Beautiful Isla Holbox is fast becoming the place to be seen on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula – but there are fears it will soon become a victim of its own success, as with nearby Tulum
Frequented by celebrities and a regular in glossy magazine shoots, the beach resort of Tulum on Mexico’s east coast has become a victim of its own success. Price rises, a recently opened Starbucks and long restaurant queues make it a very different place from the hippy enclave that first attracted travellers in the late 60s. Trendsetters are now heading instead for the hippy-chic island of Holbox, 40 miles north-west of Cancun. A 20-minute ferry ride from the port of Chiquila (or a flight from Playa del Carmen or Cancun), the 26-mile long isle, where fishing is the primary industry, is a world away from high-rise hotels and package tours.
Lying at the tip of the Yucatán peninsula (but in the state of Quintana Roo), where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean, the island is surrounded by azure waters, and the shallow lagoon separating it from the mainland attracts migrating flamingos. A network of sandy streets connects the port, the coast and the buzzy town square. There is one ATM and no cars – yellow golf buggies taxi people around.
The Hungarian capital comes into its own in summer. We have the lowdown on the best of the city’s unique outdoor bars and thermal baths, plus escaping to Buda Hills
Few European cities can rival Budapest’s glorious setting astride the Danube river. Its two sides, Buda and Pest, were separate cities until 1873, and they retain their own distinct identities, the former run through with ancient history, the latter noisier, earthier and more cosmopolitan. In Buda you’ll find royal palaces, Ottoman-era spas and wooded hills, while over in Pest you can pore over a clutch of fine museums, fantastic art nouveau buildings and a resurgent Jewish quarter.
At any time of year, Budapest has myriad charms, but nothing beats gazing out across the broad sweep of the Danube from the Castle District on a sultry summer’s evening. It is at this time, too, that open-air bars and pavement cafes do roaring trade, and restaurants go alfresco – indeed, Budapest’s gastronomic renaissance is one of the most exciting developments to hit the city in recent times. Throw in a flourish of new design hotels, fabulous food markets and venerable coffee houses, and it adds up to one of the continent’s most enticing summer city breaks.