Bacalar To Caye Caulker: The ULTIMATE Travel Guide 2024

Find out how exactly to travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker to make your travel day as seamless as possible. From the border crossing, transport options, what to expect and so much more!

If you’re searching for the best ways to travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, you’ve landed in the right spot.

Mapping out the journey from Bacalar to Caye Caulker might seem daunting, with considerations like transportation options, border crossings, and travel logistics. But fear not! I’ll provide insider tips and information to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey.

I have been lucky enough to do multiple trips to Belize and Mexico and the border crossing is one I have done a handful of times as well. This corner of the world is absolutely beautiful and is 100% worth the travel day to get there.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a beach lover, or a culture buff eager to explore diverse landscapes, this guide caters to travelers of all interests and preferences. From solo adventurers to group explorers, everyone can find valuable information to make their journey more straightforward.

So join me as we embark on a journey from Bacalar’s emerald waters to Caye Caulker’s turquoise shores. I will explain all you need to know including the different transport methods, timing, how to book and so much more!

🚗 How I Book Transport In Mexico & Belize: GuateGo

Bacalar To Caye Caulker Distance

The journey from Bacalar, Mexico to Caye Caulker, Belize covers an approximate distance of 165 kilometers / 103 miles in a straight line. This trip is relatively easy, taking travelers through diverse landscapes as they move from the serene lagoons of Bacalar to the laid-back, sandy streets of Caye Caulker.

Despite the relatively short distance, the journey involves a blend of land and sea travel, but thankfully now its easy than ever thanks to the growing transport options available!

Caye Caulker From Bacalar Travel Time

The journey from Bacalar to Caye Caulker can vary in duration, though it typically ranges from 5 to 6 hours.

The exact timeframe depends on several factors, including traffic conditions, border-crossing procedures, and the chosen mode of transportation, however it should all be around this 6 hour mark.

It’s important to note that while buses adhere to a fixed schedule, private shuttles, and taxis offer greater flexibility in terms of departure and arrival times. Also if you decide to book a shuttle you may find yourself waiting around for other passengers, which can cause delays.

Transport MethodPriceDuration
Bus & Ferry Via Chetual$71.00 6 hours
Bus & Ferry Via Belize City$61.006.5 hours
Tasha Amy standing on the deck of a sailboat in Bacalar Lagoon, wearing a floral kimono over her swimsuit. The calm, turquoise water and partly cloudy sky create a picturesque backdrop, highlighting the idyllic conditions for sailing in Bacalar, part of the journey from Bacalar to Caye Caulker.
a lagoon cruise on the Bacalar lagoon is a must do!

How To Choose The Right Transport Method For You

Choosing the right transport method for your journey depends on several factors, including budget, time constraints, and personal preferences.

If you prioritize convenience and speed, consider ferry options, even if they come at a higher cost.

For those on a tighter budget, buses, and shared taxis can be more economical, though they may require more time and multiple transfers.

Additionally, researching the reliability and schedules of various transport options will help avoid unexpected delays.

So read on to figure out the best options for you.

Ferry To Caye Caulker From Bacalar – Easiest

Taking a ferry from Bacalar to Caye Caulker is no doubt the easiest way to make the journey.

Start by taking a bus from Bacalar to Chetumal. Buses run frequently throughout the day and night, and the journey typically takes about an hour. The cost is around $4.00.

Alternatively, you can take a colectivo or a taxi, which might be slightly more expensive but faster.

Upon arriving in Chetumal, take a short taxi ride to the water taxi terminal. This should cost a few dollars and takes just a few minutes.

Two ferry operators serve the route between Chetumal and Caye Caulker: San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi and Water Jets International.

Despite some sources suggesting that these companies alternate their operating days, San Pedro Belize Express now offers daily services from Chetumal to Caye Caulker. This is great for travelers as it provides more flexibility and convenience.

Known for their reliability and popularity among travelers, San Pedro Belize Express is a top choice. I have always experienced smooth, comfortable, and timely journeys with San Pedro Belize Express, even during peak travel seasons like Easter.

