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#206007 - 24 November 11 5:12 pm - America/Chicago Questions about Cancun -> Belize
terdalfarm Offline

***

Registered: 21 January 07
Posts: 1148
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Yes, regulars, yet another thread on a tired topic. But I'm tired of rereading old threads and would appreciate having it all in one place. If you're game, please help out.

Overview

We travel to Belize from Tulsa, Oklahoma, about twice yearly. This is difficult to afford. We are looking for ways to reduce our travel expenses.

Usual route to Belize:
Most often, we drive to the Tulsa airport, park our car in long-term parking. Fly TUL to BZE, either American changing at DFW or United/Continental changing at IAH. Eat lunch or get to-go food at those airports; Mrs gets a pedicure.
Arrive BZE; immigration, restroom, luggage, immigration. Use porter. Rent car from Panchos. Pay to exit parking lot, drive to Cayo. Arrive after dark.
Alternate: catch Tropic Air or Maya Island flight to Caulker or Placencia, taxi on arrival to lodging.

New route

We have researched alternatives to this usual route. Our main source has been Belize Forums and websites linked to from there (links below). Below is our proposed route with questions in bold. Please help out!

Leg One:
Drive our most comfortable (also, all-wheel-drive--it might be snowing!) car to Dallas, Texas an afternoon in December (300 miles, 5 hours). Spend night with fun cousins in Ft. Worth.

Leg Two:
Next morning, leave our car at their house and have them drive us to DFW. Take non-stop American flight to Cancun, Mexico. Arrive at 2 pm.

Leg Three:
Immigration, luggage, customs in Mexico.
Questions: anything special to report/declare if we are in transit to Belice? Any entrance fees to pay?
Look for ADO Riviera airport express bus to Playa del Carmen, a 1 hour trip for 110 MX pesos.
Website with photos and details: http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/Scuba/Cozumel/Aug2001/CancunCozumel.htm
http://www.cancun-airport.com/public-buses.htm
Questions: is it this easy to find in the Cancun airport? Should we buy our bus tickets online in advance? Can we buy our ADO tickets Playa to Belice right here? Can we pay with US$ cash or with a US credit card?
Arrive at Playa about 1700 hours.
http://www.travelyucatan.com/playa_del_carmen_mexico_hotel_map-a.php
Question: old bus terminal at Quinta Avenida and Avenida Juarez (5th Avenue and Juarez Avenue), right?
Relax for a few hours; eat dinner.
Questions: is there a safe place to leave luggage? Any suggestions of how to spend an evening in Playa near the bus terminal(s)?

Leg Four:
Collect luggage from wherever left (if not carried around all evening). Take taxi (20 MX Pesos) to the new ADA bus terminal (Terminal Alterna) at Avenida 20 and Calle 12. Board bus before departure at 2340. Arrive border about 0330. Refuse to pay bogus US$20 departure tax.
Questions: how do you refuse to pay the bogus US$20/person Mexico departure tax? Are there any legitimate border fees? What are they, and where/how are they to be paid?

Leg Five:
Clear Belize customs, immigration. Re-board bus to Belize City. Arrive BC about 0630. Take first available bus to Belmopan, then Dangriga, then Placencia. Ask to be let off the bus at Maya Beach; if not, take taxi Placencia to Maya Beach. Arrive ~24 hours after landing in Cancun, 48 hours after leaving Tulsa. Drink first Belikin beer.

Principle Sources

MisterB’s blog http://belizebus.wordpress.com/
Wesitisbest’s blog http://www.gettingtobelize.com/ADO.html
Belizeforum threads, especially http://www.belizeforum.com/belize/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=201952#Post201952
and http://www.belizeforum.com/belize/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=201309#Post201309
and http://www.belizeforum.com/belize/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=201321&page=1
_________________________
Erik Terdal

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#206013 - 24 November 11 6:26 pm - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
MisterB Offline

***

Registered: 31 October 05
Posts: 1150
Loc: Belize
While on the plane, you should be given the FMM tourist form and a customs form; fill them out on the plane. If you're carrying ANY type of food, even tea bags as I found out, that's considered food and must be declared.

In the airport terminal, first stop is immigration. Hand the FMM to the immigration officer in the airport. He'll stamp it and tear it in half -- keep your half with your passport. Nothing to pay. There is a fee for the FMM, but it should have been included with the price of the airline ticket.

Pick up bags and proceed to customs. You might be asked if you have anything to declare. Make sure your answer matches what's on the customs form. Then push the button which will randomly illuminate a red or green light. If green, go straight through. If red, prepare for a baggage search.

After exiting the customs area, there is a money exchange booth but the exchange rates are not good so if you need pesos, change as little as possible here.

Then proceed out of the terminal, turn right and walk all the way to the other end of the terminal -- that's where the ADO bus to Playa waits. As you walk, you might be approached by ADO staff in red shirts. They will be helpful, but I always buy a ticket from the ADO representative who is already at the place where the bus waits.

