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Old 22-11-2020, 08:58   #1
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attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Hi everyone, I es hoping to get some advice and information from you regarding landfalls in west Mexico. We are currently in Puerto Williams, Chile and starting the process of gaining permission to sail north in the Channels and out into the Pacific. Our hope is to arrive somewhere between Puerto Vallarta and Baja before the onset of hurricane season. I apologize for my ignorance pertaining to Pacific México, we have been only Atlantic sailors and have no guide book for Mexico.

- what guide book is recommended for the region? We need something that we can download when we have internet access.
- What is the latest safe landfall date on the Pacific side? I am thinking mid-may.
- Where is the best place to spend hurricane season? I am thinking northern sea of Cortez.
- The Chilean Armada is requiring us to present some sort of letter of permission to enter Mexico before issuing us a zarpe. Any ideas on who we can contact?
- Does Mexico require a negative covid test? What about quarantine? Would time in transit count toward quarantine (the passage would be about 50days)?

Thanks for any advice and information you can provide.

Brian
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Old 22-11-2020, 09:20   #2
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnTreader View Post
Hi everyone, I es hoping to get some advice and information from you regarding landfalls in west Mexico. We are currently in Puerto Williams, Chile and starting the process of gaining permission to sail north in the Channels and out into the Pacific. Our hope is to arrive somewhere between Puerto Vallarta and Baja before the onset of hurricane season. I apologize for my ignorance pertaining to Pacific México, we have been only Atlantic sailors and have no guide book for Mexico.

- what guide book is recommended for the region? We need something that we can download when we have internet access.
- What is the latest safe landfall date on the Pacific side? I am thinking mid-may.
- Where is the best place to spend hurricane season? I am thinking northern sea of Cortez.
- The Chilean Armada is requiring us to present some sort of letter of permission to enter Mexico before issuing us a zarpe. Any ideas on who we can contact?
- Does Mexico require a negative covid test? What about quarantine? Would time in transit count toward quarantine (the passage would be about 50days)?

Thanks for any advice and information you can provide.

Brian
safest place for cane season is barra de navidad..is designed as a hurricane hole. i spent patricia there. ixtapa and huatulco and chiapas are acceptable as generally they are south of the cane formation zone. still get ts, tho.
at present there are no restrictions on entry. itis a good idea to spend 2 weeks solitary but is not mandated. yet. after 50 days at sea, no isolation should be necessary. follow safe distance, masks and hand san precautions, as they are used here.
must check in at the first port of entry on your way. present zarpe with checking in. must have insurance, liability, from a company with feet in mexico.

guide books- charlies charts, and sean and heathers books..

cyclonic events generally begin to form up during may. our cane season is mid may to end nov.. plan accordingly. just because the nhc said is season doesnot mean momma nature complies. mid may is a good end passage time.. folks sail during cane season but they have a safety place to hang when formations approach.

come on up. is nice here.. just maintain safety precautions. your first port of entry coming from south is chiapas. might consider communications with port captain there for permissions.
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Old 22-11-2020, 10:53   #3
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnTreader View Post
Hi everyone, I es hoping to get some advice and information from you regarding landfalls in west Mexico. We are currently in Puerto Williams, Chile and starting the process of gaining permission to sail north in the Channels and out into the Pacific. Our hope is to arrive somewhere between Puerto Vallarta and Baja before the onset of hurricane season. I apologize for my ignorance pertaining to Pacific México, we have been only Atlantic sailors and have no guide book for Mexico.

- what guide book is recommended for the region? We need something that we can download when we have internet access.
- What is the latest safe landfall date on the Pacific side? I am thinking mid-may.
- Where is the best place to spend hurricane season? I am thinking northern sea of Cortez.
- The Chilean Armada is requiring us to present some sort of letter of permission to enter Mexico before issuing us a zarpe. Any ideas on who we can contact?
- Does Mexico require a negative covid test? What about quarantine? Would time in transit count toward quarantine (the passage would be about 50days)?

Thanks for any advice and information you can provide.

Brian

What is your intended route?



If far offshore you'll avoid the gap winds in the Gulf of Tehauntepec and Papagayo. In that case, I'd skip Chiapas and enter at Puerta Vallarta. Chiapas is a long way from anywhere, the store is barely larger than a vending machine, and the restaurant closes at 5:00pm. Memo, the harbormaster, is a great guy (ask him to sing!) and will help all he can, but there still isn't anything close to the marina. Clearing in will take all day, and you're still looking at Tehauntepecers when you leave. After that it's a long slog upwind against the current to get to SoC.


