FAQ is contained within a separate post and comments will stay open indefinitely. Answers will be updated when necessary. Although I hate to censor, our policy here is that flaming and spam will be deleted immediately.
That piece of paper is usually given to you at check-in or during the flight. It is a Mexican immigrant tourist visa and they require you to fill it out and check in with it upon arrival. The cost was added to your air ticket. Immediately after leaving the aircraft at LTO (Loreto International), you wait in line and then go through immigration. There each individual’s entry is documented. They keep a portion of the paper and return the stub to you. You will then go through customs, then you can leave the terminal.
Upon departing, this visa stub must be presented by you at check in for the flight. There is a fine for replacing it if it is lost, but try hard not to lose it. It is best kept with your Passport.
Aside from this, THEY HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO AUTHORIZATION TO ASK YOU TO HAND OVER OR TO LOOK AT YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS. For them to do so is a legal offense and it should be reported immediately. As per the law, they must prominently display their photo ID permit to be inside that area of the airport. Now that you know they cannot ask for your official documents, you may notify them by name if they try commit this offense on you. Even if you don’t intend to report their behavior, you’ll surely be messing with them.
This anecdote comes from our visiting tourists who have described the offense -
The tactic goes like this: the nice salesperson strikes up a pleasant conversation and offers to help you as you are leaving the vestibule area, then they ask to see your travel documents. Suddenly the concept of going on a “90 minute presentation” starts up. Just as you tell them that you would rather gouge out your eyes with hot pokers instead of attend a high pressure sales event, they refrain from giving you back your official documents. They do this to hold you there as long as possible and get you sucked in. Of course by now you probably want to gouge out their eyes with hot pokers but instead you remain calm.
It doesn’t have to be this way because now you know that your travel documents should be stowed away as soon as you clear customs. Now hassle free, you breeze through “the gauntlet” and headed straight for a cold beer, poolside.
Unfortunately the fact presented above are true, and I am ashamed for my town that businesses feel they need to operate this way. A good product usually ends up selling itself. There’s no such thing as a “free gift” or “free tour” or a “free lunch”, you get the idea.
There are different kinds of Taxis and I will attempt to explain them here:
There are airport taxis that are authorized by the Federal Government to transport tourists from the airport to their destination in town. If you have a pre-paid ground service they will be in the lobby waiting for you right after you go through “the gauntlet”. These are pre-paid and pre arranged transfers.
The timeshare company will also be happy to offer you a ride, as long as you agree to a five hour “90 minute presentation” and especially if you become the proud new fractional owner of one of their projects. Sound like fun?
The other taxi that is authorized to take you from the airport to your destination in town are the “Colectivo Taxis”. The Colectivo Taxis are painted School Bus yellow and white and have a black silhouette of an airplane on the doors (they look like this in all airports in Mexico). These mean collective taxi, as in collecting money from each passenger individually. If you don’t already have a ride set up, then this is the way to go. Somewhere, there is a sign posted in a visible way that will state the official tariffs. Look for that sign it will be in Mexican Pesos. If I get a photo of the sign I will post it here.
The airport is 3 Km from town.
Town taxis are either Blue and White for “Sitio Juarez”, or Green and White for “Sitio Loreto”. The Sitio is the name of the taxi company or concession. Rates are posted in front of the taxi stand but generally it costs $50 from point A to point B in town. They can take you anywhere, many will take you to San Javier for $1,100 pesos for the day. Taxis can be hired for the day if you make a deal with the driver. They operate from Sitio Juarez on the corner of Hidalgo and Madero from 6am to 2am, and Sitio Loreto operates a block West of Tacos el Rey on Calle Juarez during the same hours. Many of the drivers speak English and have a cell phone, and will agree to go “on call” for you and also set up a deal while you’re here. They’re all nice guys and want to work.
I’ll get a list of prices for both Town Taxi Sitio’s trips and post it here in the near future.
We hope not, so we’ll do what we can to prevent it. E. coli bacteria is usually the culprit in most cases of “food poisoning” or “tourista” and generally an E. coli infection is caused by unhygienic food or drink preparation and or service.
My best advice would be to stay away from street vendors and street food during your vacation. If a food vendor does not have a clean area for patrons to wash hands and equipped with: running water, soap, clean towels, and a covered litter bin, then chances are the food preparers in the kitchen area cannot wash their hands either. Lack of clean bathroom and hand washing area is an indicator that the establishment should be avoided.
Food preparation areas must have a clean area for food preparers to wash hands, and maintain cleanliness of the food preparation area. Clean refrigerators must be available to store perishables and they must be maintained at safe temperatures. The kitchen and dining areas must be clean, insect free and street dog free. Not to dissuade diners from exploring the local culinary scene, just be aware that what is considered basic hygiene north of the border is commonly lacking here. Be aware of your surroundings and ask questions if in doubt.
Major restaurants and bars usually have very clean facilities and prepare food and drink in a safe way. Ice cubes found in drinks or crushed ice beverages are made from purified water. If in doubt ask to see the kitchen and inspect the restrooms before ordering.
There’s no reason to waste a day of your precious vacation time sick inside your hotel room. Be aware of the surroundings of the eating establishments that you will be spending money in and make your decision based on what you see. Are the salt and pepper shakers on the tables clean? Is the catsup bottle clean and presentable or is it covered in old brown catsup? Does the taco stand keep mayonnaise sitting out and uncovered? Or are condiments stored covered and refrigerated? Do the cooks cover their hair while working in the kitchen? Or is the line cook shirtless with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth? If you asked to see inside the kitchen of a major restaurant while they were not really busy, do they let you or not?
