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 Getting From Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras to Belize  (or Livingston, Guatemala)

I’ve done this route myself about 10 times- and can tell you that many of the guidebooks are grossly outdated, referring to pick up trucks and the like. Basically plan on 1.5 days- and everything is pretty easy.  Note the times are examples if you do the exact route below- there are many busses; so if you miss it, don’t sweat it. 


Itinerary FROM Bay Islands, Honduras TO Belize:



  • Morning 6:20amFerry from Utila To La Ceiba
  • Taxi from La Ceiba to the Bus Station
  • Bus to San Pedro Sula Main Terminal

    A great spot to stay in Omoa is Sueno De Mar

  • Transfer to Van to Puerto Cortes
  • Transfer to catch Bus to Omoa (40 minutes) to stay the night or continue on to all the way to Punta Barrios, Guatemala via Frontera (the border) (4 hours to Puerto Cortes) . You get to Omoa by about 3pm. If you continue on, you’ll get to Guatemala at dark, which we do NOT suggest.

Need a place to stay while in Punta Gorda? Check out Coral House Inn!

 DAY 2

  • If stayed in Puerto Cortes or Omoa, catch bus to Frontera (the border) OR if a Monday, take the ferry to Belize
  • Go through immigration at border and catch van to Punta Barrios
  • Stop for immigration at Punta Barrios and buy ticket for Water Taxi to Punta Gorda in Belize
  • Stop at immigration once off water taxi in Punta Gorda
  • Enjoy a day/night in Punta Gorda or catch a bus North to all points in Belize




  • Afternoon 2pm Ferry from Utila To La Ceiba
  • Taxi from La Ceiba to the Bus Station
  • Bus to San Pedro Sula Main Terminal- you’ll get in about 7pm - it will be dark. Be SURE to have your hotel arranged ahead of time.   Stay night in San Pedro Sula. See our suggested lodging page.
  DAY 2
  • Catch the 5:45 am bus (prompt) with Maya de Oro bus line from San Pedro Sula to Puerto Barrios Guatemala.  Big Red bus. Phone: 2471-0952. This Maya de Oro bus will stop at border for immigration and head toward Puerto Barrios, but does not go all the way, and turns off about 30 minutes before Puerto Barrios.  You will need to tell driver you are going to Puerto Barrios so he can let you off.  Don’t fall asleep after the border or you end up in Flores I think.  From the drop off point, you can take a mini-van collectivo taxi (if you have more than 1 hour before 10am boat departure) or you may have to spring for the taxi (shouldn’t be more than $5 usd pp.)
  • Stop for immigration at Punta Barrios and buy ticket for 10 am  Water Taxi to Punta Gorda  Belize.
  • Stop at immigration once off water taxi in Punta Gorda
  • Enjoy a day/night in Punta Gorda or catch a bus North to all points in Belize

 Option 3: Boat Route:


  • Afternoon 2pm Ferry from Utila To La Ceiba
  • Taxi from La Ceiba to the Bus Station
  • Bus to San Pedro Sula Main Terminal- you’ll get in about 7pm - it will be dark. Be SURE to have your hotel arranged ahead of time.   

DAY 2:

  • Catch the bus up to Puerto Cortes.  You want to be there by about 10am. Plan on about 1.5 hours to get there.  You are going to the Belize ferry docks. Taxi’s will know where it is and see end of page for more details
  • Take your seasick pills. Trust us.
  • Take boat to either Dangriga or Placencia, Belize. See below end of page for details.

-continue reading for specifics on the routes above-



 Okay, Here are the Specifics from Bay Islands, Honduras TO Belize with Times and Costs. This is for Option 1 Bus Route Above: 

 ($1 usd=18.89 lempiras = 7.5Quetzals= 2$BZE)

DAY 1:

  • 6:20 am: Take morning ferry from Utila to La Ceiba; arrive 7:45am    420 lps
  • About 7:45am: Catch taxi to bus station; you will be with others and its 40 lps per person                            
  • 8:00am or 8:30am: Take direct local bus from Ceiba to San Pedro Sula (4 hours)  94 lps.  Note: You can also take the Nice Hedman Alas- leaves at 10am- gets there about 1 hour later
  • About 12 noon: Get off at Main Large Terminal and catch van to  Puerto Cortes (PC) (1.5 hours)   42 lps
  • About 1:45 pm: Get off in just as you get to PC – see more under details below
  • About 2:15 pm: Catch bus from PC to Omoa or Frontera (border).    14 lps to Omoa; 94 to Frontera
  • About 3:00pm: Arrive in Omoa (our suggestion)  OR continue on to Puerto Barrios (PB), Guatemala- will get  to PB about 6:30 or 7pm  (not recommended)                          

 DAY 2: Wear clothes that can get wet!

  • About 6:15am Leave Omoa and head to main road. (Or if stayed in PB, go to main bus area or highway)
  • 6:45 am  Catch bus at main road from Omoa to Frontera (border) clear customs out of HN   94 lps
  • About 8:45am:  Take collectivo van from other side of border  to Punta Barrios (PB); stop for immigrations  15 Q    $ 2 usd
  • About 9:45 am: Get to PB; get off at cross street for Immigration and go get exit stamp for Guat. $10 usd Exit
  • 10am: Water taxi from PB to Punta Gorda (also a 2pm or 3:15 boat)    1.5 hours) $25 usd
  • About 11:30:  Arrive in Punta Gorda and  go to customs- its right at end of dock    $ no charge
  • 12:00: Bus from Punta Gorda North  to Independence (if going to Placencia), Dangriga, Belize City, etc.  $ 6 us to Dangriga
  • About 4pm: Arrive in Dangriga or Placencia – ask bus driver for details; they speak English


Details and Tips for Overland Route FROM Honduras TO Belize:


6:20am Ferry from Utila to LCE . Ferry leaves on time. You can buy tickets the night before at office . If you tend to get seasick, ask for a “pill” which is a seasick pill.  A half one usually treats you right without making you get too loopy. Take it 30-45 minutes before departure!

7:45am Taxi to Bus station: This will be a collectivo with others. You are just going to the main bus station, (“Terminal” -) which is near Ace Fermosa. Taxi drivers will know. At the terminal, there are some good food options- a few baleada stands, or one little cute and clean sit down spot in what looks like a silo. Bathroom is rough but decent- you pay a few lps for some toilet paper.  You can buy tickets in advance, but if you are late, can get on the bus.  Normally someone from the bus comes and greets taxis and calls out “San Pedro, San Pedro” and they will bring you to the station office and put your luggage below.  Be SURE to get on a directo- these  are old Greyhound style buses; not  the school bus type.

8am Bus from LCE to SAP: Leaves on time, about 8:05 (3.5-4 hours);  94 lps.  Its called a “directo” bus.  Bus leaves also at 8:30 and then every ½ hour or hour. About a 4 hour ride, stops mid-way at a really clean rest stop for bathrooms and quick food with lots of options. Bus will go all the way to the main Terminal in San Pedro Sula. It will also stop at what is called the station or “El Centro” in San Pedro Sula; this is an outdoor transfer spot and not the one you want unless you are planning to stay in San Pedro Sula. If you are on the 8am bus, at about bout 10am, the bus stops at the  nice food and bathroom area; at 11:45ish the bus stops at El Centro San Pedro Sula; at about 12:05 ish, the bus stops at main station. Main station is like a mall; there’s a food court, clean bathrooms, lots of shops, etc.

NOTE: *You can also take the first class HEDMAN ALAS direct first class at 10am, arriving in SAP at 1:30 pm for 320 lps. Hedman Alas has nice clean private buses with good security and are direct without any stops. They are air conditioned and have a movie. In La Ceiba, the Hedman Alas is at a different bus station than the terminal; just tell the cab driver Hedman Alas. (say it like “Hehd-mahn  Ah-lahs”.  Hotels and Staying in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (click for link)

