A Little Confusion… The Mexico to Belize Border Crossing at Chetumal

Last updated on January 10, 2022

Given how popular this border crossing is, and the sheer lack of information, I am excerpting the latest detailed comments from travelers who have just done the border crossing during Covid restrictions. Far below this information is the original post, but do not assume that any information you find online is accurate unless it’s been updated in the past month with the constantly-changing Covid protocols. Here is an synopsis of the stand-out comments relevant to crossing the Mexico and Belize border at Chetumal in Jan 2022. The comments at the very end of the post have even more details and travelers weighing in.

Two travelers have shared the contact numbers for a taxi transfer—these are reliable options for crossing either way (from Belize into Mexico, or vice versa): Alberto / The BZ Transporter +501-630-2700 and George: +501-604-5789 from Get Transfer Corozal. You might call both and see if they have any travelers scheduled who are willing to share the transfer if you’re looking to save money. If the Belize border organizes your transport it’s a flat, non-negotiable $180 and some travelers have reported getting ripped off on the Belize side. Also note that if you want to go very budget, Emma in the comments outlines how she booked a taxi to Corozal for $25 USD and then caught the chicken bus to Belize for about $5.

How to Cross the Border at Chetumal

According to Brian and Sarah, who crossed on Dec 12th and 19th, you should have all of the cash you need on you. This is how his trip goes from Cancun to Belize City.

Consider taking the comfortable bus down from Cancun and stay overnight in Chetumal. Travelers recommend Hotel Urban 101 in the city center for about$30 a night. You can have the hotel to call a taxi in the morning, or arrange through Alberto / The BZ Transporter. Leave early—between 7:30 am and 9 am is a good bet. Book somewhere to stay in Chetumal.

1. Get a Taxi in Chetumal to the New Border

Your taxi will know which border you need for the crossing—it’s the new border, not the old one. They are very near each other, but some guide books and blog posts will tell you to visit the old one. Also note that you can not cross the border via water—this is your border crossing option, period.

2. Have Your Travel Documents Handy for Both Border Checks

On the Mexico side they will thoroughly check your luggage, and then make sure you already have reservations in Belize, which is a requirement. Screenshot everything on your phone so this is very quick and easy. Next, I went to have my exit stamped in my passport and they asked me if I had already paid the tourism tax. Since I had read up on this potential for a scam before, I knew that it was included in my airfare from Canada to Cancun so I said yes and named the airline. You can ask for an itemized receipt from the airline that shows this fee already paid—then screenshot it and show it to them. Many people have had to pay this “fee” even though they probably already paid it if they flew into Mexico. Be prepared ahead of time and you can avoid being charged twice! It continues to be an issue. This will save you 560 Mexican pesos.

Next, your taxi will cross the bridge to the Belize Customs Control area. This is where you say goodbye to your Mexican taxi driver and pay him. You’ll pay 250-500 Mexican pesos.

3. Prepare for the Belize Border Process

At Belize Customs, first you have to fill out the customs form and health declaration. They will reconfirm you have hotel reservations already booked and that you have transportation waiting. Book a hotel in Belize—you must have a reservation before arriving at the border! I didn’t have transportation booked, but I knew I would have to take a taxi, which costs a flat $180 USD to anywhere in the Belize City area. YES, you could book a hotel in Corozal, stay over and then take a chicken bus to Belize City for around $8 USD, but if you don’t have this arranged ahead of time, it won’t work—they are strict about making sure you DO NOT take the chicken buses at the border—it must be private shuttle or taxi—which they can arrange for you on the spot if you haven’t pre-booked a taxi. (Note: Some recent travelers in the comments have said it’s not always possible to arrange/find a taxi on the spot, so book one ahead of time!)

Other options for onward travel: To Corozal they charge $35 USD per taxi, from there to San Pedro you can take water taxi at 7 AM for $50 USD or a plane at 9:30 AM or 5 PM for ~$70 USD but the latter only during the week which, however, is not confirmed as so far travelers have opted for the boat.

4. Undergo Covid Testing Protocol at the Belize Border

After filling out the forms at the Belize border, you then have to get an antigen test on the spot—it costs $50 USD, with results in 15 minutes. Do NOT test in advance—this is NOT accepted at Belize land borders (airport is a different process). There was only a couple ahead of me, so there was no wait for the test. After you receive your negative results, they assign you a driver and he drives you to the next Customs gate for border formalities.

5. Finish Up the Belize Border Process After Negative Antigen Results

The driver waits for you on the other side for you to finish your testing process. I was the ONLY traveller in the whole customs building, so it took 30 seconds. The customs officer took a picture of my reservation, including the paid receipt. Have this ready on your phone before you head for the border. It will speed everything up and reduce your stress level.

After that, I took the taxi to Belize. My driver was excellent, the car was comfortable, and I was in my hotel at 11:15 am!! Faster than flying by a long shot! For the same cost, better experience. If you are on a budget, do the Corozal dodge I mentioned above—just be prepped and book everything in advance (here are some hotels you can pre-book in Corozal).

So that’s it in a nutshell. Expect to pay about $225 and spend about 40 minutes in total to get all that done at the borders.

Update Jan 2022

Read through the comments at the end for the latest additional details on this border crossing. Travelers weigh in almost daily on the state of the border and offer tips on getting across without issue.

Border Crossing Story Prior to the Pandemic

Dear Lonely Planet,

Why have you lead me astray? You disappointed me this past week at the Mexican/Belizean border crossing. To be fair, this is the first time you’ve been so incredibly misguided, dear Lonely Planet: Central America —you have helped me confidently navigate uncharted waters, until now. 

