More than 26 million tourists cross this busy border each year to wine, dine, wager, sun-worship and soak up the local culture. Many of them are determined to snag their share of the bargains to be found along Tijuana's ultra-commercial Avenida Revolucion. Others looking for a peaceful and romantic weekend take the drive south along the coast. Best of all for San Diego visitors, Baja's Gold Coast cities are close enough to enjoy in a single day. And getting there is relatively hassle-free, but if you're traveling by car, be prepared for a wait as you return to the United States.

Getting there is easier than you think...

Taking the trolley
San Diego's trolley system will take you from Santa Fe Station downtown to the border for just $2.25. Trolleys run every 15 minutes during daytime and early-evening hours and every half-hour at night and on weekends. Once you're at the border, follow the crowd and walk into Mexico. There are official entry checks for pedestrians, usually by random selection.
Just across the border, dozens of cabs are waiting day and night to whisk you to nearby shopping, fine dining, nightlife or favorite tourist attractions. Cab fare for up to four passengers to any location in the general border area should be no more than $5 per cab, agreed upon in advance. No tipping is required. These unmetered cabs also wait at popular locations to return you to the border, and most drivers speak English.

Walking across
If you are driving to the border, simply follow I-5 or I-805 south. Both lead directly to the Mexican entry point at San Ysidro. Exit at the last U.S. exit and park on the US side to walk across, or drive directly into Mexico with equal ease. Parking space is abundant on both sides of the border for $7 per day. Shuttle buses ($1.50) run every half-hour from US parking lots and from the end of the San Diego trolley line directly to the Avenida Revolucion shopping area and operate between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Mexicoach runs its famous "red" buses every 20 minutes from the Border Station Parking & Tourist Information Center, 4570 Camino de la Plaza, in San Ysidro. Round-trip rides from San Ysidro to Tijuana are $3 and run 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Other destinations include Rosarito ($8), Foxploration theme park ($10, not including admission) and Calafia ($12). For information, call Mexicoach at (619) 428-9517.

Driving across
No special entry paperwork is required for your car when driving into Baja. You need to purchase Mexican auto insurance, however, which is available on a per-day basis at any of the numerous drive-through insurance outlets that dot the border area near the last exits of I-5 and I-805. These are easily spotted from the highway.
US auto insurance is not valid in Mexico. Budget, Hertz and Avis are among the
rental agencies that allow their vehicles to be taken into Mexico, as far south as the Ensenada area. Mexican auto insurance is always mandatory with rentals and runs between $6 to $20 per day, depending on the value of the car and whether the insurance is for liability or full coverage. There is no deductible for Mexican rental car insurance at some agencies. Inquire before you reserve a car.

Busing across
Several San Diego tour companies specialize in day trips to Baja that can include or combine shopping, dining, sightseeing, golf, wine-tasting and the Puerto Nuevo lobster village, along with a variety of longer excursions. Round trips run daily from San Diego to Tijuana, Rosarito, Puerto Nuevo and Ensenada and are open to individuals or groups. Contact Baja California Tours at (800) 336-5454 or Travel Care Free Mexico at (619) 475-1234.

 

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