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Leaving the USA, entering Mexico

View Mexico (Baja California) on divatmotoros's travel map.

We decided to finish the USA leg of our journey with same sadness as we enjoyed meeting family members so much. Also we enjoyed our stay at the KOA of Desert Hot Springs / Palm Springs but we wanted to cross the border before Christmas. It was again a bit stressful to prepare as we still do not have the final tag of the trailer, just a temporary tag. We did not know if this will be an issue or not.

There were two places we collected a lot of information, one was a facebook group called Talk Baja, the other was a website called mexperience.com

There are two additional documents to arrange when entering Mexico and we needed one of those, as we adjusted our plans - again.

The first is FMM which is needed to everyone who visits Mexico as a tourist. You can arrange it online beforehand. Even if you do you have to stop at the border in the customs office and get a stamp on it, so we decided to arrange it there completely. The other document is called TIP and it is basically an import permit for vehicles if you intend to leave the Baja California peninsula or the border zone. Our conclusion was to stay in Baja as the trailer is quite big for Mexico and our wallet is also getting thinner every day. We can save by not moving around so much and we and the kids also wanted to enjoy a bit more stationary life in a beach what we can do in Baja as well. Another useful info from these sources was that you need to have a cage when transporting pets in a car so we stopped at a Petco to buy a travel cage for Echo. (So far he was travelling in the bottom half of the airplane approved cage but that is too big to be in the car fully assembled. It just fits but the entrance would be blocked.)

We planned to cross the border early in the morning so we stopped at a campsite about 40 kms from the border for our last night in the USA. It was the Pio Pico campsite which is a member of the Thousand Trails network. It makes longer and many stays much affordable by a membership model so we saved it for our next USA trip as a good idea.

Although we got up early the morning crossing did not happen. We had to dump, an unexpected laundry and a visit to a bookstore to get a paper map of Baja, Mexico made us already hungry around lunchtime, so we stopped at a Taco Bell for a quick lunch and voila, at around 2pm we arrived to the border. I stopped in front of the customs and walked in the building. An officer handed out the forms to fill out, after that we paid the 4x32 USD at another window (our youngest son is under 2 so he crossed free). Then two customs officers asked for the papers of the car (not the trailer), so I showed them the insurance and the title. Then they aksed me to be open the trailer, they walked in, checked a few places (looked under the sofa, checked the bathroom and the pantry and then waved us through the border. All in all it was about 45 minutes and a very easy crossing.

Our first stop was not too far from the border, in Rosarito. This was the only place from the 3 or 4 I tried to call upfront who answered the phone. It is called "Mel's landing" and it is a small place, with 2 or 3 trailers for rent and about 2-3 additional sites to book. Right on the oceanfront, with full hookups. At first we could not even turn into its street with the long trailer because two cars were parked on the street close to the corner. The owners were talking there and they immediately jumped in their cars and moved them, smiling. So we entered the street but failed to turn into the site. Some more cars had to be moved before we were able to drive in and realised that the place is too small to turn around with the trailer. We detached and three guys helped to turn the trailer (3,5 tons) around. After the turning we re-attached and backed in slowly into the very tight site. Whoa, I deserved a beer after that.


Posted by divatmotoros 06:22 Archived in Mexico

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Sorry you couldn't visit San Diego more, but happy you made a safe trip across the border!

by Chris

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