How to get from San Ignacio to Tikal. Where to stay in Tikal overnight. How to get from Belize to Tikal without a car. Staying overnight in Tikal is a great way to beat the crowds and experience the Guatemalan jungle that the ancient city is surrounded by. But what are the logistics of getting to Tikal from San Ignacio in Belize by public transport? I can tell you now it’s a journey I wasn’t looking forward to after a few crowded chicken buses in Belize. How hard is it getting from San Ignacio to Tikal without a car? Well pretty easy it turns out.
So here’s a run down of times and prices for the San Ignacio to Tikal border crossing.
How much is the taxi from San Ignacio to the Guatemalan border?
15 Belizean Dollars, it takes 30 mins. You can get a Collectivo if you’re not travelling on a Sunday for 5 Belize per person.
Can you change money at the Belize/ Guatemala border?
You can change any leftover Belizean Dollar at the Belize border, but the rate isn’t the best so try to spend as much as you can in San Ignacio.
How much is the Belize exit fee for tourists?
Pay 40 Belizean Dollar exit fee at Belize immigration.
Walk through to Guatemala immigration (on the left in a green building, be careful not to miss it!) There is no entry cost for tourists coming in to Guatemala.
Where can you get money out at the Belize San Ignacio border?
Walk 500 meters straight up road to Banrural bank. The ATM is always open but the Banrural bank opening hours are 9:00-18:00 Monday – Friday, Saturday closed, Sunday 9:00-12:00. This is where you can also buy your tickets for Tikal.
Where to buy tickets for Tikal if the bank is closed?
-Tickets to Tikal can also be purchased 20 minutes before you get to the Tikal hotels at the first gate. Hours are 06:00-18:00 everyday, just make sure to request a stop from your driver (there’s a barrier anyway so it’s pretty obvious).
How much is a taxi from the Belize border to Tikal?
Walk along the road and it’s easy to find a Taxi to Tikal. It should be between 350 to 450 Quetzals, feel free to barter according to your budget. You can also get a Collectivo bus to Tikal if you turn right from the border then take the first left. The bus to Tikal costs just 55 Quetzals each but involves changing at El Cruce as the Collectivos from here only go to Flores. It takes about 2 and a half hours instead of the hour and a half by taxi. You can read a more in depth guide about this option here.
Where to stay near Tikal?
You have a few options for where to stay near Tikal. Make the most of the 6am start and be one of the first there by staying in Tikal national park itself.
-Remember, you have to buy your tickets at the border or on the way in from the first gate, there are no tickets at the hotel or second entrance.
Hotel Jaguar Inn Tikal National park
Hotel Jaguar Inn is a good option for backpackers, at $50 a night it’s not exactly budget, but you are in a jungle surrounded by nature and right next to the entrance to Tikal. We’d heard the food wasn’t great and a little expensive so we ate in the comedors in Tikal park. Is there WiFi at Tikal? Nope! The WiFi is bad/non existent and there isn’t any electric between 21:00 and 09:00. So make sure you get a shower the night before. They do exchange USD, EURO and BZD but the rate isn’t amazing. You can pay by card!
We went and visited Tikal at 6am, left the bags in the room, came back at 11:30, showered and checked out at 12. The bus from Tikal to Flores is at 12:30 so time for a quick lunch. You can also stay at Jungle Lodge and Tikal Inn which are similar, but a bit more pricey. There is even an option to camp in Tikal but it’s a jungle, so it’s a no from me.
How to visit Tikal
I highly recommend the Tikal App. It has offline maps, info on wildlife and explanations of everything you will see. Take the jungle path in and the first thing you will come across is the Tikals Grand Plaza, it’s about a 20 minute walk through the jungle and you are sure to see some wildlife on the way.
Getting to Flores from Tikal by collectivo
Now there’s one easy option to make the next journey to Flores. We just left our bags in the hotel while visiting Tikal, then jumped in one of the collectivo’s to Flores. They run from 6:30 to 17:00 apart from Sunday’s when the last one is 11am. How much do Collectivos from Tikal to Flores cost? 35 for the 1 hour journey, dropping you off in Flores bus station. Then you can get a quick 5 minute ride in a tuk tuk to Flores Island (where everyone stays).
If you do stay in Flores Island for a trip to Tikal check out ARCAS. A rehabilitation center for injured wildlife and victims of the pet trade. Just donate 25 Quetzals (or more!) at the entrance or stay for a week as a volunteer for just 200USD. Find out more here.
Is it hard to get from San Ignacio to Tikal without a tour?
The San Ignacio to Tikal border crossing is super easy. The taxi is the easiest option if you are travelling as a couple or more. Going by collectivo costs less if there’s not many of you travelling together, but takes longer and is of course more crowded.
Are there ATMs at Tikal?
You will need to get cash out in Quetzals at the border as there are no ATMs in the jungle (seems obvious?).
How long does it take to get from San Ignacio to Tikal?
The total journey time is around 2.5 hours via taxi including the border crossing. You can add an hour or two if using public transport.
Is it easy to travel from San Ignacio to Tikal by yourself?
There is always someone waiting to make money. By which I mean ignore anyone saying there aren’t any collectivos running or taxi’s will not go from the border. As long as you make the park gate by 6pm to buy tickets you will be fine.
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