Mexico, while our southern neighbor, is still a foreign country and you require a passport and visa for travel to Merida. However, the process is easy. Just allow enough time for it (minimum 30 days). New passports take longer than passport renewals. You can obtain your visa at the port of entry (first airport that you land in Mexico) for just a small fee, Do not lose the visa as you will be required to show it when exiting the country.
Passport application process (1st time passport)
Where to apply for a passport
Visa/Tourist Card Requirements for Mexico
For countries that don’t need a visa, a Mexico Visitor’s Permit (FMM) will need to be filled out in place of a visa. This is a simple form: pick one up from the check-in counter at the airport and fill it out on the airplane before you land or you can acquire one at all land border crossings. If the airline you are traveling with does not have any forms at the check-in desk or on-board the plane, don’t worry, you can get one when you land in Mexico and fill it out before you line up to have your documents checked and stamped by the officials at the airport.
Mexico charges a fee to all tourists and business visitors arriving in the country. The fee is approximately US$22, and the money collected is handed to the Tourism Ministry to promote Mexican tourism.
Airlines normally collect the permit fee on behalf of the Mexican government and include the cost within the total airfare (under ‘taxes and surcharges’), so in the majority of cases, there will be no need for you to pay the fee separately.
How to Get to Merida
Four airlines serve Merida: United, AeroMexico, Interjet, and Volaris. United operates a daily direct flight from Houston and has offered Sister House discount air fares (5-10% depending on class of travel). The discount fares will be available from October onwards.
AeroMexico operates direct flights from Miami and through Mexico City for other origin points. Interjet and Volaris serve Merida from some southern tier U.S. cities and you can see their route maps here and here
Sister House will arrange for your transportation to and from the Merida airport. On arrival look for the Sister House sign in the Arrivals Hall.
You can save money by flying through Cancun and then taking a first class bus (4 hours) to Merida. Here’s one resource for cheap Cancun flights. Details on first class bus service between Cancun and Merida is here. I’m told that the service is excellent and comfortable and costs about $20, more for higher classes of service. The downtown bus station is closest to our hotel. The next option is the Hotel Fiesta Americana – take a taxi to our hotel from there.
It’s usually best to book your flights as early as possible. United only operates one flight a day to Merida. Aero Mexico has more. We are told that Tuesday is the best day to fly (Magic in Merida begins on a Wednesday) but there are some strategies you can use to find the best flights and cheapest tickets…check them here.
The best time to look for air fares online is after midnight on Tuesdays and check for senior fares if you are 60 or older (55 for some airlines).
And don’t forget to check the carry-on baggage rules. Some of them have changed.
Travel by Car from Border States: NOT RECOMMENDED
Need more help, contact our exclusive travel agent at Transgender Vacations
You can contact Jeff (Stephanie) at at 1-800-766-2911 X8571 or 817-778-8571, Mon-Fri (9am-6pm) or Sat (10am-5pm) or Transgender Vacations
Some Guidelines When Traveling to Mexico
- Safety is Everyone’s Concern
- Merida is one of the safest cities in the world. See our section on safety under “About Merida”
- How to Handle Money Overseas
- Check and understand the exchange rate before you travel (usually about 12 pesos to the dollar). An excellent currency converter is here
- Before you leave, notify your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions that you are going overseas. This is important because it avoids declined transactions and protects the safety of your cards. Be sure to have a paper copy of your credit cards (and passport) in a separate location
- Do not carry large amounts of cash. We recommend $100 in pesos. ATMs are available everywhere in Merida for your ongoing needs.
- Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill and keep some small bills handy. Many merchants here cannot make change for large bills
- Here’s some additional guidelines on money exchange.
Learn about local laws and customs
While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a U.S. Citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to know what’s legal and what’s not. If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.
Merida is a tourist city and extends a warm and friendly welcome to all tourists. After all, how many cities have tourist police just to help their foreign visitors. However in the highly unlikely event that you would experience some difficulty, we have an immigration attorney on retainer.
- Vaccinations are generally not required for travel to Mexico?
- Do You Know How to Find Medical Help Abroad?
- Our hotel has medical assistance available if needed and Merida has a wealth of first class hospitals and physicians available for any need
- Does Your Health Insurance Cover You Outside the U.S.?
Learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas. Although some health insurance companies will pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for a medical evacuation back to the U.S., which can easily cost over $10,000, depending on your condition and location. Whether your insurance is valid overseas or not, you may be required to pay for care when you receive it.
If your insurance policy does not cover you abroad, consider purchasing a short-term policy that does. Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
NOTE: Social Security and Medicare do not provide coverage outside of the U.S.
- Are You Taking Any Prescriptions or Other Medications?
If you take prescription medication:
- Pack enough to last your entire trip, including some extra in case you are unexpectedly delayed.
- Carry your medications in their original labeled containers, and pack them in your carry-on bag since checked baggage is occasionally lost or delayed.
- Ask your pharmacy or physician for the generic equivalent name of your prescriptions in case you need to purchase additional medication abroad.
- Get a letter from your physician in case you are questioned about your carry-on medication; some countries have strict restrictions on bringing prescription or even non-prescription medications into the country without proper medical documentation. This would only be an issue if you were carrying a large number of medications.
Guidelines for Transgender Travelers (traveling enfemme)
I also checked with Mexican Immigration (Cancun and Merida) and there are no prohibitions about traveling and arriving in Mexico enfemme as long as you can properly document who you are…..same rules as the U.S. Mexico has strong laws protecting LGBT people.