Driving from Belize to United States with your pets – in a Jeep

On 26 November 2018, my husband and I set out in our Jeep Patriot with our dachshund, Maxie and our two cats Salem and Trim to drive from Placencia, Belize to Palm Springs, California, USA.  We also had all our worldly belongings that we could cram in our little Jeep Patriot – including a cello, three violins, a viola and a stage piano and our clothes.

The Caribbean Sea, Placencia on our drive out

The trip took 9 days.  We could have made it quicker but we had a financial mishap and had to spend two days in Mexico as my husband’s ATM card got eaten by a machine and we had no funds until we did a funds transfer.  It was a hugely stressful trip.

The estimated driving time was 52 hours for the 4,500 kilometre trip.


Our first day we made it over the Belizean border and stayed overnight at Chetumal, Mexico.  The Belizean border control didn’t even need to see our pets.  I showed them the paperwork and they waved us through.

We stayed at pet-friendly motel in Chetumal and they allowed us to have our cats and dog there but because they initially expressed reluctance, at all our subsequent hotel visits, I told the hotel reservations staff that we only had a small dachshund.  It was just easier. I smuggled the cats into the hotels in my handbag, one at a time.  It went okay. They would hide under the beds but they were generally easy to manage.  I took a kitty litter tray in and their food.  They eventually settled down and slept on our beds.

Our Jeep – the cats in the cage, my dog on my lap

The roads in Belize are terrible and we damaged a tyre and the axel and had to change the tyre.

We crossed the border into the United States about 2am on Friday, 30 November.  Because I had shipped all our animals from Australia and they all had their appropriate vaccinations the border crossing was quite easy.  We entered the USA through Brownsville, Texas.  We had to do a second border crossing though as we had to get our $400 deposit back for our car that we had paid Mexican authorities.  So this entailed yet another border crossing which took three hours during the day.

Brownsville Texas/Mexico border crossing

The cats became five star hotel cats and loved the hotels after a while.

Trim climbing the walls at Flagstaff, Arizona
Five star pets

We left in Caribbean summer and by the time we got to New Mexico it was getting quite cold.  In Arizona there was snow which baffled our dachshund.  We had to buy sweaters as all our cold weather gear was packed in our luggage.


We stayed with a friend in Henderson, Nevada outside Vegas.  My dog Maxie loves Vegas and here he is below in my friend’s awesome backyard.


We finally arrived in Windy Cove, Palm Springs on Wednesday, 5 December.  You can see the relief on our faces.


We have settled into our new home here and we keep the cats indoors at all times as there are coyotes roaming around here.  I finally picked up some of our cat furniture from my supplier in California and this is keeping my cats entertained along with our cavernous house in Windy Cove.


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