Once off the plane you’ll be in the main arrival and departure gate terminal. You’ll need to go down stairs to a lower level to Immigration (“Migración”) and Customs (“Aduana”). You may get off at a gate that is at a bit of a distance from the Immigration and Customs area. There is only one entrance and staircase/escalator that goes down to Immigration. Just follow the crowd and if you are having trouble locating where to go, ask an airport information person wearing a “Información” jacket / vest or security person. There are also scattered information kiosks throughout the airport. Don’t worry, the airport is not very big. Once downstairs and in the immigration area, find the line for foreigners.
At immigration, you’ll need to provide your passport and your immigration and customs forms. The bottom portion, (index card size), of the immigration form is your temporary visa for stay in Mexico . Don’t lose it; you’ll need to turn it in once you leave. Once through immigration, you’ll continue on to the baggage claim area. Take your bags and head to customs located at one of the exits. You’ll have to pick up your bags and run them through an x-ray machine that will check for any items not permitted in Mexico and items that you should pay a duty tax. All personal items that you plan to take out of Mexico with you are fine. Items that you plan to sell or that have commercial value are the ones they are looking for. You’ll also have to push a button for a random inspection. If a green light comes up, you’re free to pass. If a red light comes up, you must place your bags on a table for inspection. They’ll open your bags and move things around for a physical inspection. The red lights don’t come up very often. At the exit of customs are automatic frosted sliding glass doors.
Once you come out of the frosted sliding glass doors of customs, start looking for two things. 1) A change house, to change money into pesos if you need pesos. You’ll need some to start off with because once you get to Puebla, the dollar is not widely accepted. Mexico is a highly cash based country, especially in small stores. I would recommend changing around $50 – $100 dollars to start, depending on your length of stay. If you have a credit card or debit card, you’ll be able to purchase a bus ticket with it, but have cash as a backup. The second thing you’re looking for is 2) a store that sells refreshments, gum, magazines, etc. so that you can buy a public phone card called a “tarjeta LADA para teléfono público” (Tar-HETa LAH-Dah PAR-a Tel-EF-on-oh POO-Blic-oh). They sell them in $30, $50, $100 and $200 pesos. The one for $30 pesos should be sufficient. Save the card to call us after you’ve purchased your ticket. (If you have a cell phone that works in Mexico, you can use it to call and can skip this last step of buying a “tarjeta LADA”)
From the Customs exit you’ll have to go upstairs to the next level in the airport to buy a bus ticket. There is a food section upstairs in a hallway; all fast food places. At one end of the fast food area is an “Italian Coffee Company” kiosk. In front of the kiosk (or to one side, depending on your point of view) there is a long corridor with glass windows to one side that look out onto the airport tarmac and airplanes below. Go to the end of the corridor to the bus ticket counters. The bus company that you will be riding with is called, “Estrella Roja”. Estrella Roja runs luxury buses that are nearly, if not brand new, and are safe and comfortable. Look for the place at the ticket counter that says, “ PUEBLA ” and buy a ticket to a bus station called “4 Poniente”. You’ll have two options, 4 Poniente and CAPU. CAPU is the big bus station in Puebla and you DON’T want this one. 4 Poniente is a private bus station only served by buses coming and going to and from the airport. It’s nicer, calmer and closer, so get one to 4 Poniente (Cuatro Poniente). A one-way ticket has a cost of $260 pesos. You can pay with cash and usually credit/debit cards. Buy a one-way ticket (boleto sencillo). You can buy a round trip ticket (boleto redondo) now, but you don’t save any money and you have to hold onto and present the ticket stub in order to redeem it for a ticket upon your return. From the ticket counters head to the right and down some escalators. If you prefer, there is a ramp past the escalators that you can take down to the next level. Here look for the Estrella Roja bus and show your ticket to one of the workers in front of the bus. They’ll either tell you to hold on for the next bus or to go ahead and board that one. They board usually around 5 – 10 minutes before departure. Right before you board, give your luggage to one of the men who put the bags under the bus and then wait for a luggage ticket from him. You’ll show the luggage ticket when you arrive to Puebla and they’ll compare it to make sure you don’t have someone else’s luggage by mistake and to make sure no one gets your luggage. This bus will depart Terminal 1 and stop at Terminal 2 for a few minutes to load other passengers before proceeding to Puebla , so don’t get off just yet. At the “4 Poniente” bus station in Puebla , we’ll meet you and give you a small orientation and take you to your host family’s house. If you have time to call us from the airport, please do in order to let us know that you arrived
and when you’ll be leaving the airport. If not, wait until you arrive to Puebla. Calling instructions are next:
With your phone card that you purchased earlier:
I’ll send you an email with the contact numbers to call when you arrive.
Upon purchasing a bus ticket, find a teléfono público (public payphone) with a TELMEX logo on it. Pick up the receiver and introduce the phone card you purchased into the slot with the microchip facing up and towards the pay phone. Call us to let us know that you have arrived and what time you’re bus is scheduled to leave, so we can better calculate your arrival time and meet you in Puebla.
If by chance something happens and you don’t have time to call or you’re having trouble getting in touch with us, go to Puebla and once you arrive you can call us and we’ll meet you at the bus station within 20 minutes.
If there’s any confusion with this, let us know before you leave, info (at) livitspanish.com.