An exciting dose of culture shock is an easy 15 miles from Corozal . Chetumal, capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, is a relatively modern, midsized city of about 200,000. If you don’t come for the culture, then you must be here to shop in the new American-style mall, or see a first-run film in Chet’s brand new air-conditioned Cineplex, located in the Plaza de las Americas mall.
Chetumal can be seen as a day trip from Corozal, or used as a base from which to visit the many Yucatecan archaeological sights:
It’s also a gateway to Mexico’s well-known Caribbean resorts:
Buses between Belize City, Corozal, and Chetumal travel throughout the day, taking you all the way through the border (you’ll need to get off twice to pass through Immigration and pay a US$19 exit fee) to the Nuevo Mercado Lazaro Cardenas in Chetumal. A local Chetumal bus from Corozal costs US$1.25, a taxi to the border US$10. If it is running, the express bus to Chetumal from Belize City takes about four hours and costs US$11. Also check with the various kiosks and travel agents in and near the Water Taxi Terminal by the Swing Bridge in Belize City for direct bus service to Chetumal.
Also, Corozal-based Belize VIP Transfer Services (tel. 501/422-2725, www.belizetransfers.com ) or George & Esther Moralez Travel Service (tel. 501/422-2485, www.gettransfers.com ) will arrange Chetumal transfers (and other Mexican attractions) and trips to local ruins. Also check other Corozal travel folks at the Hok’ol K’in Guest House (tel. 501/422-3329, maya [at] btl [dot] net, www.corozal.net ) or with Herman Pollard (tel. 501/422-3329). For travel agencies, stop by the Hotel Maya (tel. 501/422-2082 or 501/422-2874, www.hotelmaya.net ) or Jal’s Travel Agency (tel. 501/422-2163, ligializama [at] hotmail [dot] com).
Chetumal can also be reached by water taxi on the San Pedro Belize Express (www.sanpedrobelizeexpress.com , US$30 one-way), which departs for Chetumal at 7:15 a.m. and returns at 3 p.m. San Pedro Water Jets Express (www.sanpedrowatertaxi.com , US$35 one-way) leaves San Pedro at 8 a.m. and returns from Chetumal at 3:30 p.m.
A good paved road connects Chetumal with Mérida , Campeche City , and Villahermosa ; Highway 307 links all of the Quintana Roo coastal cities. Expect little traffic, and you’ll find that gas stations are well spaced if you top off at each one. Car rentals are scarce in Chetumal; go to the Hotel Los Cocos for Avis. Chetumal is an economical place to rent your car (if one is available), since the tax is only 6 percent. If you’re driving, watch out for No Left Turn signs in Chetumal. It’s about a 22-hour bus ride to Mexico City.