As two popular destinations on the typical backpacker trail through Mexico and Central America. It’s no wonder you’re interested in finding out how to get from Bacalar to Caye Caulker Belize.
And since the ADO bus from Mexico to Belize City is running again from July 2023. After its 3-year break, thanks to you know what. It’s easier to make this trip than it has been for a long time.
This guide details your options for a combination of the bus plus a water taxi from Mexico to Caye Caulker. With routes via Chetumal and the sea border, as well as through the land border via Corozal and Belize City.
Find out the cheapest and the quickest routes in this helpful guide…
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How to get from Bacalar to Caye Caulker: Overview
No matter which way you go, the journey to Caye Caulker in Belize takes about 6 hours from Bacalar, Mexico.
The differences between the routes are the prices and the amount of time spent on a bus or on a boat.
Your quickest route from Mexico to Caye Caulker is via Chetumal. And the cheapest route is via Belize City.
|Price & Duration
|Via Belize City
|From 35 USD, 5 hours
|Walk or taxi
|Free/5 USD, 15 mins/5 mins
|21 USD, 45 minutes
|Bus: 4 USD
Colectivo: 50 pesos
Taxi: 350 pesos
Around 1 hour
|Taxi from bus station to water taxi
|60 pesos, 10 minutes
|From 77 USD, 3 hours 15 mins
|From 25 USD, 3.5 hours
|50 USD, 2.5 hours
Is there an Exit Fee for Mexico?
No, Mexico does not have an exit fee.
But it does charge for the tourist permit (called an FMM) if you enter the country and stay for more than 7 days. Which you pay on arrival at a land border or have included in the price of your international airfare.
Unfortunately, it’s common for border officials to try and make you pay this when leaving the country. They do this by taking advantage of the fact you might not have proof you paid it in the first place.
Even more unfortunately, bus drivers and boat companies sometimes play into this scam to pocket a share of the money paid. It’s lucrative when you consider how many people each pay 687 pesos (40 USD)!
One way to combat this is to print off an itemised receipt from your airline, clearly showing you paid the fee. Printing is best as sometimes border officials will try to insist they can’t accept it on your phone.
Does Belize have an entrance fee?
No, but it does have an exit fee.
You won’t have to pay anything when you enter Belize. But when you leave, you’ll pay 20 USD (40 Belize Dollars).
Can you fly from Bacalar to Caye Caulker?
No, Bacalar doesn’t have an airport. And there’s no flights to Caye Caulker from Bacalar’s nearest airport, Chetumal International.
Instead, you’ll need to take a combination of overland and sea transport to reach the Caribbean island.
> > > RELATED POST: Not sure where in Mexico you’ll be heading to Caye Caulker from? Then this guide on how to get to Caye Caulker from Cancun is for you – and you can fly.
Bus from Bacalar to Belize City, Water Taxi to Caye Caulker
This route via Belize City is the cheapest way to get from Bacalar to Caye Caulker. All in all, it costs around 50 USD per person.
Going via Belize City also gives you the most options if you’re delayed for whatever reason. Whereas there’s only 1 or 2 boats a day from Chetumal and Corozal.
If being the most budget savvy is your top priority, this is the option for you…
Bus from Bacalar to Belize City
For the bus to Belize City, there’s two options: ADO and Marlin Espadas.
The ADO bus:
- Leaves Bacalar at 12 midday (from the main road, Highway 307)
- Crosses the Santa Elena land border
- Arrives in Belize City at 4.35 pm
- Drops you off at the bus terminal – a 5-minute taxi ride or 15-minute walk from the water taxi terminal
- Costs 468 pesos (27 USD)
Whereas the Marlin Espadas bus:
- Leaves at 7 am from the central park (next to Maya Cabanas Restaurant) in Bacalar
- Crosses the Santa Elena land border
- Arrives in Belize City at 12 midday local time
- Drops you off next to the water taxi terminal
- Costs 35 USD
Whichever company you travel with, I’d recommend booking at least a couple of days in advance through each company’s website. More if you’re travelling at weekends or around national holidays both in Mexico and the States.
Belize City to Caye Caulker Water Taxi
San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi are the company that operate out to Caye Caulker. They have departures throughout the day.
Each day, there’s the following 45-minute services to Caye Caulker:
- 8 am
- 9 am
- 10.30 am
- 12 midday
- 1.30 pm
- 3 pm
- 4.30 pm
- 5.30 pm
If you arrive on the ADO bus at 4.35 pm, you’ll need to make sure you get the last boat of the day at 5.30 pm.
