Cancun to Caye Caulker: The ADO Bus is Back + Other Options!

Getting from Cancun to Caye Caulker hasn’t been easy for the last few years.

But with the ADO bus running between Cancun and Belize City again since it was suspended in March 2020, things are much simpler. Although there’s no direct route.

The quickest and easiest way is to fly. But this doesn’t come cheap, especially with the small planes that are used.

Or you can take a bus and water taxi to get yourself to this island paradise. In no time at all you’ll be feeling the laidback Caribbean vibes, eating lobster for lunch and snorkelling on the barrier reef.

If you’re looking to take a trip from Mexico to Caye Caulker, this guide is for you. Here’s all your options for how to get to Caye Caulker in 2024…

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A sign that has the words 'The Split' in red and yellow, located near The Split in Caye Caulker

How to get from Cancun to Caye Caulker

With the ADO bus now running from Cancun to Belize City again after 3 years, it’s easier than ever to get to Caye Caulker.

The quickest way is to fly but this is not cheap and won’t suit everyone’s budgets. Your next best alternative is to take a combination of the ADO bus and a water taxi to Caye Caulker.

The ADO bus stops at 3 towns and cities that have boats to Caye Caulker: Chetumal in Mexico and Corozal and Belize City in Belize. From any of these, you can take a boat to Caye Caulker.


Your options are…

GET THERE QUICK BY FLYING TO BELIZE:

Fly to Caye Caulker from Cancun International Airport

Fly to Belize City & take a water taxi to Caye Caulker

OVERLAND AND SEA WITH A BUS + WATER TAXI:

Via Chetumal (cross the sea border)

Via Corozal (doesn’t run on Tuesdays & Thursdays)

And via Belize City (CHEAPEST)

AVOID A BOAT CROSSING WITH A BUS + FLIGHT

Bus to Belize City & fly to Caye Caulker


Can you do a day trip from Cancun to Belize?

No, not unless you have a private jet.

By road and boat, it takes at least 12 hours to reach Caye Caulker. Flying is quicker – taking 4 hours – but flights are only operating outward in the afternoon and back in the morning.

How far is Caye Caulker from Cancun?

Caye Caulker in Belize is 250 miles (400 km) south along the Caribbean coast from the Mexican city of Cancun.

However, by road, the distance extends to over 550 km and involves an international border crossing.

Thinking about stopping in Bacalar on your way to Belize? Check out this guide for your transport options between Bacalar and Caye Caulker.

Looking out the right-hand side of a plane with the wing tip visible and a hazy sky below. Flying is one way to get from Cancun to Caye Caulker

Flying from CANCUN Airport TO CAYE CAULKER

LegPriceTime
CUN Airport to CUK Airport400 USD one way3 hours 50 mins (including a layover in Belize City Int’l Airport)

This is the quickest way to get to Belize’s Caribbean islands from Cancun. And is the closest to being a direct route between the two.

Tropic Air operate the route using small propeller planes that seat just a handful of passengers. If you’ve only ever flown on airliners, this will be a unique experience!

Can you fly from Cancun to Caye Caulker?

Yes, you can fly from Cancun Airport to Caye Caulker with Tropic Air with a layover and change of plane in Belize City’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE).

Flight Times to Caye Caulker from CUN Airport

There’s 1 route per day that gets you to Caye Caulker. This involves two flights and one layover.

Your first flight leaves Cancun International Airport at 2 pm.

The flight takes 90 minutes and arrives in Belize City at 2.30 pm local time (1 hour time difference).

You’ll then have a 2-hour layover. Then it’s a short, 10-minute flight to Caye Caulker arriving at 4.50 pm over the beautiful blue seas you’ll perhaps be snorkelling in.

Prices & Booking

It’s not cheap to fly from Cancun Airport to Caye Caulker. But it is the quickest way.

Prices start at just under 400 USD one-way. This includes 1 checked bag and 1 carry-on bag.

You’ll get the best price by booking directly with Tropic Air.

Large, brightly coloured letters that spell out Cancun

Cancun to Caye Caulker via Belize City

There’s 3 ways to get to Caye Caulker via Belize that don’t just involve flying the whole way. They use a combination of the ADO bus, flying and the handy water taxi.

Bus & Water Taxi

LegPriceTime
ADO Bus from Cancun to Belize City1128 pesos11 hours 30 minutes (including border crossing)
Walk or taxi from the Bus Station to the Water Taxi TerminalWalk: free
Taxi: ~5 USD
Walk: 15 minutes Taxi: 5 minutes
Water taxi from Chetumal to Caye Caulker21 USD45 minutes

Coming in at around 90 USD for the whole journey, this is one of the cheapest ways to get from Cancun to Caye Caulker.

