Immigration and Customs forms Mexico and United States


When you leave the US or Canada for your vacation in Mexico, be prepared to fill out Customs and Immigration forms. It is helpful to know what these forms look like and what questions you will be asked.

The first two scans are your FMM, or Tourist Visa. You will be given this form to fill out while on the plane before you arrive to Mexico. This is a simple form that just requires the info directly off your passport.

When you arrive to Cancun International Airport, the first stop after getting off the plane will be at Immigration. Here the immigration officer will take the FMM form you filled out, keep the blue side and give you back the green side. The blue side is your Entry into Mexico and the green side is your departure visa when you leave Mexico. It is VERY IMPORTANT to keep the green part (with your passport) as you MUST have this to leave Mexico. What happens if you lose your FMM Tourist Visa while in Mexico. Every person must fill this out.

Also during your flight to Mexico you will be given a Customs Declaration form. Each head of household needs to fill this out. Again it asks for your basic passport info, how long you will be in Mexico, and how much luggage you have. Most importantly it asks if you are carrying 10,000 US Dollars or more, any meat, food, plants, chemicals, weapons, or merchandise for which you need to pay duty.

After you land and clear immigration, your next stop will be to pickup your luggage and go to customs. Your luggage will go through x-ray and you will hand the customs agent the form. There is a button that each person must push. If the button light turns green then you proceed to pickup your scanned luggage. If the button light turns red, your luggage will be searched.

When you leave Mexico you will surrender your FMM Tourist Visa and you will fill out the US Customs Declaration form. The US wants to know about your travel, where you’ve been and where you are going. The form asks again if you are bringing cash, meat, plants, merchandise, etc. You will give this form to the Customs agent when you land in the US.

For more information about traveling to Mexico and the paperwork you need to fill out, please visit

Daylight Saving Time – Mexico changes time 1 month after the US and Canada 2013


Except for the border states, Mexico daylight saving time begins at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday in April. Daylight saving time ends on the last Sunday in October. However those are different dates than in the US and in Canada. There is almost a full month of confusion between the date the US changes time and date Mexico changes time.

2013 Daylight Saving Time Dates
Set Clock ahead Set Clock back
USA & Canada March 10 November 4
Mexico April 7 October 27

Exceptions: State of Sonora and Ten Municipalities along the northern border.

Here in Cancun we are on Central Standard Time, but from March 10th to April 7th we are on a different CST than in the US and Canada. Crazy, right?

Many people are confused during this time, especially when it comes to their [Read more…]

New attractions in Cancun: Flyboard & Jetpack


There are 2 new and ultra-adventure activities in Cancun: The Flyboard and the Jetpack. Both use the same idea of water propulsion to lift a person into the air and across the water using Personal Water Craft (PWC) propulsion.

The Flyboard straps your feet onto a board much like a snowboard and your arms are strapped onto hand jets. The hose is connected to a JetSki that provides the water pressure. You maneuver by shifting your weight on the board and using the hand jets.

flyboard cancun

There are 6 locations to try the Flyboarding experience in Cancun or the Riviera Maya:

  1. Temptation Resort- Albatros Marina Blvd. Kukulcan Km 3.5 Hotel Zone
  2. Hotel Presidente Intercontinental- Marina Coco Tours‎ Blvd. Kukulcan Km 7.5 Hotel Zone
  3. Royal Resorts- Thomas More Travel Blvd. Kukulcan Km 16 Hotel Zone
  4. Kool Beach Club- Dani Sailing 28 Norte Mza 10, Lote 8 Centro, Playa del Carmen
  5. Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya- Marina Hotel Valentin Carretera Federal 307 Km 311, North Playa del Carmen (Playa Paraiso)
  6. The Royal Playa del Carmen Beach Hotel Constituyentes 2 Playa del Carmen

Basic Flight 20 minutes flight time for $100 USD, or you can upgrade to the Premium for $150 and get a full HD video of your flight. You will learn the basics of Flyboard flight with your Certified Flight Instructor. Book Now

Requirements: Minimum age 18 years, be a good swimmer and not have fear of heights, obviously.


Much like the Flyboard, the Jetpack attaches a water hose to a jetski with the equipment needed for water propulsion. A flexible water supply hose delivers power to the jetpack with pressurized water.

jetpack cancun

Jetpack is located at Plaza La Isla Mall Blvd Kukulcan, KM 12.5 Cancun Hotel Zone

Price is $149 for the Basic 20 minutes or upgrade to the 30 minute Premium for $199.Book Now

You must be 18 years of age to fly, however 16 or 17 year olds may fly with written consent from a parent or guardian.
Height requirement: between 5 feet and 6 feet 6 inches tall and a maximum waist of 46 inches. You must also be a good swimmer.

