We flew into Cancun and took the bus down to Chetumal. Got to Chetumal at night when there wasn't any further way to get to Belize. While at the bus station in Chetumal that night, we booked our 3 seats for the crack-of-dawn van. Stayed at a hotel in Chetumal and the following morning, we got our red-eye shuttle van, crossed the border getting passports stamped, etc. and then stopped at Belize City. The van shuttle stays there for about a half hour so we walked around and that sparked our interest to do this upcoming trip to Belize. And that stop is actually the water taxi station so we could see how easy it is to get over to the cayes.
When you get to the Cancun airport, head to the information booth near the exit and look/ask for the bus that goes right to the downtown bus station. There's a bus that goes back & forth between the station and the airport.
We don't have the money to fly between Cancun and Belize and the day we "lose" by bus-ing it doesn't bother us.
I think it'll cost us 20/30-ish USD to bus to Belize and it'll be an overnight thing for us and maybe for you since I'm not sure if you can get to Belize after a certain time of the afternoon. The trip Cancun bus station to Chetumal was about 6 hrs. Chetumal to Belize City water taxi dock/station was maybe 2-3 hrs. (That part I slept so I don't remember too well)
I did this in September. Insteady of going into downtown Cancun, we caught the Riviera bus directly from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen. Caught the next bus south (we only went as far as Tulum, but the bus continued to Chetumal). We spent the night in Tulum, but agree that next time we'll just keep going to Chetumal. From the bus station we had a transfer company pick us up, Belize Transfers: http://belizetransfers.com/, and they took us to the airport at Corozal. The transfer was $US 40.00 for the two of us. They told me they would pick us up in Chetumal any time day or night. I think the border is open 24 hours/day.
So, you could spend the night in Corozal, then either catch the bus to Belize City in the am, or the water taxi (the Thunderbolt) to Ambergris at 7am, cost US20.00, or fly to San Pedro, cost US40.00. From San Pedro to Caulker is a short water taxi ride, I think around $10.00, maybe less.
What we usually do is get a private transfer from Cancun to Corozal, Belize the cost is $435.00US and driving time is 4 hours. Henry even stops us in Tulum to see the ruins and also brings along an Ice cooler so we could drink some cold cervesas along the way.
They are very reliable and courteous.
$435. is to expensive I think. I use Carlos Gibson and he picks me up in Chetumal at the ADO bus station, he has my flight reserverd or my Thunderbolt ticket ready. You can call him the day before if you wish. 011-501-423-8006 or visit his website. www.gibsonstoursandtransfers.com
Mr Gibson office is infront of The Golden Princess Casino .
Yes I have seen Mr Gibsons vehicle not the first class luxury vehicles that belize trnasfers have. The extra 35.00 is worth it since you ride in luxury Toyota Hiace vans with enough spaces I think they are 14 seaters or something so we could even sleep on our way down.
It seems to me that if it's over $US400.00 to transfer from Cancun to Corozal, you might as well fly into Belize City. Surely the rates aren't that much more from most places. We figure it's worth flying to Cancun, if we have some extra days and the fares are more than a couple hundred dollars different per person. If we paid $400.00 to transfer (is that one way or round trip?), we wouldn't save a nickle, and we'd spend two extra days traveling.
I'm thinkin' we paid about 200 USD extra to fly into Cancun and bus/boat all the way to Caye Caulker.
If you can get a good deal to fly into Belize City, do that. You'll save time & hidden costs.
It was the border crossing to/from Belize that near broke us.
And my backside still hasn't forgiven me from all the time I spent sitting down in travel time!
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