Looking for the most up-to-date info on getting from Guatemala to Belize in 2022? In this blog post, I’m going to describe how I got to Belize from Guatemala by land in 2022.
I will also include the latest changes to Belize’s entry requirements as of October 2022. By the end of the post, you’ll know whether you need a vaccine, a COVID test, or both, where to buy your shuttle van ticket in Flores, where to cross, how much it’ll cost you to get to Belize, and how to get to Caye Caulker.
There is a really good travel agency in Flores called Getaway Travels that will go above and beyond what other agencies are willing to do. They’ll provide you with all the forms you need ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling at the border trying to fill out pages upon pages of forms.
For the latest information on entry requirements and regulations for Belize, check the Belize Tourism Board website.
For info on doing the route in the opposite direction, you can read my article on how to do the land border crossing from Belize to Guatemala by yourself.
If you’re planning on traveling further in Central America, I have a guide for crossing the border from Honduras to El Salvador. I did it for only US$12.
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What are the COVID requirements for entering Belize
As of July 12, 2022, Belize entry requirements have changed again. They change often so double-check the Belize Tourism Website.
- Effective July 12, 2022, travelers are no longer required to show proof of vaccination for entry into Belize’s airport, land borders, or seaports.
- Unvaccinated travelers are no longer required to show proof of a negative PCR or a negative Antigen Rapid test upon arrival.
- Every child under the age of 18 years will not be required to show proof of vaccination upon entry into Belize through airports, land, or seaports.
- Purchasing quarantine insurance is now optional but encouraged.
- You should stay at a Gold Standard Hotel
Where Can You Cross Into Belize From Guatemala?
The only land border crossing from Guatemala into Belize is at Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. The city on the Belize side of the border is Benque Viejo del Carmen.
What Time does the Belize Border Open?
As of July 12, 2022, the border is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Where can you buy your shuttle ticket for Belize?
Many travel agencies in Flores sell shuttle tickets to Belize. I bought mine (shuttle van and water taxi to Caye Caulker) at Getaway Travels in Flores. They were great! They provided me with all the forms that I needed to fill out to enter Belize. No other travel agency in Flores did that for their customers. Therefore, when I got to the Belize border, I had already completed the online form and all 4 paper forms, while my fellow passengers were scrambling to complete them at the border.
What forms do you need to fill out to enter Belize?
The 4 forms that you need to fill out include a form to take the COVID test, a health form that includes your COVID test results and your health condition, and 2 immigration forms.
You also need to fill out an online form with all the same information you filled out on your paper forms. Getaway Travels provided the QR code for me.
How much does it cost to get to Belize?
It cost me Q350 (US$70) for the shuttle van to Belize City and then a round-trip San Pedro Belize Water Express Taxi ticket from Belize City to Caye Caulker and back to Belize City.
Including the COVID test of US$50, the total was US$120.
Getting from Flores to the Guatemalan Border
My shuttle left at 6:00 in the morning from in front of the bridge that connects Flores to Santa Elena. It is the same departure point where all the shuttles that go to the ruins and other cities in Guatemala leave from. The travel agencies in Flores usually pick you up from your hotel and bring you to the correct shuttle.
When I got to the shuttle, the driver took my ticket and gave me two water taxi tickets (one ticket to Caye Caulker and one ticket back to Belize City).
Luckily, there was a transport employee on the shuttle that spoke English.
How long does it take to get to the Guatemalan border?
It took us 2 hours to get to the border town of Melchor de Mencos. Once there and before we got to immigration, the transport employee announced that we needed to have Belizean dollars to pay for our COVID test. Not to worry, though, he said while holding a stack of Belizean dollar bills that he could exchange our Guatemalan money for Belizean money.
I asked him whether it was true that we could use U.S. dollars to pay for the test.
He said, “No.”
I did exchange Q400 for BZN$100 even though I had US$50. I’m glad I did because when I got to the water taxi terminal in Belize City, I had local money to buy a coffee and breakfast.
Some people on the shuttle didn’t have cash with them to pay for the COVID test, so the shuttle stopped at an ATM inside a pharmacy. Then they exchanged their money with the liar.
After that, he said that we could use U.S. dollars to pay for the test.
When we got to Guatemalan immigration in Melchor de Mencos, we had to take all our stuff out of the shuttle and carry it through immigration because we would be getting into another van after we get through Belize immigration and customs.
Do you need to pay a fee to exit Guatemala?
All I did was hand the immigration officer my passport and she stamped it. I didn’t need to pay any exit fee.
