USA, one can buy OFF personal fan insect repellent units but I am uncertain whether these can easily be found in Holbox.

Rooms at Casa Palapas del Sol are on the small side with a bed, some dressers with drawers and an en suite bathroom. Housekeeping kept our room spotless. Upon checking in, one finds towels fashioned into elephants, butterflies, or birds on the bed in one's room along with brightly colored flower petals arranged into hearts or some other happy design. Shells are popular at Casa Palapas del Sol; our room's shower sported a huge shell (it looks like a Neptune's trumpet) that served as the shower spigot. Seashells turn up in many different places as nightstand lights, beach shower heads, pathway lighting, etc. One small complaint about our room is that lighting was not very bright. There were only two large shell lights to illuminate our room, a very romantic feature at night. However, if one had to delve into one's suitcase, backpack or whatever, a head lamp brought from home was just the ticket. Also, the way our room was arranged, one side of the bed had no bed table or lamp so once again the headlamp was useful for reading in bed at night.

One takes meals at Casa Palapas del Sol at the communal dining table in the open air bar/reception/lounge area. Included in the room rate, breakfasts were filling, with a large bowl of sliced fruits, toast, orange juice, coffee or tea and a cooked dish. I adored the huevos rancheros while my husband was partial to flavorful scrambled eggs with cheese and ham.

With one exception (a too dry paella) dinners were delicious at the hotel, simple but very fresh and well-prepared to order. Fresh fish of the day from local waters was a daily treat for evening meals. Since all is prepared from scratch, when dining at Casa Palapas del Sol one is requested to inform the staff of their meal preference at least one hour prior to when one wishes to dine. A couple of times we sampled restaurants in town but since the food is so good at Palapas del Sol we chose to dine there frequently. Cold drinks in hand, it was just too appealing to watch Technicolor sunsets from the beach while the sun sank into the sea before walking back a short distance to the hotel's open air dining room. Frequently several other couples or families joined us for dinner but there were also rare times when we had the table pretty much to ourselves. An international group of travelers comes to Palapas del Sol; Americans, English, French, Spaniards, Germans, Mexicans, Australians. After a few days of bumping into each other or dining together, the atmosphere lends itself to being part of one big, happy, relaxed family.

As with other restaurants in Holbox, thankfully at Casa Palapas del Sol we encountered zero tummy troubles when eating uncooked salad greens, veggies and other raw foods. In fact the only people we encountered who complained of being ill mentioned they became sick in Cancun or Cozumel, never Holbox.

Speaking of families, Casa Palapas del Sol is family friendly. Not being kid-oriented adults, "child-friendly" acommodations generally send my husband and me running as fast as our feet can take us in the opposite direction. Surprisingly, having a few children around at laid back Casa Palapas del Sol never was annoying or disruptive.

I enjoyed the hotel's Honor Bar system. Just take something out of the cooler in the kitchen if one needs a Coke, beer, bottle of water or wine. Then mark what you took with a hash mark on a sheet in the kitchen. This worked perfectly as we did not have to purchase and transport beverages back to the hotel from town. No prices were written down so we had no idea what our bill would be until checking out but I can assure you the prices were more than reasonable for our drinks.

I miss gazing out to sea toward water that is a light aqua hue nearest shore, morphing into a deeper turquoise before meeting the deep blue of the ocean's deeper water. Think soothing Caribbean colors and you have it. White powdery sand is comprised of crushed limestone. Cool to the feet one doesn't have to hotfoot it across the sand. However, the sand is clingy, sticking to wet feet. We tried to be very careful to not track sand into guest areas or our room but the sand is ever present. Removing shoes before entering our room helped keep the floor clean.

Wifi is included in the room rate. Our Internet connection worked quite well with a good connection although sometimes the wifi failed or was out of service for a short time. That being the case, I was nonetheless very happy to be able to access email or surf the web in this out of the way location.

