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Belize – Guatemala Border

February 10, 2012

From San Ignacio it’s a 20 minute drive to the border. On the Belize side there is a big building across the road with a very large car park in front of it. There is plenty of room to pull in and park. You have to go into the Departures hall on the right hand side of the building. This is very straightforward, although before you can exit the country you have to pay a BZ$37.50 exit charge. This seems a bit steep to me but there you are.  After paying the charge you have to visit customs which is a bit more interesting.

Customs is in the arrivals side of the building so you cross over via a door midway down the departures hall. You go to the customs desk which is for arrivals. Present these guys with your import permit and your passport and they will cancel the import.

Then its back into the Departures hall to go to immigration to get your passport stamped. Only the driver is allowed to be in the vehicle crossing the border so any passengers might as well carry on through. The driver has to reverse and walk back out of the building to get the vehicle.

Outside the building are a whole load of moneychangers. We were offered 7.5 Quetzales to the US Dollar – the actual rate was 7.8 – so not to bad and we changed up all our Belize Dollars at this point.  You will need Quetzales as part of the process on the Guatemalan side.

After this you can drive through the border itself and they will look at your passport and let you through. Pick up your passenger and that’s the Belize side done.

Once through you should see what looks like a big car wash in front of you. This is an automatic sprayer which will spray your vehicle with insecticide. Quite why they do this at land borders where the insects can fly, crawl or walk across is anyone’s guess.  Once through this there is a window on the right hand side where you should pay for the spraying – we paid 46 Quetzales. We tried to get out of this by ignoring the window but a man came and got us when we returned to the truck after the rest of the import process.

There is really limited parking on the Guatemalan side – its opposite the place you pay for the spraying but really only room for 5 or 6 cars. There was no room for us so we parked on the side of the road.

The immigration building is on your right and is a relatively new partly open building. There’s even a big flatscreen TV which was showing the Animal Planet Channel when we were there.

There is a big counter at the end of the building and immigration is on the right hand end. It should be a simple matter to get a stamp in your passport. We got 90 days without asking.

The other end of the counter is SAT or customs. You need to give them your passport, Registration Document and driving licence (and 1 copy of all three docs). The chap doing our import took about 30 minutes – and kept making mistakes – but we got there in the end and after signing a few documents had to go to the bank which is in the front right corner of the building to pay 160 Quetzals for the Temporary import permit. Then back to the SAT counter for the final permit to be finally issued. Fortunately the border was very quiet and there weren’t any queues anywhere.

After this you are done and get back in your truck and head to the place with the cones across the road. Someone will check the import permit and then you are free to enter Guatemala.

We have heard that there is a toll charge to drive through the town but we didn’t see anyone charging it so we just drove straight through. All in all it had taken us just over an hour.

Overall this was a pretty non-stressful border. I’m sure things will get more difficult !

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2013 11:37 pm

    Hey Mark, were you able to get liability insurance for Guatemala at the border?

    • July 24, 2013 8:19 am

      Hi Gary,

      We didn’t get insurance for the countries that did not require it. Guatemala does not require insurance so we didn’t have any. We were comfortable self insuring as the total cost for compensation even for fairly serious accidents involving personal injury is quite low. Of course we also drove very carefully.


      • July 24, 2013 3:27 pm

        Thanks Mark, love your blog, will use it for reference on our trip down next January

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