If you're really headed to the Sea of Cortez and want to avoid bashing into the thermal winds and adverse currents, it might be better to continue offshore and enter at La Paz.


For information re Mexico, I'd suggest you subscribe to the Southbound Group:


https://groups.io/g/southbound-group



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Old 22-11-2020, 12:36   #4
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

"what guide book is recommended for the region? We need something that we can download when we have internet access."

The two Blue Latitude guide books are by far the best. Nothing else touches them. Unfortunately, I do not think they are in electronic format.

https://www.bluelatitudepress.com/bl_buy.html

Blue Latitude also has excellent harbour/anchorage e-charts:
https://www.bluelatitudepress.com/digital.html
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Old 22-11-2020, 15:55   #5
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

You may want to ping Southbound-group, an older bulletin board I'd active sailors primarily in pacific. Not an incredibly active group compared to CF, but I think that's because they are actually out cruising vs holed up with regular internet access.

They can give you current info on entry requirements, etc. Be patient thought, sometimes takes a day or so.

https://groups.io/g/southbound-group

Peter
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Old 23-11-2020, 03:42   #6
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Thanks for helpful information. It is a little tough planning a landfall with limited internet (I am using an iridium go!), no guide book, and all the new coronavirus restrictions. Since it seems we won't be able to get a guide book before we get there, we are looking for an easy port of entry between Barra de Navidad and La Paz.

Zeehag: is Barra de Navidad a better shelter from hurricanes than the northern most reaches of the Sea of Cortez? Is there room in the anchorage in Barra? Is Barra de Navidad a port of entry? Regarding insurance, is that a requirement for just marinas or anchoring out too? Can it be purchased upon arrival? We used to have progressive liability on the U.S east coast, maybe we could renew that policy.

jdazey: We will be coming from well offshore. The plan is to pass close to the Galapagos and continue north until we run out of fair wind for northing. Then we'll sail NW roughly parallel to the coast but still a few hundred miles offshore until we have a fair wind to fetch our destination. Closer to Sea of Cortez appeals to us as it is the cruising ground we are most curious about. We just need to figure out landfall/port of entry and a good place to be for the hurricane season?

sv_palagia: it looks like we won't be able to get a guide until we are actually in Mexico. We do have the Sailing Directions put out by the U.S government, but that is geared more toward commercial traffic, better than nothing I guess.

mvweebles/jdazey: thanks for the southbound suggestion, I will see if i can get the link to work with the iridium Go, otherwise i will take a look at it next time I can get into town.

I guess as far as the letter of permission from Mexico that Chile wants to see, I will try to contact the Port Captain of whichever port of entry we decide on. Or I could just clear out of Chile for the U.S. (my country of citizenship so no letter of permission required by Chile) and sail to Mexico instead. Does anyone know if Mexico would take offense to us making landfall with a Zarpe for the U.S instead of Mexico?
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Old 23-11-2020, 04:34   #7
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnTreader View Post
Thanks for helpful information. It is a little tough planning a landfall with limited internet (I am using an iridium go!), no guide book, and all the new coronavirus restrictions. Since it seems we won't be able to get a guide book before we get there, we are looking for an easy port of entry between Barra de Navidad and La Paz.

Zeehag: is Barra de Navidad a better shelter from hurricanes than the northern most reaches of the Sea of Cortez? Is there room in the anchorage in Barra? Is Barra de Navidad a port of entry? Regarding insurance, is that a requirement for just marinas or anchoring out too? Can it be purchased upon arrival? We used to have progressive liability on the U.S east coast, maybe we could renew that policy.

jdazey: We will be coming from well offshore. The plan is to pass close to the Galapagos and continue north until we run out of fair wind for northing. Then we'll sail NW roughly parallel to the coast but still a few hundred miles offshore until we have a fair wind to fetch our destination. Closer to Sea of Cortez appeals to us as it is the cruising ground we are most curious about. We just need to figure out landfall/port of entry and a good place to be for the hurricane season?

sv_palagia: it looks like we won't be able to get a guide until we are actually in Mexico. We do have the Sailing Directions put out by the U.S government, but that is geared more toward commercial traffic, better than nothing I guess.

mvweebles/jdazey: thanks for the southbound suggestion, I will see if i can get the link to work with the iridium Go, otherwise i will take a look at it next time I can get into town.