I love you, I nurture you, I pull you out of the depths of my bag when I’m in a pinch, yet you disappoint me at the weirdest times. You have ten different hostel accommodations for random pueblitos, but yet a mere paragraph about the fairly confusing border crossing between Mexico and Belize via Chetumal.

But also, you know, thank you. You made me realize that travel is about more than a guidebook. Without the right information, I was forced to get creative. And over the years, I’ve realized there’s always a local nearby willing to impart the information you so coyly keep to yourself. I’m learning to rely on you less and less LP, and that’s probably a good thing.

With lukewarm love,

~Shannon

chicken bus border crossing Mexico into Belize
Safely on the chicken bus with the locals crossing from Chetumal into Belize!

My Border Crossing Debacle

The whole guidebook debate crops up on travel blogs every now and again, and I’ve always been on team “tote a guidebook around.” I nearly always have one somewhere in my backpack, and it often provides key information at opportune times—it helps me unlock a different side to a place that I might not have found without it.

But on the other hand, guidebooks also give travelers a false sense of security as well as take out some of the adventure—and hey, travel, after all, is fundamentally about the adventure and interpersonal connections, right?

Here’s the deal, when I arrived at Chetumal, Mexico, I expected the border crossing to be straightforward, like my guidebook indicated. But I arrived after 4pm and first class busses no longer left the terminal for the border.

There was also no  information about what to do at that point.

Picture me now frantically flipping through the Chetumal section of my guidebook. Hmm. The barest mention of another bus terminal.

Perplexed, I looked at the accommodation section of the guidebook with two other Americans who were in the same boat—they stood nearby with the exact same guidebook.

Fast forward a few minutes and were dividing and conquering, each of us hunting down locals and taxi drivers for tips. We came up with nothing. One taxi driver (naturally) wanted us to cab to the border for US $20—instead we asked about the elusive second bus station, he gave us a noncommittal shrug and told use to walk “a couple kilometers in that direction.” And being a fairly rural town, all of these exchanges took place in Spanish, upping the stakes considerably—thankfully my high school Spanish trickled back!

chicken bus into Belize
new friends on the transport misadventure

We actually had a grand mini adventure asking locals for more directions along the way. Rather than just following instructions mapped out in a guidebook, we were forced to hunt down a way to cross the border into Belize. Locals always kept us walking the right way, pointing us the “bus station,” and when we arrived at the indicated lot, there was one single, lone, green school bus sitting forlornly in the lot.

We glanced toward it, wondering if this could possibly be the elusive second bus station. As the bus began moving out of the parking lot, our instincts kicked in and we began running across the lot just as the driver leaned out the window to holler at us.  “Belize?!” he asked in a quick and questioning manner. As we frantically nodded yes, he rumbled to a stop so we could jog to the doors and haul ourselves onto the last bus of the day crossing the border.

beers in corozal, belize with new friends

Is this the biggest adventure of my life? No. But it sure was a lot of fun once we had we hunkered down into the seats, high-fived each other, and then jostled with the motion of the school bus all the way to the border. Once there, cash changed hands (there’s a controversial and possibly scammy Mexican exit tax if you’re not prepared), and I have a couple of new stamps in my good ‘ole passport. Twenty minutes later, we had reached our destination and we confidently made our way into Belize without even a second glance at our guidebooks.

I’m still carrying my guidebook, and I know there are times when I will be so glad it’s nearby as I make my way across Central America. In fact, it’s likely that I won’t go guidebook free anytime in the near future, but this reminded me of how fun and freeing it is to just wing it. The world is not so scary a place that every move needs scripting and planning beforehand, sometimes figuring it out along the way is the real adventure.

Quick Tips: Border Crossing from Chetumal, Mexico into Belize (2021)

Let me clarify this border crossing for anyone following the same path—as of 2019 there are three bus stations in Chetumal: the new bus station for ADO and first class buses, the old ADO bus station, and a smaller one that has been essentially bypassed by new bus routing in 2017, El Nuevo Mercado Lazaro Cardinez. This smaller one was a small market with an open lot in front that held the chicken buses, but unless things change, it’s been effectively handicapped by the re-routing.

If you arrive late into Chetumal and you’re heading into Belize, back in 2009, the only non-taxi transport was a local chicken buses from the market to take you across the border. These buses go all the way to Belize City and stop at smaller towns along the way (we got off in Corozal so that we could head to San Pedro/Caye Cualker in the morning). In the years since my first Central American backpacking adventure, things have changed, and they are likely to change even faster than internet information can keep up since it’s a small border crossing. So, go prepared with information on both bus stations and be prepared to solicit information directly from the bus stations. Taxi drivers will selectively share information so you’re seemingly left with no choice but a taxi to the border.

Bus Stops in Chetumal

  • NEW ADO terminal: Located on Av. Insugentes at Calle Palermo (close to Plaza Las Americas). This is the main ADO bus terminal for services to other destinations in Mexico, including Cancún, Campeche, Mérida, Valladolid, Xcalak, and more. You will likely arrive here and need to head to the Old ADO terminal.
  • OLD ADO terminalSalvador Novo street near Av. Insurgentes and Av. Belice. Buses into Belize leave from here until at least 5:30 pm, possibly later. Buses to Corozal, Belize City, Orange Walk, and also into Guatemala.
  • El Nuevo Mercado Lazaro Cardinez: As of 2017, this market no longer has buses operating services into Belize. If a taxi driver takes you here and tells you that buses are finished for the day, make your way to the Old Ado terminal.

