Palenque Transportation To Guatemala, Trip Details

Money, passport, tickets, boat passage, van

Travelers to Yaxchilan, a ruin in Mexico, and to Flores, Guatemala,  for the Tikal Ruin, board boats on the Usumacinta River at the Village of Frontera Corozal.
Tikal Transportation Details: Money Exchange, Border Crossing, Palenque to Flores Guatemala for trips to the ruin of Tikal.
Park Fee
When you go beyond the Bonampak crossroads towards the Usumacinta River you enter the Zona Lacandona  and the town of Frontera Corozal where there is a 15 Pesos entrance fee into the community park.  
Have additional
small change in Pesos; no one will have change to break anything over a twenty peso bill.  Water, food, and lodging are available in Frontera Corozal but this is a small village.   
Lodging is available  www.escudojaguarhotel.com
  • Frontera Corozal
At the boat landing in Frontera Corozal  you can find a boat for the trip up river to  cross the border into Guatemala.   After a half hour boat ride you will land in the town of Bethel, Guatemala.  From there, continue by van or bus on a mix of dirt road and paved road to Flores, Guatemala and the base for trips to the Mayan ruin of Tikal.
Bus options from Bethel to Flores will be local bus running three times a day or the San Juan Travel vans that make regular runs.  You can book transportation from Bethel with San Juan Travel through agencies in Palenque.
Flores will proved many  lodging options.  Tikal offers three options for lodging that includes inns and camping.

  Transportation to Tikal Guatemala

Palenque Colectivo Transportation reaches the village of Frontera Corozal where you board a boat for a trip to Bethel  Guatemala (not Bethel on some maps) where you pass through Guatemalan Customs and Immigration.



Boat, money, border crossing details below.

Tikal Transportation from Palenque to Flores Guatemala, Tikal Ruin Site Trips

Include Tikal in a Palenque Trip
The boat drivers and van drivers communicate by cell phone.  They arrange for your pickup on landing
Vans run by San Juan Travel  operate on the Guatemala side of the Usumacinta River.  
The vans run between Bethel boat landing and Flores, Guatemala for the trips to Tikal Ruin.
Palenque
  • Guatemala Customs
    I
    mmigration, Visas
There should be no fee on entering Guatemala for US citizens and others who will stay less then 90 days.  The customs official in Bethel might ask you to pay 60 Quetzals or about $5 USD on entering or leaving, however.  This varies depending on the official.  You can dispute this fee and ask for a receipt, or you can just pay the $5.USD and be on your way.   The San Juan Travel driver could help with this but they offer little information unless you ask.

Some advisories say that there is an exit tax when leaving Guatemala by air that is included in the airline ticket price.  There is also a fee when leaving by boat and perhaps that is what is at work here.
The boats on the Usumacinta River will take you from Frontera Corozal to the ruin of Yaxchilan or to the border town of Bethel Guatemala.

Boat Landing, Usumacinta River

At the boat landing you can find a boat to run down river to the ruin site of Yaxchilan if you are including that in your trip.   There are no roads to the Yaxchilan ruin site.
Don't go through customs if you are only going as far as Yaxchilan, the Yaxchilan ruin
site is in Mexico.(The customs building is set off to the right side of the road at Frontera Corozal as you head for the boats.

  • Money
Carry a good supply of small change in Mexico Pesos.   You will pass through small villages where no one will be able to make change for large bills.  Change a small amount of Pesos at the Guatemala border.    Also, carry mosquito repellent for the ruins of Tikal.

  • From Palenque
From Palenque catch the White collective taxis (no frills vans) for 70-100   pesos that make 90 mile run to the village of Frontera Corozal.  
For Bonampak trips, the colectivo will drop passenger at the Bonampak crossroads were colectivos make the 14 mile run to the ruin of Bonampak.
The van terminal parking lot in Palenque is just west of the Cabeza Maya, the white sculpture at the head of town.

 

Tikal Transportation From Palenque

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This can be a ten-hour trip with a border crossing and passage by boat on the Usumacinta River.
Palenque
Palenque Ruin Site

Frontera Corozal

The colectivo vans out of Palenque continue on from the Bonampak crossroads to the small village of Frontera Corozal.  In this village there is a hotel, a few restaurants, a Mexican Customs station, and a boat landing. Have 15 Pesos to enter the Preserve at Corozal.

  • Mexican Customs and Immigration
You can pass through Mexican Customs on leaving the country if you will go on to Guatemala and not return through Mexico.  Turn in your tourist card.  (FMM – Forma Migration Multiple)   (Every tourist should carry an   FMM –Forma Migration Multiple.  It is permission to tour the country and will be issued on the plane, ship, or border entry station  ($26 USD and included in your airfare.
Visa requirements are another matter and will depend on your country of origin)

If you will be returning to Mexico after your trip to Guatemala, you can keep your tourist card (FMM)  if it is valid or will still be valid when you return.  
(There is confusion about this at every border station but the best advice is to   keep the tourist card until it expires or until you leave the country for the last time.
Because of the confusion, however, it is best to obey the demands of the local inspector.  This will put you on the prudent side and allow you to continue your trip.
Some officials will note that you have additional time on your tourist card and tell you to keep it, others will insist that you turn it in on leaving the country and pay again on re-entry.
  • Passport
You should have at least six months of validity remaining on your passport and two empty pages for the visa stamp.
  • Money Changers
There will be a money changer at the Guatemala border station offering to exchange Pesos or US Dollars into Quetzals, the currency of Guatemala.  It would be good to acquire about 200 Quetzals, (25 USD),  for bus fare, food, and emergencies for the four hour trip to Flores.       
Your destination will be Isla Flores, a modern town on an island in the town of Santa Elena where you will find banks and ATMs.  
  • Flores
The Island of Flores is located at Lake Peten Itza.  Flores is popular with travelers because of the many hotels, hostels, restaurants, internet cafés, and transportation options to reach the ruin of Tikal.  An airport is nearby.

This is a difficult trip suited to independent travelers.   If you are not comfortable traveling independently, ( Know some Spanish, know the money, can tolerate high temperatures and high humidity), go as part of a group tour out of Palenque.  
The rub here is that the group tours use San Juan Travel once you cross the border into Guatemala.  San Juan does a good job of transporting passenger but they offer no help in changing money or help with customs.  They just drive and they do a good job of getting you to the destination.
The San Juan vans are not air conditioned and this is a four hour trip from Bethel to Flores.   The drivers do have cell and communicate over the wide network of roads to keep apprised of road conditions and their English-speaking agent will meet you in Flores to help with lodging and transportation to Tikal.    

For group tours in Palenque
See
OTC Tours  and   Misol-Ha Tours    www.viajesmisol-ha.com.mx    and others,  see details page
3-4-15
Watch for howler monkeys in the trees as you boat to Guatemala