How To Travel From Bacalar To Belize City: All Options Explained

Come find out how exactly to travel from Bacalar to Belize City. Start the next adventure and head from Mexico to Belize. Though what is the best way to travel, bus, tourist shuttle, flight, or taxi?


Embarking on a trip from Bacalar to Belize City will take you from Mexico to Belize, the start of Central America. This is a popular route with travelers backpacking through the region.

Nestled in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state, Bacalar is known for its stunning seven-colored lagoon, while Belize City, the vibrant former capital of Belize, stands as a gateway to the country’s rich history, cultural diversity, and stunning natural beauty.

How does one traverse the distance between these two distinct locations and ensure a smooth, enjoyable journey?

I have been lucky enough to travel Belize twice and in all have spent about 6 months in Central America giving me a good overview of the transport system here.

Well, in this comprehensive guide on traveling from Bacalar to Belize City will provide you with all the necessary information and tips to make your journey a breeze. This includes details on transport options, border-crossing procedures, and essential tips for the journey.

Whether you are a budget traveler looking to save $ on your transport, or can afford to spend a little more on a direct shuttle from Bacalar to Belize City , we have got you covered.


arriving in belize after traveling from bacalar to belize city
arriving in belize after traveling from bacalar to belize city

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo


Bacalar To Belize City Distance

The distance between Bacalar, Mexico, and Belize City, Belize, is roughly 240 kilometers or 150 miles. There are multiple ways to travel this journey, such as driving, taking a bus, or flying.

However, it’s worth noting that the road route from Bacalar to Belize City is not a direct one and requires crossing an international border.

@backpackerswanderlust Welcome to paradise #belize #ambergriscaye #sanpedro 🇧🇿 #beach #mexico #traveltiktok #solofemaletraveler ♬ original sound – Tasha I Backpackers Wanderlust


Bacalar To Belize City Travel Time

The journey from Bacalar to Belize City can vary in duration, typically ranging from 5 to 6 hours. The exact timeframe depends on several factors, including traffic conditions, border-crossing procedures, and the chosen mode of transportation.

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.


Choosing the Right Mode Of Transportation

When you’re thinking about the best way to get from Bacalar to Belize City, there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ve got your budget, travel time, comfort, and convenience to think about.

If you’re looking to save some cash, hopping on a bus or shuttle could be your best bet. They’re affordable and easy to find, so they’re a popular choice for travelers on a budget. On the other hand, if you want a more personalized experience with fewer stops, a shuttle might be the way to go. It’ll get you there faster and smoother.

Now, if you’re feeling fancy and want a little luxury, hiring a taxi might be more up your alley. And if you want the ultimate comfort and convenience, a private taxi will pick you up right from your door.

Just think about what matters most to you, and you’ll find the perfect mode of transportation for your adventure. Each option has its own perks and things to consider.

enjoying my last day in bacalar on a catamaran tour around the lagoon
enjoying my last day in bacalar on a catamaran tour around the lagoon
sign in bacalar showing distances to different locations including caye caulker belize
sign in bacalar showing distances to different locations including caye caulker belize

Tourist Shuttle From Bacalar To Belize City

Tourist shuttles offer a comfortable and convenient way to travel from Bacalar to Belize City. These services generally include door-to-door pick-ups and drop-offs, eliminating the need to navigate public transport.

Shuttles are equipped with comfortable seating, air conditioning, and often offer amenities such as Wi-Fi, allowing travelers to relax or stay connected during the journey.

Additionally, shuttle services often provide experienced drivers who are familiar with the border-crossing procedures, making the journey more efficient and stress-free. This is actually the reason I will book shuttles a lot of the time over cheaper alternatives.

However, it’s important to note that while this option provides great comfort, it may be more expensive than public buses or shared shuttles.


How To Book A Tourist Shuttle

So, here’s the thing – booking a tourist shuttle turned out to be a lot trickier than I thought. I mean, I assumed it would be a piece of cake, especially since I was staying at YAK HOSTEL and they had so many other backpackers passing through their door. But, was I wrong!

I encountered some roadblocks and received conflicting information from different sources. But, with some online research and by reaching out to every staff member, I was able to uncover the best methods for booking a tourist shuttle.

This is simply with booking through Bookaway. They have daily departures from Bacalar to Belize City, with different departure times throughout the day. The prices may vary slightly depending on the time of your chosen shuttle.

I wont recommend the actual shuttle company I used since I was actually forgotten about which I cover in my experience below. However using a platform like Bookaway will hook you up with a reliable and reputable transfer company.

sitting in the shuttle van at the belize border
sitting in the shuttle van at the belize border
sitting at the belize mexico border in a minivan traveling from bacalar to belize city
sitting at the belize mexico border in a minivan traveling from bacalar to belize city

Things To Keep In Mind

Before booking a tourist shuttle, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Always double-check the departure and arrival locations to ensure they are convenient for you.
  • Make sure to confirm the type of vehicle being used for the shuttle, as some may not have air conditioning or WiFi.
  • Take note of any additional fees that may be charged, such as border crossing fees or baggage fees.
  • Consider the time of day and traffic conditions when choosing a departure time. Rush hour traffic can significantly delay travel times.

