When I began researching flights from Boston to Belize last fall, I was blown away by the cost. Four months out and round trip tickets were $600-$800. For a week-long trip, this was simply too much for me. I was planning to visit a friend in Belize, and she suggested flying into Mexico and researching how to get a bus from Mexico to Belize. I was relieved when I discovered that going this route would drastically reduced my costs.
I definitely recommend taking these overnight buses between Mexico and Belize if you’re not on a time crunch. Not only do you save money on transportation, but you also save on accommodation for those nights. The buses are air conditioned with cushy seats, and the ADO bus terminals have charging stations and free WiFi. Credit cards were not accepted, so you’ll need cash in Mexican and Belizean currency, although US dollars are accepted in Belize.
Bus from Mexico to Belize
From downtown Cancun, Mexico, the ADO bus headed to Belize City, Belize leaves at 10:15pm every day and takes about 9 hours. A one-way ticket can be purchased on-site the same day you plan to travel. I bought a ticket at the Cancun airport for $52 USD and it included a bus ride to downtown. The kiosk is located right outside customs with all the car rental and tour companies.
At the Mexico/Belize border, the bus will stop first at customs where you will pay $333 pesos – make sure to get Mexican currency at an ATM before getting on the bus. The second stop will be at immigration to fill out some forms. Make sure you know the address of your Belizean destination whether it is a hostel, hotel, or a friend’s house. You don’t need reservations but you MUST have an address, so look one up before you go. I lucked out with an immigration officer who was familiar with the area I was headed and put down a general address for me.
Bus from Belize to Mexico
The trip back to Mexico on the ADO bus is much different, but still only takes about 9 hours. Tickets are sold at the Reliance Store, a convenience store inside the Belize City bus terminal. The bus leaves daily at 6:30-7:00pm, but tickets are not officially sold until 5:30pm, and no sooner! A line starts to form around 5:00pm, so have your passport ready (they will check it) and $19 BZD to pay for your ticket to the Mexican border. They will ensure you have enough pesos to purchase a ticket for the remainder of your trip once you reach Mexico ($450 pesos to Playa del Carmen). There is also an exit tax of $37.50 BZD when leaving Belize.