Mexico and Guatemala have several borders in the state of Chiapas. One of the most adventurous is to cross the Usumacinta River to Guatemala. This border crossing does not allow you to cross by car.

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) with the states in Guatemala of San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Quiché and Petén. From Campeche there is no border open to tourists with Guatemala.

The most common border crossings between Mexico and Guatemala

  • Cuauhtémoc City (Mexico) - La Mesilla (Guatemala): crossing the mythical Panamericana is very common among the traveler. It joins, in broad strokes, 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.
  • 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 Yaxchilan, there is the border booth. The river is crossed by boat Bethel in Guatemala.
  • 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.

Border Mexico (Frontera Corozal) - Guatemala (Bethel):

This border unites the state of Chiapas in Mexico from Frontera Corozal, with Bethel of Petén from Guatemala. Frontera Corozal it's an interesting point from where the boats go to Yaxchilan y black stones, for those more adventurous Mayistas. It is usual route arriving from Palenque (3 hours and a half) in the area of mayan lacandon jungle. On the other side, the area of ​​the River of the Passion where to discover from Sayaxche cities like Dos Pilas, Aguateca, Ceibal or Cancuén, in the frankly interesting area of ​​the Petén Basin. The vast majority of travelers cross here to get to Flores and visit the safety pin Tikal.

The border opens every day of the year

I recommend cross this border early in the morning, avoiding Sundays and holidays, where transportation services are reduced. Two minibuses go straight to Flores, I think the last one is at 13 hours. Until your destination in Guatemala from Bethel you have a stretch, you go to Sayaxche and Flores (Tikal). You can spend the night in Frontera Corozal (Mexico), where there are several hostels, and you take the opportunity to visit the extraordinary Yaxchilan. Take one photocopy of the papers important. I do not recommend you travel at night.

At all border crossings there are money changers. You can exchange a small amount with them if you do not have local currency. They are very involved in this border, they live on the tourist that crosses here some.


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: Check if your nationality needs a visa to enter Guatemala hereCountries which they do not need a visa to enter Mexico: click here. Spanish, Argentine, Colombian, Peruvian, Brazilian, Chilean No. They need a visa.

FEES: there are no entry fees a GuatemalaAlthough some officers demand it, this practice is very common in this border. 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 border Mexico (Frontera Corozal) - Guatemala (Bethel):

This border has the particularity that the border booths are located on either side of the Usumacinta River. For me it is always a plus this nonsense of rivers, boats, borders ... I like it, this border is very backpacking.

  • CROSS FOR FREE: you must seal your exit in Mexico at the border booth, which is located in Frontera Corozal, in front of the ticket office of the archaeological zone of Yaxchilán. Then you must go a stretch by boat to the other shore of the Usumacinta: there are many boatmen, they see you without problems (haggle the price with them). On the other side of the river awaits you in Bethel the entrance booth to Guatemala. From here there are two daily minibuses (vans, combi, vans, buses ...) Flores (5 hours of 130 km of road, half almost unpaved. 70 quetzales). Some travelers stay in Sayaxche (to 73 kilometers from Flores), base for cities Mayans such as Dos Pilas, Aguateca, Ceibal or Cancuén, in the frankly interesting area of ​​the Petén Basin.
  • CROSS WITH TOURIST AGENCY: the Palenque agencies and those of Flores They offer you trips of a day or two to get to Flores or vice versa (from 54 usd to a two-day tour for 160 usd, visit Bonampak and Yaxchilán, spending the night in the Lacandon jungle). From Bethel to Flores the journey is done in 3 long hours, considerably reducing the time of tourist transport. As almost always, you win in comfort and lose in emotion. Ways to travel, times, moments, you choose.

I hope you enjoy this border crossing through the beautiful Petén area, one of the most mysterious areas of the Mayan civilization. If you have some information that you consider useful for other travelers, do not hesitate to add, this is for everyone.

Rio Usumacinta, Chiapas

NOTE: I add the comment of Josman, a traveler who contributes knowledge with his experience in this border »(…) to tourists or visitors be careful of thieves, I have visited this border ten times and there are no shortages to rob foreigners, Mexicans and Central Americans, the buses or transportation is the worst there is on the border, do not travel in the afternoon or at night due to the robberies on the roads or highways of the North of Guatemala, otherwise it is the best in the world especially for the gift of the Mayans ».

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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