I guess as far as the letter of permission from Mexico that Chile wants to see, I will try to contact the Port Captain of whichever port of entry we decide on. Or I could just clear out of Chile for the U.S. (my country of citizenship so no letter of permission required by Chile) and sail to Mexico instead. Does anyone know if Mexico would take offense to us making landfall with a Zarpe for the U.S instead of Mexico?
I'd rather spend 'cane season in the northern Sea of Cortez--way more scenic, drier heat, good swimming, and places to move around, rather than a sludgy anchorage full of other boats where you don't really want to swim.
When I cruised Mex. last, insurance was required only by one marina operator--my expired progressive policy satisfied his check box--but times may have changed. It used to depend on where you checked in, and still more on the mood of the port captain at the time. I believe you will have no luck trying to get a port captain to write you back--last go round they were still using typewriters.
Arriving once in Mexico with a Zarpe to a different place (stress of weather), the port captain made me write a detailed essay explaining why I had sailed to Isla Mujeeres instead of St. Thomas. Essay handed in, and all was well. If you Zarpe for San Diego and wind up in La Paz, polite explanations of Chile's obduracy will go a long way.
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Old 23-11-2020, 05:39   #8
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

I would not count on insurance being optional in Mexico. Like many places, and especially developing countries like Mexico, requirement will vary widely, often in the same marina based on who is in charge for the day and how they perceive you.

The southbound group I mentioned has traditionally been friendly to low bandwidth connections in deference to their sailmail constituents. For example , they strip off email history from posts so you only get the reply, not the long history.

I've heard good things about Barre Navidad, though only about people who stay at the marina. I seem to recall they send an escort panga out as a informal Bar Pilot to bring you in, but the Southbound Group would likely have current information on anchoring and such.

You don't have to go all the north in Sea of Cortez to avoid storm season. SoC is close to 1000nms long, and the northern reaches are not, in my opinion, as attractive as the middle and southern sections. There is a very solid contingent of entrenched cruisers in SoC.
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Old 23-11-2020, 07:59   #9
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnTreader View Post
Thanks for helpful information. It is a little tough planning a landfall with limited internet (I am using an iridium go!), no guide book, and all the new coronavirus restrictions. Since it seems we won't be able to get a guide book before we get there, we are looking for an easy port of entry between Barra de Navidad and La Paz.

Zeehag: is Barra de Navidad a better shelter from hurricanes than the northern most reaches of the Sea of Cortez? Is there room in the anchorage in Barra? Is Barra de Navidad a port of entry? Regarding insurance, is that a requirement for just marinas or anchoring out too? Can it be purchased upon arrival? We used to have progressive liability on the U.S east coast, maybe we could renew that policy.

jdazey: We will be coming from well offshore. The plan is to pass close to the Galapagos and continue north until we run out of fair wind for northing. Then we'll sail NW roughly parallel to the coast but still a few hundred miles offshore until we have a fair wind to fetch our destination. Closer to Sea of Cortez appeals to us as it is the cruising ground we are most curious about. We just need to figure out landfall/port of entry and a good place to be for the hurricane season?

sv_palagia: it looks like we won't be able to get a guide until we are actually in Mexico. We do have the Sailing Directions put out by the U.S government, but that is geared more toward commercial traffic, better than nothing I guess.

mvweebles/jdazey: thanks for the southbound suggestion, I will see if i can get the link to work with the iridium Go, otherwise i will take a look at it next time I can get into town.

I guess as far as the letter of permission from Mexico that Chile wants to see, I will try to contact the Port Captain of whichever port of entry we decide on. Or I could just clear out of Chile for the U.S. (my country of citizenship so no letter of permission required by Chile) and sail to Mexico instead. Does anyone know if Mexico would take offense to us making landfall with a Zarpe for the U.S instead of Mexico?
barra is not a port of entry. port of entry must have aduana, port capitan, banjercito(for t i p and visa payment ) barra de navidad has only a port capitan, so not a port of entry.

