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Planning a trip to Mexico for spring break? What you need to know

by Staff

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Many Texans may look forward to having a fine time sipping margaritas during the week of spring break. 

Most spring breakers like to go to Mexico during that time due to our proximity to some relaxing beaches.

Where in Mexico could that be? Here’s what you need to know. 

Spring break travel destinations in Mexico

Mexico is a primary spring break destination for U.S. college students and working professionals. Many flock to one of the major resort towns near the coast. Those popular destinations are: 

  • Acapulco — At the southern tip of Baja California is Los Cabos, made up of the towns San Jose del Cabo and the more-popular Cabo San Lucas.  According to Trip Savy, you’ll find well-known clubs like Cabo Wabo and Señor Frog’s in town, along with several beach clubs spread across Medano Beach.
  • Mazaltan — Another hot spot for visitors, Mazaltan has one of the most famous breweries in all of Mexico, Cerveza Pacífico Clara (or just Pacífico), founded by German settlers in 1900. Since the city’s founding in the 16th century, fishing has been a major part of life in the area. Today, Mazatlán is home to the country’s second-largest fishing fleet.
  • Los Cabos — Los Cabos is a tropical paradise. Warm, mild days and cool evenings prevail from November through July. The rainy season in Cabo usually occurs from August through mid-October. The region receives an average of six to 10 inches of rain annually. 
  • Cancun — A sought-after resort area in Mexico. Cancun is at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea. Many of the hotels in Cancun and the nearby Playa del Carmen are all-inclusive, which is ideal for travelers who want to enjoy unlimited food and drinks at the pool.
  • Puerto Vallarta — Puerto Vallarta is a growing city. Its population has increased, on average, 7.56% annually. It’s also the capital of Mariachi music. 

Looking for an island getaway? These vacation destinations are safe for travel

Do I need a passport to fly to Mexico?

Flying to Mexico from the U.S. requires a passport to travel. If you’re arriving by land or by sea, then you have some other options. If you don’t have a passport, you can also use a passport card, which is cheaper than a passport but more limited.

Some U.S. states issue an enhanced driver’s license that also qualifies for land or sea crossings. 

Safety tips if you’re traveling to Mexico

Gang violence is a concern when traveling to Mexico, but most tourist destinations are safe. The only exception is Acapulco, which the U.S. State Department recommends not visiting.

Traveling to Mexico? See these travel advisories before booking your spring break trip

One way for travelers to stay safe is to not overconsume alcohol. According to Trip Savvy, the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18.

The National Institutes of Health also states that the Mexican government decriminalized small quantities of drugs for personal consumption, such as marijuana. However, if you’re caught with an amount that goes over the very strict limit, even if it’s for personal use, you can be imprisoned for trafficking. Even if you are below the limit, police have been known to arbitrarily force tourists to pay steep fines or risk going to prison, according to Fodor’s Travel Guide.

More: US issues travel advisory for Jamaica, but it’s not the only one. Here’s a list

What items are prohibited from taking to Mexico?

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has information on what items are prohibited and what else you need to know. Check with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about importing any medications prior to crossing into Mexico.

Prohibited items include: 

  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Cuban cigars
  • Illegal drugs. Any type, in any amount, may result in serious fines, seizure of vehicle, federal record and/or imprisonment.
  • Switchblade knives, sea turtle boots or any other articles of endangered species (i.e. spotted cats, coral, crocodile, elephant, etc.)
  • Most fruits, including oranges and apples, and meats

What items are prohibited to bring back from Mexico?

Items like souvenirs, liquor and clothing can be brought back to the States. But items mentioned below are prohibited from being imported from Mexico, according to the International Trade Administration.

  • Narcotics
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Live fish
  • Predators of any size
  • Images representing children in a degrading or ridiculing way
  • Used clothes that are not part of personal luggage
  • Electronic cigarettes (as of February 2020)

Additionally, the USDA established criteria around fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and other animal products. Foods may be prohibited if they have insects or diseases. See the full list of prohibited or restricted food items at https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-3619?language=en_US.

Before you go to Mexico, ask a CBP Agriculture Specialist for a list of items you can bring back. Failure to declare agricultural items could result in up to $10,000 in fines and penalties, according to the CBP website.

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