Mexico - Yachting Essentials

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Electricity

Mexico the standard voltage is 127 V and the frequency is 60 Hz.

Water

Tap water in Mexico is often not potable but most marinas can arrange to have treated water delivered to boats.

Fuel

Fuel can be delivered to many marinas and some have fuel docks. Having jerry jugs available for fuel runs are recommended.

LPG / Gas

Most marinas organize weekly propane runs for both guests and anchored boats.

Getting work Done

Mexico has a good yachting infrastructure with a wide variety of marinas, boatyards and services available. Some services do fall into disrepair when ownership or funding changes.

Provisioning

There is a good choice of large supermarkets and hardware stores for provisioning or outfitting.

Last updated:  December 2018

 

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Mexico was last updated 2 months ago.

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  1. January 17, 2023 at 10:40 PM
    sv-lilith says:

    Corruption is alive and well in Isla Mujeres.

    Our boat was thoroughly searched by customs on check-in, and we we’re told that absolutely NO Alcohol was allowed and that a fine would be given for the 1 bottle of wine (750ml) and a few open bottles of Rum (570ml and Whiskey (750ml). The impression was conveyed that issuing the fine would also take a few days to process, clearly because they knew we were only making a quick stop to collect fresh goods and water, ready to leave the next day while our weather window holds.

    Eventually we had to pay a US$80 bribe to complete the inspection and get checked-in.

    Disappointing as it’s a close sail for us from our home port in Kemah, TX. This has now gone onto the “don’t visit again” list and we’ll rather try other tourist destinations.

    Apparently the No Alcohol Allowed, is a new law that I’m still unable to find when searching the internet, and the online Mexican customs resources.
    Usually there’s a limit on quantity for personal use, especially when containers have actually been used already, and I’m happy to pay a reasonable import duty, or even have the Alcohol confiscated. But this was clearly not in their interest to go down any other route than extortion.

  2. December 7, 2022 at 6:04 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Bruce and Alene, of SV Migration and creators of the Chart Locker (a free resource for cruisers), have this reminder:
    For those of you planning to head to the South Pacific this coming season, don’t forget to download satellite charts for the areas you’re going to visit BEFORE you leave North America. A complete set of charts for only French Polynesia (ArcGIS, BingSat, GoogleSat and Navionics) is over 10GB so you’ll want to have a fast and cheap connection.
    You’ll find the charts at https://thechartlocker.com/
    To avoid having to download, if you’re in Mexico in Banderas Bay, Mike and Kat have a copy at Cruiser Comfort, and Andy Barrow kindly donated a portable drive with the charts that can be borrowed from the Vallarta Yacht Club. There’s probably a copy or two floating around La Paz as well.

  3. March 28, 2022 at 10:36 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Cruisers warn that domestic clearance in Zihuatenejo, on the Pacific side of Mexico, is lengthy and there are fees paid. This is very different from other domestic ports in Mexico where most port captains are efficient, fast and domestic clearance is a free process.

  4. March 16, 2022 at 5:52 AM
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    sue-richards says:

    Former prison islands “Islas Marías” will open to the public as a tourist attraction in April 2022: The Islas Marías (“Mary Islands”) are an archipelago of four islands that belong to Mexico. They are located in the Pacific Ocean, some 100 km (62 miles) off the coast of Nayarit. Starting in April, tourists will be able to visit Las Islas Marías (Marías Islands) off the coast of Riviera Nayarit. One of the most paradisiacal and biodiverse places in Mexico, the four-island archipelago went from hosting one of the most feared and isolated prisons in Mexico to an environmental tourist destination. It is so far not known if private yachts will be permitted to visit. Read more at https://mexicodailypost.com/2022/02/25/former-prison-islands-islas-marias-will-open-to-the-public-in-april/

  5. February 8, 2022 at 10:36 PM
    svkismet says:

    It is veryuncommon to get or need a Zarpe coming from the US. The US doesn’t have the same port authority fifedoms as other countries. I’ve not known any person coming from the US to have gotten or been asked for a Zarpe checking into mexico, so I don’t that that “Strong advice” on this page is valid in this case.

    1. March 16, 2022 at 5:53 AM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      Our strong advice is for the East coast of Mexico, in particular Islas Mujeres (the most popular POE on that side). And yes, reports still coming in about the need for a zarpe.

