Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Clearing into Mexico

We made it to Ensenada!  It took us exactly 12 hours from San Diego and it was all motor the whole way.  We saw several pods of gray whales, and dolphins along the way.  For the last few hours we had 20 knots of wind right on the nose which made for a bumpy ride, but we still made very good time.  We tied up at Baja Naval Marina at 4pm and were all asleep by 7:30.

The next day we headed to the immigration office to clear in, get out Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for the boat, and our fishing licenses. Before we left, I was a bit unsure whether or not to apply for any of this ahead of time, since some of the information in the interwebs is conflicting, but it turned out to be very easy to get everything done here.  The immigration office also houses the port captain, customs, fishing license office, and Banjercito to pay for everything and get the TIP.  We were in and out in less than an hour. The awesome staff here at Baja Naval helped us get together all of the paperwork and copies that we needed.  Here is the process, docs needed and fees for anyone interested.

Head to the "Centro Integral de Servicios" office and you will find each agency needed in this small building.

Step 1: Immigration

Cost: approx. $23 per person


- Crew list (arrival and zarpe, 5 copies each)   Baja Naval prepared these for us.
- Passports for each person

Immigration will give you your tourist cards to fill out and take your passports and crew lists. Pay the fees at Banjercito, then they stamp your tourist card, passports and crew lists and hand them back to you.

Step 2: Port Captain

Cost: for us it was about $18, but it depends on gross tonnage.


- Crew lists (must be stamped by immigration)
- Copy of USCG Documentation
- Copy of Mexican Liability Insurance
- Copy of Passport (Captain only)

They filled out the application for us here.  All we had to do way pay the fee at Banjercito and then they gave us our crew lists with the approval stamp.

Step 3: Temporary Import Permit

Cost: $60 USD


- All documents from Step 2
- Copy of tourist card for Captain (There is a copy machine onsite for 10 pesos per copy)
- Engine serial numbers VERY IMPORTANT! Make sure you write down the serial number for your engine/engines.  You should also have the Hull ID# if it is not on your insurance policy.  They will ask for this information.  If you are including a dinghy on your TIP, make sure you have the hull serial number and outboard serial number as well.

Hand in these to Banjercito and they will process the TIP and take payment.

Step 4: Fishing Licenses

Cost: $50 per adult for 1 year license


-Photo ID with address

Fishing licenses are required for each adult on board if your boat has any fishing gear at all.  Just give them your ID and they will prepare the permit.  Pay at Banjercito and get your license. Super easy.

On the way back, we picked up a little gift for Murphy to welcome him to Mexico!

We decided to stay in Ensenada for an extra day to wait for our friend Mike, who will be sailing his boat to La Paz as well.  Currently, we plan to depart tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 29th) for the 2.5 day sail to Turtle Bay.


  1. Why can't all countries be the same. Sounds like Mexico is way ahead when it comes to welcoming visitors and making it easy. Love the cat hat.

  2. Our check-in process was about the same on the other coast in Isla Mujeres. Easy, fast, and all the agents came to us. I even sat with a beer while working with the customs officers. You can't get away with that at an airport.

    The only difference was we had to head to the mainland, Cancun to get to Banjercito and receive the permit.

    We love La Paz and the Sea of Cortez. Have an amazing time on the trip, and don't forget to jump in with the sea lions at Los Islotes!