We have written this special blog entry just covering our land border crossing from Mexico into Belize as there is so much confusion , discussion and horror stories. This is our experience and what we did.
For our non-Facebook readers, this is our second entry today, the previous one covers our stay in Tulum.
|Here's the place in Chetumal that the busses for Belize leave from|
Crossing Chetumal to Corozal. We left Tulum this morning on the regular ADO bus to Chetumal, costing, interestingly 165 peso for one of us and 179 peso for the other! Must have hit cut off point on concessionary tickets I guess. This was rather than 518 peso per person for an ADO bus that went across the border to Corozal, which is only an extra 26km. So we got a taxi from the ADO station to the Nuevo mercado bus station, for 50 peso and onto a chicken bus, only a third full at most, so plenty of space for us and bags. Cost $3 in US currency, or $5 if we had paid him in peso!
|Also showing the border crossing|
Almost his first words, in lovely English, how refreshing, were "you will have to pay 500 peso each to cross the border, and I can't wait if you take too long" We had heard this figure of 500 bandied about the hostal which is quite a lot more than the 294 peso we had been working on when we hatched our plan. I had emailed Interjet who we flew into Mexico, from Peru on and they had confirmed that the DNI tourism tax was included in the ticket whether we left by air, land or sea, however had not provided the itemised receipt we had found was the best thing to have. So we had taken the Lastminute.com email confirming our booking and added an extra line, so rather than just having the total price, we had flight price, and MX tourism tax, all coming to the same total. We had printed these two documents out.
|Here's part of our doctored flight receipt that shows the MX Tourism Tax included. The original only showed the total price, we added the the two lines above|
|This little room is the Mexican Customs post|
When shown into the little room, the border guard immediately started with “500 peso please, land exit fee”. I presented her with the email which she wasn't interested in, and then the flight schedule, which she was, she had a little pile of similar, from Expedia and the like, all with the FMM immigration cards neatly stapled to them. She said it was very important if we came back by air and out by land again that we had this in the future, stamped our passports and away we went, very happy people.
This isn't a border 'scam' if you arrive by land and leave by land you have to pay, if you arrive by charter flight, eg Thomson, you have to pay, but our scheduled airline ticket included this fee, so we didn't want to pay it twice, even when we thought it was only going to be about £24, let alone £40.
This doesn't always seem to work though, I found a blog entry dated the 11 February this year stating that with an itemised flight ticket the guy still had to pay, and watched the money go into the breast pocket of the officials shirt, so I guess it does depend on the official you get, and some luck. We got the luck.
|The Chicken Bus from Chetumal to Belize. It goes through to Belize City but we only went the 26km to Corozal.|
The next potential problem was entering Belize, without proof of exit, so we'd printed out our first hotel booking in Guatemala, the cruise itinerary to prove we are leaving Central America, and the itinerary Brian had prepared for us, and a map showing where we were going. We weren't even asked for these, all that was required was an address of where we were staying tonight, which turns out we had wrong! When we got off the bus and walked to the address provided by booking.com we found ourselves at the Copper Horse, with our hotel being another 10 minutes away, and it was very very warm!
Oh well we are here now, just have to exchange our last pesos for Belizian dollars and buy the ferry ticket for Caye Caulker for the morning, which seems to involve loitering about when the ferry comes in at 5pm this evening.
|No complaints this evening as we watched the sun set from the rooftop terrace of the Mirador Hotel in Corozal with a cold beer|