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Checking into Mexico in Cabo San Lucas

A lot of sailors are under the impression that checking into Mexico in Cabo San Lucas is impossible or difficult. There are a few changes in the procedure for checking in there. It is still easy and inexpensive; there are just a few more hoops to jump through.

First you must obtain a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) before arriving in Cabo. You can easily do this online; see the video provided by Neil Schroyer of Marina de La Paz at
Once this is completed, you should receive your TIP by email within three days. If you do not, there is a problem and you will need to get the TIP in person.

Before arriving in Cabo San Lucas, all boats must send an email to Customs ( and an email to the Health Department ( to advise them you are departing the USA and that your first port of call in Mexico will be Cabo San Lucas. This should be sent from San Diego, as most cell towers on the way down the coast don’t have data capabilities.

Once you arrive in Cabo, the process is as follows:

1. Go to the Minister of Health, Ivan Nuñes. He speaks very good English. His office is next to the Centro de Salud de Cabo San Lucas, a small hospital located on Calle 12 de Octubre between Ocampo and Zaragoza. Bring a signed letter (he prefers typed) indicating the vessel name, captain’s name, number of crew, and date and time of arrival in Cabo, and containing a statement that all people on board are free of COVID and any other virus.

2. Then go to Ramón (he speaks English) at the Immigration Office on Lázaro Cárdenas. He is in the small downstairs office, open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring the paper from the Minister of Health, your boat documentation or registration, and passports for you and your crew. He will give you a blank crew list and forms to fill out. Then he will charge your credit card 575 pesos (about $28 US) for each person. He will give you copies of the crew list, tourist visas for each person, and receipts for the credit card charges.

3. Next, go to the Port Captain’s office on Calle 16 de Septiembre between Matamoros and Abasolo with all your papers, and pay the fee for your boat. The office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Saturday and Sunday.

4. You should go to API (the Port Authority over by Señor Frog’s) and pay a daily harbor fee. Or wait for them to come to your boat in the anchorage. If you are in the marina, the marina pays the API fee for you.
The Department of Agriculture may or may not visit your boat and take some vegetables. Customs may visit you, and they may want to see your TIP and check your HIN.

All in all, it’s an easy process.


  1. Avatar
    Don V 3 months ago

    Wow! Great job in detailing an otherwise onerous process, thank you!

  2. Avatar
    Eve Carlson 6 days ago

    Thanks for demystifying and providing info updated to address COVID!

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