Thinking about making a surf trip down to Baja? Here is a short list of things you should bring with you:
- Vehicle Insurance
- Mobile Phone
Passport: Effective January 1st, 2009, all U.S. citizens are required to be in possession of a passport when traveling back from Mexico. Previously, you could slide back in with a driver’s license or birth certificate. But they are getting stricter so its best not to risk it and always make sure you bring your passport. Otherwise your ‘trip’ could become a ‘stay’. Check out entry requirements here: travel.state.gov
Mexican Insurance: If you’re headed to go surfing in Mexico, then chances are you’re bringing your own vehicle across. Under Mexican law, motorists are required to have insurance, or “proof of financial responsibility”, in the event of an accident, even if you did not cause it. As a foreigner traveling in Mexico, the only way of demonstrating this financial responsibility is to have sufficient real currency to cover damages, or an insurance policy from a Mexican company. U.S. or any other non-Mexican insurance does not cover your liability for potential accidents, nor does it fulfill the basic requirement for insurance according to Mexican law. While some U.S. car insurance companies cover damage to your own vehicle up to a short distance into Mexico (25-50 miles), they do not cover damages to other parties. This is why any U.S. policy must be accompanied by at least a liability-only policy from a Mexican insurance company. Check out BajaBound.com, where you can easily buy Mexican Auto Insurance online and print out your policy from home before you go!
Mobile Phone: Let’s face it, things can go wrong in Mexico (or anywhere for that matter) but if something does go wrong its best to have a means to call for help. U.S. mobile phones work in Mexico, although most companies charge expensive usage rates of at least 99 cents per minute. If you’re in a jam however, its worth it! Plus, you’ve got a great excuse to get off the phone faster than normal with the significant other, “sorry honey…gots to go, this call is expensive”. So hopefully you’ll spend more minutes in the water surfing and less on the phone, haha.
Cash: Many places in Mexico are ‘cash only’ establishments. Fortunately, U.S. dollars are widely accepted. So changing currency may not be necessary. However, make sure you bring enough cash to last the duration of the surf trip. You don’t want to be the guy mooching cash from your buddies because you forgot to load up before crossing the border. ATM’s accept most U.S. bank cards and are widely available in cities, but once you’re off the beaten path, good luck!