Womens work, Belize-Guatemala Border
We know borders are going to be a hassle. We decided to dedicate a day to each border due to this fact, and any spare time we get is bonus. A step by step of how we went through.
To leave Belize (simple and quick):
1. Walk inside and pay 37.50$BZD exit tax. MUST be Belize dollars. There are money changer men all over if needed. (Don’t buy Guatemalan Quetzals here though.)
2. Get Passport stamped out.
3. Walk to other desk and have them cancel the motorcycleÂ temporary import document.
4. Leave the country through the gate.
Heed the warning and ride on the sidewalk to the right of the fumigation spray “tunnel” or it will get all over you. Thanks for the tip Belize border man!
To get into Guatemala (slightly less simple and quick):
1. Have bikes “fumigated” aka poorly sprayed by hand with a little hose. Pay 12 Quetzals. GET A RECEIPT.
2. Get your stamp into Guatemala. It’s a CA-4 stamp, and works (at least in theory) for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
3. Argue with customs that the stamp is free. When he persists, ask for an official receipt. Don’t worry about the little “x” he writes in the stamp in the passport, saying you’ll just have to pay on exit. There is no official fee for the stamp. Period. Walk away without paying 20 extra Quetzals.
4. Feel smug.
5. Go to the fat man at customs to import the bikes. Learn that they want a photocopy of the stamp they JUST PUT in your passport, along with a copy of your drivers license, and motorcycle registration. We had copies of the rest, just not the stamp obviously. We felt fatty might be giving us extra grief since we didn’t pay off his friend. Let the hassle begin… Continuing on, you will learn that the nearby photocopy place is closed on Sundays, and that the nearest open one is in town. Then realize that you can’t ride into town because your bikes aren’t imported yet. Decide to have your sister to walk into town to get photocopies while you stay with the bikes.
6. Feel smug.
7. Have your sister get all photocopies for 1 Quetzal “in town” and return within about 3 minutes. Realize “in town” is about 150 meters away just over the bridge.
8. Feel slightly less smug.
9. Have your sister smile sweetly at the now skinny customs man who replaced fatty when fatty went for (unnecessary) lunch.
10. After the man fills out all the paperwork and proposes marriage to your sister, walk over and sign in the needed places.
11. Twice your sister will have to go to the nearby window and pay 160QTZ each for the import documents. All payments must be in Guatemalan Quetzals. Your sister won’t have to stand in line because she smiled and was nice to the security man earlier.
11.5. Continue talking to Money change men, learning all about them and how it’s always a better rate once in Guatemala (true).
12. Collect all the paperwork, get on the bikes and ride 5 meters over to this guy.
13. Ride into Guatemala!
Total time was about an hour and a half to cross. Not much hassle at all really. Total cost for each of us:
37.50$BZ (about 19$CAD) to leave Belize.
173 Quetzals (about 24$CAD) to enter Guatemala.
Total: 43$CAD each
Note that you must pay in Belizian dollars in Belize, and Guatemalan Quetzales in Guatemala. Crazy I know. The money change men will convert any currency you hold, and the rates aren’tterrible. Still better in Guatemala though. You live you learn.
Final note: Having a sister (or other female) to get all the paperwork done is HIGHLY recommended. We likely saved an hour by having her smile sweetly and talk to all the border people involved, letting her skip the lines and doing the paperwork for her. Win.