ADO Mexico runs an overnight bus service from Belize City to Cancun and one from Belize City to Merida. I took the first about 3 years ago – a bit more. And I HATED it…I was miserable and cold and cranky and it took me a few days to recover.
I vowed to NEVER do it again. But never say never. When on a very tight budget and when you find a very cheap flight from Cancun Airport to Providence RI (via Baltimore on Southwest) – NEVER fades. This is the cheapest way to make the trip. No hotels to rest and freshen up…you are just motoring through and THIS is how I made it work.
1. San Pedro Belize Express Boat trip from San Pedro to Belize City (RT with membership card – $10bzd – the price is $48bzd)
2. SECURE ADO overnight bus ticket
The overnight bus tickets go on sale at the Belize CIty bus station at 5pm each day. There is NO other way to get it…not online, not by phone, not in San Pedro. You can buy your ticket up to three days in advance and the line is a scramble to get up there and then the line is tedious…a slog. Thankfully I was given a secret tip.
*SECRET TIP ALERT SECRET TIP ALERT*
The guy who sells the tickets at 5pm at the bus station actually works days at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi station – which is where the Caye Caulker Water Taxi docks and is a short walk from the San Pedro Belize Express station. Call him ahead of time! And let him know when you will be there to secure your ticket.
He is a lovely man and can be reached at 664-2534. I asked him if there would be tickets available at 3pm, he said there would be, he even remembered my call when I arrived. No need to go to the bus station (not the world’s most comfortable place) until the bitter end.
You need your passport and you pay him $19bzd – voile!
I left my bag at the lovely Spoonaz Cafe for a quick walk around the immediate Belize City area. Beautiful day.
This area makes me feel like I’ve walked back in time…
3. Taxi to Bus Station – Plenty of taxis around this area. Standard price is $7bzd. The taxi guy will offer to drive you to Cancun…oh my! How lovely! Price? $850bzd.
4. Bus Trip
Be at the bus station by 7:15…the bus LEAVES at 7:30pm. And these drivers are not fooling around – vaminos was shouted at me (unnecessarily I might add) a few times. Pffft.
TIPS: When buying your ticket, pick a seat near the center and definitely a window seat for leaning. It will be the warmest there (the air con is UNBELIEVABLE on this thing). Bring socks, a sweat shirt, I brought a big scarf and a towel – which served as a very comfy pillow. Just be ready for cold.
They showed/BLASTED two movies for the first part of the trip – The Giver and Endless Love – both dubbed in Spanish. Headphones or ear plugs might be good for those who have trouble sleeping – I was out like a light.
We stopped at the Belize border at 10pm. Startled, the half full bus, shuffled into Belize immigration. I am a resident and went through pretty quickly and without paying anything. Visitors need to pay the exit fee. I believe it is $37.50bzd at the border.
Load back onto bus, drive 5 minutes to the Mexican border, fill out forms, stamped, wait for the bus to get searched. USE THE BATHROOM HERE! It’s nice…much nicer than the one on the bus.
11pm. On our way again. And then, around 11:45pm, we stop in the small town of Bacalar. Home of the GORGEOUS Lake Bacalar but at this time of night? It looks like some…dusty hell hole. I think I saw 3 dogs on death’s dorr and a few ladies of the night. Or maybe I imaged that. Mostly I was just grumpy…you have to get off the bus and pay the rest of your fare in Mexico.
I owed (according to the sign above) $83bzd but they took my 2 US $20s and that was that.
TIP: While everyone else is wiping the sleep from their eyes, be one of the first off the bus. I was able to avoid most lines.
Why can’t I just pay in Belize for the whole trip? Who the f knows…don’t even bother to ask. Sorry for the language…getting woken up in the middle of the night to shuffle into a tiny bus station with one clerk makes me cranky.
The bus continues…by maybe 3:30am you are in Tulum, 4:30am in Playa Del Carmen and 5:45am, we pulled up to Cancun Airport. The bus then continues to Cancun City Bus station.
I hate to brag but I slept like a champ…PLENTY of leg room, great seat, this bus is real deal.
And went inside the airport and watched the sun rise in Mexico.
I boarded my Southwest flight right on time…feeling, actually, pretty good. Shocking.
I still had a stop in Baltimore (more carb-loading) but when I made it to Providence, I was tired, sure. But really…not so bad.
THIS TRIP IS NOT SO BAD!
And total price from San Pedro to Cancun: $24bzd (water taxi) + $7bzd (taxi) + $102bzd (bus) = $133bzd or $67US
And I was NOT charged an exit fee leaving Mexico.
I plan to make the same one home next week…I am hoping this positive experience post does not jinx the whole thing. And until them, I’ll be enjoying gorgeous spring time in Rhode Island.