There is one main highway road leading to the Western Belize-Guatemala border. On the Belize side, this road goes through Benque Viejo del Carmen (Cayo District). On the Guatemala side, the road goes through Melchor de Mencos (Peten, Guatemala). The Western border is where the Guatemala Highway (CA-13) meets the George Price (Western) Highway, connecting Belize City to Belmopan.
From the Guatemala side, there is just a footbridge to a road leading into Melchor de Mencos; from the Belize side this road leads into Benque Viejo.
Between the Guatemala border outpost and the actual bridge is an area of about 5 acres called "No Man's Land". This is Guatemala territory and several bars, restaurants, taxi stands and shops line this area. This area is popular with Belizean locals (who cross over to Guatemalan), to tank up on Mexican & American beers (which is much cheaper), than local Belizean beers.
The town of Melchor de Mencos, Peten is a rapidly growing municipality, the town is expanding at a rapid pace. There are numerous bars and a sprawling market in the downtown area. Prices of goods are generally about 25 % cheaper compared to Belize and many Belizeans and tourists go across daily to get bargains, eat or just pass the time. Some Belizeans and expats resident in Belize own property in Melchor de Mencos, primarily as a weekend or vacation retreat, and to take advantage of reasonable prices on anything from food, fuel to telephone and internet access.
There are (3) banks which can be found in Melchor, the largest being the Banco De Desarollo Rural BANRURAL. The largest super market is government subsidized and offers most every consumer need, from canned and packaged goods, to beer, processed meats, clothing and basic medications. The supermarket is located right next to the central park and opposite the sprawling market. Both the supermarket and market are open on weekends to service locals and the throngs of Belizeans that travel to Melchor in search of bargains.
There are many small shops and souvenir stalls that cater to the tourists, mostly concentrated on the Calle del Comercio. The main bus lines Linia Dorada and Fuente Del Norte have their terminal right at the Melchor Border and mini buses and several taxis are conveniently located in the same area just before and after the main bridge linking Belize and Guatemala. Other mini and tourist buses are located at the Central Park where travelers can get a quick meal from several comedores (small restaurants) in the area and food stall vendors. Of note is that the attractive tourist destination of Rio Dulce, Livingston Guatemala, so loved by cruisers and international boaters is also accessible from Belize’s western border by road.
Crossing from Guatemala to Belize
In the town of Melchor de Mencos (on the Guatemala side of the bridge prior to entering Belize), here you will find banks, grocery stores, gift shops, bars & restaurants. If you have United States dollars, you do not need to exchange this into Belize dollars. United State Dollars are widely accepted in Belize throughout the entire country. The exchange rate with most businesses & shops is: $1.00 USD to every $2.00 BZD.
Just before crossing into Belize, you will need to walk over a bridge from Melchor de Mencos to the Guatemala immigration office. As soon as your passports are stamped you will exit Guatemala and then walk to the Belize immigration office to enter Belize, to have your passport stamped again.
There is a new bridge to cross the Mopan River (built in January 2012). Vehicles pay a small toll to cross (about $5. USD), depending on the size of the vehicle.
Most Belizeans and expats leave their vehicles on the Belize their side of the border and either walk into Melchor de Mencos or catch a taxi – about U.S. $3. You can find taxis and mini vans at the market area next to the park to return to Belize or take you further inland to Tikal or Flores.
LEAVING GUATEMALA BY BUS OR VEHICLE
Crossing the border between Belize and Guatemala was easy. It helps if you stay in San Ignacio overnight, as this allows you to rest up and get through the border relatively early in the morning, allowing enough time to get to your destination in Guatemala.
BY TAXI - A Belize taxi will be able to take your right up to the custom offices, for about $5. Belize dollars (or $2.50 USD). This maybe the easiest, fastest and cheapest border crossing you may ever experience.
DEPARTURE TAX - There is a departure tax of $37.50 bz per person. You pay your departure tax at the cashier's window. You then bring the receipt back to the immigration official and they will stamp your passport.