Is Tijuana safe?
Is leaving your house safe? Tijuana is virtually as safe as that. It’s a big city and there’s a lot of poor people, but there’s relatively no crime. But be smart and stay sharp and you will have no problems. Just like if you were visiting New York City, Rio de Janeiro or any major city, there’s petty crime, so the less you bring the better. After all, this is Tijuana Adventure!
Honestly, Tijuana used to be more dangerous, but since 2008 this wondrous city has dropped from the top 100 most dangerous cities. Don’t drop off the tour and nothing will happen to you besides normal activity in the city (which is way different than San Diego). The media in general have over exaggerated anything that happens in Tijuana, if you believe everything Fox news is telling you, this tour is not for you.
How much money should I bring to Tijuana?
This is completely up to you, the first $25 are for my independent service, after that there’s plenty of money to be spent. Hotel rooms are as cheap as $15-25 per room. Beers range anywhere from $2-6, food stays relatively the same, and almost all your needs are cheaper than you are used to spend in California. So depending in how much you like to party, I’d say anywhere between $70-150.
Do they take dollars in Tijuana?
Yes they do. It is actually the preferred currency since most prices are in dollars.
Do they have ATMs in Tijuana?
Of course, though all of them will dispense pesos instead of dollars and some fees are involved. There’s only one ATM that dispenses dollars and has a low fee, and that’s right by the border. The rest will have some charges depending in who you bank with. If you bank with Citibank, all Banamex ATMs work free of charge (they still dispense pesos). There’s plenty of currency exchange booths to go back to dollars from any left over pesos you might have left.
Do I need a passport to visit Tijuana?
I recommend having both a passport and an official picture ID but to enter Mexico by car or foot, technically you don’t need anything. Tijuana falls within a visa-free zone that stretches 25 miles south of the border, foreigners may stay for up to 72 hours without purchasing a tourist visa. Your passport should be kept safe with you at all times or in another safe spot like your hotel room. You can use your ID to enter bars and enjoy the city with no concerns.
The government tells you that to re-enter the United States you need a passport or SENTRI card, since January of 2008 they have enforced it. If you are an American citizen, they have your fingerprints and you really don’t need anything to get back home. However, this is strongly not advisable. Crossing the border already takes a long time, those without papers make it worse and is frowned upon. More info on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative at getyouhome.gov
Where do we meet for the tour?
To facilitate things, your guide (that’d be me), will meet you in the United States side of the border. The easiest meeting spot is in the last San Diego trolly station in San Ysidro in front of the McDonalds and Duty Free stores. If you are driving to the border, there’s plenty of parking spaces that charge anywhere from $5-10 a night. If you rather meet somewhere else, travel fees will be assessed.
What if I want to cross by car?
Is highly recommended that the meeting spot remains the same if you intend to cross by car. Entering Tijuana is confusing and you can easily get lost. There’s plenty of safe parking spots in Tijuana, but you will need a guide to show you the way. Please make sure to have an extra seat in your car to accommodate the tour guide.
Crossing back to the United States?
Though crossing to Tijuana is relatively fast and easy, crossing back to the USA can be a pain. Not only because you will want to stay in Tijuana, but because the border line could get intense. It can be anywhere from ten minutes to three hours. If you happen to have a SENTRI card or Passport card, then crossing will be a breeze with lines less than thirty minutes. However, the regular pedestrian line can get very busy. Do not blame Mexico for this, it is actually the American government that questions everyone tediously in search for terrorists and other illegal activity. However, do not fear the long lines, my tour would not be complete unless I dropped you off