The ADO buses are easy to spot, and destinations are displayed on the front of the bus.

I've never bought a ticket online.
Only once I can remember the bus being full or at least close to full.

I don't think you can buy the Playa to Belize ticket at the airport. I've never tried to pay in US$ or by plastic.

The airport bus will arrive at the bus terminal at Quinta Avenida and Avenida Juarez. There is a luggage storage area upstairs (above the ticket sales area). I've never stored luggage, so don't know anything more about that. However, you should be able to buy the Playa to Belize ticket at this terminal even though the bus departs from the other terminal (at least I think it departs from the other terminal -- better confirm that). The other terminal at 12th & 20th is known as Alterna. It also has a luggage storage area, but it's just a room with selves -- nothing locked.

A taxi SHOULD cost 20 pesos, but I hear that the taxi drivers frequently charge foreigners 50 pesos. Confirm the fare before you get in.

How do you refuse to pay the bogus US$20/person Mexico departure tax? I've always just said no, and the guy throws my passport back at me with a sour look on his face.

Are there any legitimate border fees? No, no, no. Even if the FMM fee has not been paid, it is not paid at the border.

If you have any trouble, start to walk over to the big immigration building on the other side of the road (make sure Mrs. T. stays with the luggage) and make a complaint (how's your Spanish?), but you'll probably get called back and allowed through.

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#206017 - 25 November 11 4:53 am - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
kayleon Offline

**

Registered: 29 June 05
Posts: 2090
Originally Posted By: terdalfarm
Yes, regulars, yet another thread on a tired topic.


not a tired topic at all... excellent questions and information-centralizing, thanks, Erik.

I've got a few stray comments to add.

my son and daughter-in-law used this method to get to Belize two weeks ago.

in both directions, their ADO bus was about half-full.

the ADO bus on-board bathroom ran out of water, and the toilet was out of commission for the second half of the journey from Cancun to Belize City.

so, don't forget your Imodium AD.

<g>

the ADO website does not take foreign credit cards, only Mexican... supposedly they will add that ability soon.

the ADO site is very user-unfriendly, and only shows the current month.

so, best advice is to purchase bus tickets FIRST thing when you land, then goof off until the bus departs.

the kids have very little Spanish, but had no problem getting to the ADO terminal from the Cancun airport and buying their tickets to Belize, as there was a clerk at ADO who spoke English.

if there's multiple flights to catch in your itinerary, be sure to add everything up, as it MAY actually be cheaper, (or about even) to just FLY into Belize City.

notes on picking people up at the hind-crack of dawn in Belize City:

there's a small vegetable market next door to the Novelo's bus terminal, where you can buy fresh fruit for breakfast.

there's some really scuzzy crack-hos and panhandlers hanging about the terminal area in Belize City, even at 6 am, so don't flash cash, don't linger, don't keep all your travel money and documents in one place, and keep a close eye on your luggage.

I asked the guys at the Novelo's gate about ADO arrival time, and they said it can vary by as much as an hour or more... thankfully, the bus we were meeting was approximately on-time.

oh, and don't forget to use the restroom at the bus terminal, as hardly anything else is OPEN at that hour, and it's a long trip cross-country.
_________________________
"Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame." ~ Erica Jong

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#206141 - 27 November 11 5:01 pm - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
terdalfarm Offline

***

Registered: 21 January 07
Posts: 1148
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
I cam across this paragraph:
"We crossed the border. As a resident of Belize (kinda the equivalent of a US green card), I didn't have to pay the exit fee for Mexico. My mom and my brother paid $262 peso or $20 USD each. (If you are in Mexico more than four days and are not returning, visitors pay this exit fee.)" (Emphasis added.)
Trip back to San Pedro
on the blog post by our spscoop.
Is this correct? If so, do we merely have to show that we have been in Mexico <4 days even though we are returning (albeit in 2012) to avoid the charge?


Edited by terdalfarm (27 November 11 5:02 pm - America/Chicago)
_________________________
Erik Terdal

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#206143 - 27 November 11 5:13 pm - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
BZGringo Offline

**

Registered: 31 July 08
Posts: 615
Loc: Consejo, BZ
Only correction I have is good luck getting a taxi in Cancun or Playa for 20 pesos. 50 is the going rate there.
_________________________
There'll be two dates on your tombstone. All your friends will read 'em. All that really matters is that little dash between 'em.

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#206146 - 27 November 11 5:42 pm - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
MisterB Offline

***

Registered: 31 October 05
Posts: 1150
Loc: Belize
Here's the deal with the FMM Mexican visitor's card/form.

I got the following information last year from the Mexican Embassy in Belmopan, a Mexican Honourary Consul in Corozal and Mexican Immigration officials.

Visitor's to Mexico must complete an FMM (citizens of Belize can get a special visitors card). Visitors from some countries may require a visa before entering Mexico.

