Port of entry mexico.

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The question is too broad and the answer too long. I suggest you look at Noonsite.com and get yourself educated on the requirements. People go to MX all the time, but if you do it wrong you can get yourself in a jam.
 
On the pacific side you will use the services of the marina you are staying at.

They will handle everything. I have styayed at Marina Coral in Ensenada several times and can attest to their top notch service. They will charge about $125 USD and take you to immigration and the port captain to check in.

Documents you will need.

Current Certificate of Documentation in your name.
Passports for anybody coming into Mexico on your boat.
proof of insurance.


The process is simple.

You arrive at your assigned slip at the marina of your choice.
If directed to do so you stay on your boat until the initial inspection occures, normally within an hour or so.

Then you are free to go to the marina office and present your documents, and get your account started.

After that you are free for the rest of the day to enjoy your first day in Mexico. There is a great bar at Marina Coral and a big grocery store across the street. Fernando the marina driver will take you whereever you want in Ensenada for free as well.

The next morning you go to the port captain and immigration with a representative of the marina and take care of your entry paperwork. The key is to show up at the marina office with all the people that entered mexico on your boat as well as their passports.
 
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Ensenada has a very efficient and cruiser friendly approach to processing boats. Virtually all of their international yacht visitors are from the US or Canada and they have developed processes that encourage yacht traffic. Elsewhere in the country, Aduana (customs) is much more circumspect about international visitors.

By far, the most common way visiting yachts gets into trouble is with the required Temporary Import Permit (TIP). This can now be done ahead of time online - I forget the cost, probably a couple hundred bucks. It can be completed at same time as entrance as KSanders describes.

Issue is if the boat has changed hands and the previous owner never cancelled the TIP - finding the old TIP and cancelling it must be done before the new one can be issued. Extremely difficult and will get you ejected from the country.

In all ports with a Port Captain, you must check in with the Port Captain and announce yourself. This is usually done in person though in some ports along Baja, can be done via VHF. Mexico is more strict than US (which is unusually lax compared to most countries) on monitoring movements of yachts. Port captain wants to see your smiling face and see your "Despacho," the exit paper from the previous port, and will issue an exit Despacho for your next destination (no cost ). When you exit the country, you will be issued a Zarpe which the next country will require upon check-in. Exception is the US. While a zarpe is technically required to depart the US for Mexico, I know of no US citizen who aquires one, and know of one who tried but CBP didn't want to give one and required onerous steps if the cruiser insisted further (they took the hint and just left for Mexico).

If I remember correctly, when we made a trip from Ensenada to San Diego, cost was about $150 each way (check out of Mexico, then check back in). Didn't include the TIP as they are good for 10 years. A guess is the TIP is around $100-$150.

Much depends on where you are entering the country and from where. And your attitude. Countries are understandably protective of their sovereign soil and can really make your stay lousy if you aren't respectful even if the process makes no sense. Cruisers often complain the process varies widely depending on location (it does - I've lost count of the number of Mexican ports we've checked in/out, at least a dozen), and they complain it takes a lot of time plus administrative overhead - sometimes the port captain can be quite a distance away. Their house, their rules.

Overall, it's part of the experience. If you don't embrace it, cruising isn't a good fit.

Peter
 
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One other item, not for ENTERING Mexico, but rather for EXITING Mexico, particularly if you are exiting from Chiapas. You will need some type of "Captains", or "Boating" credentials in order to get an exit Zarpe.

It doesn't make any sense, and isn't made clear when you enter Mexico, and you don't need to show it to enter Mexico, or to cruise in Mexico, but at the authorities in Chiapas WILL NOT issue you an exit Zarpe until you produce it.

For us, they accepted our Washington State Boater's Safety Card. They also will accept any other official State Boaters education card, or a certificate of graduation from an ASA Course, Power Squadron, or obviously a USCG credential etc.

If people do not have it, the easiest way to get one is to go online with California, do their online Boater's Safety course, and have the card mailed to Marina Chiapas. But that will take from days to weeks to get.

I know, it seems silly, but as Peter stated, their country, their rules. We just lucked out in that we already had the WA State cards, as we saw absolutely no mention of it in any of the literature, nor had anyone said anything about it on any of the online forums we frequent.

I have no first hand knowledge of what other Entry/Exit ports require, but DO have first hand experience with Chiapas, MX.

Best advice is to get one BEFORE you get to Mexico!
 
Hey Billy,

We entered Mexico on the 21st of March at Isla Mujeres which is near Cancun. We used an agent. Didn't have to but chose the easiest path. We went to the Puerto de Isla Mujeres Marina and met with Hernan the agent. His fee was $300. We had already completed the TIP application online and I recall that the fee was $52. We also had to pay about $50 per person aboard for visas. We did not have a zarpe from the US but they wanted one and accepted our fuel receipt from Key West as our zarpe. They did note, however, that from that point forward a zarpe is required. They want a crew list but it was easily completed by hand by the immigration folks and I was listed as the owner and my wife the captain. This was handy as we had two principles aboard so allowed more booze. (At least that is what the customs guy said.) You need to be sure to get a visa for each person aboard or you may have difficulty leaving by other means than your vessel. We were boarded by customs and agriculture to look for any contraband or health issues. We have two cats aboard and they were looked over by the health guy and there was much discussion of the process to get them out of Mexico and into Belize. We haven't done this yet so something new to learn. Headed to Belize soon so a new process to learn As Peter says, part of the experience. I recommend a smile and a happy attitude as you navigate your way through any of these crossings including back to the US. You will get through all of it with patience and grace. Slow down and enjoy the process. Jim Rincon Feliz, Puerto Morelos, MX
 
