At the original time we caught the Belize water taxi from Chetumal in Mexico onto Caye Caulker in Belize, I couldn’t find any real information that was of much use so I’ve compiled this blog post to help you know more. We went as a family of five with three kids and spent a week on Caye Caulker.
Belize Water Taxi
The water taxi is a small, pedestrian ferry service that connects Chetumal (Mexico), San Pedro (Belize), Caye Caulker (Belize) and Belize City.
Chetumal Airport to Chetumal Port
If you’re flying into Chetumal, or like us returning a hire car, you’ll need to get a taxi from the airport to the water terminal.
You must book and pay for the taxi inside the arrivals hall of the airport. It’s nestled into the right hand corner and cost us 200 pesos. The driver will take you right up to the departure terminal at the top end of the port.
Chetumal Port to Caye Caulker
In order to see the timetable, click here. During the high season the boat leaves every day, not every other day.
The terminal is very small. It comprises of the ticket office, a shop out the front, immigration at the back, a money change place and some toilets. There may be a restaurant up above the terminal but it was closed when we went.
There is no ATM at the terminal.
The shop sells souvenirs, snacks, sugary drinks, cheese sandwiches and very little of nutritional value. It’s worth eating before you arrive there.
If you book your ticket online you will save $US5 pp in comparison to paying in cash. Payment is taken through paypal and I’d recommend doing it for ease.
Children cost the same as an adult unless your child is under two years of age and will share your seat.
When you arrive at the terminal, present yourself to the ticket office (on the right) who will check your paypal receipt and give you a ticket. You must then join the queue and go through Mexican immigration.
The leaving fee is 533 pesos. Do not argue or quibble with the petulant boy behind the Immigration desk otherwise he’ll try to remove you from the boat and just generally behave like a child. He’ll make life a bit difficult for you and his aim will be to alienate you from the group you travel with by making you hold up the boat.
Dropping Off Your Baggage
The Belizean boat staff are so happy and friendly and they’ll gladly swap your luggage for some tags. Orange tags go to Caye Caulker and yellow tags go to San Pedro.
Once everybody has checked in, all the luggage is lined up near the immigration hall and the sniffer dog is brought in to smell it.
The same will happen with your hand luggage which you line up on the tarmac next to the boat and the sniffer dog will go through it.
Boarding The Boat
The boat is pretty small and can take a maximum of approximately fifty people.
You will be sat like sardines in a tin over the next ninety minutes to San Pedro. The seating is either plastic back seats in the centre of the boat, sitting around the sides of the boats near the windows or there is a small seating area outside near the engines.
The boat does go quite fast and sometimes it can jump around a little bit. It’s not the most comfortable but I have been on MUCH worse.
The guys on the boat offer a money exchange between US$, Mexican$ and Belizean$. They offer a much more favourable exchange rate than the ‘Cambio’ in Chetumal and it’s definitely worth getting as much Belizean money before you reach Caye Caulker because there is only one working ATM on the island.
Arriving in San Pedro
The boat first arrives into San Pedro where everybody must disembark and go through Belizean customs & immigration. There is no fee to pay here, only on exit (40 Belizean $).
The process is slow and you must not bring in any fresh food. There were a couple of guys who’d brought over fresh pizza (in boxes) with them and they had to eat them outside in the seating area before they could pass through customs.
The last ferry of the day (from Chetumal) arrives into San Pedro at 16:30 and leaves at 17:30
Arriving in Caye Caulker
Belize is one hour behind Mexico and you arrive in the dark but don’t worry because Caye Caulker is very easy to navigate lol. It only has three roads.
Caye Caulker to Belize City
Leave your luggage
Leave your luggage with the guys on the right hand side of the port terminal before you enter. You’ll be given a coloured tag according to where you’re going.
Walk down the wooden pontoon where you’ll find the ticket office at the end on your left.
We chose to pay online so we could pay through Paypal rather than use cash and saved $US5 pp in doing so. Again, children cost the same as adults, unless under the age of two years and sharing your seat.
Show your receipt to the ticket office who’ll exchange it for a proper ticket.
There are two boats that leave from Caye Caulker. The boat on the right leaves for Belize City and the boat on the left leaves for San Pedro. If in any doubt, just ask the staff who are always happy and helpful.
Both are quick boats taking roughly 35-45 minutes to reach Belize City.
View the timetable here but remember during high season the timetable does change slightly. If you’re in any doubt, email them directly. They’re very responsive and answered my email within 24 hours.
Belize City Port Terminal
Belize city port terminal is bigger than Chetumal’s. There are quite a few small shops. We stopped at The Last Stop Cafe on the right hand side where we were able to get vegan breakfast burritos, juices and coffee.
Your luggage will be taken down to the bottom end of the terminal on a cart and here you’ll exchange your yellow ticket for your bags. If you forget or lose you ticket you’ll need to be able to open the luggage and name what’s in it.
Buying bus tickets
There are two places to buy bus tickets at the terminal – be careful which you choose!
Atlantica – is the first shop on the right you’ll reach which will try to sell you tickets. The buses are not first class, they don’t leave as promptly, the tickets will look like Mundo Mayo tickets but they’ll be way more expensive and if you try to pay with a bank or credit card they’ll add 3% on. I declined to pay the 3% and asked for my credit card which he then refused to give back. In the end I leaned over the counter and grabbed at him. He reluctantly gave it back and I left.
Mundo Mayo Travel – is at the end of the terminal, on the right hand side, and next to a car rental place. This is the reputable agency where you can pay in cash or with card at no extra cost. The workers accompany you to the bus and give you advice about the exchange rate at the Guatemalan & Mexican border. These buses have air-con and a toilet. This is who we travelled with and we had no problems.
Belize City to the Airport
There appears to be only one viable way to get from Belize City (water terminal) to the airport and that is via taxi.
The taxi cost is $50BZ or $25US and drivers seem happy to take both currencies.
Video From Belize Water Taxi
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