A big plus is that laundry can be washed by the staff at Casa Palapas del Sol. It's sultry, hot and extremely humid in mid-July so freshly laundered clothing and wetsuits dried by the sun are a welcome luxury.

Casa Palapas del Sol can pre-arrange one's transfers to and from Cancun's airport or hotel district. A clean, private van/ferry/golf cart taxi transfer cost us US $100 one way for our party of two. We paid as well as tipped our driver directly (he accepted either pesos or American dollars). All was straightforward and easy.

Following are a couple other tips for travel to Holbox...

--Bring a head lamp (electricity can go out, there might not be a reading lamp on a bedstand near your bed, you may wish to use it for walking at night, etc).

--Pack a rubber disk sink stopper in your luggage. We found ours invaluable for use when soaking underwater camera housings in fresh water in the stopperless bathroom sink after whale shark tours.

--Money in Holbox...there are a couple of ATMs but they are often out of money. A money change operation limits what one can change into pesos. We took out pesos from a reliable bank ATM at the Cancun airport (the ATMs accept Visa and Mastercard and are located just outside of Customs). Remember, the amount you request from the ATM must be entered as pesos so it's helpful to figure out how many pesos you need in advance of using the ATM. We found we received a more favorable exchange rate when using pesos rather than dollars in Holbox. Some hotels, restaurants and stores accept credit cards; one can pay their bill at Casa Palapas del Sol with a credit card. BTW, when arriving at the Cancun airport after Immigration and Customs you will have to wend your way through a hall filled with pushy men asking "My friend, what is your name?" or "What is your hotel?" Ignore them! They are selling Time Shares. If you make the mistake of talking to one of them, the next thing you know you'll be whisked away to somewhere you do not want to go. If you have set up a prearranged transfer, keep walking through the door of the airport to where your driver will be waiting outside with your name emblazoned on a placard!

--The transfer from Holbox to Cancun (this involves a 2-to 3-hour drive via good two lane roads Cancun to Chiquila, a half-hour ferry from Chiquila to Holbox Island and finally a golf cart taxi from the Holbox dock to your hotelito) takes 4-5 hours depending upon traffic. In particular, if you have an early morning flight you may wish to book your last night in Cancun or Playa del Carmen to be sure you are not arriving at the Cancun airport with minutes to spare before checking in for your flight. Spending that final night close to the airport also cuts any anxiety about arriving at the airport on time for your flight's check in, providing you with some relaxing rest before heading to the airport the next day for your homebound flight. One minor glitch occurred for us when we transferred from Holbox to Cancun on our last day of the trip. All went smoothly till we arrived at the Chiquila ferry dock. A driver was prearranged to be waiting for us with a sign bearing our name. There was only one name listed on a sign, something that did not resemble our name in the least. We hung about a little bit, noting that no one appeared to be walking up to the increasingly worried-looking man holding the sign. There was no one around who spoke any English either. After a few missteps I dredged up some rudimentary Spanish that helped sort everything out. We all had a good laugh when we all figured out the mystery name belonged to us. Sigh....I have no idea how that got so mangled. Anyway, as difficult as it is to leave tiny welcoming Holbox, these little mix ups are another reason I suggest returning to Cancun or Playa del Carmen one day ahead of time if connecting to a flight.

--Many people in Holbox speak marginal English so it's helpful to have a few Spanish phrases or words down pat.

It is easy to slip into a manana attitude when in Holbox. Casa Palapas del Sol is a great little hotelito that will help you quickly readjust your attitude to island time, melting your cares away.

Room Tip: Reserve early and request an oceanfront room for best views of the water.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Whalegeek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2013

Exceptionally friendly staff (unlike most people I met on the island), rooms are clean and spacious and well equipped, pool wad also clear and clean, as were all the areas of the hotel. Really beautiful and simple, not overstated.
Breakfasts are delicious too.
Cannot rate this place highly enough and having walked around most of the other nearby hotels, I am sure I made the right choice.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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1  Thank Edealer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2013

Casa Palapas is situated at the far end of Holbox down a sandy lane, far enough to make it peaceful and secluded but not so far to make the town inaccessible. The hotel is made up of 4 two-storey cottages, making it maximum occupancy of 16 people. The size of hotel and location make it perfect for those wanting a bit of peace and quiet. It is like having a private beach and ocean.

