Cancun To Caye Caulker: The 4 BEST & Easiest Ways To Travel

Ready to swap city hustle for laid-back island vibes? Let’s explore the best and easiest ways to journey from Cancun to Caye Caulker, ensuring a seamless and stress-free adventure in the Caribbean.

Are you dreaming of a tropical escape from the crazy streets of Cancun to the laid-back paradise of Caye Caulker? If you’re seeking the best and easiest ways to journey from Mexico’s busy city to Belize’s serene island, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect guide.

However, navigating the journey from Cancun to Caye Caulker can be a bit daunting, with considerations like transportation options, border crossings, and travel logistics. But fear not! I’ll be your travel companion, providing insider tips and essential information to ensure your journey is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

As someone who has done multiple trips in Belize and Mexico, I have come to know the public transport systems between towns all too well. Surprisingly enough I have also done the Mexico and Belize border crossing a handful of times! So let me share my expertise to help you navigate this route and reach your island paradise with ease.

Whether you’re a solo adventurer seeking new horizons, a couple in search of a romantic getaway, or a family craving sun-soaked fun, this guide caters to travelers of all kinds. From budget-conscious backpackers to luxury seekers, everyone can find valuable information to plan their trip.

So, join me as I let you know all there is about traveling to Caye Caulker from Cancun. From transport options, timings, prices, booking and more!

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo

Cancun To Caye Caulker Distance

The distance between Cancun and Caye Caulker is approximately 370 kilometers / 230 miles. However, traveling this route involves more than just a straight-line distance.

Typically, the journey includes a combination of road and ferry travel, as well as a border crossing.

Cancun To Caye Caulker Travel Time

The total travel time from Cancun to Caye Caulker can vary significantly based on your mode of transportation and the specific connections you choose.

However, to give a general idea, the fastest overland method will still take you between 8 to 10 hours to make this journey with minimal delays. Therefore make sure to set aside an entire day for travel and don’t make any other plans.

Personally, this journey took me nearly 12 hours using public transport. However, this can be quicker using taxis or taking the ferry from Chetumal, which will decrease the amount of transport changes you will need to do.

A man walking down a wooden dock labeled 'Private Dock,' carrying a cooler towards the turquoise waters of Caye Caulker. Palm fronds frame the shot, and another dock is visible in the distance. Travelers from Cancun to Caye Caulker can enjoy private oceanfront spots like this one.
one of the wharfs in caye caulker surrounded by sargassum
Rows of colorful bicycles are parked under palm trees near a 'Snow Route' sign and a thatched-roof beach hut on Caye Caulker. A 'Bikes Get Stolen Only' sign adds a humorous touch to this relaxed Cancun to Caye Caulker vibe
bikes lined up along the beach in caye caulker

Fly From Cancun To Caye Caulker

Flying from Cancun to Caye Caulker is a good option for those looking to minimize travel time and aren’t too fussed about expenses. However, it’s important to note that there are no direct flights.

The first leg of your journey will be flying from Cancun International Airport to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. This flight generally takes about 1 to 1.5 hours and is operated by Tropic Air. Prices for a one-way ticket typically range from $250.00 to $300.00 for economy class, so it’s not cheap. They do occasionally have sales, so keep an eye out.

Once in Belize City, you have a couple of options:

Domestic Flight: You can continue by air with a short domestic flight from Belize City to Caye Caulker. Local airlines like Tropic Air and Maya Island Air offer frequent flights to Caye Caulker, typically taking about 10 to 20 minutes. This is by far the quickest way to reach the island from Belize City.

Water Taxi: Alternatively, if you prefer a more scenic route, you can take a taxi from the airport to the water taxi terminal and catch a boat to Caye Caulker. The water taxi ride takes about 45 minutes and provides a refreshing experience traveling across the Caribbean Sea.

Combining the international and domestic flights, the total air travel time from Cancun to Caye Caulker, excluding layovers and transfer times, can be around 2 to 3 hours. Including layover time at Belize City Airport, you should plan for at least half a day of travel. Therefore, flying can significantly reduce your travel time compared to road and sea routes if timed well, offering more time to enjoy the beautiful destination of Caye Caulker.

