We were expecting the Melchor de Mencos border crossing from Belize to Guatemala to be trouble free. Exiting Belize was easy; we paid the exit fee, had the passports stamped, cancelled the Temporary Import permit and we were off. The issues happened on the Guatemalan side when the computers went down for three hours.
This left me (Martin) standing around in the midday heat, while Nicole sat in the cool air conditioned car (with the engine on!)
In total, it took around 3 ½ hours to pass through both borders. Normally I would expect it to take around an hour to an hour and a half.
If you need to change money, it is much better to do this on the Guatemalan side of the border as the rates on the Belize side are not very good. They will tell you that you cannot change it on the other side but you can.
- Immigration Drive to the Border and park here, 057984, -89.148845. All occupants should enter the building to have their passports stamped and to pay the exit fee BZ$37.5.
- Temporary Import Permit (TIP) The customs desk is on the other side of the building (where people are entering the country). They will need your passport, registration certificate and the Temporary Import Permit. The customs officer will come outside to check the VIN and to remove the sticker in the window.
- Drive through the border gate and show your passports to the guards.
- Fumigation Drive through the large fumigation building
- 057807, -89.150059, it will automatically spray the vehicle as you go through. Keep your windows closed and proceed to fumigation office to pay Q18. 17.057897, -89.150166
- Park Head to the main border and pull up before the main building entrance, park here 057788, -89.150314
- Immigration Head in to the building. Orientation: The desks at the back of the hall on the right are immigration and on the left is Customs. They will stamp your passport for free, although some travellers have reported being charged Q20.
- Temporary Import Permit (TIP) Go to customs, and give them the paper work below. They will enter the information into the computer and give you a customs declaration to fill in. Once they have entered the information they will give you some paper work and point you in the direction of the two windows to your right. Here you have to pay Q160 and bring back the receipt to the customs officer.You will need:
- Registration (original) and 1 x copy (both sides)
- Passport & 1 x copy
- Driving Licence & 1 copy
- Vehicle Check The customs officer will check the VIN and place a sticker in your window.
- Keep hold of all the documentation you have been given as you need to show this when exiting.
- Once you drive over the bridge there is a small booth, the cost is Q10.
- Carnet is not required to enter Guatemala with a foreign vehicle
- Insurance is not required to drive a foreign vehicle in Guatemala
- The first ATM is at the petrol station