The island of Holbox (pronounced “Ole-bosh”) is a tiny spit of land off the Yucatán Peninsula, laced with sand roads. As soon as Cuban-born artist Sandra Pérez arrived, she knew she wanted to stay for good, so she created a retreat that would feel more like a residence than a formal hotel. CasaSandra, the 20-room result, is spread out among seven oceanfront buildings decorated with Guadalajaran antiques and brightly colored hand-woven linens. Palapas are sprinkled along the beach, and the water’s edge is 50 uninterrupted steps away. Ask the staff to arrange a fishing excursion, then have chef Mariela Rajo prepare your catch for dinner. From June to August, you can swim alongside harmless migrating whale sharks.