Jump to content

Travel to Baja


Recommended Posts

I flew into Cabo a year or so ago with bags full of Rebreather and Camera gear. My strategy to avoid getting nabbed by the camera-tax vultures was simple but effective:

  • I put the dive gear in a pair of big pelican cases
  • I put the camera gear in a standard checked suitcase (well packed, Nauticam housing in its padded box)

I walked the pelicans through customs myself, and the vultures pounced on me instantly, only to be disappointed that I only had diving equipment. My wife walked right behind me with the standard suitcases, and strolled right on past.

 

  • Like 7
  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, ianmarsh said:

I am only putting this up as a discussion starter, since this was a strong thread on the old website

I don’t know if this situation has settled, but maybe transferring old posts or new info here could be helpful going forward.

ian

Thanks for getting this rolling, Ian. Definitely worth a thread. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm due to fly into Cabo next September. Whilst it annoys the hell out of me I have put the 'tax' into the trip budget but  would  love to  spend the cash another way!

I've not booked the flights yet but likely I'll  transfer in through Mexico City - as it's  classed as a domestic flight does  anyone know if I need to try and be sneaky or am  I likely to stroll through with a smug grin?

Mike

Edited by Pooley
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No expert on this, but I believe it's only crossing through customs at Cabo. I don't think you will get dinged in Mexico City, but don't quote me. I would keep the smug grin handy though....

Any input from Interceptor121? Anyone else with real world experience?

 

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife’s a flight attendant and she said one of the pilots took his banjo with him to practice during a layover in Cancun and they made him pay tax on it because they said he could make money with it. So it’s happening in other ports now too. 

  • Confused 2
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow - this sounds really bad - I remember reading up on this a while back.

How is it in La Paz now? Same predatory customs-officers?
If it's a little cooler, it could be worth flying to LaPaz airport, then driving down to Cabo San Lucas, maybe with a stop at Cabo Pulmo along the way?

I worked in LaPaz in 2018, but didn't have any issues at the time, flying in/out from Mexico City. No custom checks that i can remember, despite our dive gear bags - we did have work-visas, but can't remember if this was checked/known by customs.

Edited by bghazzal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did a trip to San Jose del Cabo in December 2021 and we did not have any problems with customs. But we had a flight from Mexico City, so we arrived at the domestic terminal. Next time I will also book a flight via Mexico City because I think chances are higher to not get into the "tax" debate....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I flew to La Paz from Tijuana (I live in San Diego which is very close to the border) with a group of photographers in September and we did not encounter any problems in La Paz.  I have flown into San Jose del Cabo a couple of years ago and did have issues.  So I wonder if it's solely an issue in Cabo?  

 

Bummer but at last with prior knowledge perhaps one can circumvent any issues.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/30/2023 at 10:28 PM, Buddha said:

My wife’s a flight attendant and she said one of the pilots took his banjo with him to practice during a layover in Cancun and they made him pay tax on it because they said he could make money with it. So it’s happening in other ports now too. 

Not sure, but Pelican Cases may be the biggest red flag. That, and banjo cases....

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were flying to La Paz through Mexico in 2015.

I had a second body (used as backup and for land pictures), and at customs they tried to consider me as a pro due this second body (probably for taxes...).

Honestly, we will probably no longer go there till this racket occurs... 

With both of us having underwater setup, risk is too high.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm wondering if this is only at the airports. I'm in Phoenix and there's a liveaboard that leaves out of Rocky Point just about 2 hours south. We were going to drive into Mexico but I'm not going to play the "Tax" game. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Buddha said:

I'm wondering if this is only at the airports. I'm in Phoenix and there's a liveaboard that leaves out of Rocky Point just about 2 hours south. We were going to drive into Mexico but I'm not going to play the "Tax" game. 

I've done the trip to Puerto Penasco a few times and they didn't even ask about the bags at the border crossing.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

You should be able to avoid this tax when travelling domestically assuming the airport is setup with a domestic arrivals channel where you don't fill out a customs form and don't pass through customs.  It's not clear from the airport terminal maps how this works for domestic arrivals as it mentions some international flights arrive at SJD terminal 1 and the map shows customs areas.

 

It seems to me to be a somewhat legitimate tax, but the rules to apply it are being bent, for example classifying a housing as a camera.  The arrival card mentions you can bring in two cameras.  Then there is also stuff about higher value items on the arrivals card.  In theory most countries could apply this to incoming tourists as the vast majority are arriving with goods such as laptops, devices etc that would exceed the duty free import allowance, but they also depart the country with those goods.  It is most likely a local official making a name for himself or funding an early retirement scheme.

 

Certainly if you are coming back to your home country with brand new equipment to your home country you would be charged local taxes and duties.  If you do get charged taxes on your housing in Mexico you should request that they provide a receipt and include serial numbers as it can only be legitimately be charged once.  The other option which might be worthwhile if travelling with particularly valuable equipment is a carnet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I just got back from Cabo, yesterday.  I saw it first-first hand and my friends that run operations down there also confirmed that the authorities are being particularly aggressive this year.  They are instantly targeting anyone they see that has a Pelican case.  People getting hit with an average between $100-1000 fines/"taxes".

I've heard they are targeting people pretty reliably in Mexico City now, but can't confirm directly (I flew into Cabo).

Put it in non-descript carry-on, carry your rental agreement, any sort of sales invoice, etc...that can argue the value.

 

Edited by Lasongo
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/5/2024 at 11:20 PM, Lasongo said:

I just got back from Cabo, yesterday.  I saw it first-first hand and my friends that run operations down there also confirmed that the authorities are being particularly aggressive this year.  They are instantly targeting anyone they see that has a Pelican case.  People getting hit with an average between $100-1000 fines/"taxes".

I've heard they are targeting people pretty reliably in Mexico City now, but can't confirm directly (I flew into Cabo).

Put it in non-descript carry-on, carry your rental agreement, any sort of sales invoice, etc...that can argue the value.

 

 

So instead of situation getting better, its actually going worse if Mexico City is starting same.

 

Yes its in the customs law, but still if they count housing as a camera (which is their premise to scam money), its kinda f'd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Thanks for your support!!

    Logo Logo
    Logo Logo
    Logo Logo
    Logo Logo
    Logo Logo
    Logo Logo
    Logo Logo
    Logo

     

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Guidelines We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.