Belize to Guatemala Border Crossing at Benque Viejo Del Carmen / Melchor de Mencos on Motorcycles
December 31, 2016
The below describes our experience crossing from Belize into Guatemala at Benque Viejo Del Carmen / Melchor de Mencos in early October 2016, on two motorcycles, and is meant to serve as a resource for other travelers and adventure riders. It should not be understood as the end-all be-all. Every experience will differ, but we hope this makes your own a little more smooth. As always, refer to our Border Crossing Tips post for general advice.
For this crossing, we referenced and AteWasabi
This wasn’t our “smoothest” of borders - it was the first time we encountered a problem with the two bikes titled under one name - but people were willing to help all the way. All very friendly. We even dropped one of our backpacks off of the back of the bike in the free zone, and some hawkers picked it up, chased us down, and delivered it to us unharmed and with no expectations for reward. It is not remembered as a frustrating crossing.
Upon arrival to border, park before the fumigation tunnel & go into big building on your left. At the first counter in the middle of the room, pay the $40 exit fee. Then get in the line for the second counter, which is on the right side towards the back, enclosed in plexiglass. Present your documents and get your exit stamp. In between the two counters you just visited, there is a door on your left. Despite it being labeled for non-entrance, take it, going through the hallway to the room on the other side of the building - basically a mirror image of the last room. At the counter on your left, you will cancel your vehicle permit. There may be a long line, but we got pulled to the front immediately upon walking into the room. The import stamp was cancelled and the permit paper was surrendered. Easy peasy.
Return to your vehicle. This is where we exchanged money - the changers were the most chill I'd ever experienced, and had good rates. They also tipped us off to the gas station in the free zone - so we proceeded there for an incredibly cheap, tax-free fill up.
Proceed slowly on the right, outer side of the fumigation tunnel. Park on the right side immediately after the tunnel. On your right, pay the guy at the window for fumigation of the motorcycle - about 12 quetzals. The fumigation is then done by hand and only on the tires. In our case, staying parked there after fumigation was the best option, but if you can move slightly further ahead without trucks in your way, do so. There is not much space before a checkpoint. Go into the open building on your left. The rightmost end of the counters is where you get your entry stamp in your passport - no questions asked. Then go to the left most manned counter to begin the vehicle permit process. This is where we encountered our first hiccup for having both motorcycles titled in one name. Luckily, it was resolved through discussion, and simply took time. The border official was kind enough to write us up a letter that transferred one of the bikes to my name "officially." We provided the usual documents and copies. We each signed two import forms, and then slid over to the counter just to the right (which is the middle counter overall). They provided us with a certain slip of paper, and kept some of the others. We were directed to the cashier behind us.
Proceed to the cashier in the enclosed window on the right wall of the building. 160 quetzal for the permit, get receipt. Take receipt back to the middle counter. In tandem with the left counter, they will finalize the import permit and provide them to you with a sticker. Return to vehicle, proceeding slowly with papers ready for checkpoints. Cross the bridge and there will be a barrier and a toll booth. 10 quetzal. We had read that this was barrier-free and could be bypassed playing dumb with an oblivious smile, but this is not the case. Proceed to your destination! Our first stop were the Tikal ruins.
Total Time at Border: 2.25 hours Overall Rating: Easy-Medium Costs: Belize Exit Fee $40 Fumigation 12 quetzal Guatemala Vehicle Permit 160 quetzal Bridge Toll 10 quetzal