The ferry trip takes about 3 to 3.5 hours, including a brief stop in San Pedro for immigration processing.

San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi15:30 – 17:4515:30 – 17:4515:30 – 17:4515:30 – 17:4515:30 – 17:4515:30 – 17:4515:30 – 17:45
Water Jets International10:00 – 12:1510:00 – 12:1510:00 – 12:1510:00 – 12:15
Close-up of a woman with red hair sitting on a wooden dock, smiling at the camera. Behind her, the vibrant waters and dock structures of Caye Caulker create a picturesque background, showcasing the joy of the destination.
on the ferry with caye caulker in the distance

How To Buy Ferry Tickets To Caye Caulker

Now one thing I will say is prices for ferries keep going up in Belize, it’s pretty crazy. Even in the month I had between two trips to the country prices has already increased twice!

Therefore I do recommend checking the website for the latest pricing, however at the time of writing:

Water Jets International charges $82.00 for a one way ticket from Chetumal to Caye Caulker

San Pedro Belize Express charges $77.00 for a one way ticket from Chetumal to Caye Caulker

Booking tickets in advance is recommended due to the route’s popularity, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Online it does say you have to book 24 hours in advance, however, if there are spare seats on the day they won’t turn you away.

The Water Jets International ticket office, providing ferry services to Caye Caulker, San Pedro, and Chetumal. The office features a sign with contact details and a promotional image of the Blue Hole. This setup offers a glimpse into the administrative side of traveling between these popular locations.
the waterjets international office at chetumal
An empty waiting area at a ferry terminal, with black stanchions guiding passengers and metal chairs arranged in rows. Large windows offer a view of the sea, creating a bright and airy space. This image reflects the calm before passengers board the ferry to destinations such as Caye Caulker.
an empty waiting area for the ferries to caye caulker from chetumal

Crossing The Border Via Ferry

Caye Caulker When taking the ferry from Chetumal to Caye Caulker or other destinations in Belize, a crucial step is stopping in San Pedro for immigration clearance. This ensures compliance with Belizean border regulations and is a necessary part of the journey.

The ferry staff will guide you through the immigration process.

Upon arrival in San Pedro, immigration officers will direct you to the appropriate lines. You will need to pay a $2.00 Belize port fee during this stop.

The main tourist fee is typically paid when you exit the country.

Here’s a general timeline for your travel day:

1:30 PM: Arrive at the Chetumal ferry port at least two hours before departure.

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Complete customs paperwork and departure procedures for leaving Mexico. During this time, you will also wait in line for immigration to get your passport stamped and pay any applicable fees, such as the Mexico tourism fee if it hasn’t been paid already.

3:30 PM: Board the ferry and depart for San Pedro Town.

5:30 PM: Arrive in San Pedro for immigration control, where you will get your passport stamped and pay the Belize port fee.

This timeline ensures you have ample time to complete all necessary steps and make your journey smooth and hassle-free.

Fly From Bacalar To Caye Caulker

You could consider flying from Bacalar to Belize City. To do this, take a taxi or shuttle from Bacalar to the Chetumal airport and then book a flight to Belize City.

However, it’s worth noting that there are no direct flights between these locations, meaning you might face multiple stopovers.

Due to the possible increase in travel time and complexity, this option may not be the most practical for many travelers, and isn’t one I would personally recommend as there are better options.

Bus From Bacalar To Caye Caulker – Cheapest

The cheapest way to travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker on a budget involves a mix of bus and ferry rides.

First of all, YAY, the ADO bus service has resumed, connecting Bacalar to Belize City. This budget-friendly option allows you to travel between the two destinations for about $25.

With a travel time of around 4.5 hours, it offers both affordability and a relatively quick journey, however you will need to continue to Caye Caulker via ferry so add on another hour or so.