The border between Guatemala and Belize is nothing like the chaos that you see when crossing between Mexico and Guatemala. For Belize, immigration is on a bridge and there are no stores or restaurants or people loitering about at the border. It’s all very official and controlled.
Taking a COVID test at the Belize Border
As of July 12, 2022, foreigners entering Belize are not required to take a COVID test at the border or even show proof of a negative test.
However, the Belize Tourism Board website does say the following:
- All persons may be subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the land border, at their own expense ($50 USD per test).
- Any person testing positive for COVID-19 at the land border shall be placed in mandatory quarantine at the passengers’ expense.
Check with the Belize Tourism Board website for the most up-to-date information.
Going through Belize Immigration
These are the questions the immigration officer asked me when I entered Belize in January 2022:
- How long do you plan to stay in Belize? 18 days
- Why are you going to Belize? tourism
- Where are you staying in Belize? Caye Caulker Beach Hotel
- How many days have you booked at your hotel? – one night
- What is your itinerary? After Caye Caulker, I’m going to Hopkins and Placencia and then San Ignacio and then back to Guatemala (I answered this question confidently and quickly with little detail—I think she was happy with my answer)
- What is your job? – teacher
- Where are you going after Belize? Back to Guatemala
I’ve never been asked so many questions before at immigration.
How long did it take at immigration?
Back in January 2022 when everyone needed to take a COVID test at the border to enter Belize, it took nearly 2 hours for everyone in the shuttle to go through Guatemalan and Belizean immigration. We were already in the bus by 10:00 am.
Now as of October 2022, COVID tests are no longer required so the crossing is probably quicker than back in January.
Going from the Belize Border to Belize City
A new shuttle van was waiting for us at the border. One couple had arranged for their hotel to pick them up at the border. But the rest of us in the original shuttle got in this new one.
Our shuttle dropped one traveler off in San Ignacio.
On our way to Belize City, the van broke down and we had to wait for a new one to pick us up. However, we didn’t have to wait that long.
How long does it take to get to Belize City from Flores?
We arrived at the San Pedro Belize Water Taxi port at 12:30 pm. That meant we’d be getting the next water taxi at 1:30 pm.
The travel agency had told me that we’d get to Belize City in time to take the 12:00 pm water taxi.
So overall, it took us 6.5 hours to get from Flores to the Belize City port.
How to get from Belize City to Caye Caulker
We got off the shuttle and the people at the port took our bags. They tagged them and gave us a ticket that we needed in order to retrieve our bags when we got to Caye Caulker. Orange luggage tickets go to Caye Caulker, purple ones to San Pedro on Caye Ambergris, and yellow ones back to Belize City. Make sure they put the correct destination tag on your luggage.
Some people still had to buy their tickets for the water taxi, but most of us already had our tickets. The people who already had their tickets just needed to check in at the ticket office (above photo).
My ticket had the date of December 24 on it. That just meant the date the ticket was purchased. Water taxi tickets are good for 3 months from the date of purchase.
When you check in, you need to submit your name and your ticket is punched. Hold onto the ticket because you’ll need to hand it in when you enter the boat.
After that many of us went to grab some breakfast at the Last Drop Café at the port. There are a few stores at the port where you can buy snacks, suntan lotion, and souvenirs.
What time does the water taxi depart Belize City for Caye Caulker
- 8:00 am
- 10:30 am
- 12:00 pm
- 1:30 pm
- 3:00 pm
- 4:30 pm
- 5:30 pm
The same water taxi goes to both Caye Caulker and San Pedro on Caye Ambergris. It takes 1 hour to get to Caye Caulker and another 30 minutes to get to San Pedro.
Everyone lines up in either a Caye Caulker line or a San Pedro line, but we all get on the same boat.
The boat left at 1:40 pm and arrived an hour later.
How much does the boat cost from Belize City to Caye Caulker
The water taxi ticket from Belize City to Caye Caulker costs BZN$29 (US$15) one way and BZN$41 (US$20) round trip.
Ocean Ferry Water Taxi to Caye Caulker and San Pedro
An alternative to the San Pedro Express Water Taxi is the Ocean Ferry Water Taxi. It’s quicker but more expensive than the San Pedro Express. One-way ticket costs BZN$41 (US$20.50) and takes 30 minutes to Caye Caulker and another 15 minutes to San Pedro. Round-trip is BZN$52 (US$26).
It leaves Belize City at 8:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:00 pm.
It’s not in the same building as the San Pedro Water Taxi.
Arriving at Caye Caulker
The boat left 15 minutes late and arrived at Caye Caulker one hour later at 2:45 pm.
Before leaving the port at Caye Caulker, pick up your luggage at the small pink building at the beginning of the dock.
