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ATTENTION: UW PHOTOGRAPHERS going to Baja Mexico:

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Marcus,

When I went to Guadalupe I also made it through Mexico City and Tijuana, and I should tell you they did try to shake me down in the former, but not on the latter. Bear in mind this was before it was actively enforced (Sept 2019) and that I speak native Spanish, so I managed to get away with not paying anything. 

Best of luck with it and with the great whites

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I went to Cabo at the end of May for a dive trip to Socorro.  Several people from our boat got hit by the tax, some up to $400 for high end Nauticam housings and Ports. I managed to get through with out getting caught.

I tried to be a bit sneaky and it worked. I was carrying two rebreathers and my DSLR gear. I put the rebreathers in pelican cases, and packed my camera gear in a standard suitcase. I went through the customs gate first with the two pelican cases with just dive gear. Of course the agents zeroed in on the Pelicans and had my open them. Meanwhile my wife slipped through unbothered with the suitcases full of camera gear.

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I have been traveling to Mexico for years.  I actually looked at buying a property there once, many years back.  Mostly I try to shrug off the seemingly never-ending corruption and scams,  but sometimes I find myself feeling really tired of it and like I just won't go back.  Recently I was booking a trip to Mexico and I just couldn't do it and booked a trip elsewhere.   It actually felt kind of satisfying to give the finger to Mexico, figuratively speaking.   Not saying I won't go back, but there is this bit of irritation every time I start looking at it.

I mean, come on, you don't pay duty anywhere in the world on personally owned items you take on a vacation and bring back home with you.  What's next?  "Duty" on my watch or shoes or cell phone whatever? 

I actually have Mexico-specific packing practices, and that just feels wrong. 

Okay, rant over.  I feel better now.

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In all fairness they are upfront with this rules, and it's the same in lot of country in Asia, or like in the stupid French/Swiss border, that I cross at least twice a week every week day for 7 years.

And no one time have a swiis boarder boy that try to make me pay import tax on my photo & diving gear (brand new on the back sit, stupid of me). Cost me hours to retrieve the proof of tax payment in France and to show that I was a transboarder worker.

 

Know a lot that had to pay something, and claim back at the exit (good luck to get your refund in less than 2 months)...

just my 2 cts.

Have a great day.

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I am so glad I stumbled upon this, such a great info with huge consequences. I was thinking of travelling to Mexico for diving but I won't be doing that any longer. It is such a shame since I was so set on Socorro. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 5:02 PM, Ced Ferre said:

In all fairness they are upfront with this rules, and it's the same in lot of country in Asia, or like in the stupid French/Swiss border, that I cross at least twice a week every week day for 7 years.

 

no, they are not upfront, and are flat out violating their own rules.   You're permitted two cameras and their accessories.   A housing is an accessory.   The Nautilus Fleet gives you a playbook for responding to the shakedown.   Unfortunately, it doesn't work and the boat operators are a pretty tiny part of the tourism industry in Cabo.   

I would like to go to Cabo Pulmo and a cruise up or down the Sea of Cortez, but not while this continues.   I've scratched my Socorro and Guadalupe itches.  

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Went to Socorro in FEB 2019 before these issues arose.  Read through threads several times and don't think I've come across a specific answer to question I have about a return trip in 2022.

If I were to fly USA to lets say Guadalajara or Monterey, spend a couple days then fly Domestically  to SJD and arrive at Terminal #1 (Domestic) would I still have to go through customs and the 'housings' shakedown??

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I just landed I'm SJD (Cabo) a few days ago and got shook down.  I used the mentioned "playbook" and it didn't work.  They tried to charge me duty on my housing, ports, video lights, and strobes.  As a last resort I showed them my passport with all of my trips to Mexico over the last few years, and said I will never come back, still didn't work.  I asked to speak with the supervisor and he removed the duty from the video lights and strobes.  I mentioned the housing is extremely used and barely functioning and he dropped the duty down to $50 usd.  I should mention that when he wrote up the receipt the supervisor didn't pay attention to the brand or model of the housing.  I would recommend if you use Nauticam to just say it's a Nauticam housing and say you can't remember the model number.  That way you can use that proof of duty payment for all future Nauticam housings you bring into Mexico.  Absolutely ridiculous, but I intend on upgrading my housing soon and won't have to worry about paying duties anymore.

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7 hours ago, Freelio said:

I just landed I'm SJD (Cabo) a few days ago and got shook down.  I used the mentioned "playbook" and it didn't work.  They tried to charge me duty on my housing, ports, video lights, and strobes.  As a last resort I showed them my passport with all of my trips to Mexico over the last few years, and said I will never come back, still didn't work.  I asked to speak with the supervisor and he removed the duty from the video lights and strobes.  I mentioned the housing is extremely used and barely functioning and he dropped the duty down to $50 usd.  I should mention that when he wrote up the receipt the supervisor didn't pay attention to the brand or model of the housing.  I would recommend if you use Nauticam to just say it's a Nauticam housing and say you can't remember the model number.  That way you can use that proof of duty payment for all future Nauticam housings you bring into Mexico.  Absolutely ridiculous, but I intend on upgrading my housing soon and won't have to worry about paying duties anymore.

That's insane that they tried to charge you on lights and strobes.  I can understand their confusion on whether a housing is a camera vs an accessory (IMO clearly an accessory), but there is no uncertainty on lighting.  A pure shakedown.

Question for you - did you declare everything on a customs form or did they search your bag?  

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They searched my bag.  The supervisor said that I only have to pay duties on the housing once and I can show the payment form next time I come to Mexico, but from looking at the form further I'm not so sure.

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