Baja Tips for Real Estate Buyers & Visitors in Rosarito Beach, Baja California
NOTE: First Time Homeowners and Buyers in Baja,
Please stop at the border on entering, in the right lane and obtain your FMT!
This 6 month tourist visa is required, technically, if in Baja for more than 3 days, and is also required
to enter into any significant financial or business transaction, including an offer on Real Estate.
The cost is $20USD and can be easily obtained in a matter of minutes. Be Wise, Be Safe.
The following information is courtesy of the State’s Secretariat of Tourism www.discoverbajacalifornia.com
Greetings, this page contains basic information meant to help you understand and comply with the different laws and regulations in place, as well as tips on how to have a safe and pleasant experience in Rosarito, as well as the rest of Baja California.
We strongly suggest that you take the time to read the information contained in this section and we also remind you that during your stay, you can call our Tourist Assistance Hot Line, by dialing 078 from any public and private phone.
Our Tourist Assistance Office will provide you with general travel information and will also help in any emergency situation.
We sincerely appreciate your visit and we hope you enjoy your stay.
Emergency Tourist Assistance Hot Line dial 078
* Mexican laws apply equally to local residents as well as visitors, remember to be respectful, don’t do things
that you wouldn’t do back home and always use common sense.
* It’s important to always have a valid photo I.D.
* If you plan on driving, it is very important that you consider buying Mexican Auto Insurance; you will save a
lot of time and hassle in case of an accident.
* It is against the law for anyone to bring into México:
* 1. Firearms, cartridges, bullet clips, explosives, chemical substances associated with weapons, ammunition, munitions, and other weapons.( Unauthorized buying and selling such items in México is a federal crime carrying severe penalties.)
* Narcotics and other street drugs.
* Tourists are allowed to enter Mexico with their personal effects and other articles necessary for their stay
in the country. The Customs General Office distributes brochures describing duty-free articles.
* Upon entry to México, declare all electronic equipment valued at more than 50 dollars. You could be asked
to provide a receipt for each item showing the value
* Carrying, possessing, selling or transporting weapons without a permit is a federal offense in México.
* Importing hunting weapons requires an updated permit, which may be granted by any Mexican consulate.
As opposed to mainland México, Baja California's water has been considered safe for years. In addition,
there is a Mexican federal law stating that restaurants must serve purified, "drinkable" water, tested free of
contaminants both for drinking and for ice.
Most Hotels in Baja California also provide bottled or purified water in guest rooms and popular international
brands of bottled water are available for purchase virtually everywhere.
On the road
* Make sure to have a valid driver’s license and registration for your vehicle.
* Car insurance is not mandatory but it’s highly recommended. There are many companies along the USA-Mexico border that sell Mexican car insurance by the day, week or month. Keep in mind that most US insurance policies don’t provide coverage while driving in Mexico. (MLSbaja.com NOTE: Even though not mandatory, please understand that WITH Mexican Insurance, should you be involved in a collision, or worse, your insurance adjuster will immediately be dispatched to the scene to act on your behalf, just ask the police to do so. Without a policy, your vehicle will most likely be impounded immediately with no certainty on when or how you will get it back....GET INSURANCE!)
* Be aware that speed limits in México are set in kilometers (1 mile= 1.6 kms.) for example speed limit on highways is 55 Miles per hour and within city limits it averages 25 miles per hour.
* While driving respect and obey traffic signs, don’t drink and drive.
* It is a traffic violation to use a cellular phone wile driving in the state of Baja California
* Always use your seatbelt.
* If your car breaks down, turn on your flashers and raise the hood.
* If you must abandon your car, park safely and keep all passengers together.
* Along certain Mexican roads and highways you will find military checkpoints where you may be subjected to a routine search. Please cooperate, be patient and before you know it, you will be on your way.
* Do not advertise you are a visitor. Place maps, travel brochures and valuables in the glove compartment or trunk once you get to your destination. Carry wallets, checkbooks and purses with you.
* Always lock your car and take the keys. Don’t hide a spare key on your vehicle.
* Never leave your vehicle with the engine running.
* Park in well-lighted, busy areas.
* Whenever you stop overnight, remove bags and other valuables from the car and take them to your room.
* If your vehicle is stolen, you should immediately call our Tourist Assistance Hotline 078 they will direct you on how to go about filing a report with the Deputy DA Office (Ministerio Publico). Just show any document that proves ownership of the stolen vehicle. The Deputy DA will take a report and open an investigation.
They will provide FREE road assistance to visitors in case of a vehicle malfunction while on Mexican highways. They also have a communication network with different government offices and offer basic tourist information. (Look for the green pick up trucks; they are constantly patrolling the highways and are there for you)
24 hours / 7 days a week Baja California Highways Emergency Toll Free Numbers:
* 01 800 990 3900: Tijuana – Ensenada & El Hongo – La Rumorosa Toll Roads
* 01 800 888 0911: Tijuana – Tecate Toll Road
You can dial this numbers from any conventional or cell phone; they will direct emergency assistance to you including towing services to the nearest toll gate or mechanic in the area.
