NORTHERN BORDER (Mexico & Belize)
The Belize–Mexico border is an international border between the countries of Belize and Mexico. It is approximately a hundred and fifty-five miles long, following the course of the Hondo River. This border separates Belize from the Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Campeche. Currently, there are two official crossings at the border, which are international bridges. The main bridge is located between Subteniente Lopez, Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Santa Elena, Corozal District, Belize.
If you’re traveling down the Yucatan peninsular there’s a good chance you are going to want to enter Belize.
When entering Belize, you will need to go through immigration and then onto customs. Unlike on the Mexican side, you need to cross in a vehicle and not on foot. Keep an eye out for cab drivers (green license plate) right after crossing the Hondo River. You can expect to pay about 500 pesos (approx. $25. USD) for a taxi who will drive you to the immigration checkpoint (drop you off), and then wait for you to pass through customs. The taxi can then take you into Corozal, to either catch a bus, or a commuter aircraft flight to Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker.
ENTERING BELIZE FROM MEXICO
Note: Prices will vary, depending on which form of transportation you use. Do your research (so you are not scammed), because some forms of transportation can be more expensive than others.
Bus Transportation From Corozal
Aircraft Transportation From Corozal
WESTERN BORDER (Guatemala & Belize)
There is one main highway crossing of the border, at Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District, Belize and Melchor de Mencos, Peten, Guatemala, where Guatemala Highway CA-13 meets the George Price (Western) Highway, connecting to Belize City and Belmopan. About four kilometres south of this crossing is the village of Arenal, which has homes on both sides of the border, and a football field directly on the border. From the Guatemala side, there is just a footbridge to a road into Melchor de Mencos; the Belize side has a road connecting to Benque Viejo.
There is a new bridge to cross the Mopan River (built in January 2012). Vehicles pay a small toll to cross (about $5. USD), depending on the size of the vehicle.
Most Belizeans and expats leave their vehicles on the Belize their side of the border and either walk into Melchor de Mencos or catch a taxi – about U.S. $3. You can find taxis and mini vans at the market area next to the park to return to Belize or take you further inland to Tikal or Flores.
There are (2) points of entry between Belize & Guatemala, with a third one under construction.
LEAVING GUATEMALA BY BUS OR VEHICLE (Belize Border)
Crossing the border between Belize and Guatemala was easy. It helps if you stay in San Ignacio for a day or two, as this allows you to rest up and get through the border early in the morning, this allows you time to get to your destination in Guatemala in a decent amount of time.
BY TAXI - A Belize taxi will be able to take your right up to the custom offices, for about $5. Belize dollars (or $2.50 USD). This maybe the easiest, fastest and cheapest border crossing you may ever experience.
DEPARTURE TAX - There is a departure tax of $37.50 bz per person. You pay your departure tax at the cashier's window. You thenbring the receipt back to the immigration official and they will stamp your passport.
CROSSING WITH A VEHICLE - After you have received the stamp in your passport from the immigration officer, you then go around the building to customs, so they can stamp your vehicle. Belize customs agents will put a stamp in your passport for the vehicle. Be sure to have the paperwork they asked you to keep at the initial Mexico Belize border crossing handy. The official will go out to the vehicle to verify that the paperwork for the vehicle is for the same vehicle.
Guatemala Border Crossing
After clearing the vehicle through customs, you will need to pass through a fumigation stand, as they fumigate the vehicle. This will cost around $17Q.
Drive ahead and park to the right so you can enter the covered plaza area. Your first step here is to head to the right for migration to receive your passport stamp to enter the country. Simple and straightforward process.
After you get a stamp, you’ll continue to the customs booth to the right. Here you will have to provide a copy of your passport with the Guatemala entrance stamp, a copy of the vehicle registration, and you’ll need to show the originals of each.
They will then print out a bill for 160q, take that and go over to the bank window and pay. Then you’ll bring back the stamped half of your receipt to customs to receive your paperwork and a sticker for the windshield.
Then you can hop in your vehicle and continue down the road where you’ll encounter a barricaded or gated road where you can talk to the officials and show them your paperwork. If everything is in order, they will open the barricade to let you pass through.