The ADO bus operates on a limited schedule, with one daily trip at 12:00 pm, arriving at 4:35 pm. Passengers can enjoy comfortable seats, air conditioning, and a bathroom onboard for a stress-free journey.

I have used their services many times during my travels in Mexico, including several overnight trips. One downside is the potential wait time at the Mexico-Belize border for immigration processing. Be prepared for some delays while everyone is processed.

Its important to note that the last ferry from Belize City to Caye Caulker departs at 5.30 pm giving you 55 minutes to get there from the bus station and purchase your tickets. Now this timing may be a bit tight if you take the ADO bus, especially if delays are experienced at the border.

Ferry Timetable from Belize City to Caye Caulker

Departure Belize CityArrival In Caye Caulker
8.00 am8.45 am
9.00 am9.45 am
10.30 am11.15 am
12.00 pm12.45 pm
1.30 pm2.15 pm
3.00 pm3.45 pm
4.30 pm5.15 pm
5.30 pm6.15 pm
An image of the bus terminal waiting area in bacalar with red metal chairs arranged in rows. A few people are visible in the background, and one person is at the ticket counter. The setting is clean and functional, designed to accommodate travelers waiting for their bus to destinations like Bacalar and Caye Caulker.
the ado bus terminal in bacalar

Bus Companies Operating This Route

Two bus companies operate the route to Belize City from Bacalar, ADO and Marlin Espadas.

ADO Buses

  • Depart from Bacalar at 12 pm
  • Arrive in Belize City at 4.35 pm.
  • The drop-off point is at the bus terminal, which is a 5-minute taxi ride or a 15-minute walk away from the water taxi terminal
  • The cost of this bus service is 468 pesos / $27.00

Marlin Espadas

  • buses leave Bacalar at 7 am
  • Reach Belize City at 12 pm
  • They conveniently drop passengers off right next to the water taxi terminal.
  • The cost for this service is slightly higher starting at $35.00
Screenshot of a bus seat reservation app showing available and occupied seats. The seat map includes details such as the total cost of $492.00 MXN for an adult ticket, highlighting the travel planning process.
booking the bus on the ado bus
Screenshot of a payment method selection screen within a travel booking app, offering options like credit/debit cards and PayPal. The total amount of $492.00 MXN is displayed, underscoring the seamless booking process.
purchasing my tickets, however I can never use the credit/debit option for some reason, so always do paypal

🚗 How I Book Transport In Mexico & Belize: GuateGo

Taxi Or Shared Shuttle From Bacalar To Caye Caulker

Taking a taxi or a shared shuttle are honestly my personal least favorite options from traveling to Bacalar to Caye Caulker. Both similar with the bus, means you will need to stop in Belize City and transfer to a ferry heading to Caye Caulker.

Honestly with the buses now operating to Belize City and the ferry operating from Chetumal to the islands in Belize both taking a taxi or booking a shared shuttle are coming less and less popular.

And this method was hard enough when the buses or ferries weren’t operating. It near seemed impossible to find a contact for a shuttle service!


  • More of a private journey
  • Fewer people to cross the border alongside


  • A long day spent in vehicles
  • Time at the border so swap cars/vans
  • More Pricey
Small open-air luggage claim area with a large sign indicating "Luggage Claim" and arrows pointing downwards. The area is surrounded by greenery and rustic buildings, capturing the arrival experience at the san pedro express water terminal in belize city
waiting around at the water terminal in belize city

Crossing The Land Border

Perhaps you decide to take the bus, or ignore my advice about doing a shared shuttle from Bacalar to Belize City you will find yourself needing to cross the land border from Mexico to Belize.

Make sure to have all necessary documents, such as your passport and visa, ready before reaching the border.

Once you have completed the border crossing process, you can easily continue on to Belize City using any of the methods mentioned above. As always, be mindful of your belongings and stay aware of your surroundings while traveling.

