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Central America and Mexico Topics specific to Central America and Mexico only.
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  #1  
Old 25 Oct 2009
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CAUTION! Crossing the Mexican border into Belize at Chetumal-scam!!

Just a word of warning for anyone leaving Mexico and entering Belize at the Chetumal border crossing. The border officials seem to regularly collect a $20.00 US exit fee that is NOT LEGAL!!
When we reached the border we stood in line at the security booth to have our passports stamped out of Mexico. I did not expect to have to pay as we had paid to enter Mexico, and a fellow traveller had just left Mexico and entered Guatemala without paying a Mexican exit fee. My companions were ahead of me and told me there was a $20 US (or peso equivalent) exit fee that they had not expected. Skeptical, I asked a few people around the area if the fee was official. No one would tell me straight out that it was a scam, but one man said "I cannot tell you if you have to pay it or not." which I took to mean that it was a scam. I got back in line and approached the window, where I passed my receipt for the Mexican Visa and my passport through the window. The official inside then asked me for 240 pesos or 20 dollars for the exit fee. I told him I had already paid to enter and that I thought there was no fee. He handed me a very official looking blank receipt with the amount on it along with spaces for name passport etc, and insisted that it was necessary. When I continued to protest (hoping I was right, as he did have my passport) he changed his tune and asked why I couldn't pay - did I not have any money? I bluffed again, and said that I didn't, and he said that I had to write on the back of the form that I didn't have any money, and sign it. I wrote "No tengo suficiente dinero para pagar este impuesto" on the back of the form, and tried to pass it through without signing, but he insisted I sign, I did, he took it, stamped my passport, and I didn't pay the fake fee. So, if you are crossing at this border, put up a fuss at the counter, as this fee is not required, it's clearly going into someone's pocket.
Also, the Belizean border doesn't make it at all clear that you MUST HAVE Belizean insurance for your vehicle, and this is a super easy way for crooked police to extort money from you if you don't have it, so make sure to spend the $20 you saved on the Mexican exit tax scam on insurance for your bike in Belize.
Ride Safe - O.
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Old 2 Nov 2009
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Sorry ,but the Belize side makes it abundantly clear that you need to buy BZ insurance, and they sell it right there in the little insurance office. This is not a question of crooked BZ cops going to scam you. They will ask for proof of insurance somewhere after you ride onward and if you do NOT have it it is time to write you up. Besides, you should have known this from studying up here on HU .
As for the Mexico "exit fee" you could indeed be facing a bogus tax. But these rules are always subject to change, so maybe the lads were getting ahead of themselves with a new tax they had heard was in planning stage..Time for me to do some research here.
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Old 4 Nov 2009
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I posted instructions on my blog about this border crossing. Atleast when I did it last year I didn't have to pay anything to leave mexico.

Belize Border Crossing Info ยป All the way south

Like Sjoerd said, you have to have insurance in Belize.. also get your bike fumigated. I think I put the prices in my post.
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Old 5 Nov 2009
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I went through there a few weeks ago, no issues at all. In fact the border people on both side were very professional, that said, I followed the instructions on this site Main Page - Drive the Americas and had no problemo's. Just type in the country you want. The directions for the Belize insurance are easy to follow. Mind you some fellow riders that were behind me were stuck in Belize as they had no insurance, so once again as already mentioned, do your homework, they did not know where th ebuilding was and went right on by.

I never got stopped by police though as I took the dirt road short cut south to the western border and did not go near Belize city

Cheers
TS
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