Crossing into Mexico

November 01, 2019

Crossing a border is always nerve recking, and each country has its own set of rules and Mexico is no different. Before we embarked on our adventure in June, we did a bit of research on border crossings in central and south America. And it all came to the same conclusion. 1. Bring lots of time. 2. Be patient. 3. Be nice, 4. Bring lots and lots of photocopies of all your documents 5. Bring cash. The borders are heaven for bureaucracy.

You don’t see any borders between countries from space. That’s man-made, and one experiences it only when you return to Earth.

Sunita Williams

on the way to the border

 So on Oct 07, 2019 ( a Monday), we headed to Tecate CA border crossing as that this is known to be a friendlier and less busy crossing into Baja. We stopped at the US side and changed money. The night before, we purchased Mexican car insurance online. As our vehicle is over 2o years old, we could buy liability only as Mexican insurance does not cover old RVs. We do not have a printer, so as I changed money at an exchange place, I asked if they could print out the insurance paperwork for me. With a big smile, they said no problem and after a little struggle to get the email forwarded to their office, I had two copies of my paperwork in my hand. Best part No charge! We then had to find a parking spot. Across the street was a little coffee stand. Cliff asks if it was ok to park, and the owner says no problem no charge. So we parked and went to the coffee stand to buy a coffee as a thank you, and he charges us two coffee and $5.00 to park. Haha, that is more like it.

money exchange place

Now we walked to the border into the Mexican border crossing and found the immigration office to get our tourist card. So we entered the building and were greeted by a security guard and escorted into the immigration office. There we were handed our passport to the officer, and he directed us to fill out a tourist card. Once completed, we had to go back outside and go to the cashier’s booth, which was a few hundred feet from the immigration. We then gave our tourist cards to the officer there paid 580 pesos each. Again we were directed back to the immigration officer so they could stamp our cards.  We are planning to take the ferry to the mainland; we now had to import TheLuvShk into Mexico. So the immigration officer sends us back to the cashier’s booth. We then were asked for photocopies for our passports, driver licence and car registration.

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.”

David G. Allen

 We prepared ourselves and had all our photocopies already other than the tourist card which the officer kindly copied in the back. You usually have to go to a photocopy place to pay your fee and stand in line again. While he was working on our paperwork, a German tourist was getting very frustrated with the border officer about importing her Unimog. Her registration does not mention an RV but instead a commercial truck, which of course is not matching what she declared. She got more and more frustrated and started swearing. Well, that slowed down her process immensely. As the officer finalized our paperwork, he gave us a 10year import ( you can come and go as needed) for a $59.00 US. Usually, its $60 for six months and a $300 deposit. 


Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

John Quincy Adams

PWe got our paperwork walked around the block back into the US, going to US immigration and walked to the LuvShk. Now we started driving to the border and lined up and waited for the light Red means search and green means go. The German tourist is still waiting by the cash gage to get her paperwork from the border guard, who brings me back to the 4 points at the beginning of this article. BringTime, be Patient, be Nice no matter how hard it may be and lots and lots of photocopies. Finally, it was our turn. We are waiting for the light in front of us. We got green! So we started to drive until a border guard waved us to stop. We opened the door, and he came inside. He walked through and looked at the dogs’ vet certificates and wished us a great holiday.

The moral of this story is: We are not always in charge of the circumstance around us, and we have to slow down and let bureaucratize do its thing. No matter how frustrated we might get.