Most travellers when crossing the border from Belize to Guatemala will be staying in San Ignacio, a small adventure hub in western Belize just 15km from the Guatemalan border. Their destination? Nine times out of ten will be Tikal, or more specifically the small island town of Flores from which you can reach Tikal. But how to get there? And how not to get ripped off en-route!?
The very cheapest way to reach the border is to catch a chicken bus from San Ignacio to Benque (1.5B$ per person), and then from Benque you can walk 30 mins to the border or if you have heavy bags a taxi is 5 Belizean Dollars. Alternatively, an easier option is to just take a taxi from San Ignacio all the way to the border, saving you from navigating chicken buses and lugging your bags about, this will cost 20B$.
Once at the border head straight in to the main building the taxi can point you in the right direction, you will need to pay an exit fee of 40B$. After this you will go through a very seamless Belizean immigration check and into Guatemala, at which point you need to go straight ahead and find the Guatemalan immigration desk. Another swift check, in which your passport is stamped with your entrance date. You have 90 days from the stamp date to travel through the 4 countries in the (CA-4) Agreement, namely Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
*IMPORTANT* Once through ignore the taxis! They will hassle you and try and persuade you that there are no buses running today, all the usual tricks… do not get in their 50US$ taxi to Flores! Instead walk straight ahead, you will reach a bridge, cross over the bridge and 20 metres up on the left is the colectivo (bus) station. A shuttle to Flores will cost you 30Quetzals ~ 4US$. If you have no quetzals at this point, there will be someone at the colectivo station who can exchange B$ or other currency.
The shuttle takes approximately 2.5 hours, operating as a pickup and drop off service along the way. A longer journey than it would be in a taxi, but far more cultural, as you sit there next to a woman and her chicken, dogs chasing behind your small colectivo.
If your going the opposite way, simply reverse the steps! Hope this helps some of you avoid an unnecessary hole in the pocket!
For more info on San Ignacio catch my ‘Top things to do in San Ignacio’ blog post, or for info on Flores and Tikal see my ‘Top things to do in Flores, Guatemala’ and ‘Tikal, what are my options?’ blog posts.
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