1. ADO Express Bus
In September 2011, the Mexican bus company ADO began two new daily services to Belize City – one from Cancún and one from Mérida. The ADO buses are first class with 44 comfortable seats, video, toilet and air conditioning that seems to have only two settings, off and freeze, so dress warmly. In Belize City, buses use the Belize City bus terminal (commonly known as Novelo’s) located on West Collet Canal. These buses do not go to Chetumal in either direction.
On the Cancún route, stops include Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Corozal and Orange Walk, but passengers are not allowed to use these buses to travel within Belize, for example, to travel from Belize City to Corozal. Passengers can board the bus at Orange Walk or Corozal only if their final destinations are in Mexico. On the Belize City to Cancún run, the bus stops at Cancún airport, but on the Cancún to Belize City run, there is no stop at Cancún airport.
On the Mérida route, also known as the Hospital route, stops include the most important hospitals in Mérida. As of January 2014, this bus runs only 4 days per week, departing from Mérida on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Cancún to Belize City
Departs from Cancún bus terminal daily at 10:15 pm with stops at Playa del Carmen (11:40 pm), Tulum (12:45 am), Corozal and Orange Walk. Arrives in Belize City about 6:30 am.
Fares to BC (Jan 2013): MX$496 from Cancún; MX$460 from Playa; MX$400 from Tulum.
Trip time: 8:10 hours from Cancún.
Belize City to Cancún
Departs from BC bus terminal daily at 7:30 pm with stops at Orange Walk (9:00 pm), Corozal (10:00 pm), Tulum (4:00 am), Playa del Carmen (5:00 am) and Cancún Airport (6:30 am). Arrives at Cancún bus terminal at 7:00 am.
Fares (2012): BZ$55.00 to Tulum; BZ$63.00 to Playa del Carmen; BZ$79.00 to Cancún.
Mérida to Belize City
Departs from Mérida Thursday through Sunday at 9 pm with stops at Corozal and Orange Walk.
Fare to BC (Jan 2013): MX$496
Trip time: 8:30 hours.
Belize City to Mérida
Departs from BC bus terminal Friday through Monday at 7:00 pm with stops at Orange Walk (8:30 pm), Corozal (9:30 pm), and the most important hospitals in Mérida (ORAM, Juárez, Clínica Mérida, Star Médica). Arrives at Mérida at 6:00 am.
Fare (2012): BZ$79.00 (one way).
Information & ticket sales in Belize:
Belize City: 636-5256, 669-9683
Orange Walk: 624-8200, 302-2240
Corozal: the MCD Art Shop (opposite bus terminal) opens at 8:30 pm to sell tickets; tel: 663-3014.
If dialing from outside Belize, the country code for Belize is 501.
2. San Juan Travel Services, a Guatemalan company, provides Express bus service between Flores, Belize City and Chetumal. In Belize City, buses arrive at and depart from the Marine Terminal on North Front Street near the Swing Bridge, and are not scheduled to stop anywhere else in Belize. Buses operate on Sundays and public holidays. Not all buses are air-conditioned. The agent in Belize City for these services is Mundo Maya Travel located at the Brown Sugar Market Place on North Front Street, Belize City. Phone: (501) 223 1200 / 663 5957. Email: email@example.com
Belize City to Chetumal (161 km / 100 miles / about 3 hours)
The foreign bus companies are not allowed to pick up passengers in Belize and take them to Chetumal.
Chetumal to Belize City (161 km / 100 miles / about 3 hours)
San Juan bus waits outside the ADO terminal and departs daily at 7:00 am; US$10.00
After Belize City, the bus continues to Flores, Guatemala (400 pesos from Chetumal to Flores).
(updated: 20 January 2013)
3. Regular Buses Between Corozal and Chetumal
Several Belizean bus companies (BBOC, Chell, Gilharry, Russell, Tillett, T-Line, Venus) provide Regular bus service between Corozal and Chetumal. The buses are mostly used Bluebird school buses; not very comfortable, not air-conditioned and are not well equipped to handle luggage, but they are cheap! In Chetumal, buses wait at Nuevo Mercado (New Market), about 1 km from the ADO terminal.
