We'd bought our tickets for the 8 am ferry to Chetumal and taken Paisley to the Pampered Paws for boarding the day before, as we wouldn't be able to get her there before the ferry departed. We had to catch a very early Coastal Express water taxi from the Grand Caribe dock the day of our travels, which left us plenty of time to walk over to Water Jets International and to wait for them to officially open so that we could go through immigration to check out of Belize. Fortunately, the security guy let us wait on this bench on the lagoon side of the island by the dock. We were the first ones there.
Fortunately, the boat wasn't very full, so it was a comfortable ride over to Mexico. We had taken the competing ferry line last time, and this one, while a bit more expensive ($75 US per person), had a few more luxuries. Better (padded) seats, a complimentary cookie and glass of juice, and even a DVD movie!
Note: Currently the two ferry companies alternate days going to Chetumal, and we found out on returning that that alternation is not just a slow-season thing (as we'd assumed) but will continue indefinitely. Something important to know when planning a trip for a certain date, you have to know which company will be running that day, especially since the other company's dock is on the sea-side. You don't want to end up at the wrong dock without enough time to get to the other if need be!
We grabbed a taxi ($50 MX, about $4 US) over to the bus station and bought our bus tickets to Tulum. We ended up on a second-class Mayab bus. This was to be our only second-class bus of the trip, but we just wanted the next bus, and that happened to be what it was. I got to use my Spanish right away as the ticket seller spoke no English. Fortunately, we'd written up a little cheat sheet of common phrases that we might need for purchasing tickets, checking in at hotels, and ordering in restaurants, so I was able to do so without too much difficulty. Plus, they show you the screen as you are buying your tickets, so you can point. That always helps clarify things!
Despite being a second-class bus, the Mayab was far nicer than the "chicken buses" we're used to taking in Belize. It was luxurious by comparison, with plus seats, air conditioning, and curtains on the windows. Since it was a second-class bus, it stopped quite a few times, and in some cases, local vendors would enter the bus briefly to sell their wares.
Being hungry for lunch, we bought this delicious pastry that ended up being filled with apples, cheese, and thinly sliced ham. Let the eating begin!
After a little over three-hour bus ride, we arrived at our first destination, Tulum, where we'd be spending our first three nights.