The border crossing from San Ignacio, Belize into Guatemala is the major crossing point for riders going from Belize into Guatemala and vice versa. The Belizian border compound is organized and well-labeled. The officials often speak English and Spanish. The Guatemalan compound is rather chaotic and lacks the intuitive organization of Belize. The only setback I experienced on the Guatemalan side was finding the photocopy shop. Taxi drivers will tell you the shop is very far away. Everyone else will point to the building just over the bridge.
Requirements to leave Belize
- Vehicle import permit
- Copies: none
- Cost: BZD 37.50 exit fee
Requirements to enter Guatemala
- Passport with exit stamp from Belize
- Vehicle registration
- Driver license
- Copies (one each): passport ID page, vehicle registration, driver license, and Guatemalan immigration stamp
- Cost: GTQ 160 for vehicle import; GTQ 1 for a copy of the Guatemalan immigration stamp if you come prepared with the other copies, otherwise GTQ 4
These notes assume that you entered Belize by land from Mexico, that you own your vehicle and it is registered and titled in your name, and that you imported it correctly into Belize to begin with. You should have original documents or at least original-looking documents. Any deviation from these assumptions will greatly burden you.
There is no confusion about the road out of Belize and into Guatemala.
It leads directly to the customs and immigration building.
Park to the side and go into the main building.
The border guard will direct you to the door.
Or, the money changer will lead you around on the pretense that you’ll change your money with him.
The immigration desk is the first desk in the long corridor.
Hand over your passport and pay the exit fee of BZD 37.50.
Proceed to the second immigration desk (behind the first) for an exit stamp.
Go through a hallway in the middle of the building to access the customs desk on the other side.
Provide your passport and relinquish the vehicle import permit to the customs officer; he or she will cancel the import stamp in your passport.
Return through the hallway to the immigration side of the building and change your money.
Return to the border guard; the attendant will inspect your documents and wave you through.
Proceed to the Guatemalan border.
Go around the fumigation shed by way of the pedestrian path.
Do not park next to the fumigation shed.
Park across the street instead.
Proceed into the combined customs/immigration pavilion.
Immigration is to the right; customs is to the left.
Go to immigration first.
Hand your passport to the officer. I was stamped into Guatemala without any questions for 90 days, though the officer did ask for a GTQ 20 entrance fee under his breath. I said I would pay the fee when I exit, and he relented.
After immigration, exit the pavilion and cross the footbridge over the river into Guatemala. One of the first buildings after the river is this white and maroon building on your right. Go here to make one photocopy each of your passport’s identification page, the Guatemalan entrance stamp, your vehicle registration, and your driver license. Copies cost GTQ 1 per page.
Return to the pavilion and proceed to the customs desk. Hand over your originals and copies and ask to import your vehicle.
Verify the information on the documents before you sign them.
Proceed to the small windows to the right of the immigration and customs desks to pay the vehicle import fee of GTQ 160.
Return to the customs desk with a receipt and sign the paperwork. You will receive an import sticker to keep until you exit Guatemala.
Drive through the orange barricade and show your documents to the guard.
Proceed across the bridge.
The second guard might say something about the entrance fee. Pretend not to speak Spanish or just drive by without stopping.
The first fuel station is directly after the bridge. Fuel is sold and measured in gallons.