ADO | Travel from Cancun to Belize

Mexico’s ADO bus line is perfect for the budget-minded traveler

 

ADO bus from Mexico to BelizeMy favorite way to travel to Belize is via the Cancun International Airport (CUN).  I have traveled to and from Belize a number of times over the last few years, and have probably gone through the Belize airport only twice.  I chose to go directly to Belize when I first moved there in 2008 because we were traveling with pets and I wanted to minimize the number of borders I had to pass through.  Otherwise travel through Cancun is my preference because of the affordability and the experience.  Of course, if time is a major factor then a flight directly to Belize is probably most efficient for you.

 

During my last trip to Belize I was traveling with four friends who had never been to Belize.  I went over our options with them, and we ultimately decided to fly through Cancun for this trip.  The difference in price was significant.  This time we paid approximately $450 for a roundtrip ticket from Portland, Oregon to Cancun.  The ticket directly to Belize would have cost us at least $800 at the time we were purchasing them.

 

Along with the dramatic difference in cost for the ticket, I love spending a couple days/nights in Mexico before heading down to Belize.  There are a number of options for staying along the Yucatan Peninsula.  Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel and Tulum are just a few of those options.

 

I get several questions about the ADO bus schedule and experience from readers, so I thought it would be helpful to outline our last trip down from Cancun to Belize via the ADO bus.  For this trip we planned to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for two nights before continuing onto Belize.

 

We arrived in the Cancun airport around 4:00pm.  As soon as we all cleared customs we headed straight to the ADO window just past the Customs exit doors (big red letters; ADO).  We purchased tickets from the airport to Playa Del Carmen for $120 pesos (approximately $10 USD).  The bus is big, air-conditioned and comfortable.  It is comparable to a Greyhound bus in the US.  The ride to Playa Del Carmen took about an hour, and the bus terminal drops you off right in the middle of the tourist strip.  We were able to walk to the hotel we had reserved, but you can easily hail a taxi if you would rather get a ride somewhere.

 

We stayed in Mexico for two nights and then planned to continue to Belize on the ADO bus.  There is a new route directly to Belize from Mexico, but there is only one departure time available.  At 11:40pm the bus departs from the Playa Del Carmen terminal to Belize, and it is a 4 ½ hour ride.  That timeline didn’t work for our schedule so we opted to take the bus to Chetumal with the plan to take a taxi to the Belize border.

 

ADO bus from Cancun to BelizeThe bus leaves fairly frequently (about once an hour) to Chetumal so we decided to leave around 1:00pm.  It is about a five hour ride and costs $252 pesos (approximately $20 USD).  We arrived in Chetumal around 6:00pm.  There is a taxi terminal right outside the ADO bus station that we utilized.  Expect to pay about $20 USD for a taxi to the Belize border (I have negotiated a cheaper price before, but this is the standard quote).

 

The taxi took us through the Mexican border (note: you should not have to pay an exit fee when leaving Mexico through the Chetumal border, but don’t be surprised if you are told you do).  They told us we would all need to pay $200 pesos, but none of us did.  Once we were stamped out of Mexico the taxi took us onto the Belize border (you will go through a “free-zone” in between borders that includes a few casinos and a duty-free shopping area).  Once at the Belize border you will lose your Mexico taxi, but if you arrive at the Belize border anywhere between 9am and 6pm you should be able to get a Belize taxi to take you to your destination in Corozal, Belize.
We arrived at the Belize border, went through Customs and Immigration and waited for our ride.  My mom was picking us up at the border.  The ride from the border to Corozal Town is about 15 minutes.

 

Going back to Chetumal from Belize is the same process except in reverse.  On the way back my friend (also a Belizean taxi driver) took us from Corozal Town to the Chetumal ADO bus station for $60 BZD ($30 USD).  We opted to travel to Tulum, Mexico on the way back.  We stayed in Tulum one night and then rode directly to the Cancun Airport the next day on the bus.

 

Hopefully this helps you decide if traveling on the ADO bus from Mexico to Belize is the right option for your journey to Belize.  You can visit the ADO website to get an idea of departure times, travel time and cost, but the site is in Spanish.  Currently there is only one departure time available from the Cancun directly to Belize; 10:15pm for $374 pesos (approximately $30 USD).  The travel time is six hours.  The bus leaves from the Cancun ADO station in town so you will have to take a 30 minute ADO bus from the airport to this bus terminal ($52 pesos).

