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Old 02-04-2011, 08:52 AM   #1
weatherm OP
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Carrying a knife into mexico / guatemala border crossings

I'm thinking about planning a trip to Mexico and Guatemala here sooner than later I hope. I always carry a knife with me for obvious reasons... I read in a DHS document that you can't take guns (duh!) but it didn't mention a knife. But googling I get mixed information. You can carry one on checked baggage on a airplane but you can't take one across a border?

Is this true or false... I know some of you epic travelers have knifes and overlanders carry knives on a basic scale at least as to prepare meals out the back of their defenders or whatnot.

I got a nice knife and would rather take than than pay 20 peso's for a dull bloody machete at the local market
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:04 AM   #2
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Yep - guns and/or ammo: never

Knives - not prohibited*

*Depending upon why type of official you encounter and his/her subjective mood, you may be sized up for a mordida. In other words, you'll be made to feel like you've done something "wrong" by possessing the knife, and it'll be up to your wits to get you our of the situation without paying the mordida.

That said, there is a high likelyhood that nobody will ever know you have a knife, unless it's in the bag that searched at any of the myriad of military checkpoints. And 99% of the time, it'll be the military that finds it, not law enforcement.

All this said, leave your silly knife at home. You won't need it in Mexico and it'll be more of a threat to yourself than a tool for defense. There's no point in carrying it and putting up with the worry that it will become an issue when stopped, and even if it remains hidden the whole trip, you're more likely to hit the powerball with my birthday numbers than you are going to need that blade.

If you go all armed up your attitude will reflect it in ways even you don't understand. Just relax, cross the border, and embark on your voyage of discovery. You can always come back here, arm up with your concealed carry permit, toss your knife in your bag, and put a can of pepper spray in your pocket.

Mexico is not tense. You can relax there.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:07 AM   #3
weatherm OP
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thanks... just carry it for cooking and stuff. thanks for the info.. I'll leave the silly knife at the house. just wanted a definitive answer
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:20 AM   #4
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I always carry my knife to Mexico. No problems. Can't help you with Guatemala.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:22 AM   #5
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Not sure what the law states, but a year ago I was traveling Mex1 in Baja. I stopped at a Federale check point and they found a 6" pocket knife in my backpack. I told them it was for survival and they let me pass but I was traveling in my truck with my wife.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:26 AM   #6
tricepilot
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Cooking.....and camping for that matter:

There are a lot of fair questions about this and threads that answer it are everywhere here. The replies usually center around this: there is no point in carrying all that camping gear and cooking stuff, food and hotels are cheap and all over the place. Why cook in Mexico and Guatemala when you should be experiencing cuisine you can't get at home. Get your fill of pollo asado if you want to start simple and familiar, and then work your way into chapulines and tlayudas.

You want to bring a knife to carve an apple or cheeze or something, bring it in the form of something useful like a leatherman or multi-tool.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:39 AM   #7
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I carried a machete through every border to Argentina without a single question asked.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:01 PM   #8
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In Guat there is a little used law called "Arma Blanco". It's selectively used & mostly for the street hood type. It is as though you have to be doing something quite improper while carring a knife, before you get "arma blanco" mentioned.

I have carried a blade in MX & will always will do so, it is relaxed & the police are useless & totally untrust worthy. Not saying they will not help at times, just do not trust them.

But back to Guat. Here I could carry a hand gun & blade. Never used either. All fire arms will require a special permit.

But there is that "knife law" yet all over the cities & country side you'll see men & women carring the machette. The country population in Guat I find to be very different. Even during the 39 year long civil unrest, it was the city & just out side, is where I saw the worst behavor.

In Guat now kidnaping is the fast & easy way to make $.
Will not get into in now but alway park your bike nearly stripped or in eye sight & near by.

Act w/ conviction, don't move about as in La La Land.

MX is more concern for me that Guat.

Good luck
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:12 PM   #9
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I carry a swiss army knife...... for the sacacorchos, and of course for the tooth pick.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:24 PM   #10
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Although I am not a Guru like some on the site when it comes to traveling in Mexico, I have carried mine into Mexico a few times and have never had an issue. If you carry one on a daily basis, then continue to carry it when traveling into Mexico. Some people think knives are silly and you'll hurt yourself with it , but for those that carry and actually use them, well we know different.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:38 PM   #11
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Just tell them you use it for cutting limes or cheese or chorizo. No problem.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:47 PM   #12
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I always carry a pocket knife, and have so with all my trips to C.A., I'd be lost without it. Just put it in your pocket. I've never had to empty my pockets or been frisked at any border crossing or road side stop.

If there is anyone who recognizes a knife as a tool, it's Central Americans.

Saludos
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Escape the Tundra: Tenth winter in Mexico and Guatemala 2009/2010
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=531184
Minnesota to Guatemala 2008/2009 http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=423949
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:50 PM   #13
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I got off the bus in Merida at 3 am not knowing anything. Had no trouble finding a posada and no one batted an eye.

I doubt anyone wants to bother tourists. They will try and pick your pocket, one of my traveling mates had his passport lifted. But violent crime has always been really rare in Mexico. I don't know about the Narcos, but I find it hard to believe they care about Gringos. The only thing I could see is them kidnapping you for ransom, and if they were doing that I think it would have hit the national news.

If a Narco in Mexico or an ex-freedom fighter in Guatemala tries to rob you, they'll be far better armed than you, so your knife won't do you any good but get you killed. I carried traveler's cheques. I never carried anything on an adventure that I'd miss if lost.

Do keep track of your bike, though, the kids there can strip one quicker than a pack of piranha. It shouldn't be too hard to find a quidaddor, someone (preferably heavily armed) to watch over it. When I was down there I was always able to find a soldier or bank guard or something.

Have fun. You're going to a land of high adventure. Like the boys said, relax and enjoy.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:52 PM   #14
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Most people don't know that when a male child is born in Mexico, the Grand Papa gives him a knife.

A jogger on the backroads in America has his watch, Cell w/GPS, calorie monitor, heart monitor, and bottle of fortified water in a waist holster.

The working man on the backroads south of the border...has his machete.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Rider View Post
Most people don't know that when a male child is born in Mexico, the Grand Papa gives him a knife.

A jogger on the backroads in America has his watch, Cell w/GPS, calorie monitor, heart monitor, and bottle of fortified water in a waist holster.

The working man on the backroads south of the border...has his machete.

Although I'm in my early 30's, I consider myself old school in my way of thinking, which I attribute to the lessons of my Grandfather. I for one, would have a hard time trusting a man that doesn't carry a knife or thinks that they are dangerous.
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