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Border Fees--Highway Robbery!

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  • Border Fees--Highway Robbery!

    Yesterday I returned from a 2 week trip spent mostly in Guatemala. For a variety of reasons I flew to Cancun in Mexico and took busses from there to Flores (Tikal) in Guatemala. As there is no road directly from the Yucatan into Guatemala, it is necessary to pass through Belize on its (horrible) highways. This entails about 4 hours of riding in each direction with a stop in Belize City, certainly one of the worst hell holes for a town of its size anywhere on earth (I have travelled extensively in Asia, Eastern Europe, South and Central America).

    My real disgust, however, comes from the highway robbery of Belizian border fees, US$10 for each entry and an additional US$4 on exit (some kind of "conservation fee", most likely paid directly to the "conserve" the President and its henchpersons in office). Moreover, it required nearly 3 hours for a bus with about 30 passengers to even enter Belize from Guatemala thanks to the inefficiency and rudeness of the border people. When I left Belize the first time I was told by its border agent that as a transit passenger I would not have to pay the fee again, but in fact I had to, thus for a total of 8 hours in Belize on a round trip there is a total of US$28 in border fees, several times the price of the bus ticket. By contrast, Guatemala, a much poorer country in need of revenue, charged neither an entry nor an exit fee.

    I have no objection to small border fees and other reasonable visa charges, but to be charged that amount is pure highway robbery. Virtually all nations I have gone through as a transit passenger have either no fee whatsoever or a nominal fee.

    I had looked forward to my brief visit to Belize as a kind of scouting trip for a future extended trip, but at this point I shall never enter its borders again, and I urge all other travellers to boycott Belize and take their business to a part of the world that treats travellers with respect.

  • #2
    Belize Border Fees

    Good information. I operate a Central American Portal site. I live in El Salvador which has a $10 Entry Fee but no exit Fee and am still a resident of Guatemala, which dropped the exit/entry fees years ago to stimulate tourism. Belize is the size of El Salvador, Belize has some 300,000 inhabitants and El Salvador 6.3 Million, yet El Salvador gets much less receptive Tourism a year than Belize does. One reason Belize does this I suppose is that the Country has few immigrants working in the US/Canada and sending money home as do the neighboring countries, so Tourism is kind of their "bread and butter" and since it is an English speaking country surrounded by Spanish speaking neighbors, Belize attracts many Ex Pat entrepenuers such as in Placencia, San Pedro etc. I first visited there in 1970, beleive me it has developed!

    Donald T. Lee
    Last edited by Host Bonjour; 03-12-2005, 10:19 PM.
    Donald T. Lee, Trade & Travel Consultant, Central America & Mexico. Business & Pleasure Travel, Web Design and eCommerce for Latin America


    • #3
      Re: Border Fees--Highway Robbery!

      I can see that Donlee23 answered you very well - Belize has tourism as its number one industry - and the government has invested a lot in assuring that the industry is kept vibrant - following from the tourism papers I read - has its pros and cons - because the border fees you speak about as I understood myself are to maintain and develop the very border installations that you went through - and believe me I have traveled through Central America - Belize has excellent facilities compared to the neighboring countries - the fees as far as I can remember were when you exit the country only - $15 US if you were less than 24 hours, and if you were beyond that then you pay $3.75 US fee for the protection or conservation matter - I get your gist on the point of the "conserved" - but from experience I can tell you that Belize has nearly half of the country under protected status - and that needs finance to maintain and operate - I realize your experience was not a sweet one - but as they say - like "lemon" - give it a second try friend and you maybe surprised as to the virtual paradise you may find there - like the friend said "Placencia, the Cayes or Islands, Caves, rivers and waterfalls , " . Next time you visit post me on it. I had a similar experience in Nicaragua - but on my return I never wanted to leave.