Stopping in Mexico, or how much cash do you have….amigo

Last week I attended with some friends Sun and Fun in Florida. I will talk about our visit in another blog. I will talk here about our fuel stop in Cozumel. We flew in a nice Baron, everything looked great, weather was nice, our mood was good, until we landed in Cozumel. After we landed we were greeted by some customs officials who were very cordial and asked us to bring our luggage to the customs area. Everything was put through the scanner and that was it.
Paperwork was a different story. It was extremely bureaucratic. First immigration: we filled out the forms and were asked to pay US$ 30 per person to enter Mexico. But wait a minute! We are in transit… So after a short discussion the US$ 30 were waived. Then we had to go to the operations office and close the flight plan and file a new one for Key West. They gave us 4 forms. With those forms we had to go to immigration, customs, comandacia DGAC and operations DGAC and have each copy stamped, while leaving a copy of your manifest. So have at least 10 copies of your manifesto, pilot’s license, medical, registration and other papers… you may be asked for a copy… on your way in or out. (or not… you never know.)
After getting all these stamps (about one hour) we had to pay for these services, about US$ 100.
We also got a multi-entry permit for our plane (US$ 140) thinking that we may save some money on our way back…given that a single entry permit is also US$ 140. However, three days later upon our return to Guatemala arriving from Key West we were surprised by the fact that according to the Mexican gentleman in charge of the comandancia, we had to pay again US$ 140 because the permit for our plane was only valid for multiple entries coming from Guatemala, not from the US… We argued saying that this had never happened before, etc. but the nice man insisted implying either you pay or you stay… So we paid (still waiting for our recibo (he did not have one at hand…it was Sunday).
Last but not least, fuel is much cheaper in Cozumel than in Guatemala or in the US. So it is worthwhile fueling up in Cozumel, but, and there is always a but, you should bring Mexican pesos with you, otherwise the exchange rate will kill the savings.
This was our experience in Mexico, and I did not even mention the APIS… which will complicate things even further and make flying to Mexico totally unaffordable.

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