Long Guide to Crossing the Border
This guide provides detailed information, some of it also found in the Guide Basics of Crossing the Border for southbound and northbound land travelers, including those using CBX Cross Border Xpress to access Tijuana International Airport.
PedWest (also called pedestrian West at El Chaparral) and PedEast are closest to the main tourist areas of Tijuana.Learn More
Known as PedEast, the entrance has several lanes going into Tijuana.Learn More
CBX Cross Border Xpress
Cross Border Xpress (CBX), also referred to as the Tijuana Cross-border Terminal and the Puerta de las Californias, is an airport terminal located in the Otay Mesa area of southern San Diego, California, United States, with an access bridge connecting it to the Tijuana International Airport in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.Learn More
The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is one of three ports of entry (POE) in the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan region, in the U.S. state of California, connecting Otay Mesa in the City of San Diego with the Otay Centenario borough of Tijuana.Learn More
The Tecate Port of Entry is one three ports of entry in the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan region. The land port is located between Tecate, California in San Diego County's Mountain Empire and Tecate Municipality in Baja California.Learn More
El Chaparral (San Ysidro)
The El Chaparral Port of Entry (Puerto Fronterizo El Chaparral) is the main vehicle crossing point into Tijuana, replacing the former entry point known as Puerta México. Puerta México stood immediately east of El Chaparral.Learn More
The Otay Mesa Port of Entry connects Otay Mesa in the City of San Diego with the Otay Centenario borough of Tijuana.Learn More
The Tecate Port of Entry is located between Tecate, California in San Diego County's Mountain Empire and Tecate Municipality in Baja California.Learn More
San Diego Trolley
The Blue Line operates frequent trains between downtown San Diego and its final southbound stop at the El Chaparral and San Ysidro crossings, from early morning to late evening, seven days a week.
San Diego Transit buses
Public buses serve routes between three San Diego County locations and the Otay Mesa and Tecate crossings.
- To the Otay Mesa Port of Entry: South Bay Rapid Bus 225 from Santa Fe Depot
in downtown San Diego.
To the Otay Mesa Port of Entry: Bus 950 from the Iris Avenue Blue Line Trolley station.
To the Tecate Port of Entry: Bus 893 from El Cajon.
Commercial intercity bus services
Various commercial bus services provide transportation from points in the U.S. to the El Chaparral and San Ysidro border crossings and to Tijuana and points beyond in Mexico.
- Greyhound https://www.greyhound.com
- Tufesa Internacional http://tufesainternacional.com/index.html
- GotoBus (bus ticket aggregator) http://www.gotobus.com/mexico
Ride service companies
- Taxis: U.S. taxis can drop passengers off at the border but cannot transport them into Mexico.
- Lyft: Lyft drivers cannot take passengers across the border into Mexico.
- Uber: Uber drivers may take passengers into Mexico but cannot bring them back into the U.S.
- Five Star Tours http://www.fivestartours.com/cross-border-shuttles.html
- YTS Transport https://ytstransport.com/airport-shuttle-transport-border-cossing-san-diego-tijuana
- To El Chaparral and San Ysidro: Interstates 5 and 805 southbound
- To Otay Mesa: Interstate 905 eastbound and California Route 125 southbound
- To Tecate: Interstate 8 eastbound then State Route 94 southbound. Also State Route 94 eastbound.
Parking for southbound travelers
Commercial parking lots on the U.S. side are located near all ports of entry in the region. Those closest to the border are occasionally full at peak crossing times. Drivers may also park in free public lots next to the Blue Line Trolley stations from 8thStreet to Beyer Boulevard and proceed to the El Chaparral and San Ysidro border crossings by trolley.
Spending U.S. dollars in Mexico
U.S. dollars may be exchanged for Mexican pesos in U.S. banks and at retail exchange offices on the U.S. side at most crossings. However, taxis and businesses in Tijuana and Tecate often accept U.S. currency for most transactions.
Travel documents required to enter Mexico
All persons, including children, must bring a valid passport. See the Quick Guide to Crossing the Border on the main page for further information.
Otherwise be sure to consult only reliable, official sources about requirements for entering Mexico, since much of the information on non-official internet sites is out of date and inaccurate.
See the Guide Basics of Crossing the Border for additional information.
There are severe penalties for possessing firearms and ammunition in Mexico. Firearms may not be transported across the border without official permission from both Mexico and the U.S.
Under Mexican law, motorists must have insurance, or "proof of financial responsibility," in the event of an accident, even if they are not at fault. For a foreigner traveling in Mexico, the only ways of demonstrating this financial responsibility are to have sufficient real currency (not credit cards) to cover damages or an insurance policy from a Mexican company. U.S. or any other non-Mexican insurance will not cover liability for potential accidents, nor will it fulfill the basic legal requirement for insurance. Failure to have Mexican insurance can lead to serious penalties.
Auto insurance policies of varying duration may be purchased online prior to visiting Mexico.
You should call your U.S. medical insurance provider to find out exactly what it will and will not cover in Mexico. If you feel you will not be adequately covered, consider purchasing medical travel insurance.
U.S. government assistance in Tijuana
The U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana is located at:
Paseo de las Culturas s/n
Mesa de Otay
Delegación Centenario C.P. 22425
Tijuana, Baja California
From within Mexico: (664) 977-2000.
From the U.S.: 011 52 (664) 977-2000.
Regular business may be conducted at the Consulate General by appointment only between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., from Monday through Friday. Persons seeking emergency assistance may present themselves without an appointment during these business hours.
The phone number to report emergencies in Mexico is 911. Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.Mesa de Otay
Contacts for immigration questions
The Mexican Migration Institute has several offices between Tijuana and Tecate. Most of them are located at the ports of entry.For information, you may call
Don't forget to visit the quick guide to crossing the border, to check the required travel documents as well as restricted goods.