San Ignacio To Flores: Crossing The Border From Belize To Guatemala

Ready to journey from San Ignacio to Flores, crossing the border from Belize to Guatemala? I will let you know the best routes, immigration procedures, and transport options for a seamless and easy travel day in Central America.


Once your adventures exploring Belize have come to an end and you are ready to explore your next destination of Guatemala it will be time to make your way from San Ignacio to Flores. If you’re eager to discover the best ways to cross the border between these two Central American countries and explore their rich history and natural beauty, you’ve landed in the right place.

Crossing the border from San Ignacio to Flores may seem like a daunting task, with concerns about immigration procedures, transportation options, and navigating unfamiliar territory. But fret not! In this guide, I’ll be your trusted travel companion, providing insider tips and essential information to ensure a smooth and hassle-free border crossing and journey between these two destinations.

Consider me your personal expert, equipped with firsthand experience navigating the route and crossing the Belize-Guatemala border. With knowledge of immigration requirements, transportation routes, and local customs, I’ll share my experience to make your travel day as stress-free as possible.

From solo adventurers to family vacationers, everyone can find valuable information to plan their cross-border adventure to Flores from San Ignacio.

So join me as I let you know how exactly to travel this route, from transport options, prices, how to book, what documents you need, and more! Let’s get into one of the easiest and most straightforward border crossings I have done to date!



🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo


San Ignacio To Flores Distance

San Ignacio, located in western Belize, is 108 kilometers / 67 miles away from Flores, a town in northern Guatemala. The journey between the two towns involves crossing the border at the Benque Viejo del Carmen-Melchor de Mencos checkpoint.

On the route you will pass through diverse landscapes, offering a scenic travel experience. The distance can be covered by various modes of transportation which I will get into below, including buses, shuttles, or private vehicles.


Flores From San Ignacio Travel Time

Travel time from San Ignacio to Flores varies depending on the mode of transportation and delays at the border crossing.

By car or shuttle, the journey typically takes around 2 to 3 hours, including the border checkpoint at Benque Viejo del Carmen-Melchor de Mencos.

Public buses or colectivos may take longer due to multiple stops along the way, however it will be a lot cheaper.

A quiet cobblestone street in a small town, lined with motorcycles and colorful buildings. The buildings feature balconies with white railings and vibrant facades. The clear blue sky provides a serene atmosphere as the street gently curves away into the distance.
picturesque scenes when arriving in flores
A red tuk-tuk marked '220' is parked on a waterfront road next to palm trees. The road is lined with low stone walls and streetlights, and the path leads to a beautiful waterfront area with blue waters reflecting the clear sky above. The scene captures the peaceful ambiance of a quiet town.
tuk tuk driving around flores

Shared Shuttle From San Ignacio To Flores

Now originally I was going to take a shared shuttle from San Ignacio to Flores just because it is such an easy option! You don’t have to worry about logistics, changing transport, etc, you just need to board the van and relax.

However, once I spent a couple of days in San Ignacio I got more comfortable and found a couple of other travelers who were heading that way using colectivos for cheaper so I decided to join them.

Nevertheless, several companies operate shared shuttle services between San Ignacio and Flores, with some offering door-to-door pickup and drop-off. You can book a shared shuttle online through travel agencies or directly with tour operators in San Ignacio.

It’s advisable to book at least a day in advance to secure your seat and confirm the pickup location and time.

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Shared shuttles generally depart from San Ignacio in the morning to ensure travelers have ample time to reach Flores and enjoy the sights. Most shuttle operators offer pickup services from hotels or a designated meeting point in the town center. Make sure to have your passport handy for the border crossing.

All up these shuttles generally take around 3 hours and cost between $20.00 to $30.00.

If you are looking to book in advance I can recommend Belize Caving Expeditions who run a shuttle from San Ignacio to Flores daily at 2.30 pm for $20.00. – this price is actually the same as I was quoted directly from the operator when I was in the Belize, so for that being the online price it is a good deal.

One thing to note as these shuttles can be slightly delayed, however in Belize that is a bit of a norm. The tour company is good at updating you on changes and when it is such a short travel day it doesn’t matter too much unless you are on a strict schedule.


