Playa del Carmen to Belizean Border: Easy
Recently I had to drive to Belize on personal business. I worried about how complicated the trip and crossing would be. I was surprised as to how easy it was.
What to bring:
My girlfriend and I packed the car with the things we needed for a few days in Belize…avoiding bringing anything of huge value. We did have to remember to bring our essential documents (passport, another picture I.D., and our car permit aka T.I.P.).
We took a few hundred pesos and withdrew some US dollars to use in Belize where the exchange rate is always 2 Belizean dollars to 1USD.
After a late start we headed to Highway 307 South which would take us to Chetumal (the Mexican city right before the Belizean border). Since we were in no rush we decided to go at a leisurely pace and enjoy the beautiful yet constantly changing scenery. We stopped at a taco stand called “Arbolitos” in Puerto Adventuras. They had a ton of variety and delicious choices at a very reasonable price.
After a couple of hours driving we stopped in Felipe Carillo Puerto for gas and a bathroom break at Pemex. They only had premium gas but we were told that there was regular at the next Pemex that was nearby. We opted for the premium and appreciated their honesty.
The bathroom did cost 5 pesos each but they let us use it for 7 as that was the only change we had.
There was a slight delay in the town of Reforma due to road work but we still arrived to Buenavista about an hour after we left the gas station. It was a planned stop. We had heard about beautiful the lagoon it shares with Bacalar. The hype was true.
After a short stop at an Oxxo for odds and ends we finally reached the border on the Mexican side. We were directed to the immigration building after presenting our passports. There we found the motor vehicles department where we could receive our $450 USD deposit back from our Temporary Import Permit (T.I.P.) on the car.
Side note: The T.I.P. is not required to drive in Quintana Roo (the state Playa Del Carmen is in). But if you plan on driving to other parts of Mexico you will have to renew your permit on the way back.
When entering Belize there was a mandatory “quarantine” to disinfect our car (I think). It seemed like a five second car wash costing 100 pesos. At that point we found a porter who helped us through the rest of the process. He assisted us with our entry paperwork (passport number, where you are staying in Belize,port of embarkment etc.), On the paper work you will write how long you will stay in Belize. We said 13 days upon the porter’s suggestion. He suggested not saying anything less than a week even if you are planning on leaving after the 72 hours -arguably required as the minimum stay for a tourist hoping to return to Mexico.
We had our luggage looked through in customs with nothing to declare. Our car was also inspected. We then had to pay a $30 Belizean entrance fee ($15 USD). We were then directed to a two story white building where we could purchase the mandatory insurance policy to drive through Belize. It was $29 Belizean.
2:40 PM (1:40 Belize time):
That’s it! We were officially in Belize. The time at the border took about an hour making the total time of our trip 5 1/2 hours. Going back to Mexico is basically the same process. Remember the we went at a leisurely speed so the trip could easily have been an hour less in total time. But what’s the rush? Enjoy the beauty that is Mexico before enjoying the beauty that is Belize. Safe travels!