Updated travel advice

This basic wordpress site shares what has to be the most updated information about bus travel in Belize, including frequently updated information about this border crossing right here—he even updated it during the Coronavirus pandemic. The guy who updates it is also very active in the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum discussions about all things Belize. And Rome2Rio shows regularly updated transportation advice for this passage as well.

Ferry Options to Caye Caulker or San Pedro: If you’re up for it, there is a great water taxi transfer from Chetumal to Caye Caulker or San Pedro. You’ll have to arrive and catch the last one by 3pm, so if you do arrive in time, it’s a great option.

Paying the FMM / Mexican Exit Fee: I have read that there is now a bit of a shakedown at this border, at times. If you arrived by air and are leaving by land, paying this fee gets complicated. Here is the best rundown you’ll find online, and this blogger shares their experience in 2014—note that their bus information is wrong, but their advice on the FMM is good to know.

Onward from the border. Stay the night in Corozal, the closest town to the border, if you’ve made one of the last crossings of the day (this is what I did and then headed by water taxi to San Pedro). Alternately, head to the main bus station (if your bus is not one already heading to Belize city). Southbound buses to Belize City take about four hours and depart from Corozal roughly every half hour from 3 am to 7:15 pm.

If you’re heading through Belize into Guatemala, check out my Guatemala Travel Guide for free advice on the best things to do, see, eat, and insider tips on how to navigate the country. 

83 thoughts on “A Little Confusion… The Mexico to Belize Border Crossing at Chetumal”

  1. Great article. I’m looking to make the reverse journey – go from Belize into Mexico. Does anyone know what time the border closes? I’m in San Pedro and the only ferry for Corozal leaves at 3. I arrive into Corozal at 5 and will get a taxi to the border.

    Thanks

    Reply
  2. The information here is pretty accurate. We got a cab from the Chetumal ADO bus station to the border with Mario(+529831857021). You can text him on whatsapp by using Google translate as his English isn’t that great. He charged us $250 pesos. Reaching the border was a breeze and Mexican side didn’t create any problems, just asked if we would come back. Asked us to pay departure for which we had to show flight tickets as others mentioned.

    Then we drove to the initial border point. There is a time difference between Quintana Roo and Belize time. The border is open from 8am-4pm on Weekdays and 8am-12pm on Weekends Belize time.

    They asked us to fill a health form and an immigration form. Asked us to come in a room where they take temperature and click photographs of the passports/immigration forms.

    From there your Belizian taxi (we also went with Alberto for $25USD whose business is booming thanks to this blog ;)) will take you to the other side where you pay $50USD per person for covid test. They don’t accept any previous tests and will test you even if you are vaccinated or got a test done recently. Contrary to what they tell you, you can actually pay by card for the test.

    If you test positive, you get sent back to the Mexican side and you can’t return for 7days as they stamp your passport with “denied entry because of covid +ve”. If you’re accompanying someone who tests positive, and you are negative, you still get sent back to Mexican side. If you get sent back, Mexican side doesn’t care and they will let you through anyways but will charge the tourist entry fee. If you’re negative, you go through the border. Enjoy!

    Reply
  3. Hi good day everyone just here to offer my service I am a independent taxi guy gold standard and I work with your budget I don’t mind if you guys share the trip 180us for my my van capacity 6 and have 2 Van’s for work can always give me a call to book before reaching the border bless +5016036711 every trust worthy very known in corozal town

    Reply
  4. Hi,
    First of all thak you for this topic it had been really helpful for to plan our stay in belize.
    We are crossing the border the 23 and we still have many questions.
    Do you need to book 3 nights in a row or 3 nights on the country? And do you need to book all your nights in advance or can you book in the country? If anyone has some answers I would be very grateful.
    Take care, letizia

    Reply
    • Letizia, the 3 night booking is an attempt to force tourists to spend as much money as they can. I’m a local from Belize and do my best to keep tourists from getting exploited by arbitrary rules passed off as mandates. Travelers have shared tricks to bypass the gold standard requirements with me and I wrote everything in detail here: nayawalk.com/belize/gold-standard/

      I hope that helps you and anyone visiting Belize. I’ll do my best keep it evergreen.

      Reply
  5. Jan 16, 2022

    My husband and I are in Chetumal now and tried to cross yesterday but were turned away and told be needed to hire a Mexican customs broker because we are moving to Belize and have a trailer full of personal items. Of course as it’s the weekend we cannot find anyone to contact with questions or try to handle this. We were able to enter Mexico at the US border with no issues and paid duties on our personal items and vehicle, so a bit confused as to why we need to hire a broker to leave. Does anyone have any insight they can offer or suggestions as to how we can get out of Mexico today? Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Hi Shannon,

    Thanks so much for keeping this article updated. The information provided and the comments have been really helpful.

    We’re crossing the Chetumal border from Mexico to Belize in a week or so.

    Our question is about the gold standard accommodation. We’ve heard 3 nights must be booked at a gold standard accommodation as a requirement of entry into Belize. Can you or anyone else confirm this?

    And, is it possible to book the 3 nights across different locations, e.g. 1 night in Corozal and 2 nights in Caye Caulker, both in gold standard accommodations?

    Cheers, Dan Piggott (Jan 14, 2022)

    Reply
    • Hi Dan! I think you might be best served by actually emailing a hotel and asking them the policy as they are likely well versed on the current regulations and what will work at the border!

