If you are by chance taking a Volaris flight out of TJ I would recommend taking a cab from San Diego airport to the greyhound bus station (not the train station) in downtown San Diego. Volaris has a shuttle you can/must book through their website that will take you directly from S.D., through the border, and directly to the airport in TJ. I think they have buses that leave 2 hours before the scheduled flight (TJ airport is small).
You will have to get off the bus at the border for a few minutes. The border agents in TJ will just look in the bus real quick and then you can get back on. At the airport, depending where you are going, you might need to get a tourist visa. If you are going anywhere other than Baja and and you are flying a Mexican airline you probably will need one. You can ask the immigration officer before security and he can give you one. You then need to go back to the main airport lobby, complete the form, then pay for it directly at the money exchange booth or bank. I think it is the equivlant of $25 USD or so. However, I just read that they now only accept pesos at the airport, so you might need to change a little money right there. Once you pay at the bank they will stamp the form. You then take the form and go through security. You need to keep this form the entire time you are on your trip. You may be asked to provide on exiting Mexico. If you lose it or don't get one they may charge you about $50 to buy one as you leave back to the States.
I travelled from my home in S.D. last year to the TJ airport this way. It was actually a good experience...think of it as a little adventure! I don't speak spanish really, but the locals were all very helpful and nice. The bus can also take you back to the border from the TJ airport. The bus can sometimes get you through the border quicker than walking and waiting in that huge line.
Whit the exception of "Taxi Libre" and the Yellow Taxis in the border other types of transport can be confusing for the tourists, but is more cheaper, than two first types of transport. Routes of the buses and local taxis (whit exceptio of yellow and libre) is in spanish and the most drivers not speak english. But you can get cheap rides one bus (is white whit blue lines), stay in the border you can get it to revulucion street for 5.50 pesos (50 cents) to revolucion street.
But this types of transport are usseful if you like go to other parts of Tijuana outside of Revolucion and Zona Rio.
Route Taxis cost 7 pesos (70 cents ) some cost one dollar.
Route Buses cost 5.50 pesos, student 3 pesos (25 cents)
*all route taxis and Buses starts in the centro (area near of revolucion)
UPDATE: The Price has ben changed Buses 6.50 pesos and Route Taxis new price 9 (80 cents) pesos and 12 pesos (1.10 US$)
As with walking into Mexico, there seems to be only token border control when driving.
Leaving Tijuana does however need a bit of patience - noting that this will be your last chance to get your souvenirs!!!
Driving through the border looked simple enough with the correct documentation, though a certain percentage of vehicles were being diverted through a secondary, more thorough, checkpoint
Whilst walking into Tijuana from the US is simply a matter of walking through couple of turnstiles with virtually no border control, returning will involve a bit of queuing to get back through US immigration. On the day I visited the return, in the early afternoon, took almost an hour. The queue itself was perfectly civilised and there are badged marshalls who seem to be ensuring that there is no queue jumping. There also seemed to be no need for customs or immigration paperwork provided this is not your first entry point to the US and you have the relevant stamps (plus visa waiver if being used). The only question I was asked at the border was whether I was bringing anything back from Mexico.
As soon as you pass through the turnstile coming into Mexico you will be accosted by the local taxi drivers. If all you are doing is coming over to visit Tijuana itself then there is no need to get a taxi, the walk into town is about 10 minutes, if that, and does give you a chance to acclamitise to the experience of brushing-off the touts before you hit the city proper.
If you're going to drive into Mexico I'd advise you to buy Mexican car insurance in San Isidro (the last U.S. city before entering into Mexico). It's only a few dollars depending on how long you are going to stay in Mexico and well worth the piece of mind. The insurer will ask for your car registration, so don't forget to bring it with you to show the agent.
The last time I drove to Rosarito I bought coverage for three days for a little over $20.
If you are driving to Tijuana from LA, I think it's always smart to leave your car on the U.S. side of the border and just walk across into Mexico. Once over you can catch one of the dozens of cabs waiting at the end of the walkway into Tijuana.
This way you'll have less worry about whether your car will be where you parked it once you return from a day of goodtimes. You also won't have to worry about getting into an accident in foreign land and dealing with suspect police officers.
Take the San Isidro exit off the freeway and make a left at the stop light. About a mile down the road are several parking lots a few blocks from the border entrance. Most of them charge about $7.00 for all day parking.
There are several ways to get to the Tijuana border:
San Diego Trolley: (619) 231-8549 Regular service is provided from downtown San Diego. The trip takes approximately 45 minutes.
Car: Drive to the border, park at one of several pay parking lots on the U.S. side and walk across. Parking rates average between $6 and $10 for 24 hours. If you plan to take your car into Mexico, you must purchase Mexican insurance prior to crossing the border. Most U.S. policies do not provide coverage in Mexico.
Greyhound Bus Lines (800) 231-2222 offer daily service from San Diego to Tijuana.
The San Ysidro parking facility houses an information center for Tijuana/Baja California bound travelers and also serves as a Tijuana shuttle terminal. The border crossing at San Ysidro is open 24 hours a day.
Visitors who are U.S. citizens do not need passports or tourist cards if staying in the country for 72 hours or less. If you plan to stay longer, you should request a tourist card upon entering Mexico at the local Immigration office. There is no charge but you will need proof of U.S. citizenship. Tijuana, Baja California is less than 20 miles south of downtown San Diego and represents the world's busiest international border crossing. If travelling past Tijuana I recomend you drive. But if like most visitor and you are only staying for the day, use the trolley.
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