Fly To Flores From San Ignacio

There is no direct flight from San Ignacio to Flores as San Ignacio does not have an international airport. However, you can travel from San Ignacio to Belize City and then take a flight from Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE).

However in order to get to Flores you first will need to fly into Guatemala City Airport (La Aurora International Airport) and then get a domestic flight to Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS) in Flores.

As you can see this quickly will turn into a full day of travel and will turn out extremely expensive as well. Therefore for those reasons I actually recommend ONLY traveling overland on this route.


Colectivo From San Ignacio To Flores

Taking a colectivo from San Ignacio to Flores is an adventurous, budget-friendly option that provides a closer look at the local culture.

This is actually a crossing I recommend if you aren’t 100% comfortable using public transport but want to test yourself. All the steps are pretty straightforward and it’s a super short travel day.

Now I have seen other bloggers write about direct shuttles, but this is no longer an option. Instead, if you are on a budget you will need to take multiple colectives in order to get to Flores.

A female backpacker with a large black backpack and wearing a black tank top, shorts, and white socks walks on a narrow sidewalk beside a parked red tarp-covered truck when traveling from san ignacio to flores. The sidewalk is raised, adjacent to a guardrail overlooking a river, and leads through a small town with colorful buildings and clear skies.
crossing the bridge to get to melchor de mencos in guatemala

Getting To The Border From San Ignacio

The first step is to reach the border town of Benque Viejo del Carmen from San Ignacio. Colectivos, shared vans that transport locals and tourists alike, operate frequently between these two towns. You can catch a colectivo from the main bus terminal in San Ignacio or flag one down on the main road.

The ride is short, typically lasting around 15-20 minutes, and costs approximately $1.00 -$1.50. The van will drop you off near the border crossing with Melchor de Mencos.

However, be aware the colectivos on the Belize side do not operate frequently to the border.

So instead I recommend taking a taxi to the border in San Ignacio, however, because it is such a short journey it is pretty cheap. You will commonly find travelers heading in this direction so it shouldn’t be hard to find someone to share a ride with, especially if you are staying at a hostel like I did.


🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo


Traveling From The Border To Flores

Once at the border you will exit Belize and enter Guatemala. You can exchange leftover Belizean dollars for Guatemala Quetzals at the border as you will need some cash.

After completing the immigration process, you’ll find a row of colectivos waiting a 5 minute walk from the border in Melchor de Mencos at this location:

Colectivos in Guatemala are typically vans that depart when they have enough passengers to fill the seats. If the vehicle isn’t full, you might have to wait a little while, but it’s generally a quick process as this route is popular among locals and tourists alike.

The journey from Melchor de Mencos to Flores takes approximately 2 hours, passing through the dense jungles and rural communities of Petén. The fare costs 40 GTQ / $5.00 making it an affordable travel option.

The road is mostly paved, although there may be some rough patches, so be prepared for a bumpy ride. We did make a couple of stops on our journey, once for the driver to buy snacks and then for a bathroom break, but since it is such a short drive we weren’t bothered.

One thing to note is the collectives terminate at the bus station on the mainland. You will then need to take a 5 minute taxi to the island of Flores otherwise you can walk, however, it may be a bit painful if you have lots of luggage.

Inside a vehicle, a driver navigates a road blocked by a group of cows during a journey from San Ignacio to Flores. Drinks sit on the dashboard while the driver waits for the cattle to clear.
stuck in a cow traffic jam
The storefront of Grupo King Express features a sign advertising 'Central de Envios Express a Estados Unidos,'at a town on the way to flores.
driving through a town on the way to flores

My Experience Taking A Colectivo To Flores From San Ignacio

So after deciding pretty last minute to cancel my shuttle and instead do the journey from San Ignacio to Flores on a budget the morning came when it was time to head to a new country.

I teamed up with a couple who I had met at the hostel a couple days prior and we flagged down a taxi on the side of the road. We split the fare three ways which worked out to $2.30 each for the 20 minute or so drive.

