We have flown into Mexico three times in the last year - Cabo San Lucas and Loretto on the Baja
, and Hermosillo on the mainland. (State of Sonora.)
We have never been asked to pay for the parts we have brought back. We each carry on two bags - a duffel that fits in the overhead storage
bins and a backpack or purse. The backpack has all our of electronics
, hard drives, etc.
In Loretto, we got the red light and our bags were checked. We had a complete Groco Model K head
in our bags. Yes, a complete head
- the ceramic bowl, toilet seat/lid, base, and the two foot aluminum
handle. The base and seat/lid were in one bag, the bowl and handle in another. We also had a bunch of other stuff for the boat. The woman who checked our bag appeared completely unconcerned. She asked if we had any alcohol or tobacco. No, so away we went.
The last time we came through was in Hermosillo. We had a new EPIRB
, an entire spool of hand fishing
snaps/hardware, bungee cords, six watermaker
filters, and a bunch of smaller items. Our bags were stuffed - and very heavy. We had to cross three checkpoints and x-ray machines - Portland
, Tijuana, and Hermosillo. No problems. We do have a "P" on our passport that allows us to go through the "Pre-Checked" line at the airports, which is a lot faster and seems to draw less attention. (We opted for additional background checks when we got our passports years ago.)
When we leave the country and come back, we carry all of our ship's paperwork with us, including the TIP. But, the rules regarding TIP appear to have changed sometime, not sure when.
When we finalized our TIP paperwork in Ensenada in November 2015, they did not want, and would not accept, our list of all the boat parts that were on the boat. (The list contained practically everything that could be replaced except the hull
.) We were able, for an additional fee, to add the dingy and outboard
onto the boat's TIP. But that's it. Nothing else. I tried to get the official to stamp the accessory list "just for a record" but they would not.
Maybe the reason we haven't been asked to pay is we look like middle-age gringo tourists on vacation
. We always dress up when traveling in or out of Mexico (collared, button-down shirts, slacks, shoes, jewelry) and save our "sailor wear" (shorts and flip-flops) for the marina.
The reason we carried an entire head back with us was because the guy at Lopez Marine
in La Paz
told us that there was a ban on bringing ceramics into the country and he couldn't order one. (It was the one thing we didn't replace when rebuilding the boat, but should have. At 28 years, it was simply worn out.) We did not find that to be the case via the airport route
Hope this helps!