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23 Oct 2018
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Vacation Tips

As you start planning your holiday vacation to Mexico, what to pack may be in the front of your mind. And aside from essentials, you may start thinking of items that would be really nice to have to make the holiday special.

Don’t Bring a Turkey

Oh, you laugh, but over the years there have been more than a couple of people, we know, who have tried to smuggle in one of these frozen birds with the expectation of creating a special turkey dinner for the holidays. And the same goes for sausages, and litany of other delicacies from home. So as the holidays are fast approaching we thought it would be a good time to cover what Mexican Customs allows you, or does not allow you to bring in.

If you read our recent post about tourist visa, you understand that when you are flying into Cancun, your flight crew will be providing two documents. One is your tourist visa (FMM), and the other is a customs declaration. Unlike a tourist card, you can now do online, for customs you have to complete this form the day you travel on the flight or at the airport. See samples of the form below for complete details.

As you wait in line to go through customs, you will see a marque where you have to push a button and get the infamous red light green light. A customs agent will ask you if you have any liquor or cigarettes with you. Then press the button…green, of course, means you are good to go, just head out the door and let your vacation begin. If you get the red light, you will be pulled aside. A customs agent is going to search your luggage, not fun. They may confiscate items or ask you to declare things which could impose a tax you will need to pay.

Most common items restricted by Mexico Customs:

  • Some food items, including meats, fruits, and veggies
  • Cigars and cigarettes – 25 cigars or up to 10 packs per person
  • Liquor and wine – up to 3 liters per person
  • Film or video cassettes – up to 12 rolls/cassettes (antiquated we know, but it’s on the list)
  • Medicine for personal use – you must have a prescription too if the medication is psychotropic
  • Illegal controlled substances & drugs – DUH!
  • Firearms – only for hunting and must obtain a permit from the Mexican Consulate in advance

We suggest reading the section of the form labeled Baggage and Duty-Free Exemption, and here you will find a list of all the electronics, camping equipment, baby gear, special needs equipment, etc., you can bring into the country. And it goes without saying that live animals, pets, have special restrictions and considerations.

Aside from food, if you are coming for the holidays may we remind you not to bring a bunch of gifts to exchange with each other for Christmas. If they are wrapped, and you get the red light you may be asked to unwrap them. This would totally spoil the delight of Christmas morning and give you a surprise duty payment. Leave presents at home, a Mexico vacation is gift enough and a priceless experience that requires no gift wrap or bows.