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The Missing (Tourist Visa) Link & Cabo News

This could be you — heading south under sail to the sunny latitudes of Mexico. But before you set sail, be sure to go online and get your visa.

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If you’re going to go to Mexico by boat, you need to get a special nautical tourist visa online. You’ll trade this for a normal 180-day tourist visa at the immigration office of your first port of entry. In the last ‘Lectronic we neglected to provide the link for getting your visa. It is: This will take you to the section that says Payment of Rights for Immigration Services. We know because we tried it five times last night and five times this morning, and it always worked.

This is not to say there isn’t some confusion, if not a problem, with the form. Since you get the nautical tourism visa the minute you apply, and thus can do it just before you leave for Mexico, you might want to hold off. In any event, the confusion/problem starts on the "Step Two" page.

1) They ask for the boat’s "License." What they are asking for is the boat’s documentation number or registration number. No big deal

2) They then ask for the "Person Responsible of Vessel." No matter what it says, we presume they are asking for the name of the person applying for the nautical visa, even if you’re just going to be crew. Why? Because there is no other place on the form, or any Mexican website, for a non-skipper’s name, and because they ask for your passport number.

3) Later on in Step Two, they ask for your "Document number." What they really are asking for is your passport number. They even flash a photo of a passport.

4) When you get to arrival and departure dates, the arrival date should be the first day you arrive in Mexican waters, i.e. the day you leave San Diego. No matter when you plan to leave, just make your departure day a little under 180 days. Yes, the website’s calendars are a little weird to work with. Remember, you put the day before the month in Mexico and in most other foreign countries.

5) The other issue is with regard to people who already have Temporary or Permanent Residency Status in Mexico, as applying for a 180-day tourist visa can apparently screw up that status. We don’t know what people with that status should do.

Tere Grossman, President of the Mexican Marina Owners Association, is contacting Mexico City to get answers to all these questions. We hope to get responses soon, and will share them immediately. She is also asking the Tourism Department to contact Customs and Immigration in Cabo San Lucas to make sure that everything goes smoothly for the Ha-Ha boats. In years past, both agencies have been very cooperative.

A couple of reminders:

1) Apply for your nautical tourism visa individually, and do not lose the receipt. Keep it with you until you’ve left Mexico.

2) You print out your nautical tourism visa when you apply for it, so unlike the application for your TIP, which we described in Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic, you can do it at the last minute. (Banjercito promises to get TIPs to applicants seven business days after they apply, via DHL, so we suggest applying at least two weeks in advance, if not right now.)

In news from Cabo, President Pena Nieto was to return to Cabo today to check on the progress of the recovery. He is expected to announce that the Los Cabos Airport will re-open for commercial service on October 8, as previously announced. Actually, airport officials have announced that it will open earlier than that. The La Paz Airport, about 2.5 hours from Cabo San Lucas by a $16 luxury bus with high-speed Internet almost the entire way, is reported to be "operating normally."

Wayne Bisbee, who has two huge fishing tournaments long before the Ha-Ha fleet arrives in Cabo, reports that the Cabo Marina is 70% operational at this point and has fuel. They are ramping up quickly for the fishing tournaments and the season. Over 2,000 hotel rooms are available for occupancy right now, with many more expected to be ready by October 1, and even more by October 15. Banks and ATMs are working and, Bisbee says, most restaurants and bars are open, too.

Tropical Storm Rachel is not expected to develop into a hurricane and, in any event, is like most Mexican hurricanes in that it is far off the coast and headed northwest away from land.

It’s only one month to the Baja Ha-Ha XXI Kick-Off Party at the West Marine Superstore in San Diego.

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A big surge in last-minute Baja Ha-Ha entries has brought the total to just shy of 170, making it the largest Ha-Ha in the last three years.