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Old 20-09-2016, 09:12   #1
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Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

Hola! New to the forum. Seasoned sailor currently living in Marina Del Rey (Los Angeles). Own a 1979 30ft Catalina. I'm not from the USA but living here at the moment on a business visa which will expire early next year. I am originally from Australia.

Exploring liveaboard ideas in Mexico and possibly heading south to Panama later and through the canal...

For now, Thinking of sailing down solo and staying somewhere like La Paz, Loreto or nearby... Can explore when I get there. My business allows me to do this but I would like to be able to come up here to LA a few times a year for clients - possibly sail or quick flight up?.

Curious. Any folk sail to & from these locations from SoCal & Mexico annually. Experiences and prices for living aboard in Mexico. Experiences sailing solo in Mexico waters? Experiences occsssionally picking up a crew member to fill the void on rougher trips?

Also, what happens at the Mexico & USA border when sailing? Can I just come in/out on ESTA visa for those expats who might be reading this?

And finally, have a rockstar french bulldog who loves sailing and has traveled the world with me. Experiences from dog owners living aboard in Mexico also?

Thanks community. Hope to see some of you out there
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Old 20-09-2016, 10:20   #2
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

Nothing happens at the US/Mexico border.

This from Lat 38:

Whenever you stop at an official port of entry - if sailing from Southern California, the first will almost certainly be Ensenada, Cedros Island, San Carlos (inside Mag Bay) or Cabo San Lucas - you're required to clear in and clear out with Immigration, the Port Administration - if there is one - and the Port Captain.

First, bring your vessel documentation, passports and 'tourist cards' (if you've already got them) for all crew, plus five copies of your crew list to Immigration. (The 'crew list' is also known as the Rol de Tripulantes)

In places where you have to pay a Port Fee - such as Cabo, La Paz and others - you have to pay this to the proper agency - which may differ depending on where you are. Immigration will tell you if and where. Once you get a receipt for port fees, you may have to go back to Immigration.

Your final stop will be the Port Captain's Office. Bring all your paperwork.

When you want to leave, or if you change crew, you get to do the dance all over again. Or, you can pay an agency - usually in or near a marina - to do the work for you. A typical fee is between $20 and $50.

Be warned that normal hours of business at Immigration and Port Captain offices are between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, irregular hours, lots of holidays and absent officials frequently screw up the process. Overtime charges may be assessed for checking in after hours, so wait until they open. It's usually no problem going ashore if you check in within 24 hours.

Since the rules and habits of local officials differ widely, always ask other cruisers or listen to the local net for the latest clearance procedures.

Suppose you've checked out of Cabo, but Britany Spears hits on you in Squid Roe and wants to be your galley slave for the trip up to La Paz. Legally, you're supposed to go through the whole process again to add her name. In reality, some Mexico vets would shine it on. Proceed at your own risk.

Most Mexican officials are pretty flexible. Two winters ago, for instance, we checked out of Cabo for San Diego - then showed up in Mazatlan. This wasn't proper, of course, but we smiled and explained to the officials that we decided we'd much rather be in Mazatlan than in San Diego. It made perfect sense to them and was no problemo. If you politely approach an official and say, "I have a very big problem," things can usually be worked out.
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Old 20-09-2016, 10:55   #3
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

Thanks for the valuable input on Immigration. Mostly I will be solo with my little dog. Experiences with dog would be awesome.

Also, how easily obtsinable are extended visas? Can one simply pay an agency/broker/fixer or what? In Asia thats how I rolled. In central america (nicaragua - panama - costa rica) I would just cross the border every 3 months...
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Old 20-09-2016, 11:09   #4
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

sailing from lost angeles your preferred port of entry MUST be ensenada, as cedros island has no bank. sorry that is fact--i was there undergoing repairs 2011. no bank on island. none. you need banjercito presence for checking into country. therefore cedros island is no longer a port of entry, as i was advised when i checked into that port for repairs. the only money availability is via western union or if you are a salt plant employee--it is a company village, with very few exceptions made for the pescadores.
ensenada has in office, banjercito, aduana., capt of port--everything you need to check into country except insurance . you need mexican based liability insurance to check into mexico. if you prefer to purchase insurance in advance, mariners group has feet in mexico and is good --not pricey. the usual price for liability insurance in mexico should be between 185-300 usd . mine is 285usd annually.
one need not physically check in and out of port each time-- it may be done via vhf, channel 16. capt of port like it when you do check in and out-- and for that, they will give you the necessary papers. there is a one time payment for visa. do that when checking into ensenada at banjercito. same with t i p . if you have not yet gotten your fishing license, you may buy it in ensenada. same building as port captain. and aduana and banjercito and ... ye it is all in one building even to same room. copiers are just outside this room. pay the person and receive copies copier. doesnt hurt to tip. donot tip the officials, only copiers. mordidas are illegal. tipping officials is considered bribe.. oops donot go there.
i believe cruiseport marina and marina coral and perhaps baja naval are able to do your check into country so as to make your visit more convenient and comfortable. ask your marina office in ensenada for advise and where to go.
there is no anchoring allowed in ensenada harbor. must use marinas.
you must begin the visa process in usa, whichever visa you request. they will answer your questions there. my original turistica visa was started in san diego at the mexican consulate. my extended visa was obtained before the administration changed. the rules are different from when i got mine done. there are online instructions via I N M mexico.
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Old 21-09-2016, 09:32   #5
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

