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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

The Overnight Bus from Belize City to Cancun: All of The Details

I needed to be in Cancun last Sunday morning.  My mother and brother were arriving from Newark, NJ mid-day.  I could take the water taxi from San Pedro early in the morning from Chetumal, hang out all day long and take a bus late at night to Cancun...but who wants to drag around luggage all day.  I decided to try the new bus from Belize City all the way to Cancun.  I mean, why not?

You can say all the bad stuff you want about Cancun.  It´s cheesy, over commercialized, packed with fat annoying Americans and to some degree you are right.  But hey!  I am a fat annoying American and the beach is absolutely amazing. Gorgeous.  One of the prettiest on earth.

But I digress...

Started just a few months ago, ADO (the big beautiful efficient Mexican bus company) is now running buses to and from Belize City.  One leaves at 7pm and goes to Merida and the next at 7.30pm and goes to Cancun.

Here are the details.  The representative arrives each evening at the Belize City bus station from 5 to 7pm only.  When I arrived at 4.15ish, another gringo couple was there too.  You can buy tickets up to 7 days in advance at this kiosk during this time period.  (I am curious to know if there are any other agents in other parts of the country at other would make things much easier).
At about 5.15, the rep showed up and about 8 people scurried in front of me on line.  The process is very slow and very manual.  If you are there first, I suggest you line up at the kiosk before 5pm to make sure you are first to be ticketed.  It takes about 10 minutes for each ticket to be processed and you get an assigned seat.  But 6.15pm, I had my ticket.  You pay $10bzd at the counter and the rest of your fare (mine was another $69, Tulum and Playa are cheaper) when you cross over the Mexican border.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on San Pedro Scoop

Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 48
Here's our trip log on the ADO service from Cancun to Belize City and the return trip Belize City to Cancun.

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 834
Informative report - thank you for posting it!

Former Belize expat traveling the USA & Mexico
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 66
I was traveling to Cancun airport on Monday and had to catch a flight leaving Cancun airport at 9.55am Tuesday morning and nearly missed this flight because of mis-organization of the ADO bus. I called ADO in Mexico to make sure that the bus was running on Monday and after they confirmed I took the 3pm express bus (Valencia bus company) from Benque Viejo del Carmen to Corozal.

The bus reached Corozal at 7.30pm and I immediatly could buy my ticket from the ticket agent in Corozal. There were 6 more passengers waiting for the bus and they all had to catch a flight in Cancun. The Merida bus reached approximately at 9.20pm and left 2 minutes later for Merida. At 10pm the Cancun bus reached and it was absolutely full!!!!
There was not one seat in the bus. But we all had been sold a ticket in Corozal. If we would have known we could have taken an ordinary bus or mini bus in order to crossed the border but there was no communication and even the ticket officer of ADO did not know anything. She has 2 phone numbers posted in the Corozal bus termional but as I said: No communication!

So all of a sudden we were in real trouble!

The solution for us was the following: The bus driver took our luggage and we (all 7 people) were standing in the aisle of the bus and have been taken to the border. The moment we had crossed the border and did all paper work 5 of us had to try to take a taxi and ride to Chetumal bus terminal. 2 passsengers with early flight connection had been taken as an exception in the bus to Cancun and had to sit on the floor all the way to Cancun.

There was not one taxi at the border and we had to worry to miss any opportunity. After some forth and back we finally reached Chetumal bus terminal at 15 minutes past midnight and I was the only one who got the last seat in the 0.30 bus to the airport to Cancun. The others had to take a 3am bus to Playa del Carmen/Cancun center and try to get a connection to the airport in Cancun.

Some people nearly missed their flights. ADO will have to find a way to communicate with their agents and maybe it would be wise to establish a Belize phone number and a possibility to pre-book tickets.

I also figured out that thare is no phone number to be found aboiut the Belize City bus terminal or any other bus terminal in the country. It took me hours to finally get someone of ADO in Mexico to confirm that the bus was running that day and only God knows if they would have given me the right information if the bus would have been cancelled!!!?

Again another beautiful day in paradise - just smile and be happy :-)
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,046
The "no phone number" situation is a total downer. I really think they need to figure that out. Even if it is just a centralized cell phone number.

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 431
There are 2 phone numbers written on a notice posted at the Corozal bus terminal...
665-2829, 605-3308.

The noticed is posted on the BelizeBus site...

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 66
Yep, but maybe the Corozal number is worth nothing as obviously they do not even communicate from Belize City or from ADO in Mexico and inform their agent in Corozal!

Again another beautiful day in paradise - just smile and be happy :-)
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 48
I think somehow the Belize agents have to get laptops connected to the ADO system. Their paper system is just not going to cut it!

Also ADO has to step up to the plate and create an English website that will accept non-Mexican credit cards!

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

Getting to Belize from Cancun, Mexico by ADO Bus

Good times are waiting for you in Belize.

One of the main hurdles travelers face in finding Belize is knowing where it is. We covered the geography of Belize in a previous post to further aide in our guest’s knowledge of where we’re blogging from at Lower Dover Field Station and Jungle Lodge.

Click Here for the Where is Belize? post.

Luckily most Americans know where Cancun, Mexico is thanks to many drunken spring breaks and its affordability to fly there from most American airports. Europeans and Canadians also take advantage of skipping American customs by flying directly into Cancun, almost always for a fraction of the price. A great resource to compare flight prices between Cancun and Belize from European, American, and Canadian destinations is this website:

Once in Cancun, travelers have a couple of options depending on when their flight arrives. What follows is my best account of how to do the trip based on doing it in both directions about 10 times over the last 3 years.

