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Going to Belize; Quick & easy 3 day 2 nite trip
Topic Started: Jun 24 2010, 06:01 PM (416 Views)
starzman

Got back a couple of weeks ago from another trip to Belize. Easiest trip so far, you learn as you go more often. I'll leave out a lot of commentary, but I'll cover the main points that should make your trip go smoother. Just a quick note, that if you leave on the noon ferry and get your rental car at about 1pm, you won't have to get up so early to get it back in time without being charged for an extra day.
First before you leave Cozumel, make sure you have your paperwork in order (visa/passport/FM2-3). Also, if you entered Mexico via car, make sure you pay your $262mn for your visa before you get to the border.
Car rental - to make life MUCH easier, you MUST have a letter from the rental company giving you permission to enter Belize with their car. We were turned down by Hertz, Avis, and a few others before going to the Budget office at the end of the ferry pier. They were going to charge us an additional $300mn for the letter, but forgot to put it on the charge! We ended up paying $60 per day with FULL insurance for a VW CrossFox. It was worth the few bucks extra, the Atos is a terrible car to take a trip in. ALSO, MAKE SURE that the registration for the car is in the glove compartment!
Travel - head out of PDC and go south towards Tulum, the road all the way to Chetumal is in good shape and there were only 2 very short construction areas. Just follow the signs towards Chetumal then when you get close to Chetumal, you'll see the signs directing you to the Belize border crossing. If you actually travel the speed limit, it will take you about 3.5 - 4 hours to get to the border, if you haul *ss, 3 hours. NOTE - WATCH OUT for Topes! There are LOTS & LOTS of them all the way there. The pineapple slices you can get for 10 pesos at the topes in Limones are always a tasty treat, but messy. Have a towel or napkins handy.
Border crossing - just before you cross the small 2 lane bridge that takes you to Belize & Zona Libre, there is a SMALL INM office on the right side of the road. You MUST stop there and get your PP/FM2-3 stamped and/or surrender your visa (unless you're just going shopping in ZL). When you get to the Belize border, park in the Customs Hall lot and take your paperwork with you inside. Only the driver will be allowed to return to the car, the passengers must wait at the end of the inspection area. The driver MUST get a stamp in their PP for taking the car into the country, so after you get your PP stamped, go to the second row of desks while your passengers continue through to the back. At that desk, you MUST have the letter from the rental company and the registration. They will put a special stamp in your PP that must be canceled out when you leave Belize. If you don't have the letter from the rental company, they will give you a very difficult time taking the car into the country. One time I couldn't get a letter, but they put a note on the paperwork stating that it was permitted to take the vehicle to Belize, but be careful, they may not accept it. When you return to the car, you'll go through the inspection area, and you must show them the special stamp in your PP. They may or may not search your car. Also, you will probably see a little place on the side of the road that says "STOP - you must have your car fumigated before you enter Belize". I've never been asked for proof that the car was sprayed. ALSO, you will need Belize insurance for your rental car. There are several places that sell it before and after the Customs Hall, but they do close at 7pm. I have been stopped twice in Belize for insurance checks.
Have fun for a couple of days in Belize!
Returning to Mexico - When you leave Belize, you again park at the Customs Hall lot and everyone takes their paperwork inside. Remember - it's free to get into Belize, but costs you $19USD or $37BD to leave! If you pay with a $20 bill, you won't get any change back. CASH ONLY, no Traveler's Checks or Credit cards accepted. USD are accepted anywhere in Belize, exchange rate is 1 US to 2 Belize dollars. The passengers can continue on and the driver must go back to the other side of the hall to have the stamp for the car canceled. Again, only the driver returns to the car, while the passengers wait on the far side of the inspection area. When you drive through the inspection booth, you must show the cancelled stamp and the slip that shows you paid your $ for leaving the country. When you get to the Mexican side of the 2 lane bridge, you park in the lot there and go inside. If you need a visa, they have the forms at the window and you must have it completely filled out before you go up to the counter. You SHOULD automatically get 180 days for your visa, if they try to only give you 90 days and tell you that you have to pay for the extra 90 days, they're trying to "shake you down" for $$. Don't fall for it, ask to speak to whoever is in charge, but BE POLITE! They may quickly change it to 180 days. Once you leave the INM office, you get to the red light/green light booth. Good luck!

I think you know the rest! Go back to PDC and drop off the rental car and hop back on the ferry!
Edited by starzman, Jun 24 2010, 06:06 PM.
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south beach girl
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Thanks for sharing! Two questions, is $19 per person to leave Belize or just $19 per car full of people?

Anything special you have to do for your car if you are crossing with a Mexican plated car?

Andrea
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starzman

That's $19 per person, they call it an ecological "fee". If you're using a personal car and not a rental, so long as you're the owner, there shouldn't be any problems. Just have all the paperwork available to show at the Customs Hall.
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