Ensenada Harbor 
Documentation & Travel Services

31░50.39'N - 116░38.3'W
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

All Americans traveling by air outside the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. This requirement will be extended to sea travel (except closed loop cruises), including ferry service, by the summer of 2009. Until then, U.S. citizens traveling by sea must have government-issued photo identification and a document showing their U.S. citizenship (for example, a birth certificate or certificate of nationalization), or other Western Hemisphere Travel initiative (WHTI) compliant document such as a passport card for entry or re-entry to the U.S. Sea travelers should also check with their cruise line and countries of destination for any foreign entry requirements.

The new U.S. Passport Card is now being issued. The card may not be used to travel by air and is available only to U.S. citizens. Further information is available at http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html and upcoming changes to U.S. passport policy can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html. We strongly encourage all American citizen travelers to apply for a U.S. passport well in advance of anticipated travel. American citizens can visit travel.state.gov or call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for their passports.

Crew List

Taking a vessel into Mexico is a fairly simple but does take some preparation.  A boat permit is required in Mexican water for all cruising motorboats, sailboats, as well as any dinghy or additional boat abroad the vessel, regardless of size or construction, that will be used for sport fishing and that are registered as pleasure boats. Clearance papers as well as fishing permits can be obtained through an agent for a moderate fee or you can get them yourself.  If you are obtaining your own clearance, get a pad of the printed clearance forms, "A Crew List for Spanish Speaking Countries" from a chandlery.  Remember to type these and do it in Spanish.  Then take at least 4 copies to the nearest  Mexican consulate and they will process them for you. The fee are based on the exchange rate and are usually under $50US

When you make a port, the skipper and the entire crew must take the clearance papers and tourist cards first to the immigration office and then the Port Captain's office, then back again to the immigration office to drop off a copy signed by the Port Captain.  We know of a skipper who took his boat and one crew member to Ensenada, while the second crew member drove down.   Unfortunately, he took all the tourist cards with him to Immigration and had to bring the road crew back to the office when she arrived.  They wanted proof that she wasn't lost overboard!  But it was a good safeguard and very reassuring to her family!  There is usually a port fee and may be based on the size of your boat.   Small money denominations are suggested, they don't like to make change.

The port captain normally inspects boats on arrival and advises on the required procedure and the order of offices to be visited. Officials do not work at weekends. Boats are anchored inside the breakwater or taken to one of the marinas inside the harbor. The Port Captain's office is located on the west side of the breakwater channel into Puerto Madero, so it is easier to land your dinghy along the west beach in the turning basin, and walk over. The API office is now east of the parking lot off the north basin.  You can handle your own port clearance here or use the  services offered by any of the marinas.

Another stop should be the Customs office for a Temporary Import Permit if you are going farther south or are going to leave your boat in Mexico for any length of time.  Take the following documentation:
1.Vessel Ownership Title, or lease agreement if applicable.
2. Identification verifying that the vessel's owner is a legal resident of a foreign country and 
3.Tourist Entry Form.
The fee ranges from $10  to $100 U.S. fee which can be paid by credit card or post a bond to BANEJERCITO for the value of the vessel. This allows the Mexicans to track a vessel  and ensure that it is not sold illegally in their country.  Although sporadically checked, you probably will need it when you clear out of Mexico.


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