If you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation in Tijuana or Rosarito, you should always politely insist on a written citation that you could pay either at the police station, or by mail. Tickets issued in Tijuana can be paid in the USA with a check or money order made out to: H. Ayuntamiento de Tijuana, 416 West San Ysidro Blvd. Suite “L”, No. 725, San Ysidro, CA 92143. Tickets issued In Rosarito can be paid in the USA with a check or money order made out to: H. Ayuntamiento de Rosarito, P.O. Box 439060 San Diego, CA 92143-9060. For the cities of Ensenada, San Felipe, Tecate and Mexicali, traffic fines must be paid at the police station.
When faced with a fine that you consider unfair, you can contest the fine by filling an appeal (Recurso de Inconformidad), either in person or in writing, for a municipal judge to review. To do this, immediately go to the nearest municipal judge within the police station; if you need information on how to do this, call our Tourist Assistance Hot Line 078.
Traffic Fines vary by city: (fines are in Mexican Pesos)
* For running a red light. From $ 261.90 up to $ 654.75 (around USA $25 to 62)
* For not having or not using the seat belt. From $ 261.90 up to $ 654.75 (around USA $25 to 62)
* For using cellular phone while driving. From $ 261.90 up to $ 654.75 (around USA $25 to 62)
* For driving without a valid driver’s license or car registration. From $ 261.90 up to $ 654.75 (around USA
$25 to 62)
* For drinking alcoholic beverages on the streets, sidewalks or public property. From $ 873.50 up to
1,309.50 (around USA $83 to 125)
* For exceeding the speed limit. From $ 873.50 up to 1,309.50 (around USA $83 to 125)
* For driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) In addition to the fine, you may also be detained.
From $ 1,264.50 up to $1,571.40 (around USA $120 to 150)
What should I do if I find myself in a traffic accident
* Dial the state wide Emergency Response Hotline 066 (equivalent to 911 in the USA) from any private or public telephone, to notify the authorities. Ask that a policeman and a police accident investigator come to the scene. If you have any questions, call the Tourist Assistance Hotline 078.
* Do not move the vehicles that are involved in the accident and wait for the police accident investigator to arrive at the scene.
* You should call your vehicle insurance company representative.
* Once the police accident investigator has determined who’s at fault, you will be asked to go to the nearest police station, to discuss with other party involved possible mutual settlement agreement concerning payment for repairs, thus avoiding the State DA’s office
* At the police station, if necessary, you have the right to ask for an attorney.
* If someone is injured in the accident, no matter how slightly, the person alleged to have been at fault must go before the State DA’s Office.
* You should find out if your medical insurance policy applies when traveling abroad or overseas. Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
* Ask your hotel staff or at any visitor information center in this brochure for directions and bus routes available to and from your destination.
* Public transportation systems in Baja California a operated by private entities.
* Fares vary by area or route. Make sure to ask for fare before boarding and if possible, have exact change available.
* When using a taxicab make sure to negotiate the fare before boarding.
* Always ask for directions to the sites or places you want to visit.
* City and road maps are available at your hotel or at any of the visitor centers listed in this page.
* If you get lost find an open business and ask for directions or call our Tourist Assistance Hotline 078.
* Avoid driving isolated highways at night and if possible avoid traveling alone.
* Visitors can be targets for pickpockets. Stay alert to what’s going on around you.
Hotel / Motel Safety
* Take valuables with you or leave them in the hotel safety deposit box.
* Never leave money, checks, credit cards, jewelry and other valuables, extra room keys or car keys in the room.
* Report any lost or stolen items to the management and to the police, if you require further assistance call our Tourist Assistance Hotline 078.
* Determine the easiest route to and from your room to the fire escapes, elevators and nearest Telephone.
* Use all auxiliary locking devices on doors and windows.
* Use the door viewer to identify anyone requesting entry.
* Report to the management any suspicious activities in the corridors or rooms.
Beach / Ocean Safety
* Check with the lifeguards about safety conditions around the beach and water areas and tell your kids about unsafe conditions or non-swimming areas.
* Beware of rip currents
* If your children become separated from you, have them contact a lifeguard or police officer for help.
* Observe posted signs around the beach area.
* Do not touch wildlife on the beach or in the tide pools.
* Do not carry glass containers to the beach.
* If you are going to leave valuables in your car, place them in your trunk or conceal them before you arrive at your destination.
* Drinking alcohol is illegal at all public areas.
* Whether you are skating or riding the waves, don’t forget the protective gear, sunscreen and drinking water
* When visiting local attractions, dress kids in bright clothing and designate a meeting site for lost family members. For small children, write down their names and where they are staying and put the paper in their pockets.
* Instruct kids not to open hotel room doors to people they don’t know.
* Make sure kids are familiar with hotel / motel escape routes. Discuss which adult is responsible for which child/children in an emergency.
* When in a car in Baja California, children 3 years old or under must be in an approved safety seat.
* Never leave children alone in a car.