The driver was pretty chill helping us out with crossing tips and telling us about his life here as we follow the river closer to Guatemala. Soon enough we arrive and pile out of the taxi strapping on our backpacks.

I exchange my leftover Belize dollars here for some Guatemalan Quetzal. It doesn’t work not to too much, about $30.00 or so, but worth doing since we will need some cash for the colectivo. There are a few ATMs (known in Guatemala as Cajero 5B) in Melchor de Mencos, however they are all past the bus station.

Walking into Belize Immigration I pay the exit fee of $20.00 and get my passport scanned. I always carry a bit of USD when I travel just for these border fees. We walk a short distance through ‘no mans land’ between the two countries.

Arriving at Guatemala we again get our passports checked and the border lady seems confused by mine until I translate New Zealand to Spanish and then she lets me proceed.

It is a little bit chaotic on the other side with taxi drivers offering us a ride left right and center, as well as wanting us to exchange cash which we already had done. Nevertheless, we just continue walking forward, over the bridge at the Terminal De Buses Melchor De Mencos.

@backpackerswanderlust Goodbye #belize 🇧🇿 Hello #guatemala 🇬🇹 #travelcentralamerica #backpacking #travelsolo #sanignacio #flores #solofemaletraveler ♬ original sound – Tasha I Backpackers Wanderlust

Arriving at the colectivo / bus terminal we purchase our tickets for the next colectivo heading to Flores and jump onboard. It does take a while for other passengers to join and all up we are waiting about 30 minutes, honestly not too bad.

Soon enough the driver jumps in, starts the engine and we are away. Its a relatively short drive until we are stopping again, though the language barrier stops us from figuring out exactly why. It looked like the driver was picking up a package or snacks.

Apart from that it was a standard trip in a van, we did another stop for a bathroom break and did get stuck in a bit of livestock traffic, but eventually made it to Santa Elena, the town outside of Flores. On the bus, we also made a friend who lives in Belize but was coming here to visit his family.

Taking us under the wing, he navigated us outside of the bus station, away from the craze of taxi drivers, and negotiated with a driver on the street for a decent price to Flores which is only 5 minutes or so away.


Taxi From San Ignacio To Flores

You won’t be able to take a direct taxi from San Ignacio to Flores due to the border crossing. However, the crossing itself is straightforward, and you’ll find many taxi drivers eager to transport travelers to their destinations, although make sure to negotiate for a good price.

Start by taking a taxi from San Ignacio to the Belize border, a 15-minute drive along the river. Finding a driver for this part of the journey will be easy and there are always travelers heading this direction.

At the border, you’ll need to exit Belize and enter Guatemala. Once on the Guatemalan side, you’ll find plenty of taxi drivers willing to take you to Flores.

The typical fare is around Q350 / $45.00 to Flores, so if you are traveling in a group this can work out quite affordable. It’s best to talk to several drivers to get the best deal.

A long, straight road stretches into the distance through a lush green landscape, seen from inside a vehicle. Cars and motorcycles are visible on the road ahead, and the dashboard features windshield wipers and the edge of the windshield frame. The vehicle's shadow falls on the pavement as the road gently curves
the good ol crack in the windscreen of our taxi from san ignacio
driving on the main road leaving the main area of san ignacio towards the belize guatemala border crossing
jumping in the taxi towards the belize guatemala border crossing

Car Rental From San Ignacio To Flores

Renting a car to travel from San Ignacio to Flores might seem like a convenient choice in theory, but there are several challenges that make it less than ideal.

Most car rental companies in Belize don’t permit their vehicles to be driven into Guatemala. In fact, Crystal Auto Rental in Belize City is one of the few that allows their vehicles to cross the border. However, the insurance coverage is not valid while the vehicle is outside of Belize, which adds significant risk to the journey.

For a safer and more hassle-free option, consider booking a shuttle or using a colectivo if you prefer a bit more flexibility.


Crossing The Land Border From Belize To Guatemala

Once you arrive at the border, you will need to go through immigration procedures to exit Belize and enter Guatemala.

Ensure you have all necessary documents ready, including your passport and any required visas. Be prepared to pay a small exit fee from Belize, which is around BZD$40 or USD$20.


🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo


Flores Travel Tips

So now you know how exactly to travel from San Ignacio to Flores let’s get into some of the top travel tips worth knowing in this new destination!


Where To Stay In Flores

Flores is a small island, and as long as you’re staying on the island itself, you’ll be in a good location Although a bridge connects the island to the mainland, the primary tourist area is on the island itself.

I stayed at Los Amigos and found it to be a great stay, though it didn’t offer much of a social atmosphere if you’re not into partying. There’s a cozy hangout area with hammocks, but most people seemed content listening to music rather than chatting.

Fortunately, I found some new friends in the form of cute bunny rabbits hopping around the hostel. Also, they have an onsite tour desk, and booking my Tikal tour through them helped me meet other travelers.

I stayed in the air-conditioned dorm, which was fantastic, though the air conditioning was only on at night. Their on-site restaurant was perfect after a day at Jorge’s Rope Swing since I prefer not to venture out alone after dark.

shark hostel

Los Amigos

The perfect stay for backpackers. Dorm rooms start from $25.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
shark hostel

Hotel Peten Express

Enjoy this modern hostel with incredible pool views. Dorms start from $20.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
shark hostel

Hotel Isla de Flores

A beautiful hotel with incredible rooftop views. Rooms start from $79.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
382884061 Hotel Casazul

Clean and modern blue-themed hotel. Rooms start from $70.00 per night.

BOOK NOW


Things To Do In Flores

Even though Flores is relatively small you will still find plenty of awesome things to do here and nearby.

Explore Tikal National Park: Discover ancient Mayan temples and ruins at this iconic archaeological site, especially breathtaking during sunrise or sunset tours.

Visit Yaxhá Archaeological Site: Wander through the jungle-covered ruins of this lesser-known Mayan city and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Stroll Through Flores Island: Wander the cobblestone streets, admire the colorful colonial architecture, and shop for handcrafted souvenirs.

Take a Boat Tour of Lake Petén Itzá: Explore the picturesque lake and its surrounding villages like San Miguel and El Remate, or enjoy water activities like kayaking and swimming.

Relax at Jorge’s Rope Swing: Unwind at this popular lakefront hangout spot, try the exhilarating rope swing, or rent a kayak for some fun on the water.

Enjoy Flores Nightlife: Experience the lively local bars and restaurants offering live music and delicious Guatemalan cuisine.

Shop at Mercado de Artesanías: Browse for beautiful handicrafts, textiles, and jewelry made by local artisans at this vibrant market.

A cobblestone street lined with colorful buildings and parked cars after arriving from San Ignacio and Flores. The bright yellow VW Beetle stands out under the clear sky.
cobblestone streets in flores

FAQs About Traveling To Flores From San Ignacio

How do I get to Flores, Guatemala?

To reach Flores, Guatemala, fly directly into Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS) from Guatemala City or Belize City. Alternatively, travel overland by bus or shuttle from Belize (San Ignacio) or other parts of Guatemala like Guatemala City or Rio Dulce.

How do I get from San Ignacio to Flores?

To travel from San Ignacio to Flores, take a colectivo or taxi to the Belize-Guatemala border, cross at Benque Viejo-Melchor de Mencos, and then catch a bus, shared shuttle, or taxi to Flores. The journey typically takes around 3-5 hours.


Wrap Up: How To Travel From San Ignacio To Flores

Overall, traveling from San Ignacio to Flores is a straightforward journey that provides multiple options for different preferences and budgets.

Whether you choose a shared shuttle for convenience, a colectivo for an authentic local experience, or a taxi for flexibility, the journey typically takes 3-5 hours, including the border crossing at Benque Viejo-Melchor de Mencos. With breathtaking scenery, ancient ruins, and vibrant local culture awaiting you in Flores, the trip is well worth the effort.


Any Questions? Let Me Know In The Comments!


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Ready to journey from San Ignacio to Flores, crossing the border from Belize to Guatemala? I will let you know the best routes, immigration procedures, and transport options for a seamless and easy travel day in Central America.

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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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