Driving from Mexico to Belize

Jun 13th, 2016, 08:27 AM
  #1  
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Driving from Mexico to Belize

I am planning to fly into Cancun, spend a few days in Mexico (Playa del Carmen and Tulum) and then drive from Tulum to Belize. I would greatly appreciate advice on the safety of this for a group of four (two woman, one 16 years old).
Thank you.
spingirl1 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2016, 07:20 AM
  #2  
 
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Be aware that only one or two car companies will allow their cars to cross the border.

Where do you want to go in Belize?

If you're at all interested in the northern cayes, Ambergris and Caulker, it makes no sense to take a car.

As far as I know the drive is safe enough, though I wouldn't drive in either country at night.
JeanH is offline  
Jun 14th, 2016, 09:45 AM
  #3  
 
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You should be fine in Mexico, except for corrupt police who sometimes try to extort money from tourists, and beware of the gas station scams when filling up (always make sure the pump is set to zero before filling).

The highway from Cancun to Chetumal and the border is excellent -- all paved and 4 lanes in some places.

You should have no problems at the border -- I've met several visitors who have driven from Mexico to Belize.

In Belize...
All the main highways are paved, two-lane and well signposted (some visitors might disagree about the signposting). A four-wheel drive vehicle is not necessary unless you plan to get way off the highways. Insurance is mandatory. If entering from Mexico, insurance can be purchased at the border during office hours. Atlantic and another company, either RF&G or ICB, have small offices at the border.

Current gasoline prices are around BZ$9.00 (US$4.50) per gallon, so you might want to fill up in Mexico if gas is cheaper there.

The Philip Goldson Highway (formerly called the Northern Highway) is the main highway from Belize City to Orange Walk, Corozal and the northern border. The maximum speed limit is 50 mph (80 kph).

The George Price Highway (formerly called the Western Highway) is the highway from Belize City to Belmopan, San Ignacio, Benque and the western border. The maximum speed limit is 50 mph (80 kph).

The Burrell Boom Road is a highway that connects the Philip Goldson Highway to the George Price Highway. It’s often used as a shorter route to go from the airport to Cayo District.

The Hummingbird Highway is the main highway between Belmopan and Dangriga. The maximum speed limit is 50 mph (80 kph), but with many curves and some one-lane bridges, it’s not safe to drive the maximum speed limit on much of this highway. If driving to Dangriga, this is the best route because it’s very scenic.

The Southern Highway is the highway from the Dangriga turn-off to Punta Gorda. The maximum speed limit is 50 mph (80 kph). There has been some roadwork in recent years, but I think it’s completed now, and the highway is sometimes blocked due to flooding at the Kendall Bridge. The road to Placencia is now paved, and the road to Hopkins is being paved.

Maps show another road, the Coastal Highway, that runs from the George Price Highway (about halfway between Belmopan & Belize City) to the Hummingbird Highway near Dangriga. It's not really a highway -- it's a gravel road through the bush, and there’s nothing to see except trees and dust, and nowhere to stop (no gas available). If travelling from Belize City to Dangriga, this is a shorter distance, but the road is not paved so you won't be able to drive as fast as on the highway. The Coastal Highway is also used by large trucks that are sometimes reluctant to give way, and the road may be impassable in very wet conditions. If you plan to use this road, try to confirm the condition first. Some rental companies will not allow vehicles on the road. I would not recommend going via that road.

Some general safety tips…
On the highways, be aware of unmarked speed bumps near towns and villages. In wet conditions, the pavement can get extremely slippery due to the type of paving material. Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists walking & riding ON THE HIGHWAY, not on the shoulder. Be careful of that especially at night because lights and reflectors are seldom used. And there are some bad drivers in Belize -- watch out for speeding buses. If driving at night, take more care because road lighting is poor (non-existent). The highways have white posts that act as mile markers.
MisterB2 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2016, 10:58 AM
  #4  
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Thank you! We are going to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. We are also visiting Belize City and Cayo for a few adventure tours (zip lining, cave tube-ing, etc.). We want a car because we are only staying in one place for 2 or 3 nights and then moving on. The car company we found DOES allow border crossing - thanks for mentioning that.

I just wasn't sure on the safety of the roads in Mexico getting to the border (have heard mentions of drug cartels/gangs and blocking you in). We won't be driving at night.

Thanks for ALL your help.
spingirl1 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2016, 07:01 AM
  #5  
 
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I heard of highway block by striking teachers (near Felipe Carrillo Puerto last year), but none by drug cartels/gangs. There have also been some blocks on the road to Akumal (by locals).

I know a couple of rental companies that allow cars into Belize. Which one are you using?
MisterB2 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2016, 12:52 PM
  #6  
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We are using America Car Rental (from Cancun airport). What do you mean by "highway blocks"?
spingirl1 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2016, 06:38 AM
  #7  
 
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Where do you plan on leaving your rental car when you head to Ambergris/Caulker?
JeanH is offline  
Jun 18th, 2016, 07:25 AM
  #8  
 
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If I recall correctly, the teachers were on strike for higher pay and they placed large logs across the highway.
MisterB2 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2016, 06:41 AM
  #9  
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We are hoping to find a place either at our Air BnB/hotel to park our car.
spingirl1 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2017, 02:39 AM
  #10  
 
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Hi
what are names of those two car companies that allow their cars to cross the border to Belize and Guatemala?
Lucas80 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2017, 05:55 AM
  #11  
 
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I have no personal experience with this, but here are the names of two car rental companies that allow vehicles into Belize:

a) Cancún Rent a Car: http://www.cancunrentacar.com/
b) Europcar: http://www.europcar.com.mx/

Cancún Rent a Car also operates as America Rent a Car and Caribbean Rent a Car. You should read a lengthy post about them on the TripADvisor website.

In Chetumal, Europcar told me they have one or two cars that are allowed into Belize. That was a few years ago, so check with them about any changes to their policy.

In another travel forum, a traveller reported that Avant Rent a Car in Mexico allows cars into Belize. I haven’t confirmed this.

In Belize, drivers must have insurance. Insurance can be purchased at the border.
MisterB2 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2017, 05:57 AM
  #12  
 
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Of those companies, Cancún Rent a Car allowed cars to go to Guatemala. I don't know about the other two.
MisterB2 is offline  

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