    2. January 17, 2023 at 1:21 PM
      ozdigennaro says:

      In February, 2022, I cleared in to Isla Mujeres from Florida. Requirement for Zarpe!
      Oz on SV Bat HaYam

  6. November 3, 2021 at 1:15 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Posted on behalf of SY Scraatch, currently in Mexico:

    Mexico remains open and without restrictions, just as it has throughout the pandemic. Boats are being put in the water ahead of the end of Hurricane season. A few bold souls are moving up or down the coast.
    Here at Tapachula half a dozen boats have antifouled and launched with more owners returning. One boat under rebuild for 4 years is rushing to get south before the end of its 10 year temporary import.
    This temporary import is a generous treatment that considers the boat to be the same as a car and allows a stay of up to 10 years with only the low initial fee. It is applicable on both the Caribbean and Pacific sides.
    Scraatch sat on the hard for 16 months @$400 or so a month (56ft yacht, with aircon/dehumidifier running and regular battery checks and top ups).
    This year we are heading 1000 miles north, Mexico is a big country, to the Gulf of California and hoping for more whales.

    Brian and Kitty
    SY Scraatch

  7. January 6, 2021 at 7:06 PM
    alywishus says:

    We recently checked in from the US in Ensenada (Jan 4, 2020). We had attempted to purchase the visa online, through the site listed on this page http://www.marinadelapaz.com/pdf/BoatingInMexico.pdf (which itself lists this page as the page through which to pay for visas: https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroEmbarques/). It turns out, those pages took us to the wrong visa, so we paid $120 that was for the wrong visa and not refundable (it was never clear exactly what visa it was, even looking at the receipt). We had to also buy the right one, and they would not apply our previously paid fees. Also, the crew list (Lista de Tripulantes) listed on the Spanish for Cruisers site (https://www.spanishforcruisers.com/sfc-cheatsheet-crewlist.htm) doesn’t work here anymore. We even had Baja Naval in Ensenada assist (Viktor helped us), so it seems things have changed. Surprise! They did not inspect our boat, they did take our temperature (COVID-19).

    1. February 8, 2022 at 10:36 PM
      svkismet says:

      You are saying Visa, you mean TIP.

  8. November 1, 2020 at 5:54 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Copied with appreciation from the Southbound Group:
    Re: Southbound Boaters to Mexico – Beware!
    From: James Fair
    Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2020

    I should relate my findings regarding a TIP in Mexico. It is good for 10 years. You do not need to cancel it when you leave Mexico. You can come and go as many times as you like using your TIP. However, you should cancel it on the last time the boats exits Mexico. If you do not cancel it, and decide to sell the boat outside of Mexico, the new owner will not be able to bring the boat back into Mexico until the TIP has been canceled. The original owner must cancel the TIP. It is not something the new owner can do. We ran into this problem on Chesapeake. We left Mexico thinking we would return. We then decided to sell the boat back in the US. This required us to make a special trip to Mexico just to cancel the TIP. We flew down to do this. Also, you cannot cancel it just anywhere, you must go to the right place. Fortunately, It is relatively easy to get to Tijuana to do it. Bottom line: cancel the TIP when the boat exits Mexico for the last time. If in doubt, cancel it and get a new one the next time you enter Mexico. Do not ignore it. Also, do not let it expire uncanceled. If you do then you are then subject to fines and it is linked to your passport, so they will probably catch you if you ever try to enter Mexico again.

    Jim & Linda
    Outbound 46, Chesapeake

  9. April 6, 2020 at 7:08 PM
    justinchatwin says:

    Looking to rent a well maintained sailboat over 35 feet for 3 months This fall in Baja. I’m Asa certified. Experienced captain. Will pay well and sign a contract for damage waiver. Let me know if anyone is interested or anyone has a lead on anything…

  10. May 9, 2019 at 6:09 PM
    jps3464 says:

    Last Fall, 2018, I was robbed by 3 men that boarded my boat at 2am while I was sleeping. I was in a slip (B Dock) in Marina San Carlos that has security guards and cameras. I awoke to sounds and confronted the men. I yelled for security for over 5 minutes but security had all vanished and the marina would not use any video to help the police who really were not going to do anything anyway. They cut my chain and stole my new dinghy motor with a value of $2,800 USD. They had tied a fishing panga boat to the rear of my boat, lowered the motor down and then took off.
    Do NOT feel safe even in the marina. I was told by dock workers that there have been many thefts in the marina and the security guards my even be working with the theives. There has also been over 20 dinghy motors stolen from Guaymas and anchorages around San Carlos. They no nothing will be done so they keep robbing the boats. It is getting worse and worse. I will be happy to leave Mexico soon and never return.

  11. January 8, 2019 at 8:41 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Reported by Chuck Houlihan of SY Jacaranda:

    Thanks to Bruce and Alene on SV Migration who worked the issue with the French consulate in Mexico City. The French consulate is allowing non-residents in Mexico to apply for French Polynesia long stay visas. According to Bruce, the consulate is now allowing yachties and others to submit the paperwork from the French consulate in Mexico City.

    Awaiting reports of the first cruisers applying.

    This is a big hurdle as it allows cruisers to not have to travel back to the US, submit the paperwork along with their passports, obtain a temporary US passport and then travel back to the boat.

