Travel to Mexico with a boat and trailer is not difficult but there are some rules to follow.
Passports — or other approved identification documents will be required on both sides of the border. DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT THEM.
Car of Trailer Permit –for travel to Baja or to the hassle free zone of Sonora (including San Carlos) you will not need either a car or trailer permit. In Sonora the free zone is generally west of Highway 15. Permits are required for travel east of Hwy 15 so don’t wander to this area unless you have a permit. If you stay on Hwy 15 you are always in the free zone.
Boat import permit — this permit is required and can be obtained online at https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroVehiculos/. You will find the information and form for boat import permits which will need to be to be completed. Follow the directions carefully. Be sure you accurately list all equipment as required by the permit with the correct serial number for your outboard motor. There is a fee and you will receive your permit by overnight carrier.
Vehicle, boat and trailer insurance — you will need vehicle insurance on your vehicle and boat trailer written by a Mexican insurance carrier. You current (local) insurance agent may be able to provide this coverage but many people buy this coverage online. Try http://www.bajabound.com/ to buy this insurance. For your boat, property damage insurance is not required but liability is.
Car, boat and trailer registration — be sure to take these documents with you.
Here is a useful link with lots of information:
DRIVING TO SAN CARLOS
Please check out this site for comprehensive information on traveling to San Carlos:
It is best to cross the border at the Mariposa truck crossing. As you reach Nogales, take the Hwy 189 exit off I-19 and proceed west. After crossing the border, the road south is a four lane toll road. There is a border station immediately after crossing the border on the truck route which you do not have to stop at. However one mile further on is an inspection station where either a red or green light will flash. A green light you proceed and a red light you stop for inspection. Further down the road is the Mexican immigration facility at Kilometer 21. Here you will obtain your travel visa. It is free if you plan to stay one week or less. There is a fee for the 6 month visa. You may also exchange your dollars for pesos here although you can use cash machines in San Carlos to do this. You may be able to obtain a boat permit may at Kilometer 21 but it is recommended that you purchase it online in advance. There are three toll stations along the way which take pesos or dollars and give change in pesos so be sure you have some cash available. The bypass around Hermosillo can be a little confusing the first time through. (As of June, 2015 the bypass is under construction. It is best to go through downtown Hermosillo. Pay attention and follow the signs to Guaymus). Always travel during daylight hours. If you want to see what the drive looks like, check out this time lapse movie taken by club member Bill Ahrens:
Driving to San Carlos Time Lapse
YOUR BOAT IN SAN CARLOS
If you plan to launch and/or store your boat in San Carlos, you may want to look at the Marina San Carlos web site at http://marinasancarlos.com/. Marina Seca is the marina’s storage facility located 1/2 mile inland from the marina. They provide excellent facilities and a friendly staff.
Marina San Carlos will require proof of liability insurance on your boat, a copy of your boat import permit and your boat & trailer registration forms.
PLEASE REMEMBER YOU ARE ENTERING A FOREIGN COUNTRY AND DUE DILIGENCE IS REQUIRED ON THE PART OF THE TRAVELER TO BE SURE THEY MEET THE CURRENT PROTOCOL FOR DOCUMENTS AND INSPECTIONS. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ABOVE SHOULD BE A STARTING PLACE ONLY IN YOUR DUE DILIGENCE TO BE SURE THAT PROTOCOL HAS BEEN MET.