Most hotels are within walking distance of the port so you probably don’t need to hire a golf cart.
How to get from BELIZE to Guatemala
I wrote an article all about how to cross the land border from Belize to Guatemala.
Where to stay in Flores, Guatemala
Flores has a variety of cheap hotels and hostels, but you need to do your research. They also have a variety of overpriced mid-range hotels.
I stayed at 4 different hotels and hostels in Flores. My favorite place was Hotel Petenchel for its price and cleanliness.
COST: Q206 (US$27) for a private room with a private bath
I recommend Hotel Petenchel because it’s quiet and inexpensive. It has decent WiFi and comfortable and clean air-conditioned rooms. You also get hot water, something that you shouldn’t expect in a hotel for this price.
Los Amigos Hostel
COST: Q137.25 (US$18) for dorm room |
This party hostel is loud and dirty with terrible customer service. If you want some peace and quiet, don’t stay here.
COST: US$10 for a private room
This hotel has the cheapest private rooms I’ve ever stayed in. They’re very basic with uncomfortable beds. You don’t get hot water, but you do get some lovely bugs that fly through the window that’s missing some glass panes.
Right on the shore, Casa Azul isn’t a bad mid-range priced hotel, especially if you get one of the rooms with a balcony overlooking the lake.
Where to stay in Belize
Hotels in Belize are very expensive. It’ll be hard to find a private room for less than US$50 a night.
Caye Caulker Accommodations
I was quite pleased with the only place I stayed at in Caye Caulker.
Caye Caulker Beach Hotel
This hotel had the cheapest available private rooms on the island. They were centrally located, clean, comfortable, and quiet. After fighting for hot water in Guatemala, I was happy to have it here. The decent water pressure was an added bonus. WiFi was better than anything I experienced in Guatemala or Belize. There was a terrific rooftop terrace where you could watch the sunrise and sunset, work on your laptop, or just hang out.
San Pedro Accommodations
Prices for hotels in San Pedro are about the same as in Caye Caulker.
COST: US$15 for dorm | US$50 – $60 for a private room
One of the cheapest places to stay on the island is Sandbar Hostel. They have both dorms and private rooms. The hotel is located about 10 minutes by foot from the Water Taxi port and located right on the beach. They have a restaurant that serves really good food and a small pool. It’s not a bad place. The dorm beds and bathrooms are just ok. WiFi is unreliable.
Drift Inn is right next to Sandbar Hostel. It has dorm rooms and private rooms. It’s one of the cheaper places to stay in San Pedro. It’s not bad. WiFi is spotty.
San Ignacio Accommodations
Yellow Belly Backpacker Hostel
COST: US$32 – $35 for private room
I rather liked Yellow Belly despite its ridiculous name. They have decently priced private rooms as well as dorms. There’s a huge, very well-stocked kitchen and a nice social area that’s quiet and comfortable enough to work in. Bathrooms are shared. WiFi is spotty.
Is it safe to travel alone in Guatemala and Belize?
I traveled around Guatemala for almost 3 months and Belize for a month. In Guatemala I felt safe walking around in the tourist destinations alone during the daytime; however, I was told repeatedly not to hike alone, not to walk alone at night, and to only take trusted taxis or tuk-tuks. I did find it more restrictive than other places that I’ve traveled. In Belize, I felt completely safe in tourist destinations during the day and in the evening.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the whole experience. It was fairly smooth for me thanks to Getaway Travels and to the people at the San Pedro Express Water Taxi port.
If you’ve traveled from Guatemala to Belize by land, share your experience in the comment section below. For those who are planning to take this route, feel free to ask me questions in the comment section as well.
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I also wrote an article on crossing the land border from Belize to Guatemala.
PRO TIP: No one likes to think about insurance, but accidents do happen. I highly recommend getting World Nomads. This is what I’ve used for short-term travel. When I quit my job to travel around the world, I switched to Safety Wings. They’re very affordable (less than US$100 a month depending on age) especially for those of us who are over 40 years old. They now cover COVID19.
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Lookin’ for more info on traveling in Latin America?
- Get inspired and informed about visiting one of the best markets in Guatemala – Chichicastenango Market
- What’s the most underrated destination in Mexico? – Check out this guide to Campeche
- Wanna visit the BEST Mayan ruins and waterfalls in Mexico? – Read this travel guide to Palenque
- If you’re traveling to the Yucatan on your next destination, here’s a guide to the 15 best day trips from Merida.
- Check out my step-by-step guide on crossing the border from Honduras to Guatemala.
- You can find out how to cross the border from Belize to Guatemala here.