The Water Taxi and Bus from San Pedro, Belize to Cancun…CANCUN BABY!

I’d been to Cancun a few times in my 20s and had never fallen in love.  Packed with drunken gringos, annoying kids, food chain restaurants and a total lack of all things Mexican…it was great if you could get a long weekend there for $200 but for anymore?  I always picked somewhere else.BUT…I have learned to appreciate Cancun for all it is.  It can be super cheesy and it can be awesome.  There are some very valid reasons millions visit this resort city…the prices…the beach (GORGEOUS)…the modern conveniences (particularly stunning to me after living in Belize for 6 years)…the prices!When a Mexican tourism board picked an empty island in the remote Yucatan to turn into a resort area in 1970, they did good.  They did seriously great.  (There were only 3 people living here at the time…3 caretakers for a coconut plantation!!!!)   And when a friend had a timeshare we could borrow…a timeshare with two huge bedrooms, a full kitchen and a beachfront balcony?  I was all in.  I’m learning to absolutely love Cancun.For all the beautiful…

The cheap (6 limes for less than 20 cents USD???)…

And the cringingly tacky (ick, these are baby shirts)…

But before I get to all of that, let me tell you how I arrived in Cancun.  How I travelled from San Pedro, Belize to Cancun in a day.

We woke up early to catch the 8am San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi to Chetumal.  You need to be there by 7:30am to buy your ticket ($85bzd for locals/residents and $130bzd for all others, roundtrip).  The management at SPBE is super nice and they have a great rate.  I always use these guys.

There is a relatively new cafe, Lick’s, right on the beach by the dock that is perfect to wait in (and keep an eye to see when immigration arrives to stamp your passport).  We only had some drinks but we watched people get stuffed fry jacks, coffees and johnny cakes QUICKLY.

The boat got going after we all got our passport stamps…it was pretty full.  They have a guy exchanging Belize dollars for pesos on the boat.  The rate was $6 peso/BZD…not too bad.  Particularly if you want to get rid of your Belize change or get a few pesos for the taxi ride when you arrive.

Do not count on an ATM machine at the boat terminal (the closest is a few blocks away and always has a line of about 400 people)…definitely get a few pesos with this guy.

We arrived at the Port of Chetumal about an hour and a half later…at about 10am.  (Keep in mind, that since Belize does not “spring ahead”/celebrate daylight savings, it was 11am in Chetumal.)  It’s really not a bad ride.

You line up your bags, a drug dog sniffs them, you go through immigration, you watch the taxi guys at the end of the dock go APE SHIT because Mexico beat Brazil to win the gold in soccer in the 2012 Olympics (awesome I’ll admit…high fives all around) and you get a taxi to your next destination.

$30 pesos (less than $3USD!!!) takes me on the 10 minute ride to the mall and Chedraui.  Pronounced shed-ROU-ee, “da Shed” is the original Lebanese-Mexican Walmart.  A super store with tons of clothes, food…tons of everything…and now I can pick up my contact lenses there.  VIVA la Chedraui!

While you are here, get your bus ticket.  (The terminal is about 5-10 minutes away by taxi and cost us $25 pesos.)  We had a bit of shopping to do at Chedraui.

The 12:30 bus was ADO GL (some sort of delux model) and $362 pesos to Cancun.  A bit less than $30usd for 5.5 hours of bus luxury.  Perfecto.

Here is what differentiates regular ADO buses from GL or Platino.  Let me first say that all ADO vehicles are the nicest buses I’ve ever been on.  Huge, turbo ACed with plenty of space.  ADO GL also has:  headphones for the movies (the regular buses just blast the sounds making it tough to sleep), a porter passing out waters and sodas as your board…

HUGE amount of leg space…the chair went into almost full recline, a hombre and mujeres bathroom and a “cafe” in the back.

and you skip the normal first two stops in Puerto Carillo and Tulum.  You motor straight to Playa Del Carmen and then to Cancun.

Ahhhh…Cancun.   So here is the price and timing of the entire trip (one way for non-Belize citizens).  Let’s do it in USD ($1USD = $2BZD = $13 pesos).

San Pedro Belize Express from San Pedro, Belize to Chetumal:    $37.50USD     1.5 hours (or 2 hours with immigration)
Taxi from Port to ADO bus terminal:   $40 pesos or $3USD  10 minutes
ADO GL bus from Chetumal to Cancun:  $362 pesos or $28 USD  5.5 hours

Total cost:  $68.50 USD

There is also a night bus straight from Belize City to Cancun for convenience…if you want to maximize your daylight time in either Belize and Cancun or if you are just transferring to the airport or if you are travelling to/from the mainland in Belize.  But if you’ve got the time, I FAR prefer this daytime trip.  So much more comfortable.

And hello Cancun…and one of the nicest gyms/spas I’ve ever been in.

Much more on my trip to the Yucatan this week!

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