Aerial view from a plane window showcasing the turquoise waters and sandy coastline when flying out of cancun
flying out of cancun in mexico

Bus From Cancun To Caye Caulker

Traveling from Cancun to Caye Caulker by bus and ferry is one of the most economical and adventurous ways to make the journey. This option involves multiple stages, primarily bus travel to Chetumal or Belize City followed by a ferry to Caye Caulker.

In terms of timing you will be best off traveling Cancun to Chetumal and then taking a ferry to Caye Caulker as this route you can do within 1 day. Traveling via Belize City means you will need to spend overnight there before heading to the islands.

A passenger's view inside a bus traveling from Cancun to Caye Caulker. The image shows a pair of knees in shorts, a bottle of water in the seat pocket, and a headrest with a paper cover labeled 'ADO'. The bus interior includes blue seats and ample legroom.
a surprising amount of legroom on the bus
Interior of an ADO bus traveling from Cancun to Caye Caulker. The bus features seat-back displays and Wi-Fi signs visible on the rear door, offering connectivity during the journey. The shot is taken from a passenger's perspective, showing blue headrests and rows of seats.
interior of the ado bus

Bus From Cancun To The Water Ferry Terminal

The first leg of the trip involves taking a bus from Cancun to somewhere with a water taxi terminal, either Chetumal (Mexico) or Belize City (Belize).

Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo is located right at the Mexico-Belize border. The bus ride takes approximately 5 to 6 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Prices for a one-way ticket range from $25 to $40 USD, with variations depending on the class of service and the time of booking. There are numerous departures daily so you will have no issue planning the timing correctly.

Alternatively, you can also take a bus from Cancun to Belize City, which will be quite a long travel day, but it is a direct service where you will also get assistance crossing the border. This option offers a budget-friendly solution, allowing you to travel between the two destinations for just $70.00, and with a travel time of approximately 10 hours.

ADO is one of the major bus companies offering comfortable, reliable service on this route. They provide first-class and deluxe options, which include amenities such as air conditioning, reclining seats, and onboard entertainment. This is no doubt mine, and many other travelers, the number 1 bus choice in Mexico.

A screenshot showing the travel details of a bus route from Cancún to Belize City, part of a journey from Cancún to Caye Caulker. The ticket lists a departure time of 07:10 from Cancún and arrival at 17:25 in Belize City, with a fare of 1,186 MXN. The amenities of the Primera Clase service include air conditioning, baggage handling, electrical connections, HD screens, and restroom facilities.
booking the ado bus on my phone from cancun to belize
A large, brightly colored red bus parked at a bus terminal in Cancun, Mexico. The terminal features numbered signs and a modern roof structure, with passengers and staff moving in the background. Cancun to Caye Caulker travelers often start their journey from this terminal.
at the bus terminal in cancun

Ferry To Caye Caulker

In terms of taking the ferry to Caye Caulker, I always recommend and use Belize Express Water Taxi, whether that is from Chetumal or Belize City they operate both routes.

From Chetumal:

Once you arrive at the ADO station in Chetumal you will find many taxis more than happy to take you to the water taxi terminal. Typically they charge a fixed rate of 200 MXN / $12.00 so if you are traveling solo try find some other people heading the same way to share the car with.

San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi operates one departure a day from Chetumal to Caye Caulker. This departs at 3.30 pm and arrives in Caye Caulker at 5.45 pm, costing $77.00. Check in opens 1 hour beforehand and you will also need to go through immigration here.

As there are numerous departures daily from Cancun to Chetumal I recommend booking a bus that arrives between 12 pm and 2 pm. This way you can have lunch when you arrive and ensure all documents are prepared to cross the border.

From Belize City:

Unfortunately, if you plan to take the water taxi after the bus from Cancun you will need to spend the night in Belize City as the last ferry departs at 5.30 pm whereas the bus arrives at the terminal at 5.25 pm.

