Internet Access , Aduana Rules On Taking Computers into Mexico
Can I Take My Computer To Mexico? Will I find Wireless Internet Access - Inalámbrico
Tourists throughout Mexico can be assured of connections to the Internet. Most Mexican hotels have Internet, even budget ones. WIFI (pronounced Wee fee) means wireless Internet. But you are more likely to hear Internet Inalámbrico. You will soon learn to cherish and hate the words, Internet Inalámbrico (in al AM bree co). It means Internet that is wireless or cordless or without cables! Whee! When a hotel desk clerk tells you they have, Internet inalámbrico, you will at first jump up and down in joy. Your joy will be short-lived, however, It means that, Si, they have wireless Internet, but no, it may not actually reach to your room. Thus, unless you are close to the hotel router or repeater, you will have to wander the halls blindly like a vampire in search of blood, with your laptop in your hand, tripping over hidden pitfalls that lurk in hotel hallways, or go to the lobby or restaurant.
For the official rules of what you can and cannot bring in see this Mexico Aduana site . I tried to link directly to the relevant page but the link broke because their site is written with .aspx pages. So when you get to the SAT / SHCP (Mexican Customs (Aduana) & Hacienda site, go to the menu on top. Click Aduanas./ Pasajeros / Mercancia que puedes ingresar a Mexico. That's all there is to it! Whew! While on the official Customs and Hacienda site, look around. There may be more answers to questions you didn't know you had! Below is the actual page, so you may find it easier to copy and paste it into your browser.
Need or want a new laptop for your trip? Amazon has decent prices and fast shipping (even better if you join Prime).
I bought a repeater made by Anker and it works OK. You set it up once, before you leave (or on the road when you have access to a router). You log in to the repeater, set a password and it grabs the weak signal and amplifies it. In your room, you log into the repeater. There are others that I did not test, but I read a lot of reviews and chose Anker. I know it works. I have a link to the general category here, since the Anker was out of stock the day I posted this. It may be back, but there are other good ones. Read the reviews. Wifi Range Extenders
Getting a hotel room closer to the lobby often results in a stronger signal. A hotel room with a balcony can give you a chance to find an Internet signal. Asking the bellman which rooms have the best signal is about as effective as asking him which room is the quietest - which is to say, not very.
Moreover, when you register, be sure to ask for the clave or codigo (access code). Desk clerks will proudly tell you they have Internet inalámbrico, but then forget to give you the code. Even hotels that have strong routers and a series of repeaters can be compromised by employees who share the code with their primos in the neighborhood, thus weakening it.Tablets / Laptop Cases / Geeky Stuff like bed tables for laptops (which I ordered, really cool)
Still, we should be grateful for what we can get. Sometimes you will be astounded at the speed of your connection. Other times you will just get sleepy waiting for a download. But I remember the days when even a dial-up Internet connection was rare in Mexican hotels. And in those days I had an expense account and stayed in 5 Star hotels. Today, it's 3 for me. I cannot speak to the quality of Internet connections in 5 star hotels since I don't get invited to them anymore (pobrecito Miguelito). But for 3 and 4 star hotels the info above is what I found to be true.
If you need any cables or general computer stuff before you leave go to this spot on Amazon. Computers-Tablets You can get a lot of stuff at Best Buy and the like in Mexico, but for real geeky stuff, you will have to find a "Tianguis de Computadoras" or flea market that specializes in computers.
You will find a laptop desk to be very useful. When you have to sit at a flat table in the lobby or in a restaurant to get Internet, these tables will make your life a lot easier. I use them now. There are inexpensive "coolers" which sort of work when propped up in bed and raised by a couple of pillows, but these tables are much better. (Opens in new window).
If you prefer, there are Internet cafes everywhere, even in many small towns that you would hardly expect -- even in Real de Catorce, which is about as remote as most people will get. High-speed Internet connections (well, medium-speed as in 2-3 Mbits) are the norm in Mexico today. I did get 10 Mbits in Jalapa and Orizaba, but that will be very rate. Most Internet cafes will let you connect your laptop computer at Internet cafes in Mexico. Internet cafes are dwindling because so many people have computers at home, or through their cell phones these days. I suspect they will go the way of the larga distancia or long-distance telephone offices.
Taking Computers Into Mexico as Tourists or As Expats
As an expat, you can bring a whole houseful of computers into Mexico when you use the exemption afforded you when you get your resident visa. Until then, you are treated as a tourist. And please don't try to argue with the customs inspectors by telling them that you live in Mexico on your tourist permit. No, no, no.
You can bring your laptop computer into Mexico with no problems. For some reason, a desktop computer will raise a custom's inspectors eyebrows. However, this is not the problem it used to be, so if that is all you have, you can try to take it, but be ready to pay an import fee, generally about 16% of the value according to aduana's book.
OK all that said, I know lots of tourists living in Mexico illegally who brought lots of computers down with them by not declaring them and not paying a duty. I, of course, cannot recommend you do that. I can just tell you what I have observed and let you make your own decision.
Internet Phone Service
If you are a tourist, just get Skype and call / video chat with that. You will often have to sit in the lobby and everyone will hear your conversation, but that doesn't seem to bother people who are used to cell phones.
If you are living in Mexico, You may still be happy with Skype. You will find high-speed (DSL through Telmex is the most common). If you want good call quality, you can get a VOIP phone. I have seen some people on bulletin boards happy with magicJack. I use an unlocked phone and buy a Telcel chip for it. When in a hotel room, I use Skype and am very happy with it.