About 12 Noon: Arrive at SAP Terminal and transfer to Puerto Cortes (PC)-  1.5 hours, 42 lps. Get off at Main Large Terminal (NOT the outdoor station in town) and catch van to Puerto Cortes with Impala bus lines. There is only one service to PC from main terminal, and folks will direct you there.  It’s actually a minivan that gets loaded up tight; if its full they may charge you an extra seat for your luggage/backpack if you can’t keep your bags in your seat.. Bus/van from SAP to Puerto Cortes leaves about every ½ hour and takes about 1.5 hrs  mostly because it takes about 30 minutes to get out of SAP. Use bathrooms before you get on, as there aren’t really good ones in PC that you can easily get to. You can also taxi from SAP to Puerto Cortes, but it will cost you- if you have a group of 4, it may make sense…

About 1:45: Get OFF of Van when start to enter PC:  You can go all the way into the center of Puerto Cortes, but there is no need; instead get off as van takes a ride and  enters PC, right after overpass. You can tell driver you are going to Frontera / Omoa and they should  know where to let you off. But it’s the first right after you are on the highway for a wile. There will be some restaurant shacks and you’ll see a Red sign that says “Alexandria” and also maybe Pulperia Michell.   Cross  the busy street and wait on other side by other restaurant shacks “Pepsi Del Pueblo”, and that is where buses to Omoa and Frontera pass. If you forget to get off, don’t worry- you can just go all the way to end of route (or get off anywhere really and cross the highway- the busses pass on the other side). If you go all the way into PC,  it will just  an extra30 minutes or so to come in and out to the same spot.  Bus to Frontera is every hour from center of town, about 15 minutes after the hour at the stop near the underpass described here (the Pepsi Del Peublo store). Lots of local buses and busses to Omoa will pass; so if going all the way Frontera, make sure you check with the driver where its going before boarding!   (It often will say on the front of the bus too..)

About 2:15: Take Bus from PC to OMOA  14 lps, 45 min or Frontera about 60 lps, 3.5 hours. Bus leaves from PC to Omoa at 2pm sharp (I know, because I missed it once after running around trying to find a bathroom!) from center, or at about 15 minutes after the hour at the spot above and run every hour or half hour.

 About 3:45: Stay night in Omoa OR continue on to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.  Omoa is about 30 minutes from Puerto Cortes, and a mellow laid back fishing village that gets lots of local tourists from SAP on the weekends. There is only one place to stay at Frontera (the border), and though it looked nice enough, I can’t comment on it as a place to stay- there isn’t a town there, just the border and some shops and a few spots to eat.  But if you get in a bind, it’s a nice option.  If you go all the way to Puerto Barrios, plan on 4 hours from Puerto Cortes (its 3 hours by bus from Omoa, but factor in wait times).  Puerto Barrios is a port town, and not really geared to tourists but it its possible to get there in one day from Utila or Roatan, but you would be getting it at night to a busy little city.  Personally, I’d rather stay in Omoa, and then can still get to Puerto Barrios the next morning in time for the 10am ferry to Belize (they also leave to  Livingston, Guatemala around this time.) 

Hotels and Staying in Puerto Cortes, Honduras:

Puerto Cortes is a port town and geared to locals more than tourists. You will want to be vigilant about safety. Guide books write to “Avoid 1 avenida at night and be aware all times” .  – I have always stayed in Omoa so can’t comment too much on PC, but here a are few spots to stay suggested by others. PLEASE let us know of your experiences or other suggestions!:

  • Hotel Villa Capri; 665-6136 or 6139; $35us single. Near entrance to docks at 2 Avendinda at 1 calle spacious comfy, AC and breakfast 
  • Hotel El Centro;665-1160, $20 dbl on 3 avenidia between 2 and 3 called. Basic clean rooms and private bath, On the first corner of the main street with restaurant down stairs.
  •  Hotel Costa Azul, considered one of the best hotels in the area of the port ($50) 665-5215

Taxis around downtown should cost about $1 usd, $1.50 from town to go out to docks where boats depart to Belize. All busses leave within a couple of blocks of the shady park. A website for  Puerto Cortes that may have some more good information:

Hotels and Staying in Omoa, Honduras:

