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Joined: May 2010
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I am renting a car and crossing the border to visit Tikal through a rental co. that allows me to drive over there

I have a couple of questions...

What is the border like and when is the best time to get there? What is the drive like getting there?

Joined: Nov 2004
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On the Belize side, it's nice...generally organized, new building with clean washrooms, reasonably friendly customs agents. On the Guatemala side it will seem the complete opposite...tumbledown guard shack, surly agents (you'd better brush up on your border crossing spanish), pigs and chickens roaming around, washrooms dirty, confusion reigns with ancient cars, trucks and buses parked and driving every which way.

Even though there is no entry fee to get into Guatemala, you will likely be asked for 10 quetzales. Just pay it and move on. It's only the equivilent of about $1.50US and not worth the hassle of refusing.

Five years ago, when I travelled the road from the Guatemala border to where the pavement started, it was horrible! It took about an hour to go 20 km. Perhaps it is better now.

As far as 'when to cross', the advice 5 years ago was to travel in Guatemala only during daylight hours. Again, that may not be the case now.


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Joined: Aug 2004
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I went through the crossing a while ago and it was easy. Took about 10 minutes both sides. The Guatemala side has cleaned up quite a bit in the last couple of years.Try to leave Belize City fairly early but it is an easy drive to the border. I am always amazed at how long it is from the border to Tikal. Much of the drive is on gravel which is a pain.

Joined: Apr 2006
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I have crossed the border and it was also simple, nothing as described above and you just walk through. A friend of mine did it just 2 weeks ago and same thing. Easy, hastle free, clean, no fees.

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It's good to know that things have changed. When I crossed, it was such an intimidating experience for me (I didn't mention in my first post that there were several men wearing torn t-shirts and shorts who were carrying automatic weapons of some sort) that I turned down the opportunity to visit Tikal again rather than go through that border.


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I don't think the rental vehicle from Belize is insured once you cross to Guatemala. You should ask about that. I usually do not recommend visitors to drive themselves to Guatemala. Much better to do it with a guide who does it every day, knows the ropes and the people and speaks fluent Spanish. Just something to think about....

Joined: Jan 2003
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With a guide it's very easy. We did a Tikal trip through Cahal Pech. She did everything, all we had to do was follow her through. The sign stating the restricted imports into Guatemala was pretty amusing.

Joined: May 2010
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We are hiring a guide at Tikal since we are spending the night there, its waaay cheaper this way. I have crossed Panama/Costa Rica before and lucky I speak a little spanish to get through, it was quite easy there, hoping for the same experience crossing this border and I am glad to hear it is.

Does anyone know if the roads to Tikal are paved now? I read that they were working on it, but can't find info if the work has been completed. We are more concerned about how safe it is to cross and what the best time to go through to avoid any riff-raff.

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Also, my credit card company covers collision insurance crossing the border but it doesn't cover liability so we will just have to be very careful.

If its not advisable to drive there, does anyone know how much it will cost to grab a taxi on the other side of the border and a safe place I should leave my car in San Ignacio?

Joined: Dec 2000
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Just be a bit "heads up" when driving yourself in Guatemala. It can be a little dicey with banditos, especially if you are a gringo.


R.B. Mernitz
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