And if you get the Marlin Espadas bus arriving at midday, you can get the 1.30 pm water taxi. This will mean you arrive in Caye Caulker at 2.15 pm with plenty of time left to enjoy the day!
Other companies do operate but their services are either in the morning before the bus arrives. Or at the same time as the options above but more expensive.
For more information on this leg of the journey, I have a dedicated post on travelling from Belize City to Caye Caulker.
> > > RELATED POST: Are you heading to Guatemala after Belize? Then this guide on how to get from Belize City to Flores Guatemala – for as little as 10 USD – is for you!
from Bacalar to Chetumal then a Water Taxi to Caye Caulker
Taking the boat from Chetumal to Caye Caulker means you step foot on the island just after midday. Whereas the earliest other option gets you there at 2.15 pm (via Belize City).
If you’re happy to get on the road early, this is the route for you. Although the required early check-in for the international water taxi doesn’t make this a particularly quick trip.
Getting from Bacalar to Chetumal
You have 3 options for making the short, 1-hour trip from Bacalar to Chetumal: bus, colectivo or taxi.
Buses run throughout the day and night along the almost 40-km route, typically taking just less than 1 hour. Prices start from as little as 4 USD and tickets can be booked online.
You can also get colectivo minivans and cars for as little as 50 pesos per person.
With both these options, you’ll need to take a taxi in Chetumal to the water taxi terminal. This shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars.
The other alternative is to take a taxi from Bacalar directly to the pier. Expect to pay around 350 pesos.
Chetumal to Caye Caulker Water Taxi
You can pick between two different Chetumal water taxi to Caye Caulker departures. Both options take 3 hours and 15 minutes – remember there’s a 1-hour time difference between the two countries.
San Pedro Water Taxi/Water Jets International:
- Don’t operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from February to October
- But operate every day in November, December and January
- You must check in at least 1 hour before departure
- Depart Chetumal at 10 am
- Arrive in Caye Caulker at 12.15 pm local time
- The ticket costs 1400 pesos (82 USD)
Book directly online through the company website for the best price.
San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi:
- Operate everyday
- Have a once-a-day water taxi leaving Chetumal at 3.30 pm
- Arrive in Caye Caulker at 5.45 pm local time
- The ticket costs 77 USD
Book direct to know you’re getting the best price for your Chetumal to Caye Caulker boat crossing.
As you leave Mexico and cross the sea border with Belize, you have to stop in San Pedro to pass through customs and immigration. Both boats operate the same schedule regarding this:
- 1 hour 45 minutes to San Pedro
- Get off, pass through customs, collect your passport stamp and then reboard the boat
- Travel another 30 minutes to Caye Caulker
Bus from Bacalar to Corozal, Water Taxi to Caye Caulker
The limited once-daily water taxi schedule and the cost probably make this the least preferred option. It’ll either be quite tight or you’ll be hanging around for hours.
But, it’s a good option if you’d prefer to cross the land border but not head as far south as Belize City to double back on yourself.
Getting the bus to Corozal
The most convenient option is the ADO bus, as this arrives 30 minutes before the water taxi leaves.
If you take the ADO bus from Bacalar to Corozal, you’ll…
- Leave Bacalar at 12 midday (from the main road, on the opposite side to the ADO Bus Station as the bus just pulls up)
- Cross the Santa Elena land border
- Arrive in Corozal at 2 pm local time
- Pay 158 pesos per person (10 USD)
Book on the ADO website or app for the best price.
Marlin Espadas bus company also operate on this route, but they arrive about 5 hours before the water taxi leaves… With this option, you’ll…
- Leave Bacalar at 7 am (from the central park, next to Maya Cabanas Restaurant) in the town centre
- Cross the Santa Elena land border
- Arrive in Corozal at 9.20 am local time
- The cost is 25 USD per person
Book using the website to make sure you get the best price.
The pier is just a 6-minute walk from the bus terminal, so it’s perfectly doable even with a tight connection time.
TOP TIP: If you’re having problems with the ADO website (it loads 50% of the time for me!), try ClickBus instead. It has all the times and prices for every ADO route plus more companies.
Corozal to Caye Caulker Water Taxi
The water taxi from Corozal does NOT operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So please don’t travel there on these days.
Tickets cost 50 USD one way from Corozal, with the following schedule:
- Depart Corozal at 2.30 pm
- Arrive in Caye Caulker at 5 pm
- Only runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
For this water taxi route, you can’t book online directly, but you can send a booking request through the company’s website. It’s possible to book in person but I wouldn’t recommend this as your connection time is so short.
If you have any questions or want any more information, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Information is correct as of September 2023 but is subject to change in future.
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