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Arriving/Departing the Cozumel Airport - A Guided Tour

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by Sue Sue, Mar 18, 2011.

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  1. Sue Sue

    Sue Sue Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Two forms provided to you on the plane should be completed prior to arrival. [TIP] Remember to pack a pen

    #1- Immigration form: One per passenger, also known as an FMM (Multiple Immigration Form) or "tourist visa". Required information includes, Name/DOB/Citizenship info, Passport info, Flight info, and where you are staying while visiting Cozumel, ie: Hotel name or address FYI: The town and state you are visiting while on Cozumel is most likely San Miguel, Quintana Roo #2 -Customs Declaration: One given to each head of household. This form will be given to the representative at the Security screening after retrieving your luggage. Refer to the SAT website http://www.sat.gob.mx for more information on Duty Free allowance. Arrival-> Passengers disembark the plane via passenger stairs moved out to the tarmac. Stairway assistance is available for those who require it. Passengers are then directed into the waiting room at Immigration and stand in queue until they are called to the Immigration desk. The agent will ask for your passport and FMM. He/she will review the information and hand your passport and FMM receipt back to you. DO NOT LOSE your FMM receipt, as you will need this form to exit the country. If lost there is a fee to replace it.[TIP: Restroom in this area.]

    Baggage->The next stop will be baggage claim. However, enroute to the carousels be prepared for a visual and/or canine inspection of your carry on items. The baggage area is very congested with people waiting for luggage and those who are in line for the security screening machines. Therefore, the best area to wait for arriving luggage is closer to the windows. Once you have collected your baggage, you will need to put all items through the baggage screening machine. There is no assistance provided. [TIP: Restroom in this area] Red light ! Green light !->After baggage security screening an agent will collect your Customs Declaration form (the long rectangular form completed by the head of household) ATTENTION: ALL family members listed on your Customs declaration must BE PRESENT and accounted for at this point. The agent will then ask the head of household to press the Red Light/Green Light button. If you get a Green light, you/your group should be able to proceed through the sliding doors ahead of you. If you get a Red light, or if the security inspector merely questions an item or items, he/she may have you stop at the adjacent desk for a luggage inspection. Do familiarize yourself with Custom regulations. There are many websites with this information such as: U.S. Department of State, (search Travel->Travel Information->Mexico); or just Google “Mexico Custom regulations”. FYI: If a prohibited item is confiscated, such as beef jerky, fruit, etc, be prepared to provide your personal ID information and passport number.

    The Magic Sliding Door and Timeshare Land->Once your baggage is screened you will continue on through the sliding door that enters into the last lobby area where you will purchase your shuttle ticket (if needed) and ultimately exit to the shuttle van area. However, be aware, as soon as you go through the sliding doors, you WILL be approached by Timeshare Salespeople. If you are truly interested in a timeshare presentation, this may be an opportunity for you, and of course, to each his or her own. However, if a timeshare is not in your plans, or you do not want to use up your precious vacation time at this moment, then by all means, you have the right to ignore the opportunity and Head Directly To The Ticket Booth. Be prepared with respectful yet firm “NO's”! Simply make the salespeople aware in a cordial yet direct way that you are not interested. TIP: If you need shuttle tickets and are traveling in a group, designate one person to buy the tickets for the group, and send everyone else DIRECTLY outside to the shuttle van area to wait with all of the luggage. Be sure to brief everyone in your group regarding the Timeshare Offers.

    Tickets Please !!!!->There are only two official methods of motor transportation for tourists out of the airport. Different rules apply for the return trip which will be noted later in this article.

    #1 – Airport Shuttle Van --> Purchasing Shuttle Van Tickets-->Timeshare Offers
    Immediately upon walking through the sliding glass door after the security check and Red Light/Green Light, Make A Beeline to the ticket booth which is located to your FAR DIAGONAL RIGHT. Here, you will find a salesperson sitting inside the booth, behind a window. Tell her the name of your hotel/destination address and if you are paying in USD or Peso. She will tell you how much. Pay her and she will give you a simple paper ticket(s). The ticket transaction is brief and basic. She will not have any other business with you. She will not ask you your name, what your vacation plans are or offer coupons, brochures or anything "Free" such as a car, jeep or tour. You will not sign any agreements. If this should happen, you are at a Timeshare booth. If you find yourself in a Timeshare situation that you truly do not want, then simply walk away and head directly to the shuttle van ticket window to purchase your ticket. Again, a Direct and firm “No Thank you” should suffice. After purchasing your tickets, your main goal at this point, is to GET OUTSIDE to the shuttle van area ! From the ticket booth, head to your RIGHT and the Exit door. However, you may, once again, be approached by a person offering additional transportation “assistance” or questioned as to where you are staying...IGNORE IT ! These are ploys and practices used by the timeshare reps as a last ditch effort for a timeshare presentation. Some of these ploys sound very official, just be on your toes and if you must speak, provide a courteous yet firm "NO" !. TIP: [Restroom near ticket booth]

    #2 Car Rental - Car rental booths are located in the departure lobby. Note: If you rent a car, whether at the airport or in town, it is in general highly recommended that you have full insurance. Keep in mind that your credit card or home auto policy may/may not give you this coverage. Check with your insurance or credit card company before renting.

    In addition, there are travelers who do walk off airport property and hail a cab as it is leaving or passing by the airport, however, taxi drivers, per taxi union policy, are technically prohibited to pick up and transport people who are waiting or hailing a cab immediately outside of the airport. Some people have no problem and are picked up quickly, however, there is a chance, and it does happen, where people will unsuccessfully wait for a taxi to stop. The only choice then would to be walk well out of the airport taxi boundaries or return to the airport to buy a shuttle ticket.
    Also, note, travelers with pre-arranged transportation from the airport need only to walk directly outside to the shuttle van area after passing through the Magic Sliding glass door. No need to go the ticket booth or stop in the lobby. The only assistance you will require is from the tour or hotel representative standing OUTSIDE THE EXIT DOOR holding the card with your name or touring company logo. He or she will direct you to your shuttle van.

    Your Chariot awaits->Once outside to the airport portico, you will see several diagonally parked white shuttle vans. Here, the drivers will ask you where you are going to, assign you a van, take your ticket and load your luggage. These folks are NOT Timeshare reps. This process may take 10 minuets or so. Please note that if it is busy, the shuttle van will most likely be loaded to capacity and can be a tight ride. Hang in there, make the best of the situation and you will be on your way and arriving to your destination before you know it ! However, before you board the shuttle, double check that your luggage has been loaded and not left behind on the sidewalk or loaded onto another shuttle. Once you are underway, your shuttle may make a few stops before getting to your destination, again, no worries, make the best of the situation and you WILL get to your destination ASAP. TIP: If you can’t easily see from where you are sitting, before leaving each stop, you or someone from your group should get out of the van and take a look as to what pieces of luggage are being removed and carted away as drivers and passengers alike don’t always pay attention and occasionally there is a mix up. TIP: Make sure you have ID on your luggage that indicates your name and where you are staying on the island. Also, take note of the vehicle ID number and the drivers name so if something is left behind you may be able to track down your items

    Vacation !!! But.....->Unfortunately, for most travelers you will have to return home. If you do not have pre-arranged transportation back to the airport, just get a taxi for transport. To clarify:Shuttle Vans/Rental cars are the only official transportation out of the airport, but taxis are permitted to take you back to the airport. Taxi transportation back to the airport is charged as any other taxi fare, one price, per cab, not per person. Ask your hotel desk clerk what the fare should be to the airport. Your taxi will take you directly to the airport departure curb. Before the cab leaves, double check that you have all of your luggage and personal items. Go inside to your airline departure desk and check in. FYI: As time gets closer to your flight the check in and security lines can get long so do give yourself plenty of time to hire a taxi and get to the airport to check in. Make sure that you have your passport and FMM form receipt which was given to you at Immigration upon your arrival. ****REGARDING PROHIBITED CARRY ON ITEMS**** At Check IN, LOOK AT THE PROHIBITED CARRY ON ITEM SIGN THAT IS POSTED. BE AWARE that some items you were able to transport in carry on luggage with you TO Cozumel, may not be allowed in carry on luggage FROM Cozumel. *Including, but not limited to: *Pocket knives, Any sharp object, Tweezers, Big/Sharp sea shells, Wood end hammocks, Matches, Duct Tape, Tennis Racquets, Candies, Gels, Creams, Razor-type Blades, Lasers, Hooks, Scissors, Aerosols, Electric curlers, Flammable materials, Tools of any size and kind, Weights, Knitting Needles, Corkscrew, Liquids. BATTERIES (Loose, used or new, packaged or stored in travel containers) However, Batteries installed in cameras, phones, laptops, and other electronic devices are OK at the time of this update. ) Make sure prohibited carry-on items are packed properly and securely in checked luggage for your return flight before check in. (Especially loose Batteries) REGARDING 311 LIQUIDS-->311 liquids:Only ONE - 1 quart plastic bag per person and no larger than 3.4 ounce containers are allowed for your 3 oz carry-on liquids. A larger plastic bag or container will not be accepted. Solid deodorant is considered an outgoing 311 item. Remember, once your checked luggage is gone and on its way, any prohibited items in your carry on baggage will either need to be checked as an extra bag or you will need to surrender your item (s). Once checked in and through security screening you will move on to the departure gate area. In the departure lobby area you will find restrooms, venues for food and beverages and stores, including a duty free shop. If you purchase any DUTY FREE liquids/liquor, you will pick it up at the gate exit door. You then will walk out onto the tarmac and up the stairway to your plane. NOTE: Before exiting the gate area to board the plane, you and your luggage may be chosen for additional security screening.

    NOTE: If connecting in the USA, you will retrieve your checked luggage upon arrival to your port of entry after immigration/customs and then re-check your non-carry on luggage before going on to your domestic flight.

    TSA UPDATE As of January 31, 2014, Inbound International Flights
    You may carry and transport on connecting USA Domestic flights DUTY FREE liquids in secure, tamper–evident bags, more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your carry-on bag if:
    • The duty free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
    • The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
    • The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.
    Other Cozumel Airport Travel Tips Any drinks purchased in the airport for consumption on the plane should be placed in carryons before boarding and drinks in cups (coffee, beer, etc.) are not allowed beyond the boarding lanes -- this holds for all carriers. There is no smoking room or lounge inside Cozumel's airport. Passengers may leave the departure area via an exit adjacent to the security screening machines. Passport and boarding pass are required for re-entry. If anyone has additional information, corrections or questions, please do not hesitate to PM me. Sincerely, Sue

    Additional/corrected information credit: Karibelle, budaman, ddeborahdelamar, Sharkygill, Ron Lee, mstevens , Qnape
    LAST UPDATE: August 1, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2016
  2. budaman

    budaman Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Buda, Tx. & San Miguel,Cozumel
    We had stuff for our recently purchased condo. I think if I hadn't had invoices for it, the bill probably would have been higher. I wasn't upset with the $, it was more the time & feeling like a criminal...all alone in that small office with two customs agents who didn't speak any more English than I spoke Spanish:D I need to work on my language courses more. This was on top of being 4 hrs late getting to Coz & arriving with 5 other planes at the same time resulting in about a 1 1/2 hr. wait for immigration Still came out cheaper than what we could have bought it for there, IF we could find it there. That's one thing we are learning....it isn't like the States when it comes to finding things.

  3. Jim Baldwin

    Jim Baldwin Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Louisiana
    I would be scared to try and count the number of bags that we have flown and driven down to outfit and remodel our house.

    I have a black ring binder with each bill taped to a piece of paper and in a plastic sleeve and the value totaled.

    Never mind the red/green light when they run our bags through they look like a cross between Home Depot and Wal Mart and we get searched. Tools, scuba gear, computers, bug zappers, paint sprayer, ice machine, microwave. Like the post office says if it fits it ships. Made good use of those 70lb. limits.

    Have always managed to keep the dollars under the magic number when flying and have never had to pay any duties.

    Driving down we declare at the border and pay our duty. We bring so much down in a car or truck it normally costs us a couple of hundred dollars.
  4. scubafree

    scubafree Nassau Grouper

    Very clear and concise report and will be valuable reading for new visitors to Cozumel. The only thing I can add is to familiarize yourself with the different taxi zones. The lady in the Ticket Booth tried to rip me off on a recent trip to Cozumel. I needed to get to a location just off 11th in town and she tried to tell me I had to pay the higher ticket price for a trip to "the south". I stood my ground and told her I had been to Cozumel many times and knew the city well. I would not pay the higher price and she finally relented and I paid "the Centro rate". It wasn't a good start to my trip and I couldn't help wondering how many other people were ripped off because they didn't know the taxi zones.
    G83 likes this.
  5. deborahdelamar

    deborahdelamar Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    More re Mexican Customs may be found here, including a link to the English portion of the official website.

    The personal "franchise" -- the value of products you may bring into MX duty free and leave -- via air is usually $300US per person and the franchises can be added together if more than one person is traveling. However, each person should carry his own set of receipts for the things that are in his personal bags. If the head of household hands the inspector one set of receipts worth more than $300, the inspector is liable to start his paperwork and your ordeal.

    At Christmas time, the franchise increases to $1000US by special decree -- Mexico has been consistently doing this for years and there's no reason to expect them to stop -- this is announced on the official website.

    Desktop computers and monitors are usually charged duty no matter what. And it's best to stay 10% under the max amount of your franchise. Used goods should also be documented at market value and counted in the total -- completed Ebay listings are a good place to find values for many things.

    The red light isn't the only thing that will cause an inspection. If the Xray technician doesn't understand or like what he's seeing, he will ask an inspector to stop you and manually check your bags. Things that normally pique interest are a significant amount of metal, crystal or other products containing lead that don't Xray, and items packed in cardboard boxes (use bubble & plastic wrap for protection whenever possible). Fortunately, the staff at CZM has learned a lot since the changeover in 2009 and request fewer inspections now than they used to.

    One other small detail, Sue: The FMT is now the FMM, Multiple Immigration Form, which is a new permit that covers all categories of entry to MX. It's a much simpler form to fill out than the old one and doesn't include those darn signature boxes on the back.
    sidne likes this.
  6. deborahdelamar

    deborahdelamar Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    Ron Lee has a photo of the airport van price list at http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/Scuba/Cozumel/November2008/ShuttlePriceSmall.jpg

    "Centro" covers south of the airport road to Scuba Club & Hotel Cozumel. "Sur" would be Blue Angel, Hotel Villablanca, Park Royal, Casa del Mar, El Cid, etc. through El Presidente. "Norte" means anything north of the airport blvd.

    Taxi fare zones are different and there are various upcharges. "Centro" is bounded by Calle 11 Sur, Melgar, Airport Road and Ave. 65. Centro to Blue Angel is 70 pesos for up to 4 people, Centro to Park Royal is 80 pesos. Best always to ask for a fare quote before you get in a cab.

    It's not against the law to take a cab from Ave. 65 a block or so south of the airport road. It's against the taxi unions' policies. When I flew in at the end of Feb., some people left to catch a cab and, after waiting for 15 minutes or so, couldn't get picked up. They had to roll their bags all the way back to the airport & use the vans.
  7. Sue Sue

    Sue Sue Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Yes, people do walk off the airport property an hail a cab as it is leaving or passing by the airport. However, taxi drivers are technically, per taxi union policy, prohibited to pick up and transport people immediately outside of the airport. BUT, it does happen. There are many reports from people who do this all the time. They find it easy, with no problems, and cost effective for them. For instance, say there is a group of 3 people, who buy shuttle tickets to go to El Cid la Ceiba. The total cost for the shuttle tickets will be $24.00 USD. A taxi from the airport to El Cid may cost around $ 12.00. However, the $12.00 savings is all well and good as long as everything works out. That is for instance, the weather is good, luggage is easy to manage and there is in fact a cab driver who will stop and pick them up. I personally have seen on several occasions where folks walk off property and sure enough, get a cab immediately. Then, however, I have also seen several times where people walk off property and watch taxi's just go on by them and are still waiting there as my shuttle is long gone down the street. To each his or her own.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2012
  8. weaver9710

    weaver9710 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Nashville, TN
    While on the topic of departing from the airport.......is there a parking lot where you can be picked up from? I have friends arriving two days after me and I will have a rental car. What is the process for airport pickup?
  9. 1KWIK_69

    1KWIK_69 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Still stuck in KC
    Drive to the airport. Park for free in the parking lot right in front of the airport. Read a magazine while waiting, or walk into the airport through the mercilous onslaught of timeshare salesmen to look for your friend. Walk with your friend back through the time share assault saying "no thank you" repeatedly. Get back in the car and enjoy the rest of your vacation. :D
  10. Sharkygill

    Sharkygill Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Arizona
    It may help folks to know what the USA TSA allows that the Mex TSA does not. When we flew out I was quite annoyed when the screener threw away our "self fill" shampoo and conditioner bottles we had bought at Wal-Mart (he said they have to have a manufacture's label, so no self filled bottles of any type of liquid), no loose batteries (have to be contained in a box), and the clear plastic baggie for liquids is smaller than the US allows. The size seemed to be about that of a zip lock sandwich baggie. Our travel bag which came with the carry-on luggage was too large.

    I'm sure there are lots of other items prohibited, such as fingernail clippers that I saw just being dropped onto the floor as they were pulled from bags, but that's what we lost. It was embarrassing for some folks as all of their dirty laundry was removed and laid out for all other passengers to see, and then the pile was handed back to them for re-packing after the search.

    Our flight left 30 minutes late due to the lengthy screening. The screeners had all the charisma of USA screeners, so just expect to be a bit annoyed, and it may bother you less.

    Still a great trip, and we're headed back as soon as we can.
    Snoweman likes this.
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