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.
there is easier than you think...
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.
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.
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.
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)