barra marina is a designed hurricane hole.. north soc does get canes and is not designed as a cane hole. people who have spent a few years there willsay it is, but it is not so.
we suffered minimal damages in barra from strongest cane on record...patricia. we had her eye. my mast cracked and my boarding ladder disintegrated. i donot go up soc because i consider it a boat trap. some agree some disagree..
the anchorage in barra is a lagoon with fair to poor holding-- silt over river bed. the depth is 8 ft to 14 ft for the most part with a scattering of 5 ft and less.. there is a dredged 14 ft deep channel between lagoon and marina. marina is a posh fancy hotel and marina complex. is beautiful. is pricey in winter, but summer rates are lower. cane season is low season from mazatlan south.

found this in searching....
quote:
Arrivals

To authorize the arrival of your vessel to a marina or port you need:



1. Coastal Sailing:

Departure clearance from the port of origin or any other legal document verifying the vessel’s point of departure



2. Open Sea Sailing:

a) A departure clearance from the port of origin or any other legal document verifying the vessel’s point of departure.

b) A Health Permit, whenever so required by the proper authority, taking into account the vessel’s original point of departure. Please check with the nearest Mexican Consulate if this regulation applies to you.
~~~

so the official info which i posted above says nothing about destination port in zarpe, only departure point must be cleared...
noonsite posts this:~~~~~
https://www.noonsite.com/place/mexico/formalities/

ARRIVAL FORMALITIES

On arrival in Mexico, yachts must go to the nearest Port of Entry, with the Q and courtesy flags flying.

Depending on the port it will likely be one of two processes:

Immigration and Customs Office—your Crew Lists will be stamped and FMMs (Forma Migratoria Multiple) issued for all passengers.
Port Captain’s Office: Pay the clear-in fee. In some ports, a port fee paid to the API (Port Administrator) may also be required.
or

Health inspection – either at the local hospital or, the Port Captain will ask the doctor to come to his office. This is not always required.
Immigration
Agriculture
Customs
Port Captain (pay clearance and port fees)
Health Inspection (Sanitation):

The doctor will ask the crew health-related questions, take body temperatures, ask about vaccinations and do possible further tests depending on which port you came from (Haiti, for example, will demand more scrutiny). After completing the interview, the doctor will stamp all the necessary documents, ask for a fee and give you a Health Permit for cruising Mexican waters.

Immigration:

Immigration will want to see:

The stamped documents from the Doctor
Registration of the vessel
Copies of the passports of crew travelling on board
Boat Insurance
Zarpe from last port of call
Captain’s license
You will be given forms to make a bank payment (in cash) for the tourist cards (known as an FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple)). Once payment has been made, return to the immigration office, fill out the declaration forms, and you will get your tourist cards.

Remember to keep your receipt (for all payments). In Mexico, when you check out, you have to show the receipt for the tourist cards, or they charge you again.
Agriculture:

The Agriculture officer may be seen before or after Customs and is not obligatory in every port. They will ask some questions about ship’s stores and provisions (as officially you cannot bring meat and fresh produce into Mexico) and complete some forms.

Customs:

Customs will want to see the ship’s papers, the tourist cards and clearance papers. The Temporary Import Permit (TIP – see below) is not part of the clearing in procedure and is obtained from Customs immediately after a vessel has cleared in. A TIP is only required if staying in Mexico for longer than 5 days.

Port Captain:

Give the Port Captain all the documents and forms you have been given at the various offices. The Port Authority (API) will calculate a fee based on tonnage and it’s likely you will have to make this payment at a local bank in cash. Return with your receipt and you will be given your cruising permit.
~~~~~
i hope this has answered your questions..if not--keep askin' as there is no such thing as a stupid question for first time checking in.
all info goes back to first port of entry, so that is on you where you want to vs where govt says to go ...
you WILL need liability ins from a mexican company. can be purchased once in port.


as for aesthetics of mexico-- mainland mexico with jungles and tropics is so much prettier to me than is desert, of which entire soc is entrenched. tropics begin at lat 23N, aka mazatlan.
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Old 23-11-2020, 08:34   #10
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Just in case you consider Cabo San Lucas:
- we found the Port Caotain to be a bit of a jerk
- not a great stop anyways (wished we had bypassed it)
Nearby Puerto San Jose (del Cabo) much much better.