      Reply
    • Hi Dan
      So did you cross the border and did you had to book 3 nights in a row in the same place or 3 nights around the country? Thank you for your help. Enjoy your holidays

      Reply
  7. I crossed from Belize to Bacalar Dec26 2021 and there was only one taxi after customs who ripped me off charging me 1000 pesos to go to Bacalar instead of 400 . But I had no choice because I was very tired. I had travelled all the way from Caye Caulker hadn’t had any breakfast and he was the only taxi on site so I had no other choice because it was the day after Christmas, so I chose to pay even though I knew he was being abusive with that price. Be careful people. Has anybody had a similar experience??

    Reply
  8. Hi guys,
    Thanks for all the comments, they help a lot. But I still have some questions… Do you know if it’s possible to book Belize golden standard hotels and then cancel them and instead book cheap hostel dorms eg. at care caulker?
    And do anybody have tried to stay longer in the country than your original bookings? Do you then get in trouble when leaving the country?

    Hope you guys can help me, because I really wanna visit Belize and the cross the border to Guatemala.

    Reply
  9. I did border crossing at January 9, 2022
    I did it in most budget way, so if you want to save some extra dollars read it carefully.
    First you want to skip expensive taxi to Belize city. That need a bit of preparation. Book any hotel in Corozal town. Print if possible your booking and after that cancel it for free. Paper works magically to officer🤪
    Book your taxi to Corozal. I did it with Alberto / The BZ Transporter (+501 630 2700) for 25$ . He answers very fast and arrived to border even earlier than we agreed.
    The whole process is generally smooth. On Mexican side they checked my luggage and i moved to passport control. Officer asked only about if I’m planning come back mexico and if i have reservation. My answer was no as i continue to Guatemala and yes about Belize booking but he didn’t take a look. No questions about exit taxes or pressure to pay something. I got stamp and moved to Belize border.
    Here control is more serious. Officer asked passport and booking, made few pictures and asked questions about my plans and why i opted to Corozal. He didn’t try get a proof of booking by calling to hotel that was my concern. He gives you immigration form and medical form that need to fill up.
    Make a covid test for extortionate 50$, collect result and get passport stamped in some building on other side of road. Here’s you get your final driver. He dropped me on the Corozal bus station where 10 min later i took a chicken bus to Belize city (3hrs). Total for transport i paid 25$ taxi and 5$ bus, that allows to save 150$ – i like this game🤑

    Reply
  10. Crossing the Mexican border to Belize
    January 8th 2022

    We arrived in Chetumal under the impression we were still able to cross the border by sea. We unfortunately found this was impossible, despite several websites advertising schedules and offering tickets.
    Our trip was saved by our friend Alberto. We luckily found his contact details on a post above and did not hesitate to give him a call.
    Alberto was highly informative and we immediately put our trust in him. He gave us an ideal schedule of when to arrive at the border, what we were to expect, and also boat ferry times to leave Belize city to San Pedro/Caye Caulker where we intended to travel. Our whole schedule was given to us.
    He also arranged for a reliable & trustworthy taxi in Mexico (Miguel) to take us to the border, and wait with us until the Belize border where Alberto was waiting for us.
    Alberto helped us with the whole process of crossing the border, necessary PCR testing and immigration, with hot coffees on arrival!
    As we left the border and set off for the city, Alberto was happy to stop off at local stores for food, refreshments and even offered us a welcome drink of Belizean rum to celebrate FINALLY crossing the border.
    As previously discussed, we wished to leave the city and head straight to the ferry port. We arrived in great time and arrived in San Pedro for lunch time. Not only is Alberto extremely knowledgeable about Belize & the surrounding islands, he is exceptionally friendly & helpful. We plan to leave Belize for Guatemala which is also something he is organising for us.
    Thankyou Alberto! You saved our trip!

    Alberto BZ TRANSPORTER +501 630-2700
    Belize immigration border > Corozal town is $25 USD
    Orange Walk > $75 USD
    Belize city/water taxi terminal $150 USD

    Reply
  11. I did the border crossing today, January 7, 2022, and it all went smoothly – all inside approx. 90 minutes. Using the information on this blog, I was 100% prepared, which not only helped with the logistics but also helped prepare me for the process and potential stress!

    On the Mexican side, I wasn’t asked at all about the exit/tourism tax, so perhaps this is no longer an thing? The Mexico part was all done in a few minutes – the most friendly border officials I’ve come across! My taxi drive knew the ropes and took me to the Belize immigration.

    Quite a bit of paperwork to complete there but all standard stuff. I wasn’t asked for evidence of my Covid vaccinations but did have the on-hand in case, The swab tests too about 15/20 mins to get the results – that was the most stressful part. No idea what the hell happens if you test positive!

    Re taxis to Belize City, I had pre-ordered mine from George (as read in the blog) and he was fab. He tried to get some other travellers to join me in order to reduce the cost but the problem is, once you have notified the authorities that you need then to arrange a taxi, there’s no changing it. Either way, George and his family were great and it gave me confidence having a helpful person around the border and then onto BC.

    Reply
    • PS. One other point worth noting is in relation to the 3 nights hotel reservation the authorities ask for. Because I had no intention of staying longer than 2 nights, I booked a third night at my hotel on booking.com separately to the first two. This satisfied the authorities and once I was through the border I cancelled it, therefore saving me $65.