The hotel itself is very relaxed, the first time I have encountered an honesty bar since the ski chalets of the 1990s. You help yourself to a drink, notch it up on your (paper) slate and you pay at the end when you leave. A bit of notice is required to order your meals (lunch, dinner) if eating in, just to allow the kitchen to buy the food in fresh and prepare it. We ate in twice and the fresh barbequed fish we had was just devine. As a bit of a foodie, it was wonderful to watch the food being prepared and discuss it in what (very) little spanish I speak. The portions served we just as we wanted, too - we're not great eaters but don't want to waste food either so not having heaps left on your plate was great. The communal table allows you to mix with other guests but it may not be to everyone's linking.

The rooms are clean, the beds comfortable. We stayed in a room at the front of the hotel, next to the swimming pool. My first thoughts as we were shown to our room was "this is going to be noisy late in the evning and early in the morning". I could not have been more wrong, despite the hotel being fully occupied for the whole time we stayed there. The pool, by the way, is not huge but is good enough to keep you cool in the heat of the day and sit around the sides whilst you sip your drink.

Martin, front of house, is extremely helpful sorting out excursions and travel arrangements. He does really want you to enjoy your stay. Not that he needs to try that hard, it is an exceptional base for relaxation and discovering nature.

One last thing. Matin will of course warn you about the mosquitoes when you first arrive. Having read the dire warnings before in the travel guides, which made me a little uneasy before our arrival, I feel I should say something about them. During my stay in Mexico, I experienced many mozzies, most of whom I am on first name terms with and some so intimately, they should be sending out wedding invitations. Yes they are around in Holbox and yes, you do need to put on anti-insect protection and if you do, you'll be fine. However, if you forget to protect yourself and you are bitten by the local mozzies, trust me they are not nearly as virulent as those you'll meet for example on the Playa del Carmen or around Chichen Itza. And one bit of anthisan sorts them out (other creams are available), unlike the others where the bite marks are just beginning to fade.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank KentishCloggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2013

We stayed at this hotel 2 nights, 2 adults and a 3 year old. I absolutely love the concept. The kitcen is semi open, so you Can just grab your own sodas evt, and write it on a list. Everybody eats at the same long dinnertable, so you Can talk to somebody if you feel like it. We got to chat with some very nice people. Just announce when you would like to eat and what, and go relax while it is prepared. Our son loved the place, and everybody was so nice to us. The atmosphere is relaxed and calm, the pool is very clean and lovely, the area with sunbeds is well kept, the rooms are really cosy and authentic and the beach is one of the most beautiful i have ever seen (Australia, barbados, thailand ect) This hotel really reflects what Holbox is about- dont miss it.........

Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
2  Thank Cecilie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol

Address: Paseo Kuka | Playa Norte, Holbox Island 77310, Mexico (Formerly Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol)
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Holbox Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 36 B&Bs / Inns in Holbox Island
Price Range: £138 - £302 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol is an ocean front beach hotel intimate and quiet with 16 rooms. All rooms have air-conditioning, private entrances, bathrooms and balconies or terraces with hammocks and seating area. A relaxed beach retreat for barefoot island living. Authentic and genuine Mayan hosts with the intention to make you feel at home At Palapas del Sol and in the restaurant the freshest local ingredients available on the island are used to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. A beach front pool, beach palapas with hammocks and king size beach beds invite you to enjoy this so privileged spot. We happily assist our guests with transfers, tours, spa and beauty services, romantic dinners on the beach, honeymoon suite available. ... more   less 
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