Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mail in the Baja & How to Receive a Package

The Mexican mail burro has grown a set of wings. O.K., maybe not but he does have a bit more air under his feet. Receiving mail while living in Baja is slow, but not overly-so. Similar to other international destinations outside of the U.S. or Canada, two to three weeks seems to be the average time frame for delivery of a package.

If the package is later than two weeks it could be held-up in customs. One package of ours sent from Seattle went to Mexico City first, and took over a month to clear customs before being shipped back to Baja. During the extended wait, I was clueless to the cause of the delay, but became quite the familiar face at our local postal post, with weekly, then twice-weekly inquires "es mi caja aqui?" (is my package here?).

Here is one online service - USA2Me - to obtain a U.S. address for items to be sent to and then forwarded to Baja. After an initial $15 set-up fee, the monthly charge for basic service is only $5.

A better way may be to set-up this service in person while north of the border. If like me, you will have many interactions with this service provider, and knowing who is handling your personal items personally can be comforting when you have to call or email to figure out the cause of a delay or lost package.

The biggest drawback to buying new items in the U.S.or Canada and having them shipped is custom fees. You can be charged up to 38 percent of the declared value of your package. If you use an express mailing service to expedite delivery (5-10 days) such as DHL or Federal Express, you may be charged a fee of approximately $15 (even if the contents are not dutiable) to cover the services of the customs broker.

If you do not want to purchase a mailbox at your local Baja post office, you can have mail sent to you general delivery or 'Lista de Correos' (in Spanish). Your address will look something like this:

Your Name
Lista de Correos
Your Baja town, zip code, Baja California Sur or Norte
(city, postal code, state)
Mexico


Packages can be shipped from Baja town to Baja town via bus. Take the package to your local bus station and request it to be delivered to you chosen address... but make sure you have someone on the receiving end (bus stop at end destination) to pick it up.

Molly, author of Viva La Baja! Relocation Guide to the Baja California Peninsula

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great article. This will come very handy if you plan to spend a few months in baja.

Cabo Vacations

ROBERT said...

We have family living in Cabo and getting things to them is not easy. Shipping to Cabo via FedEx or DHL is a real pain in knowing how long its going to take or how safe and in-tact its going to be once it gets there (customs opens EVERYTHING!). Case in Point for a 1# (yes,ONE pound) package containing only legal documents: Our last FedEx package literally 'flew' thru until it left LaPaz for Cabo. It had cleared customs very timely and until it got to LaPaz, all was great in the tracking on the net. We learned that once mail leaves LaPaz, it is carried on an independent carrier who takes his own sweet time to make a run to Cabo. He had reached Cabo after the marina office had closed, okay that's understandable, BUT he did not reattempt to deliver it until 5days later. Our complaint to FedEx was met with providing us the number of their LaPaz office, who told us they were at the mercy of the contracted, independent carrier. I challenged this with "then you need to start keeping pegcount on all the complaints you get on this carrier before awarding him another. Added note: FedEx surcharged another $64 onto the $32 fee showing in the online shipping charge that we made. Added safety note: Make certain you keep a list, photos or whatever of everything you send to compare with the receiving party that everything is there and intact.

Molly aka BajaBad said...

FedEx charged an additional charge after you already purchased the mailing and that is legal? Jeeeez. Good info about the reason for delay, sounds like they should find a new carrier to contract with.

Thanks for your comment, Molly

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, you'd better mail your package through a forwarder or agent, Because they always have a big discount for DHL EMS or Fedex. I usually ship my products through a company named "ChinaDivision",30-% 50% discount of DHL Fedex