      Reply
    • This is so helpful – thanks. We were supposed to go to Guatemala, but they have just announced a change to mandatory vax to get in, and we are not vaxxed. And we thought we couldn’t get in to Belize. Now we know we can it feels great to have another option. We have to leave Mexico before Feb 12th, so hopefully we can go to Belize for a month, then pop back in to Mexico as we have a flight from mexico to Uk in may!!

      Reply
  12. *update Jan 02, 2022
    everything is still as described in the main section above.
    1. Book a Hotel
    2. Book a belizean taxi that picks you up at the border of Belize
    (there are taxis waiting but they may rip you off. I had to send my passport via whatsapp and the driver kept us from falling to the corrupt stuff at the border. You can also group up but you have to inform the driver in advance. My good guy: George: +501 604-5789 from Gettransfer Corozal)
    To Belize city its still 180 USD per taxi, not per person. from there boats are going to San Pedro etc.!
    To Corozal they charged 35 USD per taxi, from here to San Pedro you can take water taxi at 7 AM for 50 USD or a plane at 9:30 AM or 5 PM for ~70 USD but the latter only during the week which, however, is not confirmed as we took the boat.
    3. Take a taxi to the new mexican border (they know where and charge 250/300 MXN) Sundays boarder closes at 12 PM and during the week at 4 PM.
    4. Get checked at the mexican border, fill out some stuff, change taxi, get covid rapid test (50 USD pp. you can pay with visa etc. and MXN too.), get checked at the belizean border (especially luggage: eat your fruits and sandwiches first), welcome to Belize :)
    Its really smooth once you have the right taxi which in my case was really nice and helpful. But bring the negotiated amount of money in cash and calculate 30/50 min for the whole process.
    Best and enjoy!

    Reply
  13. If looking for a reliable golden standard very friendly taxi driver located for your convenience at the Northern border contact # whatsapp+5016036711 or facebook @ Venancio Dominguez Taxi !!! Available for booking before time for a comfortable and safe trip and the capacity of 6 passengers plus luggage!!! Enjoy a safe comfortable trip with a friendly service and easy no hassle border crossing ! He is very recognized and lives in the heart of Corozal town…provides any needed stops along the way(food,restroom,sim card purchase etc) Be Safe from Covid and arrive your destination safely with Venancio

    Reply
  14. I crossed Dec 19 and everything went as the other commenters explained, and very smoothly thanks to them. This might be repetitive but here’s my play by play:

    I hired Alberto at the advice of a commenter. Alberto / The BZ Transporter (+501 630 2700) and he was great, set me up with a taxi driver on the Mexico side that he works with. I got picked up from my hotel, Hotel Urban 101 which was 30 USD right in the city center and nice for my purposes of a quick stay.

    I decided to go early, 7:30am Mexico time (Belize is an hour behind fyi) and was so glad I did. Taxi took me to border and there’s a stop where you get out next to your taxi and they search your luggage, seems like for weapons. There was no line at all because I was early. Then you get back in your taxi and go to the tiny immigration office where I had to show my reservations for hotels and tell her where I’m going after Belize. No line there either. She did not speak English at all. I speak very basic Spanish and got by. If you don’t, you may want to have everything written and translated beforehand. She did ask me to pay the tourism tax but thanks to tips from previous comments, I had a screenshot of my itemized airline ticket ready (you can request from your airline) and showed her that. She didn’t press and finally stamped my passport. My taxi driver said to make sure I get the stamp on the Mexico side, but I didn’t have any issues with that.

    I then got back into my taxi and we drove about 2 minutes to the Belize side. I got out and said goodbye to my Mexico taxi driver. That cost 500 pesos, and probably could have been cheaper had I simply called a taxi from my hotel but it was very efficient and easy so worth the extra $.

    At the Belize side, I filled out a heath declaration form for land borders. This contained my information and passport, purpose of trip, the hotel name and address of where I’m staying, if I had any covid symptoms, and then an affirmation that the info was true and correct under penalty of perjury.

    Next, they checked my form and passport, took a picture and then you have to either walk or get ride to the covid testing hut, about a 10-15min walk or 2min drive. At this final point, you pay $50 and get a rapid test done. You have to wait 15 min for the test. Then last is walking a minute to get your forms checked again and passport stamped.

    Yay you did it! For a total of about $225.

    Reply
  15. I crossed the border today Dec 13, 2021: Besides the Gold Standard Hotel reservation they ask you for your transport picking you up at the first belizian border. There were no taxis waiting when we arrived, maybe just too early (8am) but seemed not possible/risky to not have one organized in advance. We went with Alberto / The BZ Transporter (+501 630 2700) and he waited at all the stops (COVID test/immigration) and told us where to go and what to do. He originally charged 170 USD to Belize City for two but we found 3 other people on the way and ended up paying 40 USD each and were in Belize City just 2 hours later. It sure is a little expensive and the whole process took ages but it all works out when you go there prepared. Alberto can also organize the transport to the border in Mexico from Chetumal or Bacalar. Hope that helps someone!