Our suggested town for staying in the area because it is mellow and low key and a great spot to grab a sunset beer and ceviche after a day of travel. Busses to Omoa will turn off the main highway and  go all the way into town and end at the beach. If your bus just stops on the highway at the turnoff, you can get a “tuc-tuc” (little red motor scooter taxi) for about 20 lps ($1usd) pp to take you the mile or so into the beach area. There are quite a few spots (8-10) to stay in Omoa. Here are a few suggestions:

  • **Suenos Del Mar**: Our  first pick choice. $35 usd for room with AC and cable and very secure compound with nice hosts. When you get off bus, walk to right along beach street, and take your second left; its past Hotel Canada at end of road. Short walk. Tell them the Utila Guide sent you!
  • Hotel Bahia de Omoa (Pias) $25: Clean in center of town
  • Roli’s Place  Hostal. 658-9082. $6-8 usd. On main road, about 2 blocks before beach, left hand side.  Backpacker favorite
  • There are about 6-8 other options right in the same area as the above- you can’t miss them if you are walking around the beach part of town…


Hotels and Staying in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala:

Like Puerto Cortes, Puerto Barrios is a port town and geared to locals more than tourists and you will want to be  vigilant about safety.  We have never stayed here, but here a  few spots to stay suggested by others:  Let us know your suggestions and experiences!

  • Hotel Europa 2- $7, “run by friendly family and clean rooms with bathroom”. Right next to immigration and boat dock.
  • Hotel Miami –Next to Hotel Europa 2. With AC $10. Both are 3 a Ave between 11a and 12 a calles, one block from dock. “Clean rooms with private bath around central Courtyard.”
  • Acribena $7, “Plain, clean rooms with bathroom and fan with good restaurant below”. A block from above


Day 2:

Wear clothes that can get wet if its windy!         :

6:15am: Leave Omoa and head to the main highway to catch bus to Frontera (Guatemalan Border)

Leave Omoa and head to main road. The bus to Frontera is VERY prompt, and comes every hour, passing the Omoa intersection at a quarter to the hour. (I.e, 6:45am. 7:45am) or even a little earlier . You can walk from Omoa center to road (20 minutes), or splurge and pay $1 usd (20lps)  for the scooter taxis which make a good photo anyway.

6:45am: Take a bus from Omoa, Honduras to the border Frontera

Catch bus at intersection of road to Omoa and Highway to Frontera. This will be a yellow school bus, painted over. It is pretty direct, just going through 2 small villages on the way to the border (bathrooms at the border).  Bus is about 2 hours, 48 lps or $2.50 usd and leaves every hour about 15 minutes to the hour, with the first bus at 6:45am.  If you stayed in PC, it will be probably easiest to catch bus from main bus station, which is behind the main street, over a few different corners but they will see you coming and you can flag it down.

About 8:30am: At border, change some money to Quetzals and clear immigrations and catch bus to Puerto Barrios (PB)

When you get to Frontera, hop off the bus and change some money to Quetzals (its an exchange rate of 7Q  or 7.5Q to 1 usd), walk to customs, get your  exit stamp (even though its supposed to be a C-4 border, they are still stamping sometimes but there are no exit fees). There is a bathroom just to the left of the immigration counter- will cost about 5 lps. 

Once you stopped at immigration,  continue walking to Guatemala border- its right there. There will be a mini van waiting to take you to Puerto Barrios (PB), Guatemala. If you are trying to catch the 10am ferry from PB to Belize, be sure to hustle to  try and get on the first van. There is a little food stand there too. If there isn’t a minivan just wait, they go back and forth regularly. The van will pass Guatemala immigration office at  bridge about 30 minutes into trip. Van will stop, and usually the driver’s assistant runs in with everyone’s passport and gets them stamped and van continues.  Should be no fee.

About 9:30am: Get dropped off main road in Puerto Barrios at sign for “Officina de Migration” and buy ticket for Belize Water Taxi

Get off at cross street where it says “Offician de Migration” (sign is on your right, street is on your left). Cross main street that you are on and walk down the smaller street across street for about 4-5 blocks.  The building will be on your right. You can also pay a little more Quezales (another 15Q) to have minivan circle around and go to immigration office direct once its gone through its route in town, but you don’t really get there any faster, just less walking! .You will see sign on right for Immigration  and there is a $10 usd exit fee or  80 quetzales (makes it better if paid in dollars) to pay at immigration and get your passport stamped. 