My Experience Taking The Tourist Shuttle

My experience with the tourist shuttle was quite a roller coaster. Booking the shuttle during the off-season turned out to be a real challenge.

Due to the countries still recovering from that 2020 mishap direct buses hadn’t restarted yet. I eventually found one tourist agency offering the shuttle service from Bacalar to Belize City.

On the day of travel, my ordeal didn’t end. I was supposed to be picked up at 8 am, but there was no sign of the shuttle even after waiting for an hour. I Whatsapped the travel agency back and forth who assured me the driver was on there way.

Now if you haven’t been to Bacalar yet it is pretty damn small, and when it was going on 2 hours I was growing concerned. Is this a scam? But no money has changed hands yet.

Eventually a random taxi turned up and told me they would take me to the border where the shuttle bus was waiting. It turned out they had forgotten about my pick-up.

The journey that was touted as seamless and efficient turned out to be a series of mishaps and miscommunications. However this is backpacking and things like this do happen, so I was greatful when we rolled up to the border and saw the shuttle bus waiting.

I got stammped out of Mexico, proved my airfares included relevant taxes so prevent me paying even more fees then I jumped into the van where I met a couple who had been waiting for me for at least an hour.

As we made our way to Belize immigration it was an easy process with just the 3 of us there were minimal ques and hassles.

During the journey, we were treated to some beautiful sights as we drove through the lush green countryside. The roads were not perfect but it was a comfortable enough ride.

Once we arrived in Belize City, the shuttle dropped us off at the ferry terminal where we could catch boats to different destinations in Belize such as Caye Caulker, and my next backpacking stop Ambergris Caye.

arriving at the water taxi terminal after traveling to belize city from bacalar
arriving at the water taxi terminal after traveling to belize city from bacalar

Bus From Bacalar To Belize City

After a temporary pause, the ADO bus service is now back in action, reconnecting Bacalar to Belize City. This convenient transportation option offers a budget-friendly solution, allowing you to travel between the two destinations for just $25. With an travel time of approximately 4.5 hours, it not only offers affordability but also ensures a relatively quick journey.

It is important to note that the ADO bus operates on a limited schedule, with a single daily trip at 12:00 pm. The bus arrives at its destination at 4:35 pm, ensuring a timely arrival. Onboard, passengers can enjoy comfortable seats, air conditioning, and access to a bathroom, ensuring a stress-free journey.

ADO is a reputable company renowned for its reliable and comfortable bus services, making it a popular choice among travelers. I have personally used their services countless times during my travels in Mexico, including numerous overnight journeys.

The one downside of taking the bus is it could take a while for eveyone to be processed by both Meixoc and Belize immigration. So, be prepared to wait in line for a bit.

typical seats in your standard ado bus
typical seats in your standard ado bus
taking the ado bus in mexico
taking the ado bus in mexico

Bus Companies Operating This Route

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

ADO Buses

  • Depart from Bacalar at noon from the main road, Highway 307.
  • Arrive in Belize City at 4.35 pm.
  • The drop-off point is at the bus terminal, which is a quick 5-minute taxi ride or a 15-minute walk away from the water taxi terminal.
  • The cost of this bus service is 468 pesos, equivalent to 27 USD.

Marlin Espadas

  • buses leave Bacalar at 7 am from the central park adjacent to Maya Cabanas Restaurant.
  • Reach Belize City at 12 noon local time.
  • They conveniently drop passengers off right next to the water taxi terminal.
  • The cost for this service is slightly higher, at 35 USD.
once daily schedule from bacalar to belize city on the ado bus app
once daily schedule from bacalar to belize city on the ado bus app
details required to book the ado bus
details required to book the ado bus
seat selection in the ado bus app when booking a ticket from bacalar to belize city
seat selection in the ado bus app when booking a ticket from bacalar to belize city
you can pay by either credit or debit card, or paypal when booking with ado
you can pay by either credit or debit card, or paypal when booking with ado, personally i had issues with my card so i used paypal

Flying From Bacalar To Belize City

Another option to consider is flying from Bacalar to Belize City. You can take a taxi or shuttle from Bacalar to the Chetumal airport and then catch a flight to Belize City.

However you should be aware there are no direct flights between the two cities, so you may have to make multiple stopovers. Therefore I don’t recommend this method.


Taxi From Bacalar To Belize City

Taxis are another option for getting from Bacalar to Belize City, although they can be more expensive than buses or shuttles.

