With airport security being higher than it’s ever been, it’s especially important to know what you must bring to Cabo, what you can bring to Cabo and what you cannot bring to Cabo. So how is the customs and immigration process really like? Read on to be enlightened.
It goes without saying that every traveler coming from anywhere but Mexico needs to have a valid passport. However, you will also need a tourist card when entering Los Cabos. These can usually be purchased for around $20 US. Fortunately, air travelers don’t need to worry about finding one because they are provided during the flight free of charge (or at least included in the price of airfare already paid).
If you’ll be going on a connecting flight with the first stop being outside of Mexico, don’t worry if you haven’t received one by the time you land on the first leg. It is about midway on the flight to Mexico when flight attendants will be walking down the cabin passing out tourist cards for you to fill out. Be sure to bring a pen with you because they usually won’t have any on-hand. Sometimes they run out of tourist cards printed in English. If you happen to get the Spanish version and don’t understand what goes where, a flight attendant may attempt to translate it over the speakers for everyone.
This may result in a fine and possibly even criminal penalties.
There are two types of forms; if you’re not a resident of Mexico, you will need both. The first needs to be filled out on a per-family basis, and the second needs to be filled out once for each person. So if, for example, you’re traveling with a family of four, then a total of five forms will need to be filled out.
The Customs Declaration form is where you specify whether you are bringing anything in excess of what is allowed under the duty-free limits. Again, this form is provided in the plane. So what can you bring to Cabo if you’re coming from another country?
First off, as of the time of this writing you’re allowed to bring cash not exceeding $10,000 US. Any amount above that must be declared in the Customs Declaration form. Failure to indicate the amount above $10,000 may result in a fine and possibly even criminal penalties. You may bring personal possessions not exceeding $300 US per person duty-free if traveling by air. Any amount above that may be subject to a duty for personal possessions up to $1000. If you are traveling by land, only up to $75 worth per person may be brought to Mexico.
You’re allowed to bring no more than one camera and one video camera per person. If you’re using film, no more than 12 rolls are allowed. That number includes any videocassettes you might bring. Food generally is permissible as long as they’re sealed in commercial packaging and is not of a quantity that looks like you’re about to open a supermarket in Cabo. If you smoke, you may only bring up to twenty packs of cigarettes with you. If you drink, you are allowed to carry no more than three liters of alcohol in your luggage, not in your system. If you do drugs, you could only bring an amount within the legal limit — NONE.
Finally, you are only allowed to bring a firearm to Mexico if it is for hunting purposes and after you have obtained a permit by the Mexican consulate in advance. I’m curious, though, as to what you can hunt in Cabo other than world-class fish. Other than that, check with a Mexican consulate or embassy near you to be completely sure of what is and isn’t permissible to bring to Los Cabos.
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