From the border crossing to the town of El Remate (which is where we wanted to go before the Tikal Ruins) takes about one-hour driving. But since we did this crossing so late in the afternoon, it was about to turn dark and we just decided to stay in the town of Melchor de Mencos, right on the other side of the border.
The town of Melchor de Mencos is certainly nothing to write home about, but it makes for an easy stop either before or after a border crossing. If you're looking for a bite to eat in Melchor de Mencos, there is a little restaurant named: "La Morenita El Centro", it's pretty good. You can get a big meal for about $25.Q ($3. USD).
Again, this was a pretty simple and straightforward border crossing that posed no serious challenges. Our time in Guatemala was one of the absolute highlights of the entire drive through Central America, so I hope you enjoy it too!
As soon as our passports were stamped we exited the Belize immigration office into the unknown. A minivan driver approached us the moment we walked out and quoted us GTQ 50 each to reach our intended destination of El Remate.
The minivan driver then assigns us an escort to walk to the Guatemala immigration building and back. We quickly had a change of hearth after realizing how easy this border crossing was. The Guatemala immigration was barely 50 meters away. Google maps indicated a bus terminal right after the border too. And so we inform our escort that we would instead find our own way rather than joining them. The dude was not very happy, but we insisted not joining them. We realized we had made an impulsive decision accepting their offer without checking other options. After all, it was only 10am in the morning…we had all the time to take a look around, find other transport options and plan our journey. Crossing the border into Guatemala was then SUPER smooth. There was no queue, there was no fee to pay and in no time we were across.
Anyways, Central America introduced us to it’s forex services
We exchanged a small amount of money for GTQ7 per USD1 and off we walked the streets of Melchor de Mencos’ town.
Just Past the Belize Border (Into Guatemala)
After crossing the border (from Belize into Guatemala), we had to walk over a bridge, which lead us to our first Guatemala’s town.
Western Belize – Melchor De Mencos At Guatemala Border
Most traffic between Guatemala and Belize is in the west, five miles from the last major population center Benque Viejo del Carmen. The Belize customs and immigration offices are about 200 yards from a bridge that crosses the Mopan River into the Guatemalan municipality called Melchor de Mencos, Peten.
Between the Guatemala border outpost and the actual bridge is an area of about 5 acres called "No Man's Land". This is Guatemala territory and several bars, restaurants, taxi stands and shops line this area. This area is popular with Belizean locals (who cross over to Guatemalan), to tank up on Mexican & American beers (which is much cheaper), than local Belizean beers.
The town of Melchor de Mencos, Peten is a rapidly growing municipality, the town is expanding at a rapid pace. There are numerous bars and a sprawling market in the downtown area. Prices of goods are generally about 25 % cheaper compared to Belize and many Belizeans and tourists go across daily to get bargains, eat or just pass the time. Some Belizeans and expats resident in Belize own property in Melchor de Mencos, primarily as a weekend or vacation retreat, and to take advantage of reasonable prices on anything from food, fuel to telephone and internet access.
There are (3) banks which can be found in Melchor, the largest being the Banco De Desarollo Rural BANRURAL. The largest super market is government subsidized and offers most every consumer need, from canned and packaged goods, to beer, processed meats, clothing and basic medications. The supermarket is located right next to the central park and opposite the sprawling market. Both the supermarket and market are open on weekends to service locals and the throngs of Belizeans that travel to Melchor in search of bargains.
There are many small shops and souvenir stalls that cater to the tourists, mostly concentrated on the Calle del Comercio. The main bus lines Linia Dorada and Fuente Del Norte have their terminal right at the Melchor Border and mini buses and several taxis are conveniently located in the same area just before and after the main bridge linking Belize and Guatemala. Other mini and tourist buses are located at the Central Park where travelers can get a quick meal from several comedores (small restaurants) in the area and food stall vendors. Of note is that the attractive tourist destination of Rio Dulce, Livingston Guatemala, so loved by cruisers and international boaters is also accessible from Belize’s western border by road.