This is a short and informative post from those of you looking to travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, or vis versa. Bacalar is a common stopping point for travellers on their way to Central America and I cannot recommend it enough. (The lake is incredible!)
I met a few people on the way who spent the night before the crossing in Chetumal, but this is not necessary as Bacalar is only an hour away and there isn’t much to do there.
For those of you coming from further north, the journey from Tulum to Lake Bacalar is two hours and about 200 pesos with ADO. If you use a collectivo it should cost 45 pesos.
Getting from Bacalar to the Belize City docks:
Take a shuttle
This is by far the easiest option and the one I ended it taking. The bus will pick you up from your hostel in Bacalar and take you to Chetumal, where you will change buses. The second bus is larger, has wifi, and will take you all the way to the Belize City Docks.
Cost: 600 pesos
Pros: easy, safe
Cons: expensive, takes about 6 hours
* to save 45 pesos you could take the collective to Chetumal and get picked up there. The same shuttle from Chetumal to Belize City is 500 pesos.
Use public transport
This option is for the more intrepid traveler. I would recommend this iption if you’re traveling light and looking for a more authentic experience.
If you are staying a bit out of town, you’ll need to take a taxi to the town square where the collectivos and taxi leave from. This will cost 35 pesos.
Then take a 45 pesos collectivo or 50 pesos taxi to Chetumal. In Chetumal take a taxi to the border for about 30-50 pesos. From the border take a collectivo to Belize City for about 100 pesos. The journey is two and a half hours, so be warned.
Cost: roughly 230 pesos
Cons: Belize City is known for being unsafe and I was warned not to take collectivos there. Just be aware and keep an eye on your things.
Whether you take option 1 or option 2, once you reach the docks in Belize City you can catch a water taxi to Caye Caulker or San Pedro. A return ticket is $15 (30 BZD) although apparently, companies may try charge tourists double. My bus driver purchased my ticket on my behalf.
Take the Chetumal Ferry
There is a ferry that goes directly to San Pedro or Caye Caulker from the Chetumal Docks. Be warned however, the ferry only leaves once a day and sometimes only runs 5 times per week. This is by far the fastest way to get to Caye Caulker as it only takes two hours.
Taxi to town – 35 pesos
Taxi or collectivo to Chetumal – 45-50 pesos
Taxi to the docks in Chetumal – 35-50 pesos (if you take a taxi from Bacalar you may be able to avoid this cost)
Water taxi to Caye Caulker or San Pedro – 1080 pesos
Total: 1195-1215 pesos
Pros: quick, easy, safe
Regardless of which option you choose, you will need to pay the 500 pesos exit fee when leaving Mexico. When leaving Belize, you are required to pay $20 (40BZD). Make sure you have Mexican pesos for the Mexican exit fee and either U.S dollars or Belizean dollars for the Belize exit fee.
Option 1: Take a shuttle
Cost: 900 pesos + 500 pesos exit fee = 1400 pesos ($71)
Option 2: Take public transport
Cost: 530 pesos + 500 pesos exit fee = 1030 pesos ($52)
Option 3: Take the Chetumal ferry
Cost: 1195-1215 pesos + 500 pesos exit fee = 1695-1715 pesos ($87)
Getting to Belize may not be cheap, but lets be honest: Belize is not a cheap country. However, I loved my brief time there and I hope you will too!