The Benque (Belize) to Melchor de Menchos border crossing in Guatemala is straightforward and painless – find out visa details, transport options, money exchange and how to avoid possible scams!

How to Get a Guatemala Visa (CA-4)

For the developed world, Guatemala is very easy to obtain a visa-on-arrival.

The U.S., Canada, U.K., E.U., South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand all can obtain 90 days upon arrival.

For other countries and if you are unsure, consult the Guatemalan Classification for Visa Exemption page.

Citizens of countries that require a visa will have to pay $25, and arrange it in advance.

There is no entrance or exit fee.

  • CA-4 Visa Extensions

Please note that the 90 days is for the CA-4 countries of:

You can apply for extensions within the region, or visit Mexico, Belize, or Costa Rica before returning for a fresh 90 days.

Most border crossings will allow you to return the same day, but some may not allow you to return until 3 days have passed. Research each one accordingly.

  • Guatemala Visa Required Documents

Passports should have at least 6 months left of validity.

The immigration officer may selectively ask for the following information, and you should be prepared.

  • Proof of Funds: A bank statement, ATM receipt, or credit card should suffice.
  • Intended Address: Even if you have not booked anything, have a hotel and city picked out in advance to smooth through the interrogation.
  • Onward Ticket: Guatemala is used to foreigners crossing overland. Tell them you are planning on traveling through Central America to Costa Rica, even if you will book a flight and fly out.
Guatemala Immigration Stamp

Guatemala entrance stamp.

How to Get a Belize Visa

For the developed world, Belize is very easy to obtain a visa-on-arrival.

The U.S., Canada, U.K., E.U., South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand all can obtain 30 days upon arrival.

For other countries and if you are unsure, visit Belize Visa Requirements and consult your local Belize Embassy.

Citizens of countries that require a visa will have to pay $50, and arrange it in advance.

There is no entrance fee, but you are required to pay a BZ$37.50 exit fee upon departing Belize.

Belize Exit Fee Receipt

It may not be cheap to leave Belize, but at least it is straightforward.

  • Belize Visa Extensions

Belize grants visa extensions for up to 3 months at a time, for BZ$25 per month.

  • Belize Visa Required Documents

Passports should have at least 6 months left of validity.

The immigration officer may selectively ask for the following information, and you should be prepared.

  • Proof of Funds: A bank statement, or recent ATM receipt showing $50 per person per day of intended stay.
  • Intended Address: Even if you have not booked anything, have a hotel and city picked out in advance to smooth through the interrogation.
  • Onward Ticket: Belize is used to foreigners crossing overland. Tell them you are planning on traveling to Guatemala or Mexico next, even if you will book a flight and fly out later.
Belize Immigration Stamps

Belize entrance and exit stamps.

Melchor de Menchos Border Crossing: Scams

The only known scam on the Benque, Belize to Melchor de Menchos, Guatemala border crossing that we have read about are Guatemalan Immigration Officials asking for a Q20 entrance/exit fee.

It is illegal for them to do so, and asking for a receipt will usually rectify the situation.

A simple, “No, gracias” has sufficed for some travelers.

They did not ask for the unofficial fee when we crossed, nor two other groups we met along the way.

Say No to Guatemala Unofficial Entrance Exit Fee

Ask for a receipt if the Immigration Officer asks for Q20 entrance/exit fee.

Benque to Melchor de Menchos Border Crossing

  • How to get to Benque, Belize

Getting to Benque from anywhere in Belize is easy.

Regular buses from Belize City (BZ$9 / $4.50) and Belmopan terminate in Benque, and all pass through San Ignacio (BZ$2 / $1.00).

At the Benque Bus Terminal, catch a taxi (BZ$7 / $3.50, up to 4 people) or walk (3 km) to the Belize Immigration Departure Hall.

Benque Belize Bus Terminal

Benque Bus Terminal is 3 km from the border.

Pay the Belize exit fee of BZ$37.50 / $18.75, and move on to the Immigration Officer’s window for your departure stamp.

You are now in no man’s land as you cross between Belize and Guatemala.

No Man's Land Between Benque Belize and Melchor de Mencos Guatemala

Are there no laws, or laws from both countries in no man’s land?

Follow the road around until you come to the Guatemalan Immigration Arrival Hall.

The two Immigration Officers are located in the rear on the right.

They will ask generic questions regarding length of stay, intended destination, and onward travel, but were harmless during our border crossing.

If you have traveled a lot, then they will take their time looking through all your stamps.

Melchor de Mencos Guatemala Immigration Arrival Hall

Head to the far right for the Immigration Officials.

  • How to get to Santa Elena and Flores, Guatemala

Once you have crossed the Melchor de Menchos border crossing, you are in Guatemala.

Make your way across the bridge into the town.

Melchor de Mencos Guatemala Walking to Microbus Terminal

It always feels good once you make it through a border crossing without being scammed.

The microbus terminal is down the first street on the left, on the right side.

Microbuses to Santa Elena cost Q30 / $4.10.

Melchor de Mencos Guatemala Microbus to Santa Elena

Microbuses to Santa Elena from Melchor de Mencos leave regularly. Grab the first row in the back for more room.

Do not pay more to ‘go’ to Flores as they will still only go to the terminal in Santa Elena.

Tuk-tuks will be waiting at the bus terminal to take you to Flores for Q5-10 / $0.70-$1.40 or you can walk the 2 km like we did.

Santa Elena to Flores Tuk-Tuk

Tuk-tuks will take you from Santa Elena to Flores for Q5-10, or you can walk 2 km.

Melchor de Menchos Border Crossing: Exchanging Money

It is wise to exchange your Guatemalan Quetzales before departing Guatemala as it will be more difficult, or a worse rate in Belize. We aren’t sure what rates are quoted when selling Quetzales.

If you are coming from Belize, make sure you have the BZ$37.50 / $18.75 exit fee, and convert the rest to U.S. dollars ahead of time since both currencies are freely traded at a BZ$2:$1 rate.

The current exchange rate is Q7.55 per $1, but all money exchangers will give you Q7:$1. They also discount the Belize dollar to Q3.25.

Money exchangers can be found outside the Belize Immigration Center, and around the Guatemalan Immigration Center.

Exchange left over money, or enough to get to the next main town with an ATM for better rates. Melchor de Menchos has one in a supermarket, but count on Santa Elena in Guatemala. Benque or San Ignacio is a wise bet in Belize.

Belize and Guatemala Border Crossing Currencies

You only need to worry about three currencies when crossing borders between Belize and Guatemala.

Know Before You Go

  • Guatemala Visa: Free 90 day visa-on-arrival for most developed countries into CA-4 (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua). No fees; ask for a receipt if the immigration officer asks for Q20 / $2.75.

 

  • Belize Visa: Free 30 day visa-on-arrival for most developed countries, but BZ$37.50 / $18.75 exit fee.

 

  • Transportation: Both Benque and Melchor de Menchos have frequent onward transportation connections. Benque has buses to San Ignacio (BZ$2 / $1), Belmopan, and Belize City (BZ$9 / $4.50). Melchor de Menchos has microbuses to Santa Elena (Q30 / $4.10).

 

  • Money: Exhange your Guatemalan Quetzales before crossing into Belize. We aren’t sure the rates for selling Quetzales. Approximate exchange rates at the border are $1:Q7, and BZ$1:Q3.25 when buying Quetzales.

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Benque to Melchor de Menchos Border Crossing

 

***The Final Word – The Benque, Belize to Melchor de Menchos, Guatemala border crossing is easy, and quick. You shouldn’t worry.***

Did you experience any attempted scams during your border crossing?

3 Shovels

Accessible DIY travel to more distant locations via multiple connections or longer forms of public transport

Visited in July 2016