Our Big plans for going to Mexico got squashed!
I was very excited when Barry said he wanted to go to Mexico this winter – with our RV! That is almost unheard of and believe me I never hesitated. My response was YES! Then started the research and plans for leaving Canada at the beginning of December and spending Christmas, January, February and March on Mainland Mexico preferably near Puerto Vallarta.
Because he has never been to Mexico before, let alone taken an RV there we thought it would be best if we made reservations for a campground in advance. We would spend most of the time at one place and use it as a base for exploring the region around it. That’s how we came across the area of Lo de Marcos, Nayarit about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. I located a number of RV Resorts and emailed them for information regarding prices, availability, water supply, wifi, services, etc. One of the parks who responded was Cruz Maria RV Resort. Dave Jones phoned us directly with information and from what we were told were very impressed. Yes, we heard from a couple more but their prices were a bit high for our budget and Cruz Maria seemed to have everything we needed so a tentative reservation was made. Dave was very helpful. It was now time to look at what needed to be done for taking our truck and fifth wheel into Mexico. Driving in Mexico’s Mainland.
Temporary Import Permit into Mexico
This applies to Mainland Mexico (I don’t know about the Baja). To take a vehicle into Mexico you need a TIP or Temporary Import Permit for your vehicle and Mexican insurance. Our insurance from Canada and the US is not valid in Mexico. That’s not a problem – there are quite a few reputable insurance companies in the US and Mexico where Mexican insurance can be purchased either in person or online. It wasn’t the insurance that became the problem. I remember when I drove down there about 20 years ago and had no problem – just had to remember to hand in the permit before leaving Mexico. One of the first places I checked is with Mexico Mike (I am NOT affiliated) and unfortunately he confirmed what we had been told. The Mexican government was enforcing a law that restricts 3/4 ton and 1 ton vehicles from entering Mexico. Half tons only! Below comes straight from Mike’s website:
3/4 and 1 ton truck permit rules
As of May, 2016, Banjercito offices began denying permits to drivers of non-RV-titled vehicles with a GVWR of greater than 7,716.7 pounds. Recent reports tell of tourists getting permits online for trucks with GVWR > limit. See A Different View below. The limit for a personal vehicle permit has been 3.5 metric tons for years. The weight limit used to be based on payload, but as of May, 2016, Banjercito officials began interpreting “weight” as GVWR (weight of vehicle + payload). In other words our 3/4 ton truck is not legal to enter Mexico – so how were we supposed to pull our fifth wheel into the country if we couldn’t bring our truck? Big problem and it’s not going away anytime soon.
We were told by others to apply online for the permit and we would get it easily. However, when we get to the border if the customs people check the GVWR that’s listed on our vehicle registration they would be refusing our entry. Some provinces don’t put the GVWR on the vehicle registration (Alberta is one) so if the permit is applied for online they probably won’t have any problems at the border. We weren’t really comfortable with the uncertainty of that.
Mexican Vehicle Insurance
Our vehicle insurance from Canada or the US is not valid in Mexico but that shouldn’t be a problem. There are many insurance companies both in the US and Mexico who will sell you insurance. I won’t recommend any personally since we haven’t used any of them as of yet so do your research and remember its important to have adequate insurance. For those who live in BC save your receipts for entering Mexico and leaving there as well – ICBC will refund you the amount you don’t use on your ICBC insurance. Insurance needs to be purchased prior to entering Mexico – will they give us a refund if we are turned away at the border?
What should we do? Apply online for a TIP into Mexico and hope we don’t get turned away? Purchase vehicle insurance with the hopes we get a refund if we can’t enter the country? Will we lose our deposit for the RV Park if we can’t get there? What have we decided? At this moment we have cancelled our RV Park reservation and are going to sit back and wait to see if the entry permits for 3/4 ton or 1 ton vehicles will be allowed. We have put our plans on hold for now and researching Arizona as an alternative – not our first choice but it may be the best option.
Will let you know if anything changes because I know others have plans similar to ours to RV in Mexico.