We left the sleepy town of Flores in the early morning at 7:00 am to make the journey from Guatemala, through Belize & all the way to Mexico, 3 countries in one day was a first for both of us.
We found it hard to find much information beforehand on bus services so were interested to see what type of bus turned up, we were surprised to see a rather modern snazzy bus arrive & even happier when that bus stayed with us all the way to Belize City where we changed for an equally snazzy bus, those of you who are reading this that have backpacked before will know what we mean, it was a pretty sweet deal!
We booked our tickets very easily at our hostel (Los Amigos) in Flores, the same tickets can be booked through most hostels or hotels in town with ease. Tickets should include a hostel pick up, we were picked up by a small minibus for transfer onto our bigger bus.
The ticket cost us 250 Q and was through the company Marlin Espadas Ltd. We have heard mixed reports about the quality of buses on this route but were very impressed by the bus & the services.
Border Crossing 1
We crossed from Melchor de Menchos (Guatemala) to Benque (Belize), our bus dropped us off & drove through & we were required to walk through after having our passports stamped etc, to meet back up with it. We were not required to pay any fee on exiting Guatemala, there was no fee for us to enter Belize & as UK citizens no Visa required, that being said it is always best to check VIsa requirements at the time & remember to check the requirements for your own country. Border one complete & we were back on the bus!
So to run through, get off the bus taking all your bags with you. Go into the Guatemalan immigration office, big green & yellow building on your right to get your passport stamped out of Guatemala. Walk through to the Belize immigration office which is just up ahead, fill in one of the immigration forms, get your passport stamped for entry & get back on the bus.
Dashing Through Belize
Had we had more time & travel funds we may have actually opted to stay in Belize for a while but given our situation it was a quick dash through for us. We enjoyed the journey though & were surprised at how different everything looked compared to neighbouring Guatemala. It had a real Caribbean feel & we agreed that we will one day return to visit this seemingly very laid back nation.
We spent longer on the bus than expected due to it being Easter weekend & the fact that there was some kind of bicycle race in Belize City, exactly where we were headed for & where we changed buses to head on to Chetumal.
Border Crossing 2
Our last crossing of the day was the Santa Elena crossing between Corozal (Belize) & Subteniente López (Mexico), it was the same drill again with the bus letting us off to go through all of the official stuff in Belize where we got out & paid our BZ$30/$15USD fee to exit the country, this is the required amount if you are in the country for less than 24 hours. You can pay this fee in either currency, $BZ or $USD. We then got back on the bus which drove us over to the Mexican office, we took our bags out here for checking, filled in our FMM forms that are required to enter Mexico & got our passports stamped with no fee. For UK citizens 180 days on arrival is what is normally granted, again we recommend to check at the time for requirements & for your own countries requirements.
So to sum it up, get out at the Belize office walk straight into the building with your BZ $30 or $15 USD exit fee (for stays of less than 24 hours in the country) come out of the office & return to the bus. Get out again in Mexico with your bags, fill in your FMM form which you need to keep the other part for when you exit the country, Get your bags checked & passport stamped then it’s back on the bus for the last hour or so to Chetumal.
How Long Does It All Take?
Given the events going on when we travelled out journey would not be a good one to measure it all by, the estimated time is around 9 hours for this journey however it’s rare in Central America that the timings are ever accurate for transportation. We would say give it 12 & that would be hopefully with no glitches, pretty close.
There is a large bus station in Chetumal that has various services on ADO buses, these would be your cheapest & easiest way to get anywhere. The bus company actually dropped us off at a small office of theirs as we arrived so late the ADO station was apparently closed, be warned as they will try to sell you taxi services from here at a much higher cost. We took a taxi from the road to the minibus station where we caught onward transportation to the beach side town of Mahahual. Our advice is if you are not staying in Chetumal get to the ADO or minibus station for any onward transportation.
We hope this has been helpful for you, if you have any questions just pop them in the comments, we will be happy to answer. If you have done this yourself & would like to add anything please tell us in the comments too!
Happy Travels 🙂
Kelly & Adam x