While San Pedro and Placencia are wildly popular destinations for locals during this time, thousands of Belizeans also go across the border to neighboring Mexico. Destinations such as Cancun, Merida and Tulum, even Chetumal are on the list of holiday places to visit this weekend.  It may seem like just a hop over the border, but the Mexican Embassy has issued a travel advisory with things for locals to consider when visiting this Easter.  We spoke with Hugo Carillo of the Mexican Embassy, who outlined a couple important points as reminders to Belizeans who will be visiting Mexico.

Hugo Juarez Carrillo, Press & Legal Affairs, Mexican Embassy

“In the case of Mexico-Belize, we don’t require the Belizean people to have a visa go to Mexico. You gave to present your passport in order to stay in the country for a hundred and eighty days; up to one hundred and eighty days as a tourist. If you are going or you planned to be more than seven days you are going to  have to pay a fee or around five hundred pesos, which will have to be paid to Banjercito which is near the border, before you depart the country. If you are going to or planning to go in your car you will need to have a special permit if you are travelling farther than Quintana Roo. If you have regular Belizean plates you can travel to Quintana Roo, up to Cancun, for example, Chetumal, without having a special permit for your car. If you are planning to go further to Merida for example, the capital of Yucatan, you need to have a permit of Banjercito which costs around fifty-seven U.S. dollars.”

Andrea Polanco

“Belize is so close to Mexico and we feel we are at home, but we should still take personal safety into account?”

Hugo Juarez Carrillo

“Belizeans in Mexico are at home. We are not only neighbors, but we are brothers. But the way Belizeans have been going to Belize and vice versa has been happening for centuries. The thing you have to remember is that the laws can change. In Mexico you cannot bring in weapons; bullets for that weapon; you cannot bring food if you do you have to inform the people at the border if you can import it. Generally, no fruits are allowed, no flowers are allowed, no raw meat is allowed. You have to inform of that, if not you can have some kind of economic punishment.”

Channel 5

The Embassy of Belize in Mexico issued a travel advisory for Belizeans visiting Mexico for Easter.

Immigration

· Border cards are valid for travel within the State of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas only and only for 3 days – including the day of arrival.

· All visitors should ensure that they are in possession of a valid passport when crossing the border.

· Keep a copy of your passport, drivers licence, social security card, and voters I.D. in an accessible digital media such e-mail.

Vehicles

· Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, that you have a valid driver`s licence, and that all vehicle documents are in order.

· Vehicles with Belizean licence plates may only circulate within the state of Quintana Roo (which includes Cancun and Playa del Carmen) without a temporary import licence.  Vehicles weighing more than 3.5 metric tons cannot travel further into Mexico apart from Chetumal and no permit is granted.

· If the vehicle is to travel beyond Quintana Roo (for example, to Merida which is in the state of Yucatan), a temporary import permit must be purchased at the Chactemal Border (Chetumal Border Immigration) at the BANJERCITO Bank. Banjercito working hours are 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday to Sunday. The cost of the permit is US$51 plus tax and payment can be done in cash (US$) or credit card. Depending on the model of the vehicle, a deposit (between US$200 and US$400) is required, refundable on cancellation of the permit.

· If a temporary import permit is required, the driver must have the following in original and copy:

When owner is present:

1.    Passport

2.    Entry Registration Form (Forma Migratoria Multipe -FMM) issued by Immigration Officer

3.    Certificate of Title

4.    Certificate of Registration

5.    If the vehicle is being purchased through a lending institution such as a bank or credit union, an authorisation from the Institution is required (no older than three months)

6.    If the vehicle is a rental, a copy of the rental contract is required.

When owner is not present including company vehicle:

1.    Passport

2.    Entry Registration Form (Forma Migratoria Multiple -FMM) issued by Immigration Officer

3.    Certificate of Title (under the company`s name if that is the case)

4.    Certificate of Registration

5.    If the vehicle is company owned, authorisation letter with letterhead, logo and stamp with the details of the vehicle and of the person who is going to drive.

6.    If the vehicle is a rental, a copy of the rental contract is required.

· Mexican transit permits for vehicles imported overland from the United States expire when the vehicles exit Mexican territory. 

· The vehicle cannot re-enter Mexico with United States licence plates even if the permit date has not expired.

· Vehicles with Dealer licence plates are not permitted to enter Mexico.

· Be sure to obtain vehicle insurance that is valid in Mexico. Third party insurance is required for all vehicles on federal roads, i.e. Highways. The insurance package can be purchased from a Belizean Insurance Company that has an agreement with a Mexican Insurance Company. Check with your insurance company for coverage.

Personal Safety

· Take the same safety precautions as you would in any unfamiliar or major city. 

· Avoid giving personal information or information on your activities or your family to strangers.

· Unless you are expecting a call from someone who knows you are at your chosen hotel, do not accept external phone calls transferred by the receptionist if you do not know the person calling. This is how "virtual extortions" are carried out. 

· Do not drink and drive. You put other lives at risk, you may be subject to arrest, and your vehicle may be confiscated.

· Respect speed limits, obey all traffic signs, and use seat belts at all times.

· Be respectful of all Federal, State, and Municipal officials.