12 comments for “ADO | Travel from Cancun to Belize

  1. kelly
    February 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I have a friend and two kids coming into cancun to come visit me in San Pedro. I thought they could get the bus to Chetumal and then catch the water taxi to San Pedro, but I didn’t see that mentioned. What do you recommend? I think it might involve an overnight stay in Cancun, because they don’t get there till 10:40 am and I don’t think they could get the bus in time to clear customs and get the water taxi from Chetumal to San Pedro in time for its 3:30 departure to the island. I’d appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks

  2. studyabroad~!
    February 24, 2012 at 3:44 am

    Hey Kelly!
    I am planning a study abroad trip to Belize in the near future and am so very confused! You seem like the perfect go-to person right now if you don’t mind lending me a few suggestions. I will be travelling from Vancouver, Canada and will book a few months in advance so I should save some amount of airfare there. Tickets from the U.S. are considerably cheaper but as I am flying out of Canada I am wondering if it is even a budget friendly option for me to fly first to Cancun, Mexico and then to Belize. Keeping in mind I will have a lot of luggage of course. I have researched airfares from van-cancun and it seems to be about $550-700 price range for a round trip. Upon searching van-belize i find airfaires range from $700-900. I have a lot of time to wait for a good deal so I think i can land one of the cheaper fares. Do you think it will even be worth stopping in cancun? as calculations from your post approximate to an extra $100 in travel to and from cancun going to belize. So many websites say different things so I would love a personal opinion from you! Thanks kelly

    • belizedragonfly
      February 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Hello! Well – since the prices are so similar when flying out of Canada I would suggest going with the easiest route since you have a lot of luggage. Unless you can find a great deal through Cancun I would just fly directly to Belize. When I first moved to Belize with all my luggage I flew directly to Belize even though it was more expensive because I didn’t want to deal with carrying all that luggage through two borders. If you have other specific questions email me at belizedragonfly@gmail.com. Thanks!

  3. studyabroad~!
    February 24, 2012 at 3:53 am

    the last comment there was meant for belizedragonfly NOT kelly! sorry about the confusion. Please get back to me soon belizedragionfly :)

  4. Bernard
    February 24, 2012 at 7:55 am

    When we go to Belize via Cancun, we usually rent a car in Canucn and drive to Belize. Our vacation is ususally about ten days so a car rental is the most efficient and economical way to go. Remember if you’re crossing the border into Belize, get the correct crossing papers from the rental agency for the car. We paid about $250.00 US dollars for the ten day rental. Also when you cross the border into Belize, remember that you must obtain third party insurance . It is very reasonable which cost us about $30.00 Belize for a week. Going from Cancun to Belize with the ADO , which by the way goes right into Belize City from cancun airport, would cost about $40.00 US one way . If you do not want to rent a car and just relax , ADO is the best way to go

  5. Tami
    April 14, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Hi there! thank you for the great info. i am wondering if you can update me on the ADO for 2012. We are flying to Belize and staying in Placencia. I would like to go to cancun for a few days and fly out from there. WE have 4 kids. Is the border sketchy and anything to worrie about when entering Mexico? Do you know the prices for 2012 or how i can find out? Any tips on where to stay in cancun? we are on a budget but would lik to stay in an all inclusive for a few days.
    Thanks so much!!
    Tami

    • belizedragonfly
      April 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Hello Tami! Thanks for reading!! This post was from my trip in January 2012 so the prices should be accurate still. I have traveled through that Mexico/Belize border into Corozal many times and have never had any problems. I’ve had to wait in line a few times leaving, but that all depends on the time you are traveling. The best way to find out the prices is to visit the ADO website and do a search for a similar trip if you don’t know exact dates. The site is in Spanish so if you don’t read Spanish grab a friend who does. If you have a particular time or some general info I can try and get a quote for you. As far as Cancun goes there are so many all-inclusive deals in that area so I usually do a search on kayak.com or something similar for deals. Hope that helps – if you have further questions feel free to email me at belizedragonfly@gmail.com

  6. Carla Felix
    June 20, 2012 at 5:39 am

    BEWARE!!!! MEXICANS ARE CONNING OTHER CITIZENS CROSSING THE BOARDER TO BELIZE
    My family is from Belize; I have a US & Belize passport! I traveled on ADO in December 2011 to Belize. At the Mexican border into Belize, the little man in the window attempted to charge me money to cross the border (approximately $10 USD). I refused to pay and was allowed into Belize. I recently came back to Belize through Mexico (June 12, 2012) and the little man in the window at the Mexican border charged the entire bus $26.00 USD each. No matter what I said, they still took our money. THIS IS A CON!!!!!! But, at the early hour of the morning, what can you do! WHAT WE CAN DO is begin blogging, twittering, face-booking and telling news stations that this CON is occurring and effecting not only US citizens but ALL those traveling into Belize via Mexico! I am in the process of contacting DATELINE investigative reporting. There is nothing that can be done locally; we need to SPREAD the WORD!!!!! Please pass this message on so we can stop this harassment by the Mexicans!!! The sad thing is, I hear the Mexican government is powerless! It is NOT legal. If anything, try not to pay, request a receipt! Be careful! Pay them in quarters!

    ADO Operations Manager: Luis Perez
    Public Relations Officer for the ADO Group: Gabriela Osuna

  7. PM
    July 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    This is invaluable information! I am planning to visit and stay in Belize for 2-3 months for the first time, never having visited. Any advice on where to live/rent a space for this time period on a budget?

Leave a Reply