Seeing all of Southern Quintana Roo just got even easier! Caribe bus service, a commuter bus line owned by parent company ADO, has just begun 10 times a day service from Mahahual to Chetumal, the state capital city, and back. Brand new, small, A/C equipped sprinter buses now are buzzing back and forth between the two towns, with drop off and pick-up service in Bacalar along the way. Finally, we now have a tourist quality bus service connecting all of the Costa Maya area, providing visitors a quality option for getting around the southern part of the state.
New Caribe Sprinter Buses
Until now, we had to rely on local taxi vans, called combis, to do the transport from Mahahual to Chetumal. The service is cheap, but slow, the drivers make stops not just to pick up people, but to drop stuff to people, pick things up to deliver, chat with who knows who, where the Caribe buses will only pick up people in designated bus drops. They also will not over load the bus, so once the bus is full, it will not stop. The trip will get much faster at that point. Combis will continue to stop, cram in people, packages, livestock, whatever and wherever they can. They more they stuff in, the more they make. The new Caribe service on the other hand is tourist quality buses, at local prices. The cost is the same $85 pesos, about $5 US, as the combis charge. Why would you not take the Caribe!
These new buses run a route from the old downtown Chetumal ADO terminal, located in the city’s old market area. From there, they go across town to the new ADO terminal located on Insurgentes Avenue, and then from there, they begin the drive to Mahahual. When they get to Mahahual, they do a return that includes stops at the same two Chetumal ADO terminals. This makes it really great, depending on what you want to do in Chetumal. If you want to go to the Maya Museum, take a city tour or shop a traditional old market, go to the last stop. If you want to go to the mall, get off at the new terminal before. The mall is a block away and easy walk.
The new service is also key to connect both Chetumal and Mahahual, to Bacalar, the heart of the Costa Maya’s jungle tourism. The buses drop or pick up at the regular ADO stop on the highway. From there you can taxi anywhere in town for just a few pesos.
These new Caribe buses will also be a great option for people wanting to get to Limones to catch a north bound bus to Cancun/Riviera Maya, because the ADO schedule did not work for them. A taxi to Limones is $360 pesos, where the Caribe will drop you there for $50 a person. There is a Mayab bus, another ADO company, that will stop and pick you up in Limones about every hour, to hour and a half. Those are called “second class” buses here, because they stop and pick people up along the way, where an ADO will not do that. They run up and down Highway 307, the state’s main traffic, artery all day long, and are comfortable, with A/C, and fine for tourist travel, if the more limited 1st class ADO schedule does not work for you. Read more about using second class buses here, but if you find yourself needing to use one leaving Mahahual, just jump in the Caribe instead of the expensive taxi.
New ADO Terminal in Chetumal
Also, FYI, one of the buses each day, the 4:10 PM from Chetumal, is NOT one of the new sprinter buses. This one route each day is still the old clunker, no A/C bus that has gone through Mahahual for years on its way to Xcalak. That bus is much slower and takes an hour longer, but if you want to go to Xcalak, it is the only bus, so they have kept it going.
Caribe buses leave Mahahual each day to Chetumal at 5:30 AM, 6:30, 8:30, 9:30, 11:30, 1:30 PM, 3:30, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30. You catch that bus at Fernando’s store downtown, and that is where it drops as well. Buses from Chetumal back to Mahahual run at 5:00 AM, 5:40, 6:30, 8:30, 10:30, 12:30PM, 2:30, 3:30, 4:10 (old bus to Xcalak)and 5:30.
With the recent airport expansion, allowing more flights into Chetumal, and now a first class transportation system by Caribe to connect the area, the Costa Maya area is one step closer to being the “paradise found” destination we all lucked into many years ago. Getting around, the number one concern for foriegn travelers to Mexico, just got a lot easier for people wanting to see all the Costa Maya area. Fly in, bus down and leave the driving to ADO and Caribe.