The Mexico-Guatemala border has several steps to cross from Chiapas. One of the most common is to cross into Guatemala from the San Cristóbal de las Casas area. This border crossing allows you to cross by car, we will see the requirements.

Mexico and Guatemala they share 965 kilometers. On the part of Mexico limits with the states of Chiapas (654 km), Tabasco (108 km) and Campeche (194 km), and in Guatemala with the states of San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Quiché and Petén. From Campeche there is no tourist border with Guatemala.

The most common border crossings among travelers are:

  • Frontera Corozal (Mexico) - Bethel (Guatemala): el Usumacinta River it is the natural border between these two countries. In the population of Frontera Corozal, starting point towards the ruins of Yaxchilán, is the border booth. The river is crossed by boat to Bethel in Guatemala. Bethel It is a border city of passage towards the interesting area of ​​Petén of the Passion River, with Mayan cities such as Dos Pilas, Ceibal or Aguateca, or towards Flores to visit Tikal.
  • Cuauhtémoc City (Mexico) - La Mesilla (Guatemala): crossing the mythical Panamericana is very juicy for the traveler. In broad strokes it connects two important tourist areas, the beautiful San Cristóbal de las Casas with the area of Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala. You can cross this border by car, an advantage for many, without a doubt. We are going to deal with this border in this post.
  • Tapachula (Mexico) - Tecún Umán (Guatemala): one of the most transit borders between Mexico and Guatemala. The famous train of the Beast that joins Mexico with the USA, left from Tapachula, now from Arriaga. For this reason it is a crossing with many undocumented migrants who hope to take this train to the north. You can also cross by car through this step.
Mexico Border (Cuauhtémoc City) - Guatemala (La Mesilla), 1 requirements

Border City of Cuauhtémoc (Mexico) -La Mesilla (Guatemala):

This border unites the state of Chiapas in Mexico from Cuauhtémoc City, with The table in the state of Huehuetenango in Guatemala. Many travelers cross it after visiting San Cristóbal de las Casas (3 hours and a half) and a few from Comitán (hour and a half). In Guatemala, Huehuetenango (2 hours away), Chichicastenango or Lake Atitlán awaits you along this route.

The border opens every day of the year. At 9 p.m. the border is closed, and in La Mesilla, there are not many transportation options for Huehuetenango after 3 p.m. Hours from 6 in the morning to 9 at night.

I recommend whenever you can, cross the borders early in the morning or measured tomorrow, avoiding Sundays and holidays, where some services may be closed. Take one photocopy of the papers that you are going to require the car at the border. I do not recommend you travel at night, if you go in your own car leave the road at dusk. The poor lighting of roads and security are the main causes.

In all border crossings there are money changers or money changers. You can exchange a small amount with them if you do not have local currency, or wait to find a bank or exchange house on your way. We do not usually exchange money at the borders because they make a worse exchange, just as it happens at airports.

Guatemala border

General requirements to cross the Mexico-Guate border:

PASSPORT: the travelers we need passport valid for at least 90 days after the date of departure from Belize. It is always advisable to travel with your passport valid for 6 months.

VISAS: Spaniards, Argentines, Colombians, Peruvians, Brazilians, Chileans No. They need a visa. Check if your nationality needs a visa:

  • Who needs a visa to enter Guatemala
  • Countries which they do not need a visa to enter Mexico.  
  • Attention: for the chaotic traffic of this border, sometimes you jump without wanting the Mexican booth and they do not seal you (ring) when leaving, you simply pass the exit, you will not be the first. This misleads the traveler, but it is a reality that must be dealt with. Remember to seal your exit, especially if you want to return to Mexico without bureaucratic problems.

FEES: there are no entry fees a Guatemala, although some officers demand it, in this border this practice is very common (they ask you for some 20 quetzales). Ask for a receipt, and in your person is the more or less discuss with the officers. En Mexico you do not pay when you enter, yes you pay when leaving if you've been in Mexico for more than 7 days: 332 mxn (Mexican pesos) per person leaving by land. If you return to your country by plane from Mexico, you will have to pay the airport departure fees (55 euros) provided that a period of more than 7 days of stay in the country has elapsed.

Cross the Mexico - Guatemala border by public transport:

  • IN TOURIST COLLECTIVE: from San Cristóbal de las Casas leaves daily tourist transport It crosses the border and takes you to Panajachel, on Lake Atitlan, Antigua or other stops along the way like Huehuetenango. Is a easy and comfortable way to cross the border with other travelers, while you do your paperwork, they wait for you from the other border lake. The vehicles they use are vans or vans of about 12 people. You contract in a simple way this service in San Cristóbal de las Casas agencies: the cost is 500 pesos, they will pick you up at your hotel on the 6 in the morning.
  • IN LOCAL COLLECTIVE: you can arrive by collective transport from Comitán to Cuauhtémoc city, and from here you cross the border doing the procedures to The table, from where buses leave for Huehuetenango or Quetzaltenango. From City by Cuauhtémoc a The table there is a kilometer, which you can do in tricitaxi for about 10 quetzales. On this border, as in several in Central America, there are people who come to help you cross in exchange for a tip. Personally, I do not consider it necessary, they are somewhat tricky for my taste: they always exaggerate how complicated the procedures are and some are unreliable.
  • IN PRIVATE TAXI: It is another option to cross the border. I honestly do not know the prices of this option, it depends on the route you want to make.
belize border

Crossing the Mexico Guatemala border by car:

It tienes private car It is very easy to cross to Guatemala. Few travelers dare to drive through Guatemala, and more in a country where tourist transport works very well, vans that connect the most tourist destinations. Anyway, the pleasure of stopping where you want is a temptation for many.

What do you need?
  • passport in order
  • driver's license
  • the circulation card / vehicle registration certificate
  • Temporary import permit, valid for a maximum of 30 days, is processed free at the border.

If the car is not in your name You will need a written permission before a notary that appears as owner on the circulation card.

The person who drives the car crossing the border to Guatemala must be the same one that drives it when leaving the country.

Procedures with the car:

  • Seal the exit from Mexico: stop at the Mexico border post to seal the exit. Sometimes the security fence for cars of the border booth in Mexico is open, you pass it and you do not seal, and then back to Mexico it is somewhat confusing not having the exit paper. But hey, everything is resolved in an understandable way.
  • Fumigate the car: before reaching the border There is a booth where you must disinfect the car (price 17 quetzales). It delivers the role of fumigation at the border.
  • Pay a tax In the border of 165 quetzals to pass the car, both cars and motorcycle. You pay it in a small bank office that is next to where the paperwork is done. Then they put a sticker on the car glass.
  • No car insurance is necessary in Guatemala, although I recommend you always travel with car insurance. Insurance from other countries is not valid. In banks they make insurance for a year, the truth is that they do not facilitate the insurance issue much. Caution: on Sundays and holidays some services where they manage insurance are closed.

In this search engine is American Car Rental, if you want to rent a car and look at prices

Can you cross in a rental car?

Yes you can, but there are very few companies from Mexico that give the option of crossing to Belize and Guatemala by rental car. American Car Rental if it does, you will have to pay an extra approximately 180 usd for this procedure to the car company. Another company where you can also rent, as a traveler noted in comments on this blog, is Price Car Rentals, and carry out the free process. Sure there are other car rental companies, but I don't know.

Testimony of César, the traveler, thanks to whom I can share this information with you: «Of course we had made the paper before a notary public that the car rental company (america car rental) let me pass the car to Guatemala. That cost me an extra 180 US dollars and one more day of rental car to have my car locked and to do the paperwork before I picked up the car. "

César and his partner Goizalde recently traveled by rental car leaving from Cancun, crossing from Chiapas to Guatemala, then to Belize and from Belize to Mexico again to depart from the Cancun international airport. They did the loop whole for these three Mayan territories of Mexico, Guatemala y Belize. Many thanks to César for giving me back the help I could give him for his trip. This spirit of traveling help from which I have benefited so many times in my travels, is the reason to be writing this blog. 

For me it is a pleasure to be able to help other travelers, and when you meet guys like César, much more. Thank you, it is pending to invite you to a chela and give you a hug.

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
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