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Going to Tijuana and Getting Back Home

Getting There, Border Crossing, Getting Back


Getting to Tijuana from San Diego

The U. S. Department of State has been issuing traveler alerts since 2008, with wording that becomes stronger with each renewal.Read their July, 2013 travel alert for yourself. If you do decide to go despite the warnings, they encourage U.S. visitors to stay in the well-known tourist areas.

You can check the Department of State website for the latest information, but until things improve, we can't recommend visiting Tijuana on your own. If you want to go, the best thing to do is take a guided tour.

The easiest way to get to Tijuana from San Diego is on the San Diego Trolley (which is also sometimes called the Tijuana Trolley), which takes you directly to the border crossing.

Bus tours also leave San Diego daily. They offer an easy way to get across the border, but you can't go home early or stay late and they won't take you to some of the lesser-known sights. If you're interested, you can reserve a tour through Viator.com. The Go San Diego Card also offers Tijuana tours along with a lot of attractions at a very reasonable price. Use this handy guide to find out all you need to know about it.

You can also drive south on I-5 to the big border parking lots on the U. S. side of the border from Tijuana. If you rented a car in San Diego, you will have to leave it here. Pay attention and take the "Last U.S. Exit, Camino de la Plaza" off-ramp, or you will end up driving across the border when you didn't intend to, which can be a big hassle.

Bus services leave from some of the border parking lots directly for the center of town. Check our tips for getting around Tijuana to learn about them and other ways to get around.

Crossing the Border into Tijuana

Crossing into Tijuana is really easy. If you're coming from the parking lots, just walk through a couple of metal turnstiles and you're in. Coming from the San Diego trolley, use the pedestrian bridge to get to the other side of the road and enter through the turnstiles. Our our handy Tijuana map will show you the way, or use our pictorial, step-by-step guide that shows you what to do every step of the way.

Getting Back to San Diego from Tijuana

To get back to the border from Avenida Revolucion on foot, just look for the big arch. Walk to it, turn right, go across the bridge and through the small shopping plaza.

The U.S.-bound border crossing is on the opposite side of the highway. Take the pedestrian bridge and get in the line.

Once inside the building, get in any line and have your documentation ready. Starting January 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens must present either a passport or a government-issued photo ID plus proof of citizenship. Visit the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative website for more details. If you don't have a passport, Rushmypassport.com can help you get or renew your passport without having to run and stand in line around to get it done. What about my documentation, you're wondering? They'll tell you what and how to send them by Fed Ex after you've completed the online application.

You can bring back up to $800 in purchases duty-free from Tijuana, including up to one liter of alcohol per adult more than 21 years old, 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes. If you're traveling on one of the border buses, you can bring back extra bottles of wine, but you may have to pay duties on it at the border.

You may also be able to bring back medicines purchased for your own use.

Once you're back on the United States side, the San Diego Trolley will be straight ahead. If you're parked in one of the lots, take the pedestrian bridge across the highway.

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