Buses to Chetumal depart from Corozal bus terminal about every half hour beginning at 7:00 am; last departure at about 7:00 pm. Most of the buses that go to Chetumal originate from Belize City and Orange Walk. There are also small mini-buses and taxi vans that go from Corozal to the border.
Buses to Corozal depart from Chetumal about every half hour beginning at 4:00 am. I don’t know the exact departure time of the last bus from Nuevo Mercado, but it’s between 5:45 and 6:30 pm (Belize time).
Duration and cost: about 45 minutes (mainly due to the time it takes for a bus load of people to get through two immigration points), and about BZ$3.00.
4. Water Taxi Between Ambergris Caye and Chetumal
Two water taxi companies provide transportation between San Pedro and Chetumal, and both have connecting services to Caye Caulker. Check the websites for schedules and fares. Trip time: 90 minutes.
a) San Pedro Water Jets International:
b) San Pedro – Belize Express:
In low tourist seasons, the companies have operated on alternate days so only one boat per day. When daylight saving time is in effect in Mexico (April to October), the companies sometimes change their departure times. Confirm before travelling.
In Chetumal, water taxis use the main pier, “Muelle Fiscal”, which is close to the big Government building, “Palacio Gobierno”, at the waterfront. Check the map of Chetumal above for the locations of the bus terminals and the pier (also visible on Google Earth).
If arriving at the Chetumal ADO bus terminal, it might be possible to buy a water taxi ticket at the bus terminal, but then you might get pushed into an overpriced taxi. I’d just go outside to get a taxi, go directly to the pier and get prices from both water taxi companies (their offices are beside each other). It’s about 3.5 km from the ADO terminal to the pier. A taxi should take about 10 minutes, and cost MX$15 (that’s pesos). The taxi driver might not know about the water taxi, but he/she will know the pier. Write it down if you can’t pronounce it.
(updated: 24 January 2013)
5. Flight Between Cancún and Belize
On 25 March 2013, Tropic Air will begin flights between Belize City Philip Goldson International Airport and Aeropuerto Internacional de Cancún. Tickets are on sale now through March 24 at an introductory fare of US$309 round trip from Belize City to Cancún for travel between March 25 and December 15, 2013. Fuel surcharge, taxes and other conditions may apply.
The schedule (Sunday through Friday; no flight on Saturday):
Departs PGIA (BZE) at 11:30 am; arrives at Cancún (CUN) at 1:15 pm.
Departs Cancún (CUN) at 2:15 pm; arrives at PGIA (BZE) at 4:00 pm.
All times are local, but confirm times after Mexico begins DST in April.
Flights can be booked at www.tropicair.com, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (501) 226-2012, or through a travel agent.
6. Renting a Car in Mexico and Driving to Belize
I have no personal experience with this, but here are the names of two car rental companies that allow vehicles into Belize:
In Chetumal, the Europcar Central office is located at or near Sam’s Club, and I think they have an office at the airport. They have one or two cars that are allowed into Belize.
In a travel forum, a traveller reported that Avant Rent a Car in Mexico allows cars into Belize. I haven’t confirmed this.
In Belize, drivers must have insurance. Insurance can be purchased at the border.
7. Chetumal Bus or Taxi then Belizean Bus or Taxi
It is possible to travel from Chetumal to the border with a Chetumal bus or taxi. Buses depart from near the Museum of Maya Culture and cost about MX$10. A taxi from Chetumal city to the border takes about 15 minutes and costs MX$70. Depending on the driver, the taxi might proceed across the bridge and continue to the Belizean customs/immigration building. Wherever the taxi stops, it should be easy to find a Belizean bus/minibus or Belizean taxi to continue to Corozal. Bus fare from the border is BZ$1 or $2, and taxi fare is BZ$25 (but possible to negotiate a lower fare).