When traveling, the more you know, the more prepared you will be. Our complete Travel Tips Guide includes everything you need for safe and hassle-free travel to and from Mexico.
In addition to the required entry and exit documents which are outlined below, you should travel with the following:
Most people tend to pack way too much when they go on vacation. Once you settle in and get into the slower pace and mañana-state-of-mind, what you wear won’t seem quite so important. Besides, that way you’ll leave plenty of room to bring souvenirs and a bottle of your favorite tequila for friends and family back home.
Life here in Jaltemba Bay, Mexico is very casual and the weather is usually warm, so beach wear, casual resort wear, and flip flops or sandals are perfect during the daytime. Bring a pair of lightweight pants and a sweater or jacket as the evenings can sometimes get cool. We may also suggest that you pack a pair of tennis shoes or comfortable walking shoes for walking on the cobblestone streets.
*Minors Traveling Alone – Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican citizens under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child to or from Mexico. This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s). The State Department recommends that the permission should include travel dates, destinations, airlines and a brief summary of the circumstances surrounding the travel. The child must be carrying the original letter – not a facsimile or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate or court document) – and an original custody decree, if applicable. Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy or the nearest Mexican consulate for current information.
Unaccompanied Minors Departing Mexico – In order to combat international child abduction or the exploitation of minors, Article 215 of Mexico’s Ley General de Población requires that minor non-Mexican children leaving Mexico must be accompanied by both parents or guardians or be prepared to present written authorization to travel from the absent parent or parents.
Updated April 2015 – Information obtained from www.usembassy.gov
If your passport is lost or stolen while you are overseas, you are required to report it immediately to the local police and to the nearest Embassy or Consulate to ensure that it is not used for fraudulent purposes. A consul can issue a replacement passport, often within 24 hours. Here is a list of Consulates and Embassies and other Emergency Numbers.
Passengers may transport, exempt from duty, new or used merchandises that makes up their personal baggage, as well as duty-free allowance merchandises as follows:
1) Goods Considered as Personal Baggage:
2) Duty-Free Allowance:
3) Prohibited Items:
In accordance with the “Law of General Import and Export Taxes,” the introduction of the following products into the country is prohibited:
Updated April 2015
Prohibited/Permissible Agricultural Items:
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission:
Pets: See “Bringing Pets back to the United States” under Pet Travel Tips for more information.
When entering Canada from Mexico by land or air, the following exemptions apply:
Personal Exemptions: You are allowed the following personal exemptions from duties and taxes:
You can claim the above amounts in exemptions when entering Canada. In general, the goods you include in your personal exemption must be for your personal or household use. Such goods include souvenirs that you purchased, gifts that you received from friends or relatives living outside Canada or prizes that you won. Goods you bring in for commercial use or for another person do not qualify for the exemption and are subject to applicable duty and taxes.
Although you can include some tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco. Except for tobacco and alcohol, goods you claim in your seven-day exemption may be shipped to your home by mail, courier or other means of transportation.
Alcohol: You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcohol free of duty and taxes:
Tobacco: If you are 18 years of age or over, you are allowed to bring in all of the following amounts of tobacco into Canada free of duty and taxes within your personal exemption:
Food, Plant and Animal Products: All food, plants, animals and related products must be declared. Based on emerging threats, the import requirements for food, plants, animals and related products are subject to change on a daily basis. To determine the most up-to-date import requirements for these items, refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Automated Import Reference System.
Firearms: You must declare all weapons and firearms at the CBSA port of entry when you enter Canada. If not, you could face prosecution and the goods may be seized.
Money and Monetary Instruments: If you are importing or exporting monetary instruments equal to or greater than $10,000 CAN (or the equivalent in a foreign currency), you must report this to the CBSA when you arrive in Canada or before you leave. This applies to either cash or other monetary instruments.
Pets: See “Bringing Pets back to the Canada” under Pet Travel Tips for more information.
Most US and Canadian healthcare plans do not provide coverage for overseas travelers. Any medical treatment you receive while on vacation or living in Mexico including doctor visits, hospital stays, medication and emergency transportation are the responsibility of the traveler, and in most cases a patient must pay in full (and in cash) prior to receiving service.
When traveling to Mexico, you should not assume that your health insurance policy will cover you. Before you leave, you should ask your provider a) if your policy covers you if you travel to Mexico and b) if it covers emergency expenses like a hospital stay and/or medical evacuation.
Before you purchase insurance, you should understand the difference between Trip Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance:
View a list of Medical & Travel Insurance Companies that service our area.
In case of emergency or if you need to contact your Consulate or Embassy, view the Emergency Services & Police Phone Numbers for the Jaltemba Bay area.
Persons driving to Mexico must have a valid driver’s license, a certificate of title or vehicle registration, and proof of Mexican auto insurance*.
If you plan on staying within the border zone, also called the “Free Zone” (up to 22 miles / 35 km south of the border, and including the Baja Peninsula in California and the Sonora Free Trade Zone in Western Sonora) there are no additional requirements. However, for tourists wishing to travel beyond these zones, you will need to apply for and obtain a Temporary Import Permit (Permisos de Importación Temporal de Vehículos). This permit allows you to temporarily import a vehicle, boat, motorhome, or RV into Mexico. This permit applies to vehicles registered outside of Mexico.
Temporary Import Permits are good for as long as the vehicle owner’s visa is valid. Vehicle permits for persons carrying temporary visas (FMM) are good for 180 days and can only be renewed by returning the vehicle to the border. Persons carrying FM2 or FM3 visas are permitted to renew their visas each year while in Mexico and thus their vehicle permits are valid for the same period of time.
Drivers are not required to purchase Mexican Auto insurance. However, US and Canadian policies will not cover you while driving in Mexico – and the Mexican government (and police) do not recognize policies written outside Mexico even if that policy has “Mexican” coverage. Therefore, all drivers should purchase a short-term insurance policy before crossing the border. There are several agencies in the US that write Mexican auto insurance, and you can apply online. If an auto accident occurs and drivers do not have insurance and/or cannot pay for the damage and/or injuries, they could be incarcerated until the damage and/or injuries are rectified.
View a list of Mexican Insurance Companies that service our area.
When you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you will be on Jalisco/Central Time. Once you head north, you will leave the state of Jalisco and cross into the state of Nayarit. While the time zone originally changed at the state line, a time zone change went into affect in 2010 within the Bahía de Banderas municipality, including the towns of Mezcales, Bucerias, Sayulita, San Pancho and Lo de Marcos. So once you pass Lo de Marcos (and head towards Los Ayala, Rincón de Guayabitos and La Peñita), be sure to turn your watches back one hour, as you will now be on Nayarit/Mountain Time.
Upon your return to the airport in Puerto Vallarta, remember that you will lose an hour as the time zone changes back to Central Time. Be sure to set your watches accordingly so you don’t miss your flight.