    Chuck
    Jacaranda

  12. July 10, 2017 at 8:39 AM
    noonsiData Entry1 says:

    Reported by Larry Gaddy:
    I can give you an interesting update on the TIP. We got one in 2013 when we were cruising the Pacific side, so it is still valid until 2023. However, the buddy boat we were with did not have one. They were not asked about it by the marina, customs, or port authority. I have heard different beliefs about how long you can stay without a TIP – anywhere from 3 days to 10 days. Anyway, after we had been in port for a week the marina asked to see our TIP’s.

    They told our friends that they needed to get one, as “sometimes” it is necessary to show one when clearing out. So, our friends had to go over to Cancun to get it. This was difficult, as the taxi drivers didn’t know where to take them, but eventually, he got the TIP. When we cleared out we were not asked to show the TIP.

    1. July 28, 2019 at 3:21 PM
      robertm647 says:

      The dust-up a few years back when hundreds of yachts were seized by Mexican authorities was a result of foreign boaters not paying the TIP (Temporary Import Tax) upon entering the country. To a lesser degree it involved the inability of Mexican Customs folks to locate the HIN on the yachts, in an effort to prove ownership of the vessel.
      Unless you are in a ‘Hassle Free Zone’ – and as sailors you probably won’t be – pay the TIP when entering Mexico! It’s good for 10 years and it’s not that expensive.

    2. August 18, 2019 at 9:11 PM
      svwanderlust3 says:

      Great info!! My husband and I are thinking of hitting the Yucatán Peninsula. Thank you and Fair Winds

  13. July 10, 2017 at 8:37 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Reported by Larry Gaddy:
    We stayed in Mexico for 10 days. Neither of us had Mexican insurance, and we weren’t asked to show our US policies. Maybe having Mexican liability insurance isn’t necessary anymore.

    1. July 28, 2019 at 3:32 PM
      robertm647 says:

      I can’t speak to a ‘requirement’ to have boat insurance in Mexico. But we winter on the Sea of Cortez (Sonora) where although Mexican insurance to drive a vehicle is technically not a ‘requirement’ (as we understand it) if you are involved in an accident, and you don’t have real, bonafide Mexican auto insurance, you are going to jail. Even with valid Mexican insurance, the driver’s of each vehicle will usually be going to the police station until driver’s licenses & insurance papers are deemed valid and fault is established.
      We buy liability insurance only for the car, and for the sailboat when in Mexican waters. Laws are fluid and vague sometimes south of the border, and often subject to local interpretation!

  14. May 13, 2017 at 8:39 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    As of May 2017, Pre-Arrival clearing into Isla Mujeres does NOT need to be done. I lost 1000 pesos pre-clearing with the Banjercito link in the Pre-Arrival section.

  15. March 6, 2017 at 4:35 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Does anyone know if a drivers licence is required to get Mexican liability insurance And if not, does anyone know of a company that does not require a drivers licence? I’ll be heading down there after November and have all my paperwork for the boat but have never had a drivers licence.

  16. January 14, 2017 at 8:32 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Checking out/TIP
    After dealing with Aduana for 5 days in Cancun, here is what I have learned: If you leave Mexico and are never coming back with your current boat, you don’t need to cancel your TIP. If you leave w/o cancelling, then sell your boat to someone who plans to go to Mexico, they may not be able to Import it and will be liable for LARGE fines. If you leave w/o cancelling and come back after the expiration date you will be liable for LARGE fines.

    You can have multiple exits and re-entries until the TIP expiration date. You must apply for a new TIP before the old one expires. I got two conflicting answers about how to cancel the TIP. 1. I would have to go to Aduana at the nearest airport. 2. I can cancel it at the Banjercito in the port where I’m checking out (Zarpe, etc). You are responsible for cancelling the TIP. Don’t assume that it will be done unless you specifically ask for it. Good Luck.

  17. December 11, 2015 at 3:30 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    When clearing in or out at Puerto Morelos (Marina El Cid)a 24-hour notice is required by Immigration and Customs. You cannot call in advance to inform them as the marina requires you to be present when making the request. You will be required to stay in the Marina until all of the officials have cleared you in.

    If you are coming from the south expect to be boarded and searched by customs. Five agents and a K-9 searched my vessel. (I am a male, single handing, and I came from Guatemala so, no surprise since I came from a known narco route and fit the profile). In my case, none of my meat or food was confiscated as others have reported. The agent and personnel at Marina El Cid were quite helpful.

  18. November 10, 2015 at 2:29 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Posted on behalf of Ken Simon:
    I followed the link for “Boating in Mexico” on noonsite, which has very detailed instructions for getting an entry permit online. I followed all of these instructions: made the payment online, and sent my documents with my receipt to the listed email address for the customs authorities in Cancun, which is the nearest customs office for where I want to go, Isla Mujeres. I sent my email in both Spanish and English, twice in the last week. It came back with an automatic message, in Spanish, which said the mailbox is full.