Times for the Bus & Water taxi

There’s one bus a day from Cancun to Belize City, run by ADO.

The ADO bus:

  • Leaves the main terminal in Cancun at 6.10 am
  • Crosses through the Santa Elena border
  • Arrives at the Belize City Bus Terminal at 4.35 pm

From there, you can either walk 15 minutes or grab a 5-minute taxi to the water taxi terminal.

That’ll give you time to make the last water taxi of the day which:

  • Leaves Belize City at 5.30 pm
  • Arrives in Caye Caulker at 6.15 pm

Prices & Booking

The Cancun to Belize City bus costs 1128 pesos. You can book online through the ADO website or app (type in ‘Belice city’).

For the water taxi to Caye Caulker, you can book in advance online to save you time on the day. Which I’d definitely recommend since the connection between the bus and the boat is pretty tight.

> > > RELATED POST: Is Guatemala your next stop after Belize? Then this guide on getting from Belize City to Flores Guatemala has all the information you need.

Looking out over the sea at sunset

Bus & Flight

LegPriceTime
ADO Bus from Cancun to Belize City1128 pesos11 hours 30 minutes (including border crossing)
Taxi from Bus Station to Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport10 USD10 minutes
Flight to Caye Caulker60 USD10 minutes

Costing around 130 USD and still taking 13 hours, this is neither the cheapest nor the quickest option. But it does mean you get to skip the boat ride, which might appeal to some.

However, there’s a pretty tight connection between the bus arriving in Belize City and the flight leaving. And as it’s the last flight of the day, if you miss it, you’ll spend the night there.

Bus & Flight Times

There’s one bus a day from Cancun to Belize City, run by ADO.

The ADO bus:

  • Leaves the main terminal in Cancun at 6.10 am
  • Crosses through the Santa Elena border
  • Arrives at the Belize City Bus Terminal at 4.35 pm

From there you’ll need to rush over to Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport to catch the last flight of the day at 5.30 pm. A taxi will take you there in about 15 minutes.

The flight takes 10 minutes and arrives in Caye Caulker at 5.40 pm.

So, yeah, it’s theoretically possible. But it’d be very tight and personally, I’d opt for the water taxi.

Prices & Booking Your Trip

The Cancun to Belize City bus costs 1128 pesos. You can book online through the ADO website or app (type in ‘Belice city’).

Tropic Air operate the flight to Caye Caulker. You can book with them or use a comparison site like Skyscanner to find the best price.

Check prices and availability for the flight from Belize’s Municipal Airport to Caye Caulker online.

Inside of a boat with lots of seats that are white benches

Flight & Water Taxi

LegPriceTime
CUN to BZE (Int’l Airport)260 USD1 hour 30 minutes
Taxi to Water Taxi Terminal15 USD40 minutes
Boat to Caye Caulker21 USD45 minutes

This is one of the more expensive routes but it is one of the quickest.

However, because of the afternoon departure from Cancun, you’ll still be aiming for one of the last 2 water taxis of the day. For more information, check out this dedicated post on travelling from Belize City to Caye Caulker.

Flight Times & Boat Options

For the Cancun to Belize City flight:

  • You leave Cancun International Airport at 2 pm
  • Fly for 90 minutes
  • Arrive at Belize City’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport at 2.30 pm local time

After passing customs and immigration, you’ll need to take a taxi to the water taxi terminal in Belize City. This will take about 45 minutes.

You should be able to get either the:

  • 4.30 pm water taxi departure, arrives at 5.15 pm
  • 5.30 pm departure, arriving at 6.15 pm.

Prices & Booking

Prices for the Cancun to Belize flight start at around 260 USD one-way. This includes 1 checked bag and 1 carry-on bag.

You’ll get the best price by booking directly with Tropic Air.

And for the water taxi, book in advance online to save you time on the day. Which I’d highly recommend to help you make the earlier water taxi and not have to hang around.

A stingray-shaped sign in the water that reads 'Warning, yes stingrays can hurt you, be careful'

Bus & Watertaxi to Caye Caulker via Chetumal

LegPriceTime
ADO Bus from Cancun to Chetumal 622 pesos6 hours 30 minutes
Taxi from Chetumal Bus Station to Water Taxi Terminal60 pesos10 minutes
Water taxi from Chetumal to Caye CaulkerFrom 77 USD3 hours 15 minutes

Taking around 11 hours, this route through Chetumal is one of the quicker overland options. But the total price tag is around 120 USD per person.