Be smart and enjoy yourself!
The brief answer is Yes, it is safe in and around Loreto for the traveler.
To go into detail, there are many arguments about the size of Mexico and where narco violence is taking place and why it is happening in those locations. We understand the media’s tactic of showing this to viewers NOTB (North of the Border) because it brings them attention and instills fear to travel. If you would analyze each of the stories and media presentations about narco violence in Mexico, you will find much information is lacking, and there is an obvious bias in the “reporting”. Unfortunately this is the kind of “news” that has been presented to us on every subject for the last several decades.
So back to the nitty gritty, is is safe here in Loreto? Yes it is. I would have no fear of walking through the city in the middle of the night or the wee morning hours if I had to. I do take common sense precautions that any thinking person would take as I would anywhere. The kinds of precautions most Americans or Canadians are accustomed to taking are good to practice here but not really necessary. It goes without saying that drinking and drug use will alter your good common sense and can lead you into a situation that is not good, but this is true everywhere.
Finally, if our safety situation here starts to pose risk to tourists we will stop conducting tours and get the hell out of here. We hope that never happens here, as we hope it never happens anywhere.
Is your billfold full of $100 bills safe on the night stand while you spend the day outdoors? As long as no-one enters the room it is! But most hotels have maid service that come into the room and clean. In addition to this there are maintenance personnel that may enter your room if required. Not to say that the hotel personnel is suspect, but accidents do happen. I have checked into a hotel on a few occasions only to find the room I just checked into was already occupied and then had to change rooms. There is also the possibility of non-hotel personnel entering a room through an unlocked door. With all of these scenarios that could possibly happen, why take a chance?Newer hotels like La Mision, and Santa Fe have in-room safes. In my opinion, ALL of the hotels should offer this service. Small electronics like iPads, net books, mp3 players fit easily inside these safes along with your credit cards, cash and travel documents. In the case that your room does not have a safe, ask the front desk to stow your valuables or take them with you, and make sure you get a written receipt for your belongings. If you’re using The Baja Big Fish Company’s service, we can take care of your valuables for as long as you’d like.
Be smart, take common sense precautions and enjoy your vacation!
It will depend on what cell service you use and if you have set it up to work in Mexico. Assuming you are using a service that is compatible with the two cell service providers in Loreto, Telcel (America Movil) and Movistar (Telefonica Mexico) your cell phone will work like a Mexican cell phone and you will need to dial as per the instructions covered in the next section “How do I dial phone numbers in Mexico? Its so confusing.” Your cell screen will show which company it is using while you are here.
There are two distinct types of telephones each with its unique instructions: cell phones and land lines.
Follow these instructions to dial a telephone number while you are in Loreto:
Dialing from your cell phone:
Assuming your cell service is working and roaming on one of the two services that operate in Loreto, you will dial your foreign cell phone as if it were a Mexican cell phone.
To dial a Mexican cell phone- ALL Mexican cell phones, no matter where their area code is located, consist of 10 digits. The 3 digit area code, and the 7 digit local number. From your foreign cell phone that is operating on a local Mexican cell provider, you will only need to dial the ten numbers to the cell phone that you are calling.
To dial a local land line- Local land lines in Loreto consist of a 7 digit number. You will only need to dial the 7 digits.
To dial a long distance land line in Mexico- Long distance land line numbers have an area code other than 613. To dial a Mexican long distance land line from your cell phone you will need to use the prefix “01″ then the 10 digit number to the land line you wish to reach.
To dial the USA or Canada from your cell phone that is roaming on a local cell provider- Remember your cell is roaming on a local cell service and works just as if it were a local Mexican cell phone (except your bill will be much higher), you need to use the prefix “00″ to dial outside of Mexico. Then you will need to add your country code which in the case of USA and Canada is “1″. After that entire prefix (001) you then dial the 10 digit number you want to call.
Dialing from a land line:
To dial a Mexican cell phone- If you are dialing a local (area code 613) cell phone from a land line, you need to use the prefix “044″ then dial the 10 digit cell number.
If you are dialing to a long distance cell phone (area code other than 613), then you will need to add the prefix “045″ then dial the 10 digit cell number.
To dial a local land line- Local land lines in Loreto consist of a 7 digit number. You will only need to dial the 7 digits.
To dial a long distance land line in Mexico- Long distance land line numbers have an area code other than 613. To dial a Mexican long distance land line you will need to use the prefix “01″ then the 10 digit number to the land line you wish to reach.
To dial the USA or Canada from a land line- You need to use the prefix “00″ to dial outside of Mexico. Then you will need to add your country code which in the case of USA and Canada is “1″. After that entire prefix (001), you then dial the 10 digit number you want to call.
A good way to “call home” is to buy prepaid “Ladatel” phone cards at any pharmacy or market. They come in several denominations ($30 pesos, $100 pesos, etc.) and calls to the USA or Canada are $5 pesos per minute. (That’s about 40 cents per minute). Ladatel cards have a chip embedded in them and they plug into the blue and silver “Telmex” payphones that are all over town. They have a LED display that shows how much is on your card and counts down minutes and centavos (fractions of a peso) as the call proceeds.
Word of caution, NEVER use the payphones that accept credit cards to call internationally, your bill will be shocking.
More free advice coming soon!