Is Tulum to Caye Caulker in one day possible?
It´s early morning in the end of June, I am in Mexico on the Yucatán peninsula, planning my travelling through Central America. Can I go from Tulum in Mexico to Caye Caulker in Belize in one day? There are two routes the first one is bus from Tulum to Belize City and water taxi to Caye Caulker. The second one is bus from Tulum to the city of Chetumal in Mexico and water taxi for one and a half hour to Caye Caulker. The only direct bus to Belize City left during the middle of night so the first route was not an option.
I packed my things in the backpack and said goodbye to Pancho Villa In room Revolucion (revolution) at Itour hotel. Itour hotel have different themes for their rooms I stayed in room Revolucion. Other themes were Frida Kahlo the great Mexican artist, Hugo Sanchez world famous Mexican football player, Speedy Gonzales Mexico’s fastest mouse from the cartoon series Sylvester. These themes made the room more than just a room for the night. The friendly and service minded Itour hotel is a great option if you need a budget hotel and don´t demand a beach hotel.
I arrived at 08:00 at the bus terminal trying to book a seat for 09:00 ADO bus to Chetumal. To my surprise the bus was fully booked no space left. I should have booked a seat yesterday evening. I couldn´t image a booked out bus to Chetumal. The reason for my mistake was the picture I had from travelling from Playa del Carmen to Tulum a few days ago; it took several hours to find just one bus going to Tulum. I thought Tulum was a small place, with few tourists; after all it was low season. I was wrong it was a lot of tourists at the bus terminal.
The next bus to Chetumal left 10:30 travel time three and a half hour. Will my schedule still work out? The water taxi to Caye Caulker departs at 15:00! I didn´t have a booking on San Pedro Water Taxi their home page crashed when trying to make a booking! I booked a seat on the next bus to Chetumal!
After a nice journey through the Yucatán landscape the bus arrived Chetumal on time 14:00. I hurried out of the terminal to find a taxi to the port. One taxi arrived with a lady at the bus terminal. The woman left the car and I asked the driver if he would take me to the port?
The man accepted so jumped into the car. The car was a bit run down but I was in a hurry! We started to negotiate the price for the ride to the port! Suddenly one man opened the door on my side and another taxi came in and blocked the way for the taxi. I was in the middle of some sort of taxi quarrel. My Spanish is not the best, so I had no clue, what was going on. It seems the other driver controlled the bus terminal. The driver I have chosen was allowed to leave passenger but not pickup customers. I had to change to the other taxi a much nicer car but also as it turned out more expensive taxi.
This taxi driver didn´t want to give a straight answer of how much it would cost to the port! Unfortunately a bad sign he also asked for dollars not peso. I said I don’t have US dollars so how much in Mexican Peso? The price should be agreed up on before departure otherwise you are in great trouble! The first taxi driver asked for 75 peso this one charged 100 peso.
The taxi driver said, do you have a ticket to Belize? No, I don’t have! The man said too late the water taxi is fully booked you won’t make it. I said hurry up to the port! The taxi drove off; ten minutes later we were at San Pedro Water taxi booking office.
The booking office was full of traveler going to Belize. However I manage to get one of the last tickets to Caye Caulker. After paying for the taxi in Tulum, bus ticket to Chetumal, taxi to the port, water taxi ticket to Caye Caulker and departure tax from Mexico I had just a few coins of Mexican Peso left. I arrived in Belize with an empty wallet! The boat journey from Chetumal to Belize was one and a half hour. Since Caye Caulker didn’t have border facilities the water taxi went past Cay Caulker to San Pedro on Caye Ambergis. There border officials checked passport and luggage. The luggage was reloaded on the water taxi for a new journey back to Caye Caulker. It was evening, the sun has already set, and a cold fresh breeze took the temperature down below 30°C.
Cars are not allowed on Caye Caulker so there is no taxis they a replaced by golf carts instead. I avoided the golf cart drivers offer about transportation and walked into Caye Caulker. Ten minutes later I was at Oasis apartments. Oh, you made it in time to catch the water taxi to Caye Caulker said the Luciana the manager of Oasis apartments.
The apartment had fully equipped kitchen but finding a well-stocked grocery store was another question! Every one of the shops I found was Chinese owned or sold Asian food. Belizeans rely on catch of the day from local fishermen; this was not sold over the counter. If one visits Belize one should be fond of lobster or fish dishes particularly during the lobster season.
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