Upon entering Mexico, you'll be given a baggage declaration form and asked to itemize what you're bringing into the country. You are allowed to bring in 3 liters of spirits or wine for personal use; 400 cigarettes, 25 cigars, or 200 grams of tobacco; a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use; one video camera and one regular camera and 12 rolls of film for each; and gift items not to exceed a total of $300. If driving across the U.S. border, gift items shouldn't exceed $75, although foreigners aren't usually hassled about this. Although the much-publicized border violence doesn't affect travelers, it is real. To be safe don't linger long at the border.
You aren't allowed to bring firearms, ammunition, meat, vegetables, plants, fruit, or flowers into the country. You can bring in one of each of the following items without paying taxes: a cell phone, a camera, a video cassette player, a CD player, a musical instrument, a laptop computer, and a portable copier or printer. Compact discs and/or audio cassettes are limited to 20 total and DVDs to 5.
Mexico also allows you to bring a cat or dog, if you have two things: (1) a pet health certificate signed by a registered veterinarian in the United States and issued not more than 72 hours before the animal enters Mexico; and (2) a pet vaccination certificate showing that the animal has been treated (as applicable) for rabies, hepatitis, distemper, and leptospirosis.
For more information or information on bringing other animals, contact the Mexican consulate, which has branches in many major American cities as well as border towns. To find the consulate nearest you, check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site (go to the "Servicios Consulares" option).
Mexican Embassy (202/728–1600. embamex.sre.gob.mx/eua.)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.sre.gob.mx/en.)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (877/227–5511. www.cbp.gov.)