Overland from San Ignacio, Belize to Flores, Guatemala

San Ignacio is the hub of the Cayo district in western Belize. The town is located a very short distance (about 13km) from the border with Guatemala. To get to the border, you can go one of several ways:

1) Chicken bus + walk: Take the chicken bus from the bus stop in San Ignacio to the border town of Benque Viejo. From here, it’s approximately a 2km walk to the border.
2) Chicken bus + taxi: Once you arrive in Benque Viejo, simply hop in a taxi for the short ride to the border.
3) Taxi: Not the cheapest option if you’re on your own. But if you’re in a group then it costs about the same as option 2.  I was with one other person and we paid BZ$10 each.

The bus station in San Ignacio

At the border, there are money changers available however their rates aren’t as good as you would get from an ATM or bank office. When you exit Belize, you’ll need to pay BZ$37.5 in fees so make sure you have at least that much left in local currency or in some combination of local currency and USD.

Once you exit the Belize border office, it’s a short walk to the Guatemalan border office on the left hand side of the road. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua are of part of the CA-4 and share the same visa. Most people get 90 days on arrival. Just past the border station, there are collectivos to Santa Elena and Flores. All the collectivos terminate in Santa Elena anyway so it’s best to just pay for the trip to Santa Elena for 30Q, then in Santa Elena take a tuk tuk to Flores for 5Q per person. The road from the border is partially under construction so there are perfectly paved sections of concrete road and then very rough unpaved sections. The ride from the border to Santa Elena takes about 2 hours. From Santa Elena to Flores, it’s about 5-10 minutes.

Never knew that there are tuk-tuks in Guatemala.

You can take a “direct” shuttle from the border to Flores for 40Q, but the collectivo still terminates in Santa Elena. The only difference is that there’ll be a tuk tuk waiting for you and the collectivo driver makes an extra 5Q profit. There are plenty of hotels in Flores but only one hostel : Los Amigos. We stayed there and it had a great vibe. Lots of hammocks to chill out in. And a full bar and restaurant too.

Have you travelled this route in either direction? Was it as easy for you?

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