Interior of a bus with rows of seats and passengers seated, some illuminated by soft light. The cozy and organized setting emphasizes the comfort of bus travel between Bacalar and Caye Caulker.
inside view of the bus
Scenic view from a bus window showing the early morning or evening sky with a hint of sunlight illuminating the horizon. The roadside greenery passes by, providing a tranquil snapshot of the journey from Bacalar to Caye Caulker.
on the ado bus with average views

Steps For Crossing The Land Border From Mexico To Belize

Here are the steps for Crossing the Land Border from Mexico to Belize to make your experience as straightforward and stress free as possible:

Step 1: Gather All Necessary Documents

Before starting your journey, ensure you have all necessary travel documents. This includes your passport, which should be valid for at least six months from your date of entry.

Check if you need a visa; most travelers from North America and Europe do not require a visa for stays up to 30 days in Belize. It’s also helpful to carry copies of your travel itinerary and proof of onward travel.

Have your departure fee from Mexico ready. It’s usually included in airfare, but for land and sea crossings, it’s paid at the border. Departure fee from Mexico to Belize is 1,136 Mexican peso / $56.00.

Step 2. Exit Mexico

Upon arrival at the border, head to the Mexican immigration office. Here, you’ll need to get your exit stamp. Ensure you have your passport and any necessary documents ready.

Be prepared to show proof that you’ve paid the Mexican tourist tax, if applicable. This is often included in your airfare, but if not, you may need to pay it at the border

Step 3. Crossing The Border

After completing the exit procedures, you will cross a short distance to the Belize immigration office. If you have booked a bus or shuttle they will have a Belizean vechicle meet you at the Mexican immigration office to swap into.

However, if you are doing this DIY style the crossing can typically be done on foot or with a taxi, which should be inexpensive.

Step 4. Entry Procedures in Belize

At the Belize immigration office, you will need to fill out an entry form. Present your passport and any necessary travel documents.

For most travelers from North America and Europe, a visa is not required for stays of up to 30 days. Ensure your passport is stamped for entry into Belize

Step 5. Customs Check

After immigration, you will go through customs. Declare any items if required and be ready for your luggage to be inspected.

The process is usually straightforward but can vary based on what you are bringing into the country.

Is There An Exit Fee For Mexico?

When leaving Mexico, you don’t need to worry about a specific exit fee. However, if you stayed for more than 7 days, you need a tourist permit called an FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple).

This fee is typically included in your airfare or collected when you enter Mexico at a land border.

There have been instances where border authorities or transportation providers might try to charge you again for the FMM fee when you’re leaving, taking advantage of travelers who may not have proof of prior payment.

This additional charge can be up to 1,136 MXN / $56.00 per passenger, which is a lot, especially to a budget traveler! To avoid this, it’s recommended to carry a printed receipt from your airline that clearly shows you’ve already paid the FMM fee.

Digital proofs might not always be accepted, so having a physical copy can help you avoid unnecessary charges and ensure a smoother departure.

They did try this to me at the border, but as soon as I showed my airline receipt they backed off. So in this case it does pay to research and be organised in advance.

Close-up of Tasha Amy with red hair sitting on a wooden dock, smiling at the camera. Behind her, the vibrant waters and dock structures of Caye Caulker create a picturesque background, showcasing the joy of the destination.
enjoying that belize sunshine
View of a person's legs dangling off a wooden dock, with their feet hovering above the clear, turquoise waters of Caye Caulker. The refreshing sea and bright blue sky epitomize the relaxing moments on this travel route.
relaxing on a pier over the blue waters in belize

Caye Caulker Travel Tips

Yay, that is all the ins and outs of traveling from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, so lets get into what you actually need to know once you arrive in this island paradise!

Where To Stay In Caye Caulker

When planning a trip to Caye Caulker and want to stick to a budget, there are plenty of affordable accommodations that don’t skimp on comfort or charm.

One standout is Bella’s Backpackers Hostel, known for its vibrant community vibe and organized group activities. Its a popular choice choice for solo travelers seeking to make new friends, such as myself.

During my stay at Bella’s Backpackers, I had a fantastic time meeting people. However, it does receive mixed reviews online, primarily due to its amenities.