    I then emailed the manager, Brad Wareing, of the marina where I will be staying on Isla Mujeres, Marina Paraiso. He said he had never heard of this online procedure, although his marina is one of three places on Isla Mujeres for officially clearing into customs. I then emailed the Mexican consulate nearest me in Michigan; no reply.

    I think others should be warned that there is a problem with this online procedure, at least for Cancun. I very much doubt now whether the customs people on Isla Mujeres will honour my receipt for 996 pesos when I arrive there.

    1. May 9, 2019 at 6:22 PM
      jps3464 says:

      I have been in Mexico for years and everything is a joke. Nothing works, no one knows what is happening and they will rob you any chance they get. They change rules constantly and make new ones to take things or money. Be very careful and don’t believe the people saying Mexico is great. I currently made the mistake of hauling out at a place that had an excellent rate for boatyard rental. They only charge a low price to haul out and for the rent so they can give you labor quotes 3 times more than I paid in California. Be very aware of their tricks to take advantage of tourists and cruisers. I can not wait to get out of Mexico and never return.

    2. August 18, 2019 at 9:16 PM
      svwanderlust3 says:

      Are you still in Mexico?

  19. April 29, 2015 at 3:28 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Meat seizure in Mexico: Taken from Yahoo Group Cruisers Network Online
    On Saturday, March 14, 2015, we cleared into Mexico, Puerto Morelos, on our sailboat, Sea Schell, from Belize. Most of the officials were very polite, friendly, efficient and professional.

    The woman from SAGARPA came aboard and started looking into everything. In our freezer, she found several pounds of frozen meats for our personal consumption. Most of the meats were still labelled in their grocery store packaging and identified as being products of Belize. She said that she was required to seize and destroy any meats not labelled as having been inspected by the USDA, the Mexican department of agriculture or the similar agency of another government. The items she seized were: 4 chicken breasts, 2 chicken legs and thighs, pork chops, 1 pound pork stew meat, 4 minute steaks, 1 package turkey cold cuts. All of those items were still in their store packaging with appropriate store labels. In addition, she seized the following: 4 breakfast sausages, 2 Italian sausages. These items had also been bought at the grocery store in Belize but we had separated them into meal sized plastic bags before freezing.

    We had never heard of any regulation that required destruction of meats on our boat for our personal consumption upon entry into Mexico. Friends on other boats clearing into Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos and San Miguel, Cozumel at approximately the same time and had not had that happen. Marina El Cid reported that they had never heard of such a thing. Detailed searches we did of websites from the Mexican government, tourist information sites and other cruisers showed no similar seizures and no indication that there was such a requirement. When we reported the incident on a radio net that covered all of the northwest Caribbean no one had heard of any such seizure in Mexico or any other country.

    When we asked the woman where we could find the regulation she referred us to http://www.sagarpa.gob.mx <http://www.sagarpa.gob.mx/> . There is no information on that site that refers to what cruising boats can bring into Mexico.

    We are reporting this incident to all the cruising websites that we use to learn how to comply with all government regulations. If there is such a regulation the Mexican government should make it clear to all vessels prior to entering. This news will deter cruisers from visiting El Cid Marina and Puerto Morelos. That’s a shame because the marina is beautiful, the people are wonderful and it’s a great spot to stop to tour Mexico.

  20. January 31, 2015 at 10:21 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    The web link for the online TIP does work correctly. The address is right but clicking the link confuses their server. Instead, go to their home page, paste ‘Importacion Temporal de Embarcaciones’ into the Google search bar and click . This will take you to the right page, in fact, the same address as listed above.

  21. August 31, 2014 at 8:13 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Latitude 38 is warning cruisers planning on joining the annual fall migration to Mexico, to hold off on completing paperwork in advance. The problem is that Banjercito (the Mexican military bank) adopted their web page from the web page for automobiles crossing into Mexico. Aduana (Customs) is working to get them to change the website now.

    It’s recommended that cruisers wait until the end of September or even early October to apply for their TIP once the Banjercito web site has been properly amended for yachts. Read more about this at http://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/lectronicday.lasso?date=2014-08-29#Story5

  22. July 28, 2014 at 12:12 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    If using Navionics to navigate in Mexico waters, Latitude 38 report that chart data on which the Navionics charts are based are sometimes off by a significant amount. It is recommended if relying on digital charts, to do a Google Earth overlay of a chart to ensure the coastline is correct, particularly if navigating near islands and at night. See the Latitude 38 article about this at http://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/lectronicday.lasso?date=2014-07-25#Story4.