Visitors who stay in Mexico for 8 days or more must pay the FMM fee of 262 pesos before they exit Mexico. The fee can be paid at a bank or at a couple of airports, but NEVER at the border. Keep the bank receipt with the FMM portion in your passport.

Visitors who stay for 7 days or less AND return to their country of origin do not pay the fee [confirmed on 28 Nov 2011 -- this is still correct].

Visitors who enter Mexico and depart to another country (eg. USA to Mexico to Belize) are considered "in transit" and must always pay the fee regardless of the number of days in Mexico. However, I have had 2 friends go directly from Belize to Cancun airport and not pay the fee.

Visitors who arrive in Mexico by plane are issued (on the plane) with the FMM. If the flight is from Canada or USA, the fee for the FMM is included in the price of the airline ticket, so nothing more to pay. I've heard some airlines from Europe do not include the FMM fee.

THERE IS NO EXIT FEE WHEN LEAVING MEXICO. No money should ever be paid at a Mexican border. On a few occasions, I have been asked for money at the Mexico/Belize border and refused to pay. The official will just give you dirty look and throw your passport back at you.

Whenever I have gone through the border by bus, I have been asked for money. When I go to the border by taxi, I haven't been asked for money. Hmmm.

If a visitor has entered Mexico and has not paid the fee for the FMM, I don't know what would happen at the border when departing Mexico. An official might try to collect money even though that should not happen. The official should send you back to a bank to pay the fee.

Of course, being Mexico, the rules and what actually happens at the border can be two different things.


Edited by MisterB (28 November 11 2:35 pm - America/Chicago)

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#206412 - 30 November 11 11:52 am - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
westisbest Offline


Registered: 19 April 06
Posts: 371
Loc: Langley BC/Placencia
"Dear Gettingtobelize.com

Sorry for the moment we do not have this service.
www.ado.com.mx our website is updating and improving its performance to purchase tickets with foreign VISA and MASTER CARD, were being implemented some changes in the gaps where you enter the direction of your statement, that in order to ensure the security of customer information. In the meantime, please download the application of ADO for MOBILE:

MOBILE ADO you can download to your phone and book your bus tickets

Enter at www.adomovil.com and download the application to your phone memory
ADO for Mobile is a ticketing application that is downloaded from www.adomovil.com to any mobile device with GPRS connection, telephone and any company anywhere in the world, is also available for iPhone application in the iTunes store as “ADO Móvil”.

You can only book tickets, provided they are paid directly at the box office at least one hour (60 minutes) before the bus departure. Apply for brands Platinum ADO, ADO and ADO GL.

For the iPhone should do from the AppStore directly from your mobile or from your computer in iTunes. http://itunes.apple.com/mx/app/ado-movil/id352019564?mt=8
We are working to provide better service.

Saludos cordiales
Ana Luz Rangel"

I do not have an iPhone etc. to test it, If someone can, let us know if this works?

http://www.gettingtobelize.com/ADO.html

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#206428 - 30 November 11 1:48 pm - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
terdalfarm Offline

***

Registered: 21 January 07
Posts: 1148
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
It didn't work on my android tablet.
_________________________
Erik Terdal

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#206473 - 01 December 11 11:03 am - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
corozal dave Offline

**

Registered: 27 October 03
Posts: 1044
Loc: Toronto/Corozal
The links do not work on my Blackberry Playbook or on my desktop computer. The only link in the post that works is the link to the iPhone app....don't have an iPhone so of no use to me.
_________________________
Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. ~Aaron Levenstein



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#206498 - 01 December 11 4:27 pm - America/Chicago Re: Questions about Cancun -> Belize [Re: terdalfarm]
bonbon Offline

***

Registered: 14 September 07
Posts: 1523
Loc: Corozal Belize
I just came in from Cancun at the end of Oct. I have always bought my ticket to Playa then to Chet. While we were waiting for our bus to come in for Playa we were visiting with some business men from Belize they asked us why we were going to Playa first. I said because it was quicker, He pointed out that his bus to cancun would be coming in first and then off to Cancun then he would change to the Playa bus. His was coming in almost a hour before ours. He said he did this route twice a month and he found this way he did not have to take a taxi to the other bus station in Playa So we change our bus ticket and went into Cancun , I think if we had not we would not of got there in time to catch the bus to Chetumal. Our ticket from Cancun to Chetumal was$276 peso's .
And when we went through the Customs in Cancun Airport they did not use the stop or go button. They ex-rayed all our luggage and still went through everything. I almost lost my sunflower seeds. they did take my carrots I had been eating but then again they were tasting pretty old by then. But then again we came in on Jet Blue which is in a different terminal than A/A. If you come in on Jet Blue its a long walk to where the buses are behind the airport. If you come in On A/A its just a short walk.
Anyway just thought I would let you know how I did it on my last trip. I think it all has to do with what time you come in. Our flight got in at 9:27 a.m.
Hope you have a good trip. Don't forget that Mexican Busses can be very Cold. It seem warmer towards the front of the bus for us.

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