The San Pedro Belize Express offers several departures throughout the day from the Marine Terminal located in Belize City. This journey from Belize City to Caye Caulker typically takes 45 minutes to an hour and costs $25.00 for a one-way ticket.

Aerial view from a boat deck showing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea surrounding Caye Caulker, Belize. The words 'No Step' are visible on the deck, and a metallic railing frames the view
catching the ferry to caye caulker

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo

Taxi To Caye Caulker From Cancun

Traveling directly by taxi from Cancun to Caye Caulker is not possible, instead, you will require a combination of land and sea transportation. However, you can use a taxi for certain parts of the journey to streamline your journey.

Just be aware this is expensive and honestly, I simply recommend taking the bus.

‘The first leg involves taking a taxi from Cancun to Chetumal. This is quite a long distance for a taxi ride, covering approximately 380 kilometers. The drive can take around 5 to 6 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Hiring a taxi for this long-distance trip can be expensive, potentially costing upwards of $200 to $300 USD.

From Chetumal, I recommend taking the ferry directly to Caye Caulker. San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi operates one departure a day at 3.30 pm and arrives in Caye Caulker at 5.45 pm, costing $77.00.

Shared Shuttle From Cancun To Caye Caulker

Unfortunately at this stage, I don’t know of any shared shuttle options from Cancun to Caye Caulker. I think this is for the best anyway, as even the one I know of from Bacalar to Belize City isn’t the best and is quite pricey.

Once again if you are keen to travel overland I recommend taking the bus to Chetumal and from there taking the ferry to Caye Caulker.

Crossing The Land Border From Mexico To Belize

When traveling from Cancun to Caye Caulker via land, crossing the border between Mexico and Belize is a key part of the journey.

The land border crossing is located at Subteniente López, near Chetumal, Quintana Roo and the entry point into Belize is Santa Elena, Corozal District.

Documents Required for Crossing:

  • Passport: A valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining.
  • Tourist Card (FMM): If you’ve been in Mexico for more than 7 days, you will need to present your FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple). Ensure you have a physical copy of your airline receipt showing the FMM fee payment if applicable.
  • Visa: Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Belize. Most travelers from the U.S., Canada, the EU, and the Commonwealth nations can enter Belize visa-free for up to 30 days.

When arriving in Mexico a departure fee is often included in your flight ticket or bus fare. If not, you may be charged around 558 MXN / $30.00. Keep a copy of your ticket or receipt as proof.

There is no fee for entering Belize, but an exit fee is required when departing Belize (usually around $20 USD).

Border facilities are typically open from 6 AM to 10 PM, but schedules may vary. I recommend you try to cross during daylight hours for safety.

A stunning aerial view from a plane window revealing the vibrant turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea surrounding the coastline of Caye Caulker, Belize. The foreground shows the plane's metallic railing, while below, dense mangrove forests, a winding road, and a sandy shoreline characterize the island. This captivating sight greets travelers flying from Cancun to Caye Caulker, offering a glimpse of the paradise below
flying over some of the islands in belize

Is There An Exit Fee For Mexico?

When exiting Mexico, there isn’t an exit fee to consider. However, if your stay in Mexico exceeds 7 days, you’re required to have a tourist permit known as an FMM. This fee is typically included in your plane ticket or collected upon your entry via a land border.

Unfortunately, certain border officials may attempt to levy this fee again upon departure, exploiting the possibility that travelers may lack evidence of previous payment. Additionally, some transportation companies may participate in this practice, charging each passenger 1,136 MXN / $56.00.

To circumvent these complications, it is advisable to bring a hard copy of your airline receipt that clearly indicates the FMM fee has been paid. While digital proof might be dismissed, a physical copy provides a more reliable safeguard.

I used this method myself and the border official quickly waived the fee when I showed them my airline receipt.

Caye Caulker Travel Tips

Now you know how exactly to get to Caye Caulker let’s find out some things you may want to know during your adventures in this island paradise.

Where To Stay In Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is a small island, so finding a good place to stay shouldn’t be a problem. Getting around is easy too, most people either walk or cycle, so location isn’t a huge concern.