You will find numerous taxi drivers in Bacalar more than happy to take you to the border, and from there you can easily catch a taxi to Belize City.

The convenience of having your own private ride may outweigh the cost for some travelers.

However, make sure to agree on a price before getting in the taxi to avoid any surprises or haggling at the end of the journey.


Crossing The Border

As mentioned earlier, traveling from Bacalar to Belize City involves crossing an international border. This means that you will need to go through customs and immigration procedures on both sides.

Make sure to have all necessary documents, such as your passport and visa, ready before reaching the border. You may also be required to pay a small fee for entering Belize.

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.

walking through the water taxi terminal in belize city
walking through the water taxi terminal in belize city

Steps For Crossing From Mexico To Belize

To make your journey as easy as possible here to a breakdown on how exactly to cross the border from Mexico to Belize:


Step 1. Gather all necessary documents, such as your passport and visa.

Before your trip, ensure you have all necessary documents like your passport and visa. These are crucial for smooth travel and entry to your destination country. Double-check document expiration dates and keep them valid throughout your entire trip. Consider making copies and storing them separately for emergencies. These precautions provide peace of mind and ensure hassle-free 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 (approx. $56 USD). Carry some cash for unexpected expenses. Print your airfare receipt to avoid paying this fee. They require a proper receipt, not just an airline ticket.


Step 2. Arrive at the Mexican side of the border and go through immigration procedures.

When you arrive at the Mexican side of the border, follow signs for immigration. You will need to fill out an immigration form and present your passport. The officer may ask questions about your trip and length of stay. Be honest and provide accurate information.


Step 3. Pay any applicable fees for exiting Mexico.

As mentioned earlier, you may need to pay the departure fee if it is not included in your airfare. Keep your receipt for proof of payment.


Step 4. Cross the physical border to Belize

After exiting Mexico, you will need to physically cross the border into Belize. This can be done by foot or vehicle depending on your mode of transportation. Once across, follow signs for immigration and present your passport and any required documents.


Step 5. Go through Belizean customs and immigration procedures.

Similar to the Mexican side, you will need to fill out an immigration form and present your passport. You may also be asked questions about your trip and length of stay. Provide accurate information and answer truthfully.


Is There An Exit Fee For Mexico?

When it comes to leaving Mexico, there’s no specific exit fee to worry about. However, if you stayed for more than 7 days, you need a tourist permit called an FMM. Usually, this fee is already included in your airfare or collected when you arrive at a land border.

Unfortunately, some border authorities might try to charge you again when you’re leaving, taking advantage of the fact that you might not have proof of prior payment. And it’s not just them, even some transportation providers might get in on this scheme, making a profit of 1,136 MXN / $56.00 per passenger.

To avoid all this hassle, it’s a good idea to carry a printed receipt from your airline that clearly shows you’ve already paid the FMM fee. Sometimes, digital proofs might not be accepted, so better safe than sorry!


Can I Catch The Ferry On The Same Day?

If you’re interested in island hopping, instead of traveling directly to Belize City from Bacalar, consider making a detour to Chetumal. Chetumal provides ferry services to various islands, such as Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, which are popular destinations for tourists in Belize.

While it is possible to catch the ferry on the same day, it is recommended to allocate at least a few hours between your arrival in Chetumal and the departure of the ferry. This will give you enough time to go through immigration procedures and purchase tickets.

This service was not operating during Covid, but it is now available. However, it is still recommended to check for any updates or changes in schedules before planning your trip.

Additionally, keep in mind that the ferry ride can be affected by weather conditions and may not operate during rough seas which are common in the wet season.

beautiful sights arriving in san pedro from belize city
beautiful sights arriving in san pedro from belize city
walking along the beachfront to my hostel in ambergris caye
walking along the beachfront to my hostel in ambergris caye

Best Places To Visit In Belize

Belize has much to offer, from its stunning beaches and vibrant coral reefs to its ancient Mayan ruins and lush rainforests. Some of the best places to visit in Belize include:

Ambergris Caye: This beautiful island is the largest in Belize and is home to many beach resorts, water sports activities, and a bustling nightlife.

San Ignacio: Located in the western part of Belize, San Ignacio is a popular destination for adventure seekers. It is surrounded by lush jungle and offers opportunities for activities such as hiking, caving, and visiting ancient Mayan ruins.

Placencia: This charming coastal village is known for its laid-back vibe, beautiful beaches, and wide range of water activities such as snorkeling and diving.

Caye Caulker: Another popular island in Belize, Caye Caulker is a budget-friendly option for travelers looking to enjoy the Caribbean without breaking the bank. It offers stunning beaches, great seafood, and a relaxed atmosphere.

Hopkins: This small Garifuna village is perfect for those looking to experience the local culture and traditions of Belize. It also has a beautiful beach and is known as the cultural center of Garifuna music and drumming.

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.