Hey Billy,

We entered Mexico on the 21st of March at Isla Mujeres which is near Cancun. We used an agent. Didn't have to but chose the easiest path. We went to the Puerto de Isla Mujeres Marina and met with Hernan the agent. His fee was $300. We had already completed the TIP application online and I recall that the fee was $52. We also had to pay about $50 per person aboard for visas. We did not have a zarpe from the US but they wanted one and accepted our fuel receipt from Key West as our zarpe. They did note, however, that from that point forward a zarpe is required. They want a crew list but it was easily completed by hand by the immigration folks and I was listed as the owner and my wife the captain. This was handy as we had two principles aboard so allowed more booze. (At least that is what the customs guy said.) You need to be sure to get a visa for each person aboard or you may have difficulty leaving by other means than your vessel. We were boarded by customs and agriculture to look for any contraband or health issues. We have two cats aboard and they were looked over by the health guy and there was much discussion of the process to get them out of Mexico and into Belize. We haven't done this yet so something new to learn. Headed to Belize soon so a new process to learn As Peter says, part of the experience. I recommend a smile and a happy attitude as you navigate your way through any of these crossings including back to the US. You will get through all of it with patience and grace. Slow down and enjoy the process. Jim Rincon Feliz, Puerto Morelos, MX
Hey Jim - a new thread might be best, but I'd like to hear more about your trip from Key West - type of boat, weather, how you managed the Gulf Stream, where you're headed (Rio Dulce?), etc. I assume you're at El Cid in Puerto Morelos - will you also stop at Puerto Aventuras?

We are considering stopping in the area on the way north, or perhaps taking a future trip to Rio Dulce so definitely interested in details. There's a strong rip current along the coastline there - looks like weather can be a bit tricky to pick through.

Peter
 
I know, it seems silly, but as Peter stated, their country, their rules. We just lucked out in that we already had the WA State cards, as we saw absolutely no mention of it in any of the literature, nor had anyone said anything about it on any of the online forums we frequent.


This is a good point. Expect that at any moment the process will change. Last week it was this, this week it is something else. Last port it was this and this port it is that. Gotta be ready to go with the flow. Once there was a typo on fishing permits in Santa Rosalia out of Mex City. The annual price was accidently changed to a daily price so it was near $100/day/person. The Capt in Santa Rosalia did not want to rock the boat and show Mex City their error so for a year that was the price. We said we wouldn't pay that and he said he wouldn't either. Since he was the one to check permits, no one got one for a year LOL. This is part of the charm of Mexico, sometimes it just doesn't have any logic.
 
This is a good point. Expect that at any moment the process will change. Last week it was this, this week it is something else. Last port it was this and this port it is that. Gotta be ready to go with the flow. Once there was a typo on fishing permits in Santa Rosalia out of Mex City. The annual price was accidently changed to a daily price so it was near $100/day/person. The Capt in Santa Rosalia did not want to rock the boat and show Mex City their error so for a year that was the price. We said we wouldn't pay that and he said he wouldn't either. Since he was the one to check permits, no one got one for a year LOL. This is part of the charm of Mexico, sometimes it just doesn't have any logic.
Even in the US, local interpretations vary. Height of my heavy travel was in the years after 9/11. I recall the requirement for removing shoes at TSA security checkpoints had just been removed for Trusted Travelers. Going through the Detroit security line, an officer pointed to my shoes and said I needed to take them off. I asked in a fairly friendly way why since the rule had changed. What really changed was his attitude: he leaned forward a bit, squared his jaw, and asked me if I was telling him how to do his job, and whether I wanted to make my flight today (question mark intentionally ommited).

I give enforcement agencies a lot of latitude, mostly because it's futile to do otherwise (read: counterproductive). In Scots example of the Chiapas port captain having a unique rule, seems odd until you factor in he's a dozen miles from the Guatemala border. Much different than Ensenada port captain 80 miles from San Diego.

Peter
 
Hey Jim - a new thread might be best, but I'd like to hear more about your trip from Key West - type of boat, weather, how you managed the Gulf Stream, where you're headed (Rio Dulce?), etc. I assume you're at El Cid in Puerto Morelos - will you also stop at Puerto Aventuras?

We are considering stopping in the area on the way north, or perhaps taking a future trip to Rio Dulce so definitely interested in details. There's a strong rip current along the coastline there - looks like weather can be a bit tricky to pick through.

Peter
Hey Peter
Did you make it to mexico? Hopefully you were unaffected by the storm. I would like to hear more about your trip to Mexico and where you went after that
Michael
 
Hey Peter
Did you make it to mexico? Hopefully you were unaffected by the storm. I would like to hear more about your trip to Mexico and where you went after that
Michael
We left Weebles in a boatyard in Chiapas MX on the Pacific side near the Guatemalan border. Plan is to resume our cruise this fall with stops in El Salvador, Nicuragua, and Costa Rica before spending some time in Panama. At the pace we're going, we're a couple years from Belize/Rio Dulce area. That said, we're currently in Playa del Carmen and met a couple who raved about Roatan so Cheryll put that on the list. Two weeks ago, we met a fellow from Colombia who got weak in the knees recounting the beauty of Santa Martha so that too was added to the list. And then there was a recent NY Times article on the seven colors of turquoise waters of Providencia, a speck of an island in the Caribbean.

You can follow us on Instagram @mvweebles though recent posts have been land based. We're currently eating our way through Playa del Carmen where we have a condo.

Peter
 
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