You can also  buy your boat tickets to Punta Gorda Belize here too- there will be a van or a table set up.  They charge $25 usd from PB to PG, and then $15 for the trip back from PG to PB. 

Once you get ticket, head to dock , which is just another block.  You can also buy your ticket at the dock if for any reason they aren’t selling by immigration office. There are some “none to pretty but useable” banos at the docks,  but also some great food spots.  I go to the blue counter, closest to the boat dock, which has really nice ladies working there and good food.


Take the 10am, 2:00 PM or 3:15 water taxi to Punta Gorda, Belize or Livingston, Guatemala. 1.5 hours, $20-25

May get wet!  El Chato departs at 10am arriving in time for noon bus from Punto Gorda.   Be sure you have gotten your exit stamp for Guatemala before getting on boat- they will check!  You can buy tickets near immigration office or at the dock.  If you miss the 10am, there is also  Requenas at 2pm and Nemo’s at 3:15pm. You want to get there 15 minutes to ½ hour early to make sure you have a seat!

 Belize Water Taxi Contacts:

  • TRANSPORTES EL CHATO 948-5525, 1a Ave, between 10 y 11 calle, Puerto Barrios

 Phone # (502) 7948-5525; Mobile # (502) 5412-4007 or (502) 4095-6663

 Get off boat in Punta Gorda and head to customs: Customs is just at the beginning of the boat dock and there is a clean bathroom there. No charge or entrance fee, but they do stamp your passport NOTE they will do a full inspection of your bags.

Stay in Punta Gorda or buy tickets for bus or go to snack shop and get lunch and restroom. Punta Gorda is a mellow spot and good for a night or two before heading on. But if you are eager to get on the road- Out of customs, head to right and go one block, and bus station is on the left. You can buy tickets in advance, or just on bus itself. If you have time, you can go to a local eatery or to a cute little spot called  “Snack Shop” right across the street of immigration, and get a smoothie or lunch to go and then run to the bus and barely make the 12 noon departure, but you will be likely be tight on time.  Bathrooms at Snack Shop too, free if you buy something, otherwise $1 BZE.  May be toilets at bus station too.

12:00: Bus departs Punta Gorda Belize heading North.

Bus leaves on time! If you miss it, it does a loop and then heads out waterfront so if you head to waterfront by gas station, you can catch it in about 8 minutes. Bus heads north to Mango Creek/Independence (about 2 hours- where you get off for Placencia), Dangrgia (3.5 hours), Belize City (6 hours), etc. Additional busses leaves PG heading North at 1pm, 2, 3, and 4pm and 8am and 10am. All busses will stop about 2 hours up in Independence, where there is a restaurant with surly service and a bathroom that is normally is some state of disrepair but functional.

Going to Placencia:

All buses to Dangriga stop at Independence (2hr) – also known as Mango Creek – where you can pick up boats to Placencia.  From the stop, you can get a cab for $5 usd (or walk for about 15 minutes)  on the main road to the right from the bus station, which leads to the lagoon. There you get into the “Hokey Pokey” water taxi for $5 usd, which takes 20 minutes and drops you right in Placencia where there are lots of spots to stay.  Hokey Pokey water taxi says leaves at 7:30an 8:30an 2:30pm and 4:30pm. Retruns at 6:45am, 10am, 12:30, 2:30 4pm, 5pm.but people say it changes all the time. You may be able to head over with a local too  There’s a  huge assortment of lodging in Placencia; for starters take a look at  or Placencia Tourism Center (  Here a few suggested budget spots:

  • Deb and Daves last resort- Road to village center; bus will stop outside.  Described as one of the nicest budget blace in village. Shared hot water bathrooms.
  • Lydias Guest house:  Quiet, clean, secure and affordable, shared clean bathrooms;
  • ,½ way through village.  Popular, well run, with range of rooms. Next to De Tahtch.

