Importing Hippeastrum to Mexico advice

Boyce Tankersley
Fri, 26 Aug 2005 13:44:00 PDT

I have no experience importing/exporting from Mexico, but I did spend some time working for Robert and Catherine Wilson in Costa Rica. At that time it was known as the Las Cruces Tropical Botanic Garden - after the passing of the Wilsons it has been renamed in their honor.

Great plantspeople, they gathered an impressive collection of tropical plants from around the world at their garden. Their advice, based upon years of experience (I think they were late 70's maybe early 80ish at the time), was to have someone physically walk the plants through Customs; regardless of country. Either they brought the plants back with them in person or they arranged for a friend, visitor or colleage to hand carry the plants through Customs to them.

It seems questions about paperwork, forms, permits, etc. could be worked out more efficiently in person. Being a 'newbie intern', of course I sent some things from the States to Costa Rica by mail and got to experience the joys of traveling for a full day up and down some steep mountainside roads to the Customs office to discover they were closed. Customs eventually forwarded it to me and it arrived - in very bad shape - about a week before I left the country. Fortunately it did not contain anything of great value but the Wilson's did mention it was not uncommon for this sort of thing to happen with the seeds/cuttings/plants they were trying to import or export.

That experience has served me well as an employee of several botanic gardens. Stateside we hand carry (deliver them to USDA at the airport) or if that is not possible we arrange for a custom's broker to work on our behalf.

Good luck,

Boyce Tankersley

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