One of the dilemmas I had when I travelled to Belize was how to get from Caye Caulker to Tulum, in Mexico, the easiest and the cheapest way. As at that time the information I found online was not very accurate (it was either too old or not relevant) and the hostel staff wasn’t that sure about the options either, I decided to create this guide to tell you how I’ve done it and how much I paid for it.
How long will it take to get from Caye Caulker to Tulum?
The answer to this question depends on how long you will have to wait at the border crossing between Belize and Mexico. I was lucky to spend only around an hour at the border, which pushed the arrival time to 8:30PM. When you buy the ticket, nobody will tell you exactly how long you will be on the bus and there is no arrival time written down anywhere.
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How to get from Caye Caulker to Tulum?
There are two options to get from Caye Caulker to Tulum:
Take the express boat to Chetumal and from there find a bus that goes towards Cancun
This option is the fastest one, but also the most popular one, which means that you need to book the boat in advance. The express boat to Chetumal costs 55 dollars (or 105$ for a return ticket). The boat leaves Caye Caulker at 7AM and arrives in Chetumal at 10:30AM.
From the harbour you will have to take a taxi to the terminal, and then wait for the bus connection, which is at 1:30PM, 6:30PM and 11:50PM. A ticket from Chetumal to Tulum, with ADO Bus, costs between 160 – 326 pesos (8.5$ – 17.5$). You can buy tickets online, from the ADO Bus website, but you need a Mexican credit card to pay for the transaction.
Take the water taxi to Belize City and from there take the direct bus to Tulum
There are two water taxi companies in Caye Caulker, one leaving at 8AM and another one at 8:30AM. The longer in advance you buy your ticket, the cheaper it is. I recommend always to buy a return ticket rather than single ones, to save money. You can buy advanced tickets on the Belize Water Taxi website for 28$ return (18$ one way), or on the Ocean Ferry Belize website for 25$ return (15$ one way).
From the harbour in Belize City you can walk to the bus terminal in about 20 minutes, but it’s recommended to take a taxi, as apparently, it’s a dodgy area. A cab will cost you around 8 Belizean dollars. Make sure you confirm the price before you get into the car, as I was told one price in the boat terminal, while I was waiting for my bags to arrive, and another one when I got off. The people that arrange the taxis for you are not the drivers of the cabs!
From the bus terminal in Belize City there is a daily ADO Bus going all the way to Cancun airport, stopping at Bacalar, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Cancun airport. The price of the ticket is 45$. Read below how to get tickets for this bus.
ADO BUS Belize City to Tulum
Now I would call this bus “the phantom”, as it doesn’t appear anywhere online, not even on the ADO Bus website. However, it does exist, and it runs every day at 11AM from Belize City to Cancun Airport. You can only buy tickets for this bus on the day, in the bus terminal from Belize City, so make sure you arrive at least an hour before to the station, depending on the season. I was there in high season and the bus was half full, but you never know, so better to be safe than sorry!
The ticket booth is situated just outside the covered area of the terminal, inside a snacks shop. You will notice a banner advertising the ADO Bus services on the stand. Sometimes there will be a few people queuing behind it. You will have to pay 19 Belizean dollars here and the rest up to 90 Belizean dollars as soon as you cross the border to Mexico and stop in Bacalar.
The bus is modern and comfortable, with reclining chairs, air conditioned and a toilet on board. The bus runs every day, but if you are planning on traveling on the 1st of January you should always try to find out if it runs beforehand. In the past years it didn’t run on the 1st of January, this year it did, so you never know.
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