I stayed at Bella’s Backpackers during my time on the island and had a fantastic experience. It’s one of the few hostels on Caye Caulker and has upgraded since my last visit, adding air conditioning to more dorm rooms (which is much needed in the tropical climate).

While Bella’s has mixed reviews online, I believe that’s largely due to travelers unfamiliar with hostel life who book purely for the price. Hostels generally have basic facilities, which can affect ratings. Despite that, the vibe was great, I made loads of friends, and it was perfect for what I needed. That said, the showers are in a separate building, some windows lack curtains, and the “blanket” is basically a sheet.

If you’re looking for something a bit nicer, it’s worth spending a little more for a stay you’ll truly enjoy.

Bellas Backpackers Caye Caulker

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

Looking for a tropical paradise with plenty to do? Caye Caulker is the place to be! Here’s a roundup of the best things to do on the island:

Shop and Eat at Local Markets and Restaurants: Caye Caulker is a haven not just for nature lovers, but for foodies and shoppers too. The main street is lined with markets and shops selling local handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, art, and more. And the food? Oh, it’s amazing! Try delicious Belizean dishes like lobster, conch, rice and beans, fry jacks, and stew chicken from the street stalls and local restaurants.

Snorkel or Dive in Crystal Clear Waters: Join one of the many snorkeling or diving tours to explore the stunning reef or even visit the iconic Great Blue Hole, a massive sinkhole plunging over 400 feet deep. The marine life is incredible, and the clear waters make it easy to admire the underwater beauty.

Swim with Manatees: One of the coolest things you can do in Caye Caulker is swim with manatees. These gentle marine mammals love the warm Belizean waters. Book a tour with a local operator to get up close and personal with these curious creatures.

Watch the Sunset and Dance at Reggae Bars: Caye Caulker has a vibrant nightlife, especially on weekends. Catch a stunning sunset at the Split, Iguana Reef Inn, or the Caye Caulker Water Taxi dock. Or hop on a sunset cruise with drinks, snacks, and music. After the sun goes down, head to a reggae bar and dance the night away with locals and fellow travelers. Expect live music, DJs, karaoke, fire shows, and more.

Feed Stingrays at Iguana Reef Inn: Every evening around 5 p.m., the staff at Iguana Reef Inn feed the stingrays that gather at their private beach and pier. You can join in for free and even feed the stingrays by hand. They’re super friendly, and unless you step on them, you don’t need to worry about getting stung!

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo

FAQs About Traveling To Caye Caulker From Cancun

How do I get from Caye Caulker to Cancún?

To travel from Caye Caulker to Cancún, take a ferry to Belize City, then a bus or flight to Cancun, Mexico. Both buses and flights operate daily, however the later can be quite expensive.

How do I get to Caye Caulker from Mexico?

To reach Caye Caulker from Mexico, take an ADO bus from Cancun to Chetumal, where you can then catch a water taxi to Caye Caulker. Alternatively, fly to Belize City and take a water taxi or a short domestic flight.

Is there a ferry from Mexico to Belize?

Yes, a ferry connects Mexico and Belize. The San Pedro Belize Express ferry operates from Chetumal, Mexico, to San Pedro and Caye Caulker in Belize. It’s a convenient option for travelers crossing the border by sea.

Wrap Up: How To Travel From Cancun To Caye Caulker

Traveling from Cancun to Caye Caulker is an exciting journey that will take you from Mexico’s cityscape and Belize’s tranquil island life.

Whether you choose to fly via Belize City for convenience or take the scenic route with a combination of bus and ferry, the trip offers a rich experience full of adventure.

Remember to plan ahead, keep your travel documents handy, and embrace the journey as part of the adventure itself. With these steps in mind, you’ll be soaking in the sun and relaxing to the rhythm of “Go Slow” on Caye Caulker’s sandy shores in no time.

Any Questions? Let Me Know In The Comments!


Ready to swap city hustle for laid-back island vibes? Let's explore the best and easiest ways to journey from Cancun to Caye Caulker, ensuring a seamless and stress-free adventure in the Caribbean.

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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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