Cancun to Chetumal Bus Times

You have a lot of options for when to travel. You can make the 6-hour journey either overnight or at any other time of the day.

The overnight bus services are:

  • 11 pm leave Cancun, 5.20 am arrive in Chetumal
  • 11.59 pm departure, 06.24 am arrival
  • 00.30 am departure, 6.50 am arrival

Alternatively, buses leave from 6.10 am to 8 pm.

However, you’ll need to line your arrival time in Chetumal up with the water taxi times to avoid hanging around too long.

As the bus station is 5 km from the water taxi pier, you’ll need to get a taxi. There’s always plenty waiting at the bus terminal but make sure to agree on a price before starting the journey.

Times for the Water taxis

Two companies operate from Chetumal to Caye Caulker.

San Pedro Water Taxi/Water Jets International:

  • Only operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from February to October
  • But operate every day in November, December and January
  • Departures at 10 am
  • Arrive in Caye Caulker at 12.15 pm local time

The other company (unhelpfully having a similar name) is called San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi, they:

  • Operate everyday
  • Have a once-a-day water taxi leaving Chetumal at 3.30 pm
  • Arrive in Caye Caulker at 5.45 pm

Times for the water taxi include the border crossing, which happens at San Pedro. You will:

  • First travel 1 hour 40 minutes by boat to San Pedro
  • Get off, pass through customs collecting your stamp and then reboard the boat
  • Travel another 30 minutes to Caye Caulker.

Prices & Booking

You can get a bus from Cancun to Chetumal for as little as 380 pesos if you book in advance. But the standard price is 622 pesos.

Book your bus ticket from Cancun to Chetumal online.

For the 10 am water taxi from Chetumal to Caye Caulker, book direct online through the company website for the best price (1400 pesos).

Likewise, for the 3.30 pm departure from Chetumal book direct to know you’re getting the best price (77 USD).

The palm trees of Caye Caulker, Belize taken from the shallows of the sea

Bus & Boat to Caye Caulker via Corozal

LegPriceTime
ADO Bus from Cancun to Corozal748 pesos9 hours (including border crossing)
Walk from Corozal Bus Station to Pier6 minutes
Water taxi from Chetumal to Caye Caulker*50 USD2 hours 30 minutes
*Doesn’t run on Tuesdays or Thursdays

Costing less than 100 USD and taking around 12 hours, travelling via Csnoorozal is one of the cheaper options.

Bus & Boat Times

While the bus runs daily. The boat from Corozal to Caye Caulker does NOT operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So if you’re doing this route, you’ll need to travel on one of those days (NOT on a Tuesday and NOT on a Thursday).

The ADO bus:

  • Leaves Cancun at 6.10 am
  • Arrives in Corozal at 2 pm local time
  • Crosses through the Santa Elena border on the way to Corozal

You’ll then need to walk 6 minutes and 4 blocks to the pier to get the boat.

The water taxi to Caye Caulker:

  • Leaves Corozal at 2.30 pm
  • Arrives in Caye Caulker at 5 pm.

Prices & How to Book

It costs 748 pesos for the ADO bus from Cancun to Corozal. There’s no saving for booking in advance.

You can book through the ADO website or app.

For the Corozal to Caye Caulker water taxi, you can send a booking request through the website. It’s possible to book in person but I wouldn’t recommend this as your connection time is so short. Tickets cost 50 USD one way.

Is there a ferry from Cancun to Belize?

No, despite both being on the sea, there’s no ferry between Cancun and anywhere in Belize.

Instead, you’ll need to travel overland to either Chetumal, Corozal or Belize City to get a boat to the island. Importantly, this is a boat and not a ferry.


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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2 thoughts on “Cancun to Caye Caulker: The ADO Bus is Back + Other Options!”

  1. Hi Zoe, great article! As it happens we are trying to do the opposite route from Belize City to Cancun and have used ADO for all our journeys in Mexico and it was great. On the ADO website the Belize city to Cancun route doesn’t show and I can’t find any details about the ADO bus stop in Belize city either. You have any ideas? Thanks! We will take the local chicken buses to corozal otherwise

    1. Hi Dave, I believe the bus from Belize City to Cancun leaves at 7 pm each day. And as far as I know when going north it doesn’t stop in Belize but goes straight to the border then makes stops in Mexico. There’s an ADO booth inside Belize City Bus Terminal or you can also try contacting them through this Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100076396358747. Do let me know how you get on, would be great to add any relevant information for people heading the same way you are. Thanks, Zoe

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