    Reply
  16. OK, I just did the crossing on December 12th, 2021 from Chetumal into Belize. It was hard to find correct information before I left so I just winged it and it all worked out like it always does. Just bring cash! Here’s how it went, IN DETAIL! Since I took the bus down from Cancun (which is great by the way – fairly new and very comfortable Volvo buses) I decided to stay overnight in Chetumal, after arriving there at 4 pm. I highly recommend the 3 star Capitol Hotel in Centro – only $42 (on Hotwire or Priceline) a night including all taxes and a full breakfast, with a pool and a great location, Reno’d rooms and friendly staff. It is about a 40 minute walk from the new ADO bus station (I’m fit and I hate taxis so I walked – totally fine and Chetumal is easy to navigate). Got the hotel to call me a taxi in the morning and headed for the border at 9 am. I had been told to go to the old border, not the new one as you can’t walk across that one. Anyways, I asked the driver to take me to Frontera Antigua and it seemed he was confused about that (between my bad Spanish and his bad English) which worried me a little but he seemed like a nice guy. Anyways, we arrived at the old border in about 15 minutes and then he said we need to go to the new crossing because the old one was closed (or something to that effect) due to COVID. They aren’t far apart so I said fine (because I hadn’t paid him yet and wasn’t going to if he tried anything fishy) and in 5 minutes we were at the new border. Turns out he was right and everything went smoothly from there. First the Mexicans checked my luggage and made sure I already had reservations in Belize, which is a requirement. I had everything ready on my phone so this was very quick and easy. Next I went in to have my exit stamped in my passport and they asked me if I had already paid the tourism tax. Since I had read up on this potential for a scam before, I knew that it was included in my airfare from Canada to Cancun so I said yes and named the airline. Many people have had to pay this “fee” even though they probably already paid it if they flew into Mexico. Be prepared ahead of time and you can avoid being charged twice!! It continues to be an issue. In my case I acted like I knew what I was talking about and they did NOT ask to see a receipt. Thus I saved the 560 Mexican pesos which paid for my taxi to the border with 260 in change. Next, the taxi will continue to take you across the bridge and to the Belize Customs Control area. This is where you say goodbye to your Mexican taxi driver and pay him. I gave mine 300 Mexican pesos, money well spent. At Belize Customs, first you have to fill out the customs form and health declaration. They will reconfirm you have hotel reservations already booked and that you have transportation waiting. I didn’t but I knew I would have to take a taxi, which as others have mentioned here, costs a flat $180 usd to anywhere in the Belize City area. YES, you could book a hotel in Corozol, stay over and then take a chicken bus to Belize City for around 8 usd BUT if you don’t have this arranged ahead of time, good luck because you will need it, they are strict about making sure you DO NOT take the chicken buses at the border – must be private shuttle or taxi – which they arrange for you on the spot. Now, I took the taxi to Belize (I could have flown but it would actually take longer, cost about the same when you figure in taxis at both ends, plus I wanted to see the countryside and stop along the way) so all in all, it was worth it for me. My driver was excellent, car was comfortable, and I was in my hotel at 11:15 am!! Faster than flying by a long shot! For the same cost, better experience. If you are on a budget, do the Corozol dodge I mentioned above – just be prepped in advance. Back to the Belize border process: after filling out the forms you then have to get an antigen test on the spot – cost is $50 usd and you will get the result in about 15 minutes. Do NOT get a test in advance as it will NOT be accepted at the land border (airport is a different process). There was only a couple ahead of me so there was no wait for the test. After you get the result, they will assign you a driver and he will drive you to the next Customs gate for border formalities. The driver will wait for you on the other side. I was the ONLY traveller in the whole customs building so it took 30 seconds. Customs officer DID take a picture of my reservation, including the paid receipt. Have this ready on your phone before you head for the border. It will speed everything up and reduce your stress level. So that’s it in a nutshell. It took maybe 40 minutes in total to get all that done at the border. It wasn’t a hassle – it isn’t the normal, cheap way to cross the border but a)it is what it is in the time of COVID and b)it was safe and efficient and taxi vs. airplane = same cost, but taxi is better experience. Go with the flow. Enjoy Belize – I am loving it – super friendly people.

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    • Oh and I would just add – remember that you gain an hour due to the time change at the Belize border, that is why I left Chetumal at 9 am, 9:15 arrive at the border, 9:55 am finish border procedures, arrive at my Belize City hotel at 11:15 am (12:15pm Mexican time). 2 hour drive to Belize City if traffic is light and your driver has a lead foot like mine did – otherwise 2 and a half hours.

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  17. Ladyville (there were the airport is located) to Corozal on Chicken Bus is 10BZD

    price from Corozal to Belize City should be then smth between 12-14BZD

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  18. Hey, we’re in Cancun but only on a 7 day visa, not the fmm (it’s the free one from crossing via Tijuana). Our plan was to go dive in belize and then come back to mexico for 2 months. This now looks tricky and expensive. Has any one just gone through Mexican immigration at the border and then come back with going to belize? I’m sure the border guys are flexible$ but don’t want to travel there and get stuck! Thanks

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  19. We have also been told taxis are not “Gold Star” so we must have expensive shuttle from border . I am talking about the san ignacio border .

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  20. i have been told by ADO they no longer do the run to belize city . Can anyone verify this ?

    We are group of 7 coming for a week . I want to bring groceries into belize with me . Is there any issue with that if is no fruit veg or meat ? Wanted to bring sushi and falefel ingredients . salad dressing , luxury foods .

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    • We just bought tickets today in playa Del Carmen to get bus tickets and I can confirm ADO doesn’t have a bus anymore from playa Del Carmen to Belize City, furthest we could get was Chetumal. We will try to find an ADO bus that goes from Chetumal to Belize City but there’s no guarantees.