Mayan Museum open in Cancun



On November 1, 2012, Cancun opened a new Maya Museum in the hotel zone, located at KM 16 Blvd Kukulkan. Investments of $15 million was used to launch the project; about 70% of which was obtained from the federal government through the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

The Maya Museum exhibits over 350 archaeological artifacts including relics that have never been shown as well as others that were discovered in recent excavations. The museum has three exhibition halls; two are permanent and one is for temporary venue for national and international exhibitions. One exhibit in particular is quite remarkable: a 14,000-year-old skeletal Mayan remains discovered in the underwater caves at Tulum.

Maya Museum hours are on Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 7 PM, with extended hours on Thursday (7 AM to 10 PM). Tickets cost $5 USD per person for access to both the Maya Museum and Mayan ruins of San Miguelito, next to the museum. Kids under 13 and adults over 60 years old get free admission. On Sunday, admission is free to local residents with official identification.

Photos courtesy of J. Michel Photography

Lost Tourist Visa Card – What happens if you lose your tourist visa while in Mexico?


When you arrive to Cancun International Airport you are issued an FMM form (Forma Migratoria Multiple). This form is your Tourist Visa. The Immigration agent at the Cancun Airport will stamp it and give you half of it to keep until you leave Mexico. Most visas are valid for 30, 60 or 90 days. You MUST keep up with this important document. Put it with your passport and your [Read more…]

5K race on Isla Mujeres Feb 9, 2013


There is a 5K Run / Walk race on Isla Mujeres on February 9th to benefit the stray dogs and cats on the island. The money raised will help provide the spay and neuter clinics, as well as animal adoption efforts.

The race will start and finish at JAX Bar & Grill, the starting time is 8:00 AM.

Adult women
Adult men
Girls 17 and under
Boys 17 and under
Teams – 5 person

Entry Fee: $30.00 USD

Come over to Isla Mujeres to run for this wonderful cause.

5K Race Isla Mujeres

Road Trip to Mayan Ruins – Part 2 Chichen Itza


Chichen Iza

We left Ek Balam and headed back to the toll road, Hwy 180, and headed west toward Merida. There will be another toll plaza, where the right lane exits to Chichen Itza and pay $59 pesos. You have 10-15 minutes to go and just follow the signs. We encountered some road work in the town and it was hard to see the sign. But you make a left where you must go left or right. This trip is roughly 50 km / 35 mi. and just under an hour. Parking was $22 pesos.

Chichen Itza Ruins

Chichen Itza Ruins

Entrance tickets to Chichen Itza were $177 for Foreigners, $125 for Nationals and Students with an FM2 or FM3, and $38 if you have the INAPAM (basically a Mexican AARP card). Students must have serious proof to get the lower rate, being Estudiante on your FM2 or 3, or a valid student ID from your school. Sundays are free for Nationals, Students and those with INAPAM cards. This is quite a commercial place as you will see. Guides are available and the prices are posted. $60 US but you can share that with a small group. We were approached by a man, 84 years old, who was not an official guide and offered to guide us for $400 pesos, came down to $300 and, after we visited the restrooms, came at us again for $200. We later saw him with a group of four people so free enterprise seemed alive and well.

Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and is most depicted in photos of the majestic El Castillo (The Castle), and is 25 meters/82 feet high. It is straight ahead as you enter the park and you are drawn to it. It is a captivating experience and we could not get enough pictures of this marvelous site. You can no longer climb El Castillo. If you stand in front of the pyramids as you travel around Mexico, you will often see guides and visitors clapping in unison. The acoustics reflect the sounds back [Read more…]

Mayan Calendar Dec 21, 2012 – What is supposed to happen?


There is a lot of talk about December 21, 2012 and the supposedly “end of the world” prediction by the Mayan people. It is hard to find the truth in all the hype. What did the Mayans really mean when they stopped their calendar on Dec 21? Is this the end?

Mayan Calendar

Mayan Calendar

No, it is not the end at all, however the Mayan calendar is not easily understood. This lack of understanding has lead to many far-fetched and crazy predictions on the internet. Some people are planning for 3 days of total darkness.  Really? Do you think the sun will shut off for 3 days?

According to Rosalind Joyce, a professor of anthropology at University of California, Berkeley and a leading scholar on the ancient culture of Central America, “the Maya never did predict the end of the world,” she said.

The Maya calendar counts long cycles of 144,000 days, called b’ak’tun. The Maya count back epochs over many cycles and then forward for thousands of years.

“The ancient Maya had a concept of long, continuous time on their calendar, but never an ‘end time,’ ” Joyce said. According to their calendar this is now the 13th b’ak’tun cycle, and it does end on Dec. 21, or Mayan date: But the cycle will then begin again as the 14th cycle, and there will always be another new b’ak’tun cycle.

