Day 60: You better Belize-it!
Todays destination: Belize! I still had another 250+km of highway in Mexico before I would make it to the border crossing, so I was on the road a bit earlier than usual. It was raining when I woke up this morning but by the time I had all my gear packed up it had stopped. I would get drizzled on occasionally as I made my way across the Yucatan peninsula.
Just before the border crossing, I stopped at a Pemex/OXXO to fill up my tank and read some notes I had on the border crossing. Feeling confident, I rode off to find the border and make my way into country #4.
As I approached the border I realized the guide/notes I had for the Mexico side of the crossing were about to become useless. The Mexican government had very recently improved/changed their side of the border crossing. It was completely different from what I had read about. Regardless it was still very easy, even if I did have to figure it out myself and look around a bit since there didn’t appear to be any signs up for those exiting Mexico.
Some basic border crossing tips/guide for this location:
As you ride up to the border crossing, you’ll see what looks like is a toll booth. This is where you cancel your tourist card (you must surrender it) and get your passport stamped out. Very easy. It only took 20 seconds and I didn’t even have to get off my bike.
After getting stamped out, ride forward about 20 meters and immediately turn left going across the oncoming lane and into the parking lot for the Banjercito. When I went through there were no signs facing my direction that indicated that this was the Banjercito, I had to pull over and ask around.
Once inside, go to the Banjercito window with all your TVIP paperwork and the sticker from the windshield (if you applied it). The lady will come outside to photograph the VIN number on the vehicle. You’ll get a new receipt back as proof that the vehicle exited Mexico and the deposit should be refunded within 1-2 business days. That’s it; very easy for exiting Mexico and no cost.
The first thing you will notice is that every speaks English here!
After passing through no mans land, follow the signs to customs. After making your first turn, you’ll come to a 3 way stop. On the left side will be where you need to get your vehicle fumigated. It costs 10BZD for cars and 5BZD for motos. Save the receipt; they’ll ask for it later. The building is very poorly signed and you’ll probably ride right past it like I did.
After getting Fumigated continue down to the immigration/customs building and park in the lot on the left side.
Once inside, it’s very easy. The first window is for getting stamped into Belize. They’ll ask how long you want to stay, so be sure to give yourself enough days. Don’t say you’re just passing through to Guatemala or else they will only give you 2 days. After getting your passport stamped go to the desk behind the first window. Here you will need your vehicle registration or title. They take down some info, fill out a form and write/stamp the vehicle into your passport. No cost for the visa or vehicle import. Easy and quick. Back in the parking lot, you’ll see some guys hanging out on the other side of the fence. At least one of them will be a money changer with whom you can change out any left over Mexican Pesos or US dollars. I had 450 pesos left over and actually got a really good exchange rate.
Last step is to purchase Belize Insurance which is legally required. After passing through the gate where they will check all your documents again and ask you some basic questions, ride over to the big insurance building:
Inside you can purchase the minimum insurance of 7 days for $29BZD. Again, very quick and simple.
That’s it! Overall no problems and it only took about 40 minutes for both sides.
I rode South towards Crooked Tree which is a National Park/Bird Sanctuary and also a very small town. It’s a good stopping point when coming from the border if you’ve already been riding for a few hours and I’m told it’s a better alternative to Orange Walk or Corozal.
I intended on staying at the Crooked Tree Lodge which I had read about online. The roads around ‘town’ were very muddy from all the rain that Belize has been getting and I nearly wiped out on one occasion. I was about 200m from the lodge when I came to this section of road/trail. It doesn’t look that bad in the photo but as I walked up to the scout the rest of the road out I nearly fell on my ass just walking.. Nope, I’m not taking my 500+ pound motorbike down that slippery ass trail. 😡So I backtracked a bit and followed some other signs to another hotel.
I ended up at the Jacana Inn which was also right on the lagoon. It wasn’t anything fancy and wasn’t cheap either at 100BZD ($50USD) per night but it had a cool setting just a few feet from the waters edge. The lady that owned it was really nice too.
My host made me dinner which was fried chicken (one of her specialties) and I also had my first Belizean beer; Belikin Beer. It was pretty good!
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