Navigating Mexian Food Regulations for Sailors

There’s often confusion among sailors about Mexican regulations on food when entering or leaving the country. The guidelines for what’s permissible are not clear and there isn’t a official Mexican government website but look at https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/finlandia/index.php/traveling/customs-information

Generally, fresh or frozen meat, fish, seeds, and fresh produce are prohibited. Processed or canned items are acceptable. Homemade goods are not accepted.

Check-in Regulations

Checking in from the North, such as in Ensenada on the Pacific side, is straightforward with no physical inspection and minimal paperwork. However, entering from the South, like in Chiapas, involves stricter procedures. Expect a thorough inspection, including a drug-sniffing dog, due to concerns about plant diseases and pests from Central America. Items like eggs, nuts, meat, and fresh produce will be confiscated. It’s advisable not to provision in El Salvador for Frans Polynesia with future stops in Mexico. Fortunately, supermarkets like Soriana, Walmart, and Sam’s Club are readily available in Chiapas.

Check-out Regulations

When departing Mexico for destinations like Galapagos or French Polynesia, provisioning in Chiapas with packaged goods, fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, dairy, and liquor poses no issues. While there’s a physical inspection, it mainly focuses on contraband like drugs or human trafficking.

If heading to El Salvador, Costa Rica, or Panama, abide by their regulations, particularly regarding fresh produce. Consider making a hearty omelette while sailing and restocking in the next port, where supplies are plentiful and also reasonably priced.

Tips for Chiapas Departure

When checking out in Chiapas, attention to detail is crucial. Officials are stringent and scrutinize forms closely, even asking for a captain’s license. Ensure all documents are in order, and be prepared to clarify any discrepancies. Regarding the dinghy and Temporary Import Permit (T.I.P.), customs officials had a discussion with themselves. The outcome is: Dinghies shorter than 4.5 meters are considered part of the sailboat and do not require a separate T.I.P. Provide proof of ownership, such as purchase receipts or insurance papers or formal registration documents, to expedite the process.

Lastly, exercise caution when sharing information on social media platforms and messaging apps to avoid misinformation. I shaw some pretty wild statements, just partly true.

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