We spent a lot of time in La Paz: great place! Never heard complaints about Port Captain etc

Not in your planning, but: Ensenada was so easy for Port Captain/Customs etc (all in one bldg) plus great marinas. No anchoring though.
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Old 23-11-2020, 09:17   #11
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Our experience with Mexico and the Sea of Cortez,
- Insurance, TIP and boat documentation required at all marinas
- Our insurance required us to be north of Latitude 27 for hurricane season (June 1-Oct 31)
- Used Shawn and Heather's/Blue Latitude Press guide; also used older Charlies Charts and Rains guides.
- Cabo San Lucas is expensive, noisy and not a pleasant stop. San Jose Del Cabo is much nicer marina; you can rent a car and do customs and immigration in Cabo (and grab a nice meal!).
- Off the beaten path - we cleared out of Mexico in San Carlos/Mag Bay. A bit of adventure, but very easy, friendly.
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Old 23-11-2020, 10:07   #12
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

We enjoyed San Jose del Cabo and would go there again, but it is not a port of entry.


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Old 23-11-2020, 10:11   #13
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Mexico has a very long coast, and people seldom cover all, of even close to all of it. Thus, their positive comments will focus on good places to which they have been, but their bad comments will often include places they haven't spent much time in. Filter what you hear. As for me, I lived in the Sea of Cortez and in Cabo, for many years. I doubt that Cabo is where you might want to go, but the marina was designed as a hurricane hole, and has withstood a number of direct hits and scores of near misses, without too much damage. It HAS been damaged a couple of times, but it is pretty well sheltered, due to the underwater geography in front of the entrance. Note that I am referring to Marina Cabo San Lucas, not the bay or the other marina. I don't know for a fact, but I suspect that San Jose is pretty safe. For places that you actually WANT to be and to cruise, the Sea of Cortez is marvelous, although we have a regular detractor, with, I suspect, relatively short direct experience. That said, hurricanes do enter the Sea, and I can remember one that went up all the way to the northern end of Isla Angel de la Guarda, which is pretty far north. A boat survived being beached there (owner is a member of this forum) and the incident was used in the ads for that brand of boat. But, there are also a number of relatively secure places the length of the Sea. What is crucial is that you keep an eye out for storms, and whilst you may, in calm moments of reason, state that you will get out of the way of hurricanes, you need to remember that, and do it, when the time comes. It's not that hard, but unattended boats, left to their own devices for the summer, boats that have a hard time getting underway due to piles of clutter onboard, and boats owned by people who deny the likelihood of storms, all tend to fare badly. But, there are safe marinas (survived a big hurricane in Marina Cabo San Lucas), safe boat yards (survived a direct hit in a boatyard in La Paz...not everyone else was so lucky!), and a direct hit in Puerto Escondido, at anchor. IF you are with your own boat, you should do fine and have a great time. IF you leave it for hurricane season, not so much.
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Old 23-11-2020, 11:03   #14
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Wow, you have a lot of great advice there. I am hoping to travel south from San Diego to Chile in late 2021. Safe travels.

For your letter of permission to enter a country, can you just use a visa from Mexico? Anyway, good luck!
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Old 23-11-2020, 11:14   #15
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Re: attention Pacific Mexico sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnTreader View Post
Hi everyone, I es hoping to get some advice and information from you regarding landfalls in west Mexico. We are currently in Puerto Williams, Chile and starting the process of gaining permission to sail north in the Channels and out into the Pacific. Our hope is to arrive somewhere between Puerto Vallarta and Baja before the onset of hurricane season. I apologize for my ignorance pertaining to Pacific México, we have been only Atlantic sailors and have no guide book for Mexico.

- what guide book is recommended for the region? We need something that we can download when we have internet access.
- What is the latest safe landfall date on the Pacific side? I am thinking mid-may.
- Where is the best place to spend hurricane season? I am thinking northern sea of Cortez.
- The Chilean Armada is requiring us to present some sort of letter of permission to enter Mexico before issuing us a zarpe. Any ideas on who we can contact?
- Does Mexico require a negative covid test? What about quarantine? Would time in transit count toward quarantine (the passage would be about 50days)?

Thanks for any advice and information you can provide.

Brian
Not so sure about the northern Sea of Cortez. That's where we are now. We leave for the summer - REALLY hot and humid, with either no wind at all or hurricanes.
San Carlos looks to be a fine hurricane hole. Small, snug bays and protected marinas. There are many fine, somewhat protected bays along the Baja side,
remote and lightly used. How much protection you'd have depends on the storm of course, but generally you can find a spot with few other vessels. To us that remoteness is the key.
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