So what is supposed to happen during this time of transition from the end of one cycle to the beginning of the next? To get some solid answers, let’s look at the cycles throughout history.

A b’ak’tun is a period of 144,000 days (about 393 years) in the Maya Long Count. Guatemalan writer Gaspar Pedro González says that it is an especially important time unit, “used for describing the creations of humans and of the world”. Some historians have said that there is a direct correlation between major world events and the ending of b’aktun cycles.

The Maya people consider thirteen to be a sacred number so the completion of 13 b’ak’tun cycles makes December 21, 2012 even more important. Add to that the fact that Mayans Long Count’s “zero date” was set at a point in the past marking the end of the third world and the beginning of the current one. This means that the fourth world will also have reached the end of its 13th b’ak’tun, on 21 December 2012

There is so much hype on the internet about this time, it is difficult to tell the science from the science fiction. Damien Melis from the Gippsland Mexican Arts Group says the Mayan prophecies don’t predict the end of the world, rather an evolution of the human mind and spirit. This time of transition is supposed to bring about enlightenment and new knowledge about human-kind and the universe. We can only hope that this truly does happen.

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you are planning a trip to one of the Mayan Ruins in Mexico during this time, be prepared for crowds of people flocking to Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum. We offer an inexpensive way to see Chichen Itza for on $47 per person.

Turtles hatching in Cancun


During our day pass at Golden Parnassus we had the unique opportunity to witness the hatching of the sea turtles on the Cancun beaches. There were several areas fenced off where the turtles made their nests.

Turtles hatching in Cancun

Turtles hatching in Cancun

The turtle conservationist there started digging in one of the mounds until he was elbow-deep into the nest. Then, he gently removed turtle after turtle, 100 in all. They woke up after a few minutes and became very active. After we scrubbed our hands with sand we were allowed to hold one very briefly. Careful not to touch their bellies, we held a newly-hatched baby sea turtle. Amazing.

These baby turtles did not go straight to the ocean. We were told they needed 24 hours [Read more…]

Day Trip to Playa del Carmen


We’ve seen the beaches in Cancun, ate at the popular restaurants, and we’ve been to the shopping centers here, so we decided to spend our day off this week in Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen is located 1 hour south of Cancun. It is referred to as simply “Playa”. Since a few margaritas were in our future we opted to take the ADO Bus instead of driving ourselves.

ADO bus depot in Cancun

ADO bus depot in Cancun

The bus costs $48 pesos ($3.70 USD) per person each way. From the hotel zone you can take the R-1 Bus to the ADO bus depot. At the depot you can buy a ticket to almost anywhere. We only had to wait about 2 minutes for the next bus to depart Cancun. The bus was comfortable and quite. In 1 hour we were arriving to Playa del Carmen. The bus depot in Playa is right on the famous 5th Ave, very close to the ferry dock that goes to Cozumel. We did not need any other transportation while in Playa.
If you hover over the little blue square on the map you can see the ADO Bus Depot. From there we walked northeast on 5th Ave. Our first stop was 3 blocks away from the beach to this cool little area with a handful of food carts in a small park. For only 20 pesos we got lechon tortas (pulled pork & onion sandwiches) that were really tasty.

The shops on Playa’s 5th Ave. are super chic and you can buy almost anything you need. Silver, swimsuits,  cigars, clothes, hammocks, jewelry, in addition to souvenirs of all kinds. While we do get some of the aggressive sales tactics of the vendors on the street yelling “Come into my shop, I have what you need!” it is less aggressive than the markets in Cancun.

After we walked the entire length of 5th Ave and we were done shopping, we cut back to the beach. The beach is Playa is wide and perfect white powdery sand. The waves roll in with less force than in Cancun’s ocean side hotel zone. Playa’s beaches are full of beach bars  and restaurants with lounge chairs and umbrellas. There are relaxing cabanas where you can get a massage for about $18 USD for 30 minutes. By this time is was afternoon and we were ready for a cold beer on the beach. Beers are about 30 pesos each and that was just what we needed.

Beach at Playa del Carmen

Beach at Playa del Carmen

Females have the freedom to go topless on the beaches of Playa del Carmen. This is not the case in Cancun. Playa has many European vacationers [Read more…]

Gran Melia Cancun changed to the Paradisus Cancun


Announced in November, 2012, the Hotel Gran Melia in Cancun has changed it’s name to the Paradisus Cancun. The hotel has 678 suites, 7 restaurants and a bar / restaurant perfect for chilling out. The hotel also has a 9 hole par 3 golf course.

Paradisus Cancun Resort

Paradisus Cancun Resort

Paradisus Cancun is located at KM 16.5, in the heart of the hotel zone.