Having stayed in hundreds of hostels myself, I believe that as long as the bed is comfortable, everything is just fine. They have also done some renovations after my stay so there are now more options for air conditioned dorm rooms which is a must!

bellas backpackers

Bellas Backpackers Caye Caulker

The most popular hostel on the islands. Rooms start from $14.00 for a dorm and make sure to upgrade if you want air-con.

Tropical Oasis

Tropical Oasis

The best hostel in Caye Caulker, and a popular choice for travelers. Dorms start from $21.00 per night.

Sea And Sun Guesthouse

Sea And Sun Guesthouse

A comfortable stay for travelers who want a private room. The rooms here start from $40.00 per night.

Blue Wave Guesthouse Caye Caulker

Blue Wave Guesthouse Caye Caulker

An excellent choice if you want a bit more privacy. Fan-cooled rooms here start from $30.00 per night.


Things To Do In Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker offers a variety of activities that cater to all interests, from underwater exploration to relaxing beach days.

Snorkeling and Diving: The Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef system in the world, is just a short boat ride from Caye Caulker. Snorkeling spots like Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley offer the chance to swim with nurse sharks and stingrays.

The Split: The Split is a popular spot on Caye Caulker, where a channel divides the island. This area is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying drinks at the Lazy Lizard bar. The clear, calm waters make it an ideal place to relax and soak up the sun.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Exploring Caye Caulker by kayak or paddleboard offers a peaceful way to take in the island’s natural beauty. Rentals are readily available, and you can paddle through the mangroves or along the coast to discover hidden beaches and observe local wildlife.

Eat Fresh Seafood: Caye Caulker boasts an array of restaurants and street vendors offering delicious, fresh seafood. Must-try dishes include grilled lobster, conch fritters, and ceviche. Popular spots such as Wish Willy’s and Rainbow Grill are known for their tasty offerings.

Caye Caulker Marine Reserve: The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve is a protected area home to vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life such as manatees. It’s an excellent spot for snorkeling and learning about marine conservation efforts in Belize.

Explore the Island by Bicycle: Renting a bike allows you to easily visit local shops, cafes, and beaches at your own pace. The island’s slow pace and friendly vibe make it perfect for leisurely rides, offering a unique way to see the sights and meet locals.

Enjoy the Nightlife: Caye Caulker has a laid-back nightlife scene with beach bars and live music. Spots like The Sports Bar and I&I Reggae Bar are popular for their relaxed atmosphere and island vibes.

🚗 How I Book Transport In Mexico & Belize: GuateGo

FAQs About Traveling To Caye Caulker From Bacalar

How to get from Bacalar to Caye Caulker Belize?

To get from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, take a bus or taxi to Chetumal, then board a ferry to Caye Caulker. Alternatively you can take a bus to Belize City, then a ferry to Caye Caulker, however this route is longer. Both these methods involve multiple transfers and border checks, so plan accordingly.

How do I go from Bacalar to Belize?

To travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, take a bus or taxi to Chetumal and then a ferry to Caye Caulker. Alternatively, take a bus to Belize City and then a ferry to Caye Caulker, though this route takes longer. Both options require multiple transfers and border checks. Plan accordingly.

Wrap Up: How To Travel From Bacalar To Caye Caulker

Traveling from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, with a border crossing is not as complicated as it sounds.

Whether you choose the direct ferry from Chetumal or the bus and ferry route via Belize City, each option has its own charm. The direct ferry is quicker and more straightforward, while the bus route allows for more exploration of Belize’s mainland.

Both routes require careful planning, involving multiple transfers and border checks. You can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip by preparing which you now are after reading this article!

Any Questions? Let Me Know In The Comments!


Come find out all you need to know about planning the ultimate Mexico and Belize itinerary. Whether you are planning to travel for 2 weeks or more than a month, I will let you know the top destinations to visit, how to get around, and more!

Want more Belize Inspiration? Check out….

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

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