Mexican customs are slightly different than the restrictions fliers face in America. A simple red light / green light button process occurs to determine if tourist’s bags are to be searched or not. Not sure what the rate of searches is, but I can assure you that when they do search your bag it is rather extensive. Make sure to indicate on your form that you are IN TRANSIT to Belize when they ask you where your destination is.

Exiting the Airport:
Once clearing customs, about 50 different taxi drivers are going to ask you if you need a ride. Politely refuse, and continue walking through the terminal. It is not necessary to change your US money into pesos unless you are planning on staying in Mexico for awhile. The ADO bus ticket counter will take your US dollars and give you change in Pesos. The counter is located to the right of the international terminal about 75 yards, just ask one of the many people trying to sell you a taxi ride… where is the ADO bus is if you get confused. Everyone speaks english at the airport.

ADO Ticket stand at Cancun Airport

There are 3 options here Cancun shuttle, Playa del Carmen shuttle, or the new ADO direct service to Belize with stops in Corozol and Orange Walk before reaching Belize City. All of your tickets can be purchased at the airport.

ADO Bus Shuttle from Cancun Airport to Bus Terminal

1. ADO Shuttle leaving to Cancun bus terminal (leaves every 45 mins /1 hour) is the best option for travelers arriving to Cancun early in the morning and carrying a lot of luggage. You’ll also need to take the shuttle if you want to direct option (option 3 below). From the Cancun terminal it is possible to get the most connections south to Chetumal, the Mexican border town with Belize. Total cost to Chetumal via ADO is about $25 US. Total travel time from the airport, to the Cancun terminal, to Chetumal is about 7 hours.

Cancun Bus Terminal

2. ADO Shuttle to Playa Del Carmen is best for backpackers or travelers with light luggage because the bus terminal is 1 block from the beach allowing for a nice walk. There are also numerous restaurants and shops right there for killing time between connections (leaves every hour from the airport). However, the connecting ADO bus south to Chetumal actually goes to a different terminal than the airport shuttle, so a short taxi to the other ADO bus terminal will be necessary to continue the trip south(negotiate before but should be no more than 20 pesos). Playa Del Carmen is also a good place to stop overnight if travelers are looking to experience a little bit of Mexico, and recommended over Cancun for cost and experience. Playa is also 1.5 hours south of Cancun so the bus trip is shorter to the border at Chetumal, however the connections south are not as frequent.


3. There is new ADO bus service that provides direct connections from the Cancun Bus Terminal to Corozol, Orange Walk or Belize City departing once nightly . This is definitely the most direct path to Belize. This bus leaves the Cancun Bus Terminal at 10:30pm and travels overnight, arriving in Belize City when the sun rises at 6am. Make sure your flight arrives later in the afternoon if you plan on taking this trip, otherwise you will be stuck at the bus terminal all day. The bus arrives in the Belize City bus terminal where you can connect anywhere in the country. The ticket is about $42 USD at current exchange rates. Follow step 1 to get to the Cancun Bus Terminal.

ADO Bus from Cancun Terminal direct to Belize City

Arriving in Chetumal via Cancun or Playa del Carmen:
Exit the terminal and turn left to catch a taxi to the border (La Frontera is how it is referred to by the taxi drivers). This costs about 70 pesos minimum, be sure to agree on a price before you get in the cab, they will try to quote you higher, maybe a price of $20 US. It is also possible to catch a local Belize bus that starts its trip in Chetumal from the new market (Nueva Mercado) bus station about 4 blocks from the ADO station. A taxi ride there should cost about 10 or 20 pesos. This bus goes all the way to Belize City also with local stops in Belize.

Belize Bus

Crossing the Border:
When leaving Mexico by bus or taxi, you will be asked to get out and see a man in a small booth on the right in order to get your passport stamped. He will ask you for 200 pesos as a departure fee. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THIS FEE! It is a form of corruption openly going on between the border agents, bus companies, and taxis. Just tell him you are IN TRANSIT and give him your customs form from the airport and that is good enough. The bus or taxi will then take you to the Belize border. There you have to take your bags to go through customs again. Most visas are 15 days, unless you ask for 30 days. I have seen busses leave paid customers behind at the border for taking too long, so make sure to hustle at all times to get through. If you took a taxi to the border from Mexico you have to get another taxi on the Belize side to Corozol or catch the Corozol shuttle (short school bus) which runs frequently until 6:30pm every day.

Sea Breeze Hotel in Corozol, Belize

If you make it to Corozol and need a rest from the hectic travel experience stop at the Sea Breeze Hotel. Our friend Gwyn runs one of the the best budget hotels in Belize voted as by the Lonely Planet Guidebook. He will also take you to the bus in the morning to continue on your travel adventure to Lower Dover Field Station and Jungle Lodge.

Toilets at Orange Walk Bus Terminal in Belize

Special Note:
Do not be visibly drunk when trying to board the ADO bus, you will not be allowed to ride.

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 993
I have used both a U.S. based credit card and a Belize credit card to buy tickets online at the or the website. Its incredibly difficult with lots of identity authentication, but if you can get thru the gauntlet, it can be done. Unless its a holiday weekend like Christmas or Easter, I have found that its not necessary to buy your ticket in advance for the busses in Mexico. However, I should qualify the last statement. I have never used the bus service from Belize City to Cancun or Merida. I usually take the San Pedro Belize Express water taxi from Caye Caulker to San Pedro to Chetumal, then take the bus from Chetumal to Playa Del Carmen the day before flying out of Cancun. I always spend the night in Playa Del Carmen.

Last edited by; 12/17/11 08:55 PM.

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