I appreciate as well as the posts here to this question. I have pretty much the same questions so it is helpful. I do not think anyone addressed his going into mexico with a dog and is that a hassle. I mention as we are thinking of the same thing with a dog and I am curious if that is problematic
if one has all the appropriate papers etc. thanks
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Old 21-09-2016, 10:11   #6
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

I haven't been, yet, but I want to go. Here is a link that might have some helpful info: Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally: Sailing from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas
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Old 21-09-2016, 10:12   #7
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

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Originally Posted by jcord View Post
I appreciate as well as the posts here to this question. I have pretty much the same questions so it is helpful. I do not think anyone addressed his going into mexico with a dog and is that a hassle. I mention as we are thinking of the same thing with a dog and I am curious if that is problematic
if one has all the appropriate papers etc. thanks
i brought a cat. before i cam ehere i took bubba to the vet spent 895 usd on getting him ready to cruise the planet. ok that was overkill. they asked me no questions ag=bout vat did not ask about his shots or anything did not want to see rabies titre-- ok-- i donot recommend taking a non vaccinated critter anywhere-- so do get your critter rabies titre and vaccinated and for whatever else you donot wish your preciious critter to contract from the strays in mexico. protect your pet.
the reality here is there are many strays. there is also a liberal use of poisons for control of rats and insects. keep your critter contained or leashed for its own protection. i have seen 4 cats dead of poison, and a rat terrier. these 5 critter deaths were pets of gringos and in la cruz marina.
allowing your precious pet to run loose in mexico is same as allowing coyotes in usa to eat your precious tasty pet. be aware.
oh yes-- i watched a gringo in mexico in a restaurant. she was kinda snooty. when she noticed the medium sized dog under her table she went ballistic. be aware this is how it is. dog was only sleeping.
there are crocodiles--they call em cocodrilos. awesome things. can get large.
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Old 23-09-2016, 22:13   #8
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

I'm not completely clear on the visa requirements, but it is probably easier for you to re-enter the US by land or air than bringing in your private boat.
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Old 24-09-2016, 07:44   #9
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

visa requirements---
you prep for visa at the mexican consulate. get the papers. sail across border to ensenada. check into mexico. it will cost under 30 usd to do this. all the needed check in departments are under one roof.
you will need passport, boat papers and money. not much, as mordida has been abolished.
for critter you may need vet papers at some point, and for safety of critter, get the rabies and travel shots.
for boat you will need t i p as well as document/ownership papers.
obtain 6 month visa. you will only qualify for 6 month turistica visa until they deem you qualified for temporal. you will have to make the 6 month migration. many stay in soc due to ease of travel back and forth.
do not try to travel by bus with a critter. you will need to drive or fly. critters are not spoiled in mexico as they are in usa. they travel cargo, under the bus.
ensenada is your only choice for entry to mexico--they get touchy if you pass by a port of entry .
enjoy your trip. is all downhill, so sailing is easy no matter what you sail.
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Old 24-09-2016, 15:06   #10
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
visa requirements---

ensenada is your only choice for entry to mexico--they get touchy if you pass by a port of entry .
^^^^
That's interesting, zee.. When we went, lo, those many years ago, it was okay to go straight to Cabo. Times change.

Ann

PS. I don't think I'd fancy taking the Catalina 30 back up the Baja Coast to the US repeatedly. 'T would be a lot of wear and tear.
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Old 24-09-2016, 16:02   #11
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

for those with catalina 30s wanting to travel north from mexico to usa-- find a good safe protected marina for the time you leave the boat.

ann-- yes things change here--each new president has bigger and better reinventions of the wheel, and implements em as soon as possible after taking office. i was most fortunate, smart, wtf to have left when i did, as that president had some better ideas about the migration. i did not have to make the gringo migration, as i was able to get my fm3 in mazatlan 6 months after i arrived. once new president took office, fishermen, recreational, were stopped of cabo and fined hugely and fuss was made now must check in to the closest port, just like usa. to renew visa, folks must go back into usa and return. whew.
another change was that checking into port has been made easier--once into ensenada, as you go to other mexican ports, check in by radio channel 16 to capitania del puerto. some ports like you to appear as well, but by law, radio works. there used to be a fee for entry to some ports, in addition to the visa fee in ensenada, that has been dropped.
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Old 26-09-2016, 11:25   #12
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

Hmm..the Baja Haha is going directly from San Diego and checking in at Cabo...no stop at Ensenada.
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Old 26-09-2016, 17:40   #13
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

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Hmm..the Baja Haha is going directly from San Diego and checking in at Cabo...no stop at Ensenada.
the haha is a rally that is prechecked in already via richard spindler. is why there is a fee for entry and a deadline for entering. ha ha leaves oct 31.
deadline was last month.
those not already checked into ha ha already get to do their own thing, must stop in ensenada for check in.
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Old 26-09-2016, 18:01   #14
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

err I'm going on the haha...we dont check in till Cabo...no one checks us in before entering Mexico...we get our own TIP & tourist card and fishing license before going though.Can do it online.
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Old 26-09-2016, 18:20   #15
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Re: Los Angeles - Heading Southbound Experiences!

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err I'm going on the haha...we dont check in till Cabo...no one checks us in before entering Mexico...we get our own TIP & tourist card and fishing license before going though.Can do it online.
as i said--ha ha entrants are different in treatment than are regular cruisers not affiliated with haha. that is the reason for the fee to go together. the regular policies are waived for ha ha only. this has been known forever, like since ha ha started., haha admin makes arrangements charges entrants a fee, and it is done the haha way.
not haha, check into ensenada.
i can say this a few more different ways, i have only said it four or five different ways and in many different threads to date..
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