If you need to stay in Independence:

If you are traveling late and don’t want to travel on further, there are 2 clean options in Independence, though it’s a very quiet town, and not really geared towards the tourist. Hotel Hello (less expensive) or Ursulas Guest House (more expensive); both are an easy walk from the bus stop at the restaurant. We haven’t stayed at either- this is just information from other travelers- let us know if you have any experiences staying in Independence! 


Ferry Between Honduras and Belize  

There is boat service that leave Puerto Cortes, Honduras to go to Placencia, Big Creek (Indepencene) and Dangriga,

There are 2 boats that run Honduras to Belize and Back:

  • D Express goes to Independence / Placencia
  • Nesymein Neydy goes to Dangriga.

Both leave Puerto Cortes, Honduras on Monday about 11:30am.  Check in by about 10:15am, and they will help you with immigration, etc.  Price for either is about $55 usd

The only bummer is that, unless you fly from Utila to SAP, you can’t really get to Puerto Cortes by the departure times, so you will want to plan to spend the night in either San Pedro Sula (see hotel list), Puerto Cortes, or Omoa the night before

How do connect with the ferry to Belize

Coming from Belize to Honduras, you take the mini bus to Puerto Cortes. 

Once in Puerto Cortes, you can either

a)       Get off before you get to the main town center, once the mini bus turns on the street where the water is on your right and then catch a cab (about $2usd) to Muelle De Mariscos, next to the Delfin Restaurant.  There is “supposed” to be a new immigration office right there, but sometimes its not open. If not open, they will take you to immigration (about 10 minute away and help get you sorted out.)

b)     OR take the bus all the way into Puerto Cortes bus station, and immigration is nearby there so you can walk or cab from there, and then to the Muelle.

D-express Information:

Honduras to Independence / Placencia Belize with D-Express: MONDAYS at 11:30am

$54 usd one way (1000 lps), 2-3 hours, 48 miles, completely covered larger boat. Stops in stop in Big Creek(Independence) about 12:00 noon; Departs Big Creek at 1:30 p.m and arrive Placencia at 2 p.m.  Once in Big Creek, you can catch a $5 taxi to Independence  and then bus North up to Dangriga (1 hour more) or continue on to Belize City by bus.

Belize to Honduras with D-Express: FRIDAYS at 9:30am from Placencia; 11am Big Creek

Leaves Placencia Belize at 9:30am, arrives Big Creek at 10am for Customs and departs Big Creek at 11am, arriving in Puerto Cortes, Honduras at 2:00pm.  Leaves from Placencia Tourism Center, next to the Shell Gas Station

 Contact Information:

  • Phone Honduras: + (504) 510-1142, + or  9991 0778, + or  9848 7198, + or  9780 5120
  • Phone Belize: + (501) 663 5971, + (501) 523-4045, + (501) 601 5289
  • Tickets available at the Placencia Tourism Center. Tel: 202-4506 or 523-4045.
  • Email:
  • Web:

Nesymein Neydy Information:

This boat seems to change its schedule a bit more, and there is no website, but they do respond to email. Below is current as of Dec 2010:

Honduras to Dangriga with Nesymein Neydy: MONDAYS s at 9am

$55 usd one way  (plus any exit fees) 3-3.5 hours. Smaller boat, not all covered, no bathroom. They say 9am, but last we took it, it left about 11:30am, just a little before the D-Express.

 Belize to Honduras with Nesymein Neydy: Fridays  at 11 am

Depart  Dangriga, Belize at 9am, arrive Puerto Cortes at 1:30 pm.  From Dangriga, departs from North River Side Street, 2 blocks up from bridge, next to open market. Will see boat from main road. Their office is their house in Dangriga, a few houses down from the Stann Creek bridge in the center of town. Be there about 8am so the Captain Carlos Reyes can help check you out with immigration.

Contact Information:

  • Run by Carlos Noe Reyes;North River Side, Dangriga, Belize
  • Belize Phones: 501-522-0062; 604-473 or 522-3227;
  • Honduras: 3-339-6138 or 9-730-6305 or 3-396-1380 or 9-963-8239
  • Email: