Cenote Guide in Yucatan, Mexico
If you’re planning your trip to the Riviera Maya, or you wish to visit Merida, Valladolid, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Tulum, of course, you’re going to explore the cenotes in Yucatan, Mexico.
Being inside a cenote is genuinely a mystical experience.
In this guide, I’ll share with you all the insights and experiences I’ve gathered from my multiple visits to the best cenotes in Yucatan.
I’ll let you in on, in my opinion, the most stunning cenotes in Yucatan, their operational hours, the best times of the day to visit, what you should bring, where to sleep or eat, how to get there, the ticket prices, and everything else necessary to ensure your trip is free of any unpleasant surprises.
So, welcome to TodoCenotes.com! We are Julia and Leo, cenote enthusiasts, and we’re thrilled to share our experiences with you!
Are you planning your trip to the cenotes in Yucatan, Mexico?
Great! You’re in the right place, as we’ve crafted this web guide to provide you with all the necessary information to plan and prepare a visit to the country’s top cenotes.
The Best Cenotes in Yucatan to Visit
Rest assured, you’re not the first to ask this question. Anyone who’s ever planned their trip has wondered which cenotes to visit or where to start their journey.
In fact, we know – because they tell us in their messages – about travelers who have returned to vacation in Mexico, visiting the best cenotes for a second or even a third time, and who have organized their trip again through this website.
That fills us with pride, as it lets us know that we’ve achieved our goal of providing the best information about cenotes.
So, let’s delve into the cenotes in Yucatan that you absolutely must visit on the vacation you’re planning.
Where to Stay to Visit Cenotes in Yucatan?
Cenote Regions in Yucatan, Mexico: A Journey into Sacred Natural Wonders
While the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico might be best known for the bustling tourism of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, it also cradles tens of thousands of stunning cenotes awaiting discovery.
Cenotes: Sacred Springs of the Ancient Mayans
To the ancient Mayans, these natural freshwater sinkholes held profound spiritual significance. They weren’t just vital sources of water; they also served as mystical gateways between this world and the underworld, often marked by ornately sacrificed artifacts of pottery, jewelry, and occasionally, human beings.
Today’s Yucatan Cenotes: Mystical Escapes and Natural Pools
Today, many of these Yucatan cenotes have transformed into unique tourist destinations, with several of them still remaining as hidden gems unknown to most tourists. But for locals, these cenotes are cherished natural swimming pools, a refreshing refuge to beat the heat of the peninsula.
Discover the Rich History and Support Local Communities
Brimming with history and cultural significance, these cenote regions in Yucatan are places you should truly set your sights on visiting and exploring. By doing so, you’ll not only immerse yourself in a world of natural wonder but also support local businesses and indigenous communities who rely on tourism within these natural marvels.
So, come join me on this journey as we dive into the heart of these natural, mystical, and historical wonders of the Yucatan. Whether it’s to uncover a hidden cenote or just to splash in a cool natural pool, let’s experience and preserve the profound beauty of these cenote regions together.
Exploring the Captivating Charm of Valladolid: A Personal Journey
As you wander through the city, you’ll find yourself immersed in vibrant streets, steeped in the colonial history that molded them. Centuries-old churches, delightful cafes, and restaurants serving authentic Mexican cuisine punctuate your stroll. Amidst these everyday attractions, you’ll discover a unique blend of hotels, each exuding its own colonial-style character and charm.
However, without a doubt, one of the most compelling attractions eagerly visited by local and international tourists alike are the spectacular and enigmatic cenotes of Valladolid. Among these, standouts like the breathtaking Cenote Ik Kil, the captivating Cenote Suytun, the unique Cenote SAC-AUA (the only one boasting an island within), and the enigmatic Cenote Ek Balam, steal the limelight.
Delving into the Depths of Valladolid’s Cenotes
The majority of the cenotes near Valladolid, Yucatan, are so deep that they require a lengthy staircase for access. With stalactites slowly dripping from the ceilings, these awe-inspiring geological formations reveal hundreds of years of patient creation.
If you’ve ever wondered why the Mayans believed cenotes served as gateways to the underworld, you’ll see the reason with your own eyes once you descend into one of these incredible Yucatan cenotes.
You’ll need a few days to thoroughly explore the cenotes and the surrounding area, so booking a flight or a hotel in Valladolid is a brilliant idea. The city itself is deserving of your visit and offers a myriad of other attractions to enjoy.
Planning Your Valladolid Adventure
Given all these offerings, we’ve put together a guide to the best cenotes in Valladolid, ensuring you can plan your trip seamlessly, without any unexpected unpleasant surprises. With this guide at your disposal, you’re well on your way to experiencing the best of Valladolid’s enchanting cenotes.
Join us on this personal journey as we delve deeper into the captivating charm of Valladolid. Let’s create memories that will last a lifetime!
Discovering the Authenticity of Mérida, Yucatán: A First-Hand Account
Mérida may not be the most well-trodden tourist destination on the Yucatán Peninsula, yet it stands as one of the most authentic places you could visit in this region. This city, the largest on the Peninsula and one of the oldest in the Americas, exudes a colonial charm that will captivate you. ❤
A City Steeped in History
Established in 1542 atop the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of T’Hó, Mérida is a city steeped in history—it goes without saying.
Mérida: A Melting Pot of Experiences
Mérida offers a plethora of intriguing options to explore and delight in: culture, history, cuisine, music, festivals, and those breathtaking natural wonders that have drawn us across thousands of kilometers—the Cenotes of Mérida.
Unveiling the Cenotes of Mérida
When it comes to cenotes—the natural sinkholes that are a hallmark of this region—we have some recommendations for the most beautiful ones near Mérida that you must visit:
- Cenote Xlacah: Located next to the minor Mayan ruins of Dzibilchaltún, this cenote is a sight to behold.
- Cenote X’batun: An enticing natural wonder that will leave you in awe.
- Cenote Kankirixche: This cenote’s beauty is sure to leave an indelible impression.
- Cenote San Ignacio: Known for its charm and appeal, this is a cenote not to be missed.
- Cenotes of Homún and Cuzumá: Offering a myriad of cenotes, these two towns should definitely be on your itinerary.
- And last but certainly not least, you simply cannot miss out on the Cenotes at Hacienda Mucuyché.
Exploring Mérida and its cenotes is a unique experience—an encounter with the authentic Yucatán that will leave an everlasting imprint on your heart.
Exploring the Enchanting Cenotes of Tulum in the Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya is one of those blessed regions in the Yucatan Peninsula that is nestled amid natural wonders unlike any others in the world, including the cenotes in Tulum.
Ancient Mayan civilizations considered these cenotes sacred and often made sacrificial offerings to their gods within their mysterious depths.
Fast forward to the present day, and these vibrant blue waters are now savored by people of all ages, seeking a unique and unforgettable experience.
With cenotes scattered all across the region, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that really lets you understand which of the hundreds of cenotes in Tulum are best suited for you to explore. We cover how to get there, their prices, opening hours, the best times of day to visit, what to bring, and how to look after these treasures.
A Dive into History
- Cenotes: The Sacred Wells of the Mayans
The cenotes held a special place in the lives of the Mayan people. They were seen as sacred wells or portals to another world, and the Mayans would often make offerings to their gods in these water-filled sinkholes.
The Modern-day Cenote Experience
Now, these sparkling azure waters are a hotspot for those looking to immerse themselves in a truly unique experience. Whether you’re young or old, a visit to the cenotes will undoubtedly be a memory to treasure.
Remember, these cenotes are precious natural resources, and it’s our duty to preserve and respect them. Let’s explore, have fun, but also ensure that we leave no trace behind, keeping these cenotes pristine for future generations to enjoy.
An Unforgettable Journey to Playa Del Carmen and Its Magical Cenotes
As an adventurer at heart, I found myself enchanted by the vibrant city of Playa del Carmen, one of Mexico’s most sought-after tourist destinations. Blessed with pristine white-sand beaches, sprawling resorts, and easy access to awe-inspiring Mayan ruins and crystal-clear cenotes, it’s no wonder that this city has a special place in the hearts of travelers.
Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen: Nature’s Hidden Gems
One cannot talk about Playa del Carmen without mentioning the cenotes – natural sinkholes filled with clear, refreshing water, often ensconced within the Mayan jungle. From the shallow waters of Cenote Azul, a beloved Playa del Carmen’s cenote, to the captivating beauty of Cenote Zacil-Ha near Tulum, these breathtaking natural wonders are awaiting discovery just a stone’s throw from the city.
Cenote Tours from Playa del Carmen: A Journey into the Heart of the Jungle
What better way to delve into this region’s mesmerizing cenotes than by embarking on a fun-filled tour starting from Playa del Carmen, journeying through some of its finest cenotes? I found this to be a top-notch choice if you’re seeking an all-inclusive experience, complete with round-trip transportation, a knowledgeable tour guide, and food and beverages included. The feeling of plunging into a cenote’s crystalline waters after a day of exploration is truly unparalleled.
The journey through Playa del Carmen and its nearby cenotes is more than just a tour – it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the area’s rich history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality. I assure you, it’s an adventure that will linger in your memory long after you’ve left the stunning shores of Mexico.
Experiencing the Magnificent Cenotes of Puerto Morelos: A Day Trip from Cancún
If you’re hunting for cenotes in Cancún, you’re most likely on the trail of the enchanting cenotes of Puerto Morelos, given there are no cenotes to be found in central Cancún. Puerto Morelos is the perfect destination for a brisk day trip from Cancún.
The Coastal Town of Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos, an elegant coastal town on the Yucatán Peninsula within the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, has an allure all its own. The cenotes of Puerto Morelos are celebrated across Mexico, gaining fame due to their proximity to hotspots like Cancún and Playa del Carmen.
Your journey to these natural wonders is along the renowned highway known as “La Ruta de los Cenotes” (The Cenotes Route), home to the finest cenotes in Puerto Morelos.
Exploring La Ruta de los Cenotes
Embarking on the Cenotes Route from Cancún or Playa del Carmen allows you to explore several distinct cenotes in Puerto Morelos, all in one adventurous trip. However, if you’re not inclined to rent a car and drive yourself, there are various tours available in both cities.
You have the freedom to navigate your way through this breathtaking landscape at your own pace, or to lean into the expertise of local guides who can deepen your appreciation of these geological marvels.
So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or this is your first time exploring the Yucatán Peninsula, the cenotes of Puerto Morelos promise an unforgettable journey of natural beauty and adventure.
What to Bring to the Cenotes in Yucatan?
There’s nothing like being well-informed before embarking on an exploration of uncharted territories like the cenotes of Yucatan, especially if it’s your first time visiting.
Don’t be alarmed, though. These aren’t dangerous territories. Rather, the main aim of letting you know what to bring for your cenote visit is so you can fully enjoy this unique adventure while simultaneously respecting these natural wonders.
In this section, we’ll discuss the type of clothing you should wear, the footwear to bring, accessories to consider, what kind of sunscreens to use, and other items that will enhance your experience while ensuring perfect harmony with the environment.
Assuming you’ve already packed your swimsuit, let’s proceed to the list of essentials for visiting a cenote:
It’s important to thoroughly read all the information we provide for each cenote. Take advantage of our tips, suggestions, and specific conditions and rules applicable to each location.
Plan Your Transportation
If you’ve booked a cenote tour, take into account the distance and estimated time it will take to get there. The same applies if you’ve rented a car—review your route and ensure your GPS is ready with the coordinates. Afterward, make sure to confirm the opening and closing times of the cenotes you’ll be visiting.
You may find this advice obvious, but we’ve known travelers who’ve had their cenote visits ruined because they didn’t consider the closing times and ended up arriving too late. Remember, most cenotes close at 5 PM.
In the cenote area, there are no ATMs, and credit or debit cards aren’t accepted for entrance fees or meals. So it’s essential to bring cash with you.
Clothing and Swimwear
Our recommendation is to wear your swimsuit from the moment you leave your room or hotel. This will speed up changing into your swimming gear at the cenote. There’s no need to dress up fancy.
My Ultimate Cenote Adventure Kit: 10 Essential Items
As an avid traveler and adventurer, I have explored numerous cenotes across the Yucatan Peninsula. Through my experiences, I’ve curated a list of 10 essential items for your cenote adventure. Trust me, these will not only make your adventure smoother but also more memorable.
First things first, always carry a backpack or any other type of travel bag. The backpack should be versatile, lightweight, and easy to carry, with enough space to keep your personal belongings safe and dry. Pro tip: always add a couple of plastic bags for storing your wet swimming gear after a refreshing cenote dip! Just make sure you don’t leave them behind after use.
2. Running Shoes
Running shoes are a great option for walking on the grass and rocky paths around the cenote area. I also recommend trekking shoes (I personally pack a pair of these). Additionally, pack a pair of sandals/flip-flops to wear after your refreshing swim, keeping your shoes dry. Sandals are easy to carry and provide comfortable foot support.
3. Water Shoes
About water shoes, I don’t have a particular preference since I’ve only ever purchased one pair and I’m still using them. Luckily, they’re holding up well and I believe they will endure several more adventures.
Make sure you bring a snorkel with a clear mask because if the water is even slightly dark, you won’t see anything. I learned this the hard way when my friend Leo was happily diving with his clear mask snorkel while I struggled to see anything through my blue mask. So, from my experience, opt for a clear mask if you’re buying a new snorkel.
5. Water Bottle
Seriously, wherever you go in Yucatan, you need to carry water with you. The day can get quite hot. In my personal effort to save the world and not pollute it, and to find a leak-proof water bottle to finally stop buying bottled water when I travel, I purchased an Omorc water bottle. Not all cenotes have restaurants or beverage and snack shops nearby, so it’s important to ensure you always have water at hand.
You’ll feel tired after a pleasant and refreshing swim in the cenote. It’s good to know if the cenotes you visit have dining facilities, restaurants, or shops where you can buy some sort of food. If these amenities are not available, make sure to bring energy bars, fruits, or sandwiches.
7. Life Jacket
Not everyone wants to swim in a cenote with a life jacket, but in my opinion, we should, especially children.
Inflatable armbands and rubber rings are very dangerous in cenotes, so please… please!! don’t allow your kids to use these accessories. We always bring life jackets with us, as not all cenotes provide them for rent, especially for the little ones.
So, our recommendation is to, if possible, bring your own life jacket and fully enjoy the cenotes.
If you can, buy a waterproof camera. Don’t miss the opportunity to take incredible underwater photos – they will gather the most likes on your social media. We’re not experts in this field; we just followed the suggestion of a dear photographer friend who recommended a Fuji all-terrain camera, which is significantly cheaper than GoPro.
9. Natural Insect Repellent and Sunscreen
One thing to remember when visiting cenotes is not to enter the water with repellents or creams on your body. That’s why many of them require you to take a shower before entering.
Despite this, I still suggest you bring your sunscreen and mosquito repellent to use once you’ve exited the water.
10. Menstrual Cup
Ladies, sometimes we worry about whether it’s okay to swim during menstruation. Well, with a menstrual cup, this no longer has to be a concern. To learn more about them, check out this post about menstrual cups.
This adapted guide should set you up for a comfortable, fun, and memorable cenote adventure. Enjoy!
What are Cenotes?
Cenotes are geological marvels gifted to us by the Yucatan Peninsula. They are superbly mysterious and magical.
Tucked away and shielded by the dense jungle, cenotes rank among the most beautiful gems to explore and savor. Trust me, a vacation here without swimming or diving in one of Yucatan’s cenotes can hardly be considered a vacation at all.
But, you might wonder, what exactly are cenotes and why do they attract millions of tourists each year? Let’s dive in and explore this!
Unforgettable Dip into the Cenotes of Yucatan
Just imagine immersing yourself in the cool, crystal-clear waters of a cenote, a natural sinkhole located in the heart of Yucatan. The peninsula’s geology, mainly composed of porous limestone, is the reason behind the high number of cenotes in this region. Over millions of years, rain has persistently carved its way into this stone, creating an intricate network of subterranean caverns that are nothing short of extraordinary.
These cenotes, or natural wells, are replenished by rainwater seepage and currents from underground rivers, coursing their way straight from the earth’s core. This natural filtration process is responsible for that unequaled sensation of freshness you experience while swimming in a cenote. No matter when you decide to take the plunge, you can expect the water temperatures to range between a comfortable 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the season.
But did you know the term “cenote” has its roots in the ancient Mayan civilization? The Mayans referred to these natural wells as “Dz’onot,” translating to “cave with water.” What an apt description for these stunning water-filled caverns!
Embarking on this adventure, it felt like I was diving headfirst into history. The breathtaking beauty of the cenotes and the ethereal experience of swimming in them was like nothing else I’d ever experienced. Stay tuned for more of my adventures in the Yucatan.
Types of Cenotes in Yucatan
Just like people, not all cenotes in Mexico are the same age. Their formation process, which dictates not only their age but also their type, varies.
No two Yucatan cenotes are identical. Whether it’s a cenote in Cancun, Tulúm, or Valladolid, despite sharing the same age, they are distinctly unique.
To differentiate the types of cenotes, they are classified into:
The youngest yet most enigmatic cenotes are those housed within caves. The water source of these cenotes is still within an interior cave, the very site ancient Mayans used to stage some of their celebrations.
The color of the water in these cavern cenotes, which varies between intense blue and emerald green, can only be appreciated when sunlight penetrates through the holes in the cave roof or the cracks in its dome.
Ideal for adventure activities, some of these cenotes are located several hundred meters underground.
Semi-open cenotes, common throughout the region, are where erosion and time have worn away the limestone terrain, barely exposing these natural wonders.
These semi-open cenotes are perfect for visiting along the Riviera Maya and Cancun, where you can enjoy their crystal-clear waters. So clear that you can effortlessly admire the flora and fauna living beneath their surface.
Open cenotes are older than semi-open ones. They form when the dome covering them gives way and leaves them entirely exposed.
Perhaps the most naturally attractive, this type of cenote is taken over by flora that colors the rock walls in an array of shades, resulting in a spectacle of sheer beauty. Furthermore, butterflies and birds offer a display that complements a truly dreamlike natural tableau.
One of the most recognized open cenotes is the Sacred Cenote of Chichén Itzá. At this cenote, archaeologists have found various pre-Hispanic elements, indicating it was used for ceremonies and rituals.
Formed millions of years ago, these cenotes have not only seen their domed roof cave in over time but their walls too, leaving behind an area resembling a lagoon.
Cenotes are astonishing oases nestled within the thick Mayan jungle, offering a natural spectacle that is a must-visit and enjoy if you come to Mexico. They add to the richness of the landscape, making your journey all the more memorable.
High Season in the Yucatan Peninsula
High season in Yucatan kicks off around December 20th and runs right through to Easter week.
This is prime time due to the calm, warm weather: perfect for visiting the best cenotes in Yucatan, snorkeling, diving, and fishing (the calmer weather equates to clearer and more predictable seas), and checking out the ruins sprinkled throughout the peninsula’s interior.
Tourist hotspots like Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Cozumel are jam-packed with thousands of thrilled, bustling vacationers, all basking in the beautiful weather and Caribbean experience that this region of Mexico has to offer.
Hotels, shops, and restaurants are delivering their best services with a beaming smile.
For many, the crowds can be exhilarating and fun. For others, they might seem a bit overwhelming. That’s something you’ll navigate based on your personal preference.
Yet, we all know that the high season means more bustle and competition.
Accommodations for the Yucatan Peninsula and flights should be booked at least two or three months in advance, and even earlier during certain times.
Reservations are a must, transportation is busier, and tours are generally more crowded.
This is when the key tourist destinations rake in most of their earnings, so they roll out the red carpet for every guest.
In general, you’ll find prices are higher between Christmas and Easter, as this is the peak of the tourist season, but also during spring break, and between July and August. This is when families tend to travel to the region while their kids are on school vacation.
Off-Season in the Yucatan Peninsula
While the high season is full of excitement, the off-season is a time of tranquility, where the authentic culture of the region emerges as a unique tourist and cultural attraction.
With fewer tourists around, you’ll find that the pace of life slows down, becoming less rushed and adopting a more Caribbean feel.
However, in Cancun and along the Riviera Maya, the demand from Mexican and European visitors has led to the emergence of a medium summer season.
During the off-season, midday temperatures can spike to an uncomfortable 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), but the trade winds from the Atlantic make the mornings, afternoons, and evenings extremely pleasant along the coast.
A Budget-Friendly Adventure
One of the best parts of traveling in the off-season is the cost-effectiveness. Hotels reduce their rates by 20 to 60 percent, and tours and shops may also slash their prices to stay competitive.
The off-season also makes public transportation more accessible, tee-off times on golf courses less crowded, tennis courts, water sports, and other activities more available.
Flights and accommodations are easier to book.
You can even secure a table at a nice restaurant, even without reservations.
It’s a fantastic time for families to travel because it’s easier to keep track of the kids, and there are fewer crowds to contend with.
A Cosmopolitan Atmosphere
The ambiance becomes more cosmopolitan during the off-season, with a larger percentage of tourists hailing from Europe.
However, if you’re considering an excursion into the interior of the peninsula, be prepared for stifling heat and humidity, as the refreshing effects of the sea breeze are absent.
In my own experience, exploring the Yucatan Peninsula during the off-season was a unique and enriching experience, offering a more intimate connection with the local culture. It was an opportunity to see a different side of this beautiful region, and I’d recommend it to anyone seeking a more authentic Mexican adventure.
The Climate in Yucatan
Yucatan is among the hottest regions in Mexico, bearing an average annual temperature of 79ºF and a peak average soaring to 97ºF.
The climate is warm, but it experiences only a few tropical and humid months. It stays pleasantly warm to hot throughout the year, inviting you to take a dip in the comfortable average temperatures of 80ºF.
The optimal time to travel to Yucatan ranges from December to early April. This high season coincides with the driest months, making it the most desirable period for visitors.
These are the best months to enjoy calm, warm weather, whether you’re diving or snorkeling in cenotes, embarking on a fishing excursion (the calmer weather signifies clearer and more predictable seas), or touring the ruins that pepper the peninsula’s interior.
In general, Mexico’s dry season runs from November to April, and the rainy season extends from May to October.
Staying near the beaches is unlikely to pose a problem. However, if you wish to travel by road to the cenotes in Chichen Itza, the cenotes near Uxmal, or other sites, the temperatures and humidity inland can be frankly sweltering from May to July.
Later in the rainy season, the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes increases. But they bring lower temperatures, making climbs to the ruins more enjoyable, complemented by fresh air and a gentle breeze.
November is an especially ideal time for trips to Yucatan, Cancun, Cozumel, and Isla Mujeres. There’s also a rainy season from November to January when northern storms arrive. This typically means that visibility for diving expeditions may decrease, and the conditions might even prevent boats from setting out.
The low season begins the day after Easter and continues until mid-December. You’ll experience fewer crowds and more opportunities to truly immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Entry Requirements to Visit Cenotes in Yucatan, Mexico
Short-Term Tourist and Visitor Entry Requirements in Mexico
Mexico’s Visitor Permit, FMM
Holders of passports from countries on the no-visa-required list do not have to apply for an official visa to visit Mexico. Instead, they can use a visitor’s permit, known as an FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple).
For countries not requiring a visa, a Mexico Visitor’s Permit (FMM) should be completed in place of a visa.
This is a simple form: airlines hand it out on board flights and it should be filled out on the plane before landing. Alternatively, you can acquire one at all airports, land border crossings, and sea ports of entry.
If your airline does not provide any form at the check-in counter or on board the plane, don’t worry, you can acquire one when you land in Mexico and fill it out before queuing for airport officials to inspect and stamp your documents.
Mexico charges a fee to all tourists and business visitors arriving in the country. The fee is approximately $25 US dollars.
If you are entering Mexico by land, you should obtain a visitor’s permit at the port of entry. If you fly to Mexico, international flight crews hand out visitor permit forms before the flight lands, and they are also available at Mexican airports, near immigration offices. If you are visiting Mexican ports as part of a cruise, you should obtain a visitor’s permit at your first Mexican port.
How Long Is Your FMM Valid?
When you enter Mexico as a tourist or for business, the immigration officer at the port of entry will usually grant you a stay of 180 days; this will be written on the part of the form given to you, so keep it safe. Check how many days you are granted and calculate your departure date accordingly.
The visitor’s permit (FMM) will always expire after a maximum of 180 days: it cannot be extended beyond the number of days the immigration officer writes on the form (even if it is less than the maximum allowed 180 days); and it cannot be renewed: you must leave the country before it expires.
Lost Your FMM Permit?
If you lose your FMM, you will need to go to one of the immigration offices located in towns and cities across the country, or at the airport, and request a replacement before you can leave. This will involve filling out and submitting some forms, and a trip to a local bank to pay the fee for replacing your permit (about $30 US dollars) before returning to the immigration office to receive the FMM replacement.
Still Have Your FMM Permit?
If you have returned home and realized that you still have your FMM tourist permits, the best thing you can do is get in touch with the nearest Mexican Consulate, which will advise you on what to do, even possibly asking you to return it.
Stayed Longer Than Allowed on Your FMM?
If you stay longer than you were granted on an FMM permit (usually 180 days), you will need to visit an immigration office (or the airport’s immigration center) and pay a fine before you can leave the country. The amount of the fine depends on how long you have stayed in the country beyond the allowed period; it is calculated per day and will not be more than 6,000 pesos ($260 dollars). As in the case of lost permits, arrangements should be made to secure your exit visa before the date of your planned flight departure, otherwise, you could miss your flight.
Keep your visitor’s permit safe! If you do not have your FMM (Visitor’s Permit) with you when you leave, you will have to go through some Mexican Immigration procedures and request a replacement at one of the country’s immigration offices or at the airport. The cost of the replacement permit is about $30 US dollars. Losing the permit, especially if only noticed at the airport when ready to depart, will delay your departure and may cause you to miss your scheduled flight.
For more information, you can visit the official website of the Mexican Tourism Secretariat.
Essential Tips and Advice for Foreign Tourists
Bringing Prescription Medicines to Mexico
You’re allowed to bring prescription medicines to Mexico as long as you have accompanying documentation demonstrating a medical need. If a family member or yourself is on prescription medication, ensure to carry with you the prescription or a note from the doctor, which includes the patient’s name and the name of the medicine or medicines. This is to prove the medical necessity for these medicines in case your luggage is inspected.
Don’t Bring Firearms or Ammunition
A foreign firearms license isn’t valid in Mexico; if you own a gun, don’t bring it to Mexico, and don’t bring any ammunition either. The only exception is a firearm and ammunition used for hunting purposes; however, you’ll need to apply for a special permit – get in touch with the closest Mexican Consulate to your location.
Being in possession of lethal knives, firearms of any kind, and even a single ammunition cartridge is a federal crime in Mexico. Being caught with a firearm can lead to serious issues, even if you have a license for it issued in your home country. Also, see: Mexico’s Strict Gun Laws
Type and Quantity of Items
Don’t bring anything that clearly looks like you’re planning to resell; for instance, multiple laptops. These items will be heavily taxed or confiscated. Personal use items, whether new or used, are allowed, but only in quantities in line with the definition of “personal use”.
If you’re carrying large quantities of anything, or if the Customs Inspector believes you’re attempting to trade any of the goods you’re carrying, you might be interrogated.