BOOK NOW
blue wave guesthouse

Blue Wave Guesthouse Caye Caulker

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

BOOK NOW
sandbar beachfront hostel

Sandbar Beachfront Hostel San Pedro

A comfortable and modern hostel that has a pool. Air-conditioned dorms start from $20.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
ambergris sunset hotel

Ambergris Sunset Hotel San Pedro

An affordable choice with a pool to relax in. Rooms here start from $50.00 per night.

BOOK NOW

Where To Stay In Belize

When it comes to accommodations in Belize for backpackers, there are plenty of budget-friendly options that don’t skimp on the authentic Belizean experience.

Hostels: These are typically the go-to for backpackers. They’re affordable and provide a social environment where you can connect with fellow travelers. Places like Bella’s Backpackers in San Ignacio or Yuma’s House in Caye Caulker are worth considering.

Beach Cabanas: For those who desire a more rustic and close-to-nature experience, beach cabanas provide simple, yet comfortable accommodation. They can often be found in places like Placencia or Hopkins.

Eco-lodges: Belize is home to a host of eco-lodges that are perfect for adventure seekers. They’re often located near natural attractions like the rainforest or caves. Some even offer guided tours. Examples include the Green Valley Inn in the Cayo District or the Funky Dodo Backpackers Hostel in Hopkins.

Guesthouses: These are similar to hostels, but with more private rooms. They offer a mix of budget-friendly and mid-range options in popular areas like San Ignacio or Ambergris Caye.

Remember to book in advance, especially during peak tourist season, to ensure availability and secure the best rates.

arriving in san pedro on the ferry from belize city
arriving in san pedro on the ferry from belize city
beautiful sights walking along the shoreline in ambergris caye
beautiful sights walking along the shoreline in ambergris caye

FAQs About Traveling Bacalar To Belize City

Below are some frequently asked questions about traveling from Bacalar to Belize City:

How do I get from Belize City to Bacalar?

The easiest and most common methods of transportation are via bus, shared shuttle or private taxi.

How long is the journey from Bacalar to Belize City?

On average, the bus or shuttle ride takes approximately 3-4 hours. A private taxi may take slightly less time depending on traffic and border crossing wait times.

Do I need a visa to enter Belize?

Most nationalities do not require a visa for visits of up to 30 days in Belize. However, it is always best to check with the Belizean embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information.

Is there a direct ferry from Bacalar to Belize City?

No, there is currently no direct ferry service between Bacalar and Belize City. The closest option would be taking a ferry from Chetumal to one of the islands in Belize and then continuing on to Belize City by boat or land transportation.

What documents do I need to travel to Belize?

It is recommended to bring a printed copy of your accommodation reservations and return flight tickets as proof of onward travel. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand in both Mexican pesos and Belizean dollars for border crossing fees and any unexpected expenses.

Can I cross into Belize from Mexico?

Yes, there are multiple border crossings between Mexico and Belize, including the one near Bacalar and Chetumal. Just make sure to have all necessary documents in order before attempting to cross.

Is it safe to travel from Bacalar to Belize City?

Overall, the journey is considered safe for travelers. However, it’s always important to use caution when traveling in any foreign country. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid any high-risk areas. It’s also recommended to use trusted transportation methods and avoid traveling alone, especially at night.

How much is the border fee for Belize?

There is no entry fee to Belize, However there is an exit fee of $20.00 USD per person for land crossings. Make sure to have the exact amount in cash as they may not accept credit or debit cards at the border.

Is it safe to drive through Mexico to get to Belize?

Traveling through Mexico to get to Belize can be safe as long as you take necessary precautions. It is recommended to travel during the day and stick to well-lit, main roads. Avoid driving at night, especially in rural or isolated areas. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and always have a map or GPS with you.

Do you have to pay to enter Belize?

There is no entry fee for tourists entering Belize by land or sea. However, there is an exit fee of $20. This fee is paid at the border or port of exit and can be paid in US dollars, or Belizean dollars. Children under the age of 16 are exempt from this fee.


Wrap Up: Traveling From Bacalar To Belize City

The journey from Bacalar to Belize City Offers stunning scenery and is well worth it to explore this incredible country.

Whether you choose to travel by bus, taxi, or ferry, each mode of transportation presents a unique opportunity to embrace the charm of this region.

However, as with any travel, it is crucial to stay updated on potential schedule changes or operational adjustments, particularly in the off-season. This is especially so when it comes to ferry services.

Additionally, always prioritize your safety and remain vigilant about your belongings.

So, pack your bags, prepare for an unforgettable trip, and embark on a captivating exploration of the captivating beauty that awaits in Bacalar and Belize City.


Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!


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Come find out how exactly to travel from Bacalar to Belize City. Start the next adventure and head from Mexico to Belize. Though what is the best way to travel, bus, tourist shuttle, flight, or taxi?

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