Although we had lived on the north coast of the Yucatan peninsula, and in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, we hadn’t ventured any farther south than Tulum—until it became a necessity when arranging to ship our vehicle out of Mexico. One of the bureaucratic hoops to jump thru’ was having to appear in person at a Mexican land border crossing to receive a refund of the deposit on our Mexican Vehicle Permit.
As we were residing in Cancun, our closest land border crossing was Belize—a mere 4 hour drive (each way) to get our deposit! The upside was touring that beautiful coast; downside included getting targeted by a local moto-cop while passing thru’ the not-touristy Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Language can be a barrier, and at times like these, that barrier can be beneficial. Although we understood what he kept repeating (that we had sped thru’ a school zone and had to pay him $2000 pesos) the ‘don’t understand’ tac was taken and eventually he gave up his miserable agenda, when getting thru’ to us became too frustrating. He drove off in a huff…we wiped our brows and continued on.
Another downside (at the border) was being denied a refund of our deposit, due to a 1-day overrun of the expiry date. The permit was for 180 days—I assumed that to be 6 months, but exact calendar days are used to calculate. That put us 1 day late, resulting in ‘No Refund”! Quite a disappointment, putting it mildly…but the next downside was worse…
That calendar calculation also indicated our 180-day personal visas had expired! Usually no problem—simply drive across the border to Belize, turn around and re-enter Mexico, get stamped for another 6 months. That’s what some X-Pats have done for years to extend their stay. Well, as our luck was having it that day, we were told foreigners were not permitted to do that anymore. We would have to cross into Belize and stay there a minimum 3 days before being permitted to re-enter Mexico.
Not prepared, or wanting, to travel into Belize, a financial arrangement was made with border officials, and we thankfully U-turned, re-entered Mexico, stayed a night in Chetumal, and returned to Cancun next day.