BORDER CROSSING-MEXICO TO GUATEMALA
October 30, 2019
HOW TO CROSS THE BORDER FROM PALENQUE, MEXICO TO FLORES, GUATEMALA VIA COROZAL BORDER
Numerous options are available to those who want to cross the border from Mexico to Guatemala. If you are coming from San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, then you can cross the border in Ciudad Cuahetemoc, Mexico, crossing to La Mesilla in Guatemala. From there, you can proceed further to cities such as Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, Ciudad de Guatemala, and Panajachel by taking a chicken bus.
It is also possible to cross from Palenque, Mexico, to Flores, Guatemala, via the north’s Corozal border. Since I will be heading to the Palenque ruins and Tikal anyways, this was the obvious choice. The day I arrived in Palenque, I immediately looked for a travel agency that offers a transfer to Flores, Guatemala. I found one that quoted me MXN 500, which included a hotel pick-up, bus transfer to the Corozal border, boat transfer to the Guatemalan side, and onward bus journey to Flores. I availed of this package and then proceeded to enjoy the Palenque Ruins.
Traveling to the border – Mexican side
The bus pickup is at 06:00 am, so I did not sleep the night before the trip because I was so afraid that I would not wake up on time and miss it. I waited in the lobby all night, just chatting back with family and friends back in the Philippines, and at precisely 06:00 am, the bus arrived.
There were other tourists on the bus. However, I was the only one crossing the border, and the rest were part of a tour to Taxchilan. It was a 3-hour drive, so I tried sleeping to recover some energy. By the time we arrived at the Corozal border, I already felt refreshed.
The driver dropped me at the immigration office and told me that he would wait on the other side. I entered the office, paid the MXN 30 border entrance fee, and then showed my plane ticket when I arrived in Mexico. It is essential to do so if you don’t want to re-pay the MXN 500 tax already included in your plane ticket. I bought mine from Delta Airlines, and on the ticket, it says Mexico – Tourism Tax (Derecho No Inmigrante).
I just showed it to the immigration officer, and he said I do not need to pay it anymore. I’ve read that you need to pay this fee at a local bank if you entered Mexico by land from the US, Guatemala, or Belize.
After immigration, I looked for the driver on the other side, and we went to the Corozal border. The driver brought me to a boat that took me to the Guatemalan side and paid for my fare.
Immigration worries at the Guatemalan side
Upon reaching Guatemala, I immediately exchanged my remaining Mexican pesos to Guatemalan Quetzal, and the boat driver ushered me to a minibus that goes direct to Flores in Peten. They also informed me that immigration is at least 30 mins away from where we are and that I need to notify the driver to drop me there. I was so afraid of missing it that I frequently asked the conductor if we are near the immigration office (we were passing some burned down farms in the middle of nowhere). After almost 40 minutes, we stopped at the immigration office in the middle of nowhere. I would have surely missed it if I did not always remind the conductor to drop me there. I was the only foreigner on the bus, so I was the only one who went down.
We had to call the officer eating lunch on the other street, and it took him a long time to stamp my passport. Filipino visitors are rare in this part of the world, and almost no one crosses that border. Aside from that, I used my US visa to enter Guatemala. Therefore, he had to verify if they will accept it. After everything went ok in the end, so I went back to the combi, and we continued our trip. It was another four hours of travel, in which half was on an unpaved and bumpy road. Once we reached the Flores’ bus station, I just stopped a tuk-tuk driver, and he drove me to my hostel. It was a too exhausting journey, so I hibernated in the hostel. I slept for almost 16hrs! Don’t blame me; I needed to prepare for the Tikal Tour the next day!