Buying Medicine/ Prescription Drugs
* When buying any type of medication, make sure that there is no restriction for its purchase over the counter.
* If a prescription is needed, be sure to have one issued by a Mexican doctor.
* It is strictly prohibited to have excessive quantities of controlled medicines in your possession.
* Remember that if you purchase any medicine requiring a prescription and you buy it over the counter, you
are at risk of being detained by the police authorities.
* Use common sense.
* For more information on bringing prescription into USA visit the Customs Internet site: http://www.customs.ustreas.gov
* You will find ATM´s at all major bank branches throughout the State.
* ATM´s in Mexico can be used with most USA issued credit and debit cards that operate in the Cirrus or
Plus system. Look for the logo on the back of your card.
* ATM´s provide only Mexican currency. (Pesos)
* Law enforcement authorities are always on the lookout for people that pray on unsuspecting visitors.
When using an ATM machine make sure that no one is looking to surprise you and please contact the
police if you feel it necessary.
* Never give your credit card or secret access number to anyone.
Taking Care of Valuables & Documents
* Make a photocopy of your passport, credit cards and tickets before leaving home and store copies in the
* Keep a record of you traveler checks and credit cards serial numbers in a separate and safe place in case
they are lost or stolen. (Travel checks are not widely accepted in Baja California, personal checks are not
* Keep track of your plane or bus tickets.
* While sightseeing or walking on the streets, we suggest carrying your purse in front of you and wallet in
your front pocket.
* Carry only the cash you need in small denominations and never discuss your plans or the amount of
money you are carrying.
* Don’t be flashy with you money, jewelry of other objects of value
* The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 years of age.
* You should always carry a valid ID when visiting bars or nightclubs.
* It’s unlawful to drink on the streets or in your car.
* Do not drink excessively, “smart drinking” is always recommended when visiting bars or nightclubs.
* If you plan on staying out late, make sure someone accompanies you.
* When going to a bar or nightclub, always be aware of what you are being served and never leave your
* You may be vulnerable when visiting the local "red light districts," particularly if you are departing alone in
the early hours of the morning. Use common sense.
What can I be arrested for while in Baja California?
* Disturbing the peace or being a public nuisance.
* Drinking in public.
* Nudity or immoral conduct.
* Use, production or sale of false documents.
* Possession, introduction, or use of any weapon.
* Possession, introduction or consumption of restricted drugs. (Note : Most drugs that are restricted in the U.
S. are also restricted in Mexico.)
* Drunk driving or being under the influence of drugs.
* Causing an auto accident or injuring someone.
If you are arrested, you should call our Tourist Assistance Hot Line 078 and ask them to notify the
Consulate from your country. Consular officers can work to protect your legitimate interests. They can
provide you with a list of local attorneys, contact your family or friends, transfer money, food and clothing to
Baja California offers you excellent shopping options. Most times prices are lower than the U.S. especially in
fragrances, jewelry, art objects, cosmetics and Textiles, you will find the best of all the art crafts from all
regions of México: high quality ceramics, guitars, blown glass, wrought iron and silver, among others.
The sales and service tax, is known as the Value Added Tax (IVA) and is 10% of the bill. Hotels, moreover,
will add a 2% Tax to your room rate.
Federal Agency of Consumers Affairs:
The Federal Agency of Consumer Affairs (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor PROFECO) promotes and
protects consumer rights, and resolves conflicts between consumers and suppliers of goods and services,
and assists you in case a product or service provided by hotels, travel agencies, restaurants or merchants
in tourist areas does not comply with stipulations.
When purchasing a product or hiring out a service, you must assure yourself that it is in good condition and
you should request a receipt, invoice or purchase order that proves your payment of the service or
acquisition of the product.
If you wish to file a complaint within Mexican territory, you can e-mail the Federal Consumer Protection
Agency (PROFECO) foreign travelers unit at: email@example.com their telephone number in
Mexico City is (011 52) 55 52 11 20 52 or (011 52) 55 52 11 17 23, they will follow-up on you complaint and
will keep you up-dated throughout the process, from the convenience of you place of residence, or you can
contact our Tourist Assistance Hotline 078. During you visit to Baja California
If you feel that any public official or law enforcement authority has mistreated you, you can file a complaint.
Make sure to get the persons name, agency, badge or patrol car number, as well as place and time of the
incident and report it immediately to our Tourist Assistance Hotline 078.
It is against the law for anyone to take out of México
* Archeological jewels or gems or historical objects.
* Wild flora or fauna.
* All substances, products, goods and items regulated by Mexican trade laws.
Items that you cannot bring back into the USA:
* Fruits and vegetables that are not on the “permitted list”
* Pork meat (canned pork meat is permitted).
* Chicken meat (cooked meat is permitted).
* Cuban cigars.
* More than one liter of alcoholic beverage per person, (21 years of age or older)
* More than $ 10,000 dollars (without declaring the amount to U.S. Bureau of Customs & Border Protection).
For more information you can log on the www.customs.gov web site
*this information is courtesy of the State’s Secretariat of Tourism www.discoverbajacalifornia.com