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  21. Hello I’m looking for a boat service for myself and my daughter from Chetumal to San Pedro on February 4th 2022, or a bus from chetumal to corozal airport. I can’t seem to find any info. I booked a flight out of corozal but would prefer the ferry for less hassle. Thank you

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  22. I crossed the border today (Nov 13, 2021) by land from Mexico chetumal/Santa Elena crossing into Belize and have some updates! For tourists, the only option to travel from the border to your hotel at the moment is by private taxi. It is currently illegal to take public transport from the land border on arrival on belize. I was escorted by a border agent to a taxi driver so there’s no way of slipping past! Of course this can be super expensive depending on where you are staying. If you are travelling in a group it would be more affordable but I was travelling on my own and it cost me $180 usd from the border to my hotel near Belize city-ouch! I tried to haggle but there was no budging. The trip took just under 2 hours. The upside is it is much more comfortable, easy, fast and safe.

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    • Uff, that is a painful sum! So sorry that you were stuck paying so much. While it does sound safer and more convenient, it’s so valuable for others to know that they’ll be required to hire a taxi on the other side. Safe travels and thank you for sharing Emma!

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    • To add to that.. I came across today.. Nov27,2021. The taxi from Chetumal to border took <15 minutes.. At border MX Immigration will stamp your pp.. MX Taxi will continue on with you to border which is another km or 2..You need to go through MX customs again..The gentleman spoke english well and was very helpful. He asked if I’d be returning to MX and for how long did I expect to stay.. I told him I had a flight out of MX late April and had booked a house in Progresso for three months. He informed me that despite having a flight and proof of place to stay does not guarantee immigration will give that much time on my next entrance visa let alone the once standard 180 days.. He said “It’s a new policy”.. they could give as little as a few days, maybe a month “ there is no way to say”. This change is a step further as when I arrived MX City Oct 28,2021. I was expecting 180 day visa, the officer told me then the visa is only valid as long as the confirmed hotel reservation!.. and that “this is the new policy”.. So in the span of one month, the policy has changed from verified hotel reservation dates to no guarantee despite reso dates!
      Also the Belize Health Ministry is at the border, they do an antigen test, cost is $50.USD..It’s mandatory for everyone, they do not accept any test done previously. Then just to confirm; if you don’t have anyone picking you up at the border either hired car or hotel then cost is $180 USD to Belize City. If you’re lucky you’ll get Mr.Bau
      I’ll update this when I go back to MX in a week or so. If denied entry to MX for any worthwhile length of time, I’ll return to BLZ..

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      • Hi Pj,

        I will be crossing the border to Belize from Chetumal tomorrow. I have two questions: if I have a hotel booking in Corozal, can I take TAXI to Corozal? It should be much cheaper than TAXI to Belize City. Also, about the antigen test. I am fully vaccinated and I have my EU certificate + yellow book stamped. Do I still have to do the test? Thanks.

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    • Few more questions to Emma. What if drive by taxi only to Corozal Town (just 12km) and then switch to local bus? Does anybody control it?
      Did they force you to make PCR test on arrival for 50$? Or possible to skip this expenses?
      Ask you because I’m planning cross this border soon but hate idea pay for taxi and pcr as well..

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  23. Been here close to the border for a few years. Things keep changing cuz of pandemia and the jab or neg covid test. Real iffy. Must be checked out 1st.

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  24. We got a cab when we went. Our driver took us around the city and was an extremely safe driver always coming to complete stops and never drove fast. We arrived early in the morning from San Pedro Belize and spent the day. Having someone who can speak Spanish is a major plus as an example our cab driver did not speak English. This city is not a tourist type place for Americans. The people are very friendly but its a real city with people going about their day to day lives. It was clean and looked like it had a lot of history. You need thier currency to pay the departure tax when you leave.

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    • Thanks for sharing the details of how you crossed the borders and ideas to make it smoother! With the pandemic changing every day it’s hard to know the latest details, so I appreciate you sharing your Nov 2021 crossing tips!

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  25. Things have changed because of Covid. Now there is no ferry boat that travels from Chetumal (Mexico) to San Pedro Ambergris Caye(Belize).How ever there is a ferry boat (Thunderbolt) that leaves from Corozal to San Pedro Ambergris caye at 7.am.

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  26. Covid has changed everything, and every month protocols are adjusted depending on the latest spike in cases. Guide books in these times gets outdated quickly. Previously scheduled travel patterns have all been adjusted or cancelled. Check for updates on the Belize Tourism Board website travelbelize.org.

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  27. Back packers do dangerous travels…then in the news you here that Belize is dangerous. Meanwhile when you travel like this you will find nice people BUT you can also find so much danger at the borders especially. These folks don’t communicate online and when you arrive anywhere what you see online is not what you see in person. You may come across a “nice” person but in those parts people are looking for money and will sell your ass for parts to get it. I prefer roads most traveled.

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  28. After living in Belize for 5 years, seemed such a hassle to stay, with interrogation every month when you go to renew at one of the immigration offices. Now is 2020, don’t believe there is an open border from Chetumal. Only way in is by air. Then you get shuffled to an expensive hotel, then monitored the entire time you’re there. But check it out FIRST.

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    • Thank you for reporting on the updated situation on the ground. Makes sense that the border is closed, though I am disappointed to hear that’s the situation for incoming air arrivals. :-/

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    • Hi Johnny Ed. I also just read that the border is closed which is quite a bummer because I will be in Quintano Roo soon, but hopefully in the next six months things will change.

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  29. I’ve read a lot from the US and have a condo in Placencia. A great way is to fly to Cancun, MX, rent a car for $1/day (I’m not kidding, a 2 week brand new car costed $9.20US COMPLETE (2019)!). Drive a 6 hour drive to the border and voila. Rented cars in Belize are $50/day or more so do it this way!!!

