Isla Hol­box, Mex­ico

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This car-free is­land 40 miles north­west of Cancún of­fers 26 miles of man­groves and beaches in the vast Yum Balam bio­sphere re­serve. It’s sep­a­rated from Mex­ico’s main­land by a shal­low la­goon where flamin­gos and pel­i­cans con­verge. Get there by fly­ing into Cancún, driv­ing two hours to Chiquila, then tak­ing a 30-minute ferry ride. You’ll find a range of ac­com­mo­da­tions, from ca­banas at Hos­tel Ida y Vuelta (hol­box­hos­; from $26 ) to four-star ho­tels such as the Vil­las HM Paraiso del Mar (hmho­; from $92). Beach bums can sun­bathe; ad­ven­tur­ers can snorkel with gen­tle whale sharks, the world’s largest fish at about 41,000 pounds, from May to Septem­ber.

Pel­i­cans gather by Yala­hau la­goon on Isla Hol­box

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