Arriving to the Cancun Airport – What to expect


When I arrived to Cancun Airport I took this video so you can see exactly what it looks like. I could only start filming after customs and immigration. The video starts right after customs. Please excuse the loud background noise.

This is at Terminal 2. Cancun International Airport (CUN) has 3 terminals. Terminal 1 is the FBO / charter terminal. Here are the airlines that use Terminal 2 and Terminal 3:

Terminal 2 Terminal 3
Air Canada AA
Air Transat Delta
AirTran Frontier
CanJet Spirit
Condor Sun Country
Copa Thomson
Cubana United
First Choice US Air
Jet Blue Virgin America
SunWing USA 3000
Viva AeroBus


For a more complete list of the Airlines arriving and departing from the Cancun Airport including contact info, check out CARM Airline Directory.

Here I am with my best friend TJ after we exited the airport and found our sign. Our driver, Augustine, was waiting for us.

CARM airport Sign

Trina & TJ at the Cancun Airport with CARM greeter

Then it was a swift and safe ride to Cancun! You can book the same private airport transfer service to any resort in Cancun or the Riviera Maya here.

Animal Shelter in Cancun


There are several really great organizations in Cancun to help with the large population of stray cats and dogs. The problem is that all of these shelters are relying on outside donations to keep their doors open. Cancun, as far as I know, does not have a city, state, or federally funded program at all.

A very good friend of ours had a large yard and started taking in street dogs and cats. Before he knew it he had 20 dogs and his yard was full, not to mention his neighbors did not like it one bit. So he moved out of Cancun about 25 kilometers to a place with LOTS of land. Now his animal shelter Tierra de Animales is home to over 200 dogs and [Read more…]

Golden Parnassus – Day Pass


We spent the day at our favorite Adult Only All Inclusive resort, the Golden Parnassus. Since we live in Cancun we try to do a ‘stay-cation’ as often as we can afford it. We have 3 doggies at home, so a day pass works well for us.

Breakfast is a treat. The Golden Parnassus has an omelette grill to get your eggs cooked anyway you like. Lots of fresh fruit and all the usual American breakfast foods are on the buffet.

Next we head out to the pool to soak up the warm Cancun sun. The hotel is perfect for us because they do play some music, but not loud and they do have some entertainment, but not crazy. Just very relaxing. We order a couple of drinks before we find the perfect one. Miami Vice, piña colada, sex on the beach…nah, too sweet. We switched to beer by afternoon.

Now it’s time for lunch. [Read more…]

Road Trip to Mayan Ruins – Part 1


Recently I went on a Road Trip with three friends. We visited ten of the Yucatan’s most special locations.

In order, we visited the archaeological zones of Ek Balam, Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak, aka Xlapac, Labna, Izamal and Coba. We also visited the famous caverns of Grutas de Loltun (31 km after Labna).

Join us on our journey . . .

. . .  We began early on a Friday. Hopping on the toll road it was an easy 1:45, 150 km / 95 miles to the Tizimin exit. This is immediately before the loop exit to Valladolid. There is a toll of $241 pesos a bit before the exit.

Mayan Ruins at Ek Balam

Mayan Ruins at Ek Balam

Heading north, you take a right after about ten minutes.

This road is a slow drive with lots of [Read more…]

Packing List Guidelines


When packing for your Cancun vacation, be sure to prepare your checked luggage and carry-on luggage properly. This will help avoid delays at the airport and will make security check-in a breeze.

Packing List Guidelines
Know the 3-1-1 rule. This rule applies to CARRY ON luggage. You can have your liquids and gels in 3 ounce bottles (no bigger).  All of your 3 oz. bottles need to fit inside 1 Quart-size zip lock bag. Each traveler is allowed 1 zip lock per carry on luggage only.

Now that you know the 3-1-1 rule, let’s start packing!

First, check out our Packing List. Next, let’s prepare for the flight.  Here are some great travel tips:

1. Wear slip-on sandals that are easy off and on. This can save a ton of time while you remove and replace your shoes at the airport security.

2. Bring a word puzzle or book.  3 hours or more on a flight is a lot of time to kill.

3. Bring a travel pillow and blanket or jacket. The inside temp is difficult to control. On one flight I was freezing, and on the next I was sweating. Be prepared for both.

4. Wear layers. This way you can remove your jacket or sweater when you arrive to the much warmer climates of Mexico.

5. Bring earbuds to listen to the in-flight videos, weather & movies.

Our friends at have made this great little video about the items most people forget to pack:

If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear from you!

New Site Design


Hi everyone!

We just launched our new site design for CARM.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

The navigation is totally new and we will be adding beach photos and a weekly weather update shortly.  Give us your thoughts and opinions.


Trina & Tomas