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  30. I read most of your adventure into corozal, chetumal. I drove there from Texas, spent a year and came back to Texas. I remember something that you left out or I simply missed in your narrative. The law is completely corrupt along with the government. That was one of the main reasons I left. If you’re caught with a joint you could do life, kill someone and your out in a couple years. Crazy, anyway enjoy and thanks for the memories.

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    • Thanks for sharing your story. It is a very different situation and something that I have always had in the back of my mind when I cross borders in countries with much harsher penalties. Cheers and thanks for the perspective.

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  31. Have to Leave Mx for Visa reasons, six months here, so going to attempt a run from Merida to Corozal, one night in Corozal then return asap..
    Will let you know how it goes when return is successful..

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    • Good luck and please report back on how it went! I know there are a ton of people curious about the updated process for crossing this border!

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    • Andrew, did you ever end up doing this? I need to make the same run (Merida to Corozal) wondering how you made out. Thanks

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  32. I’m a tourist from Europe. My country belongs to Europe Union.
    Yesterday I couldn’t cross Mexico/Belize border, because people who works in border office (2 women and a man) told that I have to have PAYED reservation in hotel for 7 NIGHTS. I asked to show a low where it says, to call to their boss to talk, but those people didn’t let me to do it.
    I had reservation for one night and was planing to do it for 2 nights more when enter Belize. After long time of discussion, when i lost a hope, one border worker recommended me to fallow one man, who proposed to help me to cross the border for 6000 (not sure dollars or pesos).
    I didn’t pay, came back to Mexico. Thanks god they let me in again.

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    • What a headache Inga! I am so sorry to hear that you had so many issues at the border. How awful that there were so many unclear issues at work here. I am not sure why they would have required you to have that seven night reservation, I have not heard of that before, so thank you for sharing your experience so that others can be warned when they are en route to Belize as well!

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      • Ive crossed the border a couple of times. The first time was cumbersome but I just arrange with Belize Travel to take me from Airport to my hotel. It cost about $60 but it’s hassle free and I don’t have to play those games.

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    • Definitely is a great way to navigate, although I think that guidebooks offer an orientation to an area that is valuable before you arrive, so you know what types of questions to ask of locals. :)

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  33. I wanted to go from Playa del Carmen to San Pedro Island in early December 2018. I started by taking an ADO bus from Playa to Chetumal. Although the schedule said that it would take about 4 hours, it actually took nearly five hours. (The return trip took 5 hours as well.) Other factors caused me to miss the 3:00 water taxi, so I decided to take a taxi from the ADO station to the Belize border. Taxi drivers quoted 300 pesos, but I got one to take me for 200. At the border, the Mexican guard said I needed to pay the 530 peso exit tariff even though my document showed I entered Mexico by airline. I argued with him a bit but ended up paying. I later met a Canadian couple who refused to pay and the guard allowed them through.

    The taxi driver dropped me off at the Belize border and I walked through their border station and customs. There was a border officer named Fuentez who was very helpful and suggested that since I was too later for the 3:00 water taxi, I take a taxi to Corozol, stay in a hotel overnight and join the water taxi the next morning at 8:00.

    He called a taxi driver who agreed to take me to a hotel near the water taxi dock, a 50-minute drive, for US$25. As he drove, the driver asked me why don’t I fly to San Pedro. I replied that I checked the price online and it was $180 round trip, which was outside my budget. He said that the airline’s pricing was in Belizian dollars and that it was actually half that in US dollars. He said that the cost to fly was about the same price as the water taxi, would take 20 minutes by air instead of 90-120 minutes by boat and there were flights every hour. He called Tropic Air to check whether there was a seat available on the next flight and there was (as is typically the case). So, instead of spending the night in Corozol, with the advice of the driver and a wonderful Tropic Air agent, Rafael, I was in San Pedro an hour later. Tropic Air gave great service both ways, tel: 501-422-0345

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    • Thank you so much for supplying updated details for travelers heading that way! It seems like this border sees a lot of changes, so it’s nice to have updates from those who have just done it!

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  34. I enjoy your blog. It’s great to interact and find solutions on the fly.

    There is one water taxi per day from Chetumal to San Pedro and Caye Caulker. The exit tax is legit and required at the ferry terminal, too. Travelers who arrived in Mexico by air and have a print-out showing payment are exempt. It’s about 530 pesos in cash.

    Different companies run the ferry on alternate days. Arrive by 2 to go through customs. Safe and mellow pier.

    Rome2Rio is my favorite site for assessing travel options.

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    • That is SO good to know. Thank you! I didn’t realize there was a direct water taxi, but it’s an incredibly handy option for travelers so I will update your advice in the post so others can take advantage of it. As you noted, I also enjoy Rome2Rio, it’s very handy and I wish it was around when I was backpacking in 2008!

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  35. Maybe its the first notion that came to my mind: “Ah finally, there is some solid proof that the travel guide can't act as the bible for travel. The traveler herself has to chart her own way, though. These simple tips that you have mentioned (the second bus station in Chetumal, for example) becomes a practical guide for someone, till they actually build a proper bus station for the chicken buses too. Nice narration. :)

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    • Thank you Manu! I definitely think that a guide book is great for first time
      travelers because it gives security when you're not yet used to traveling
      and figuring things out, but it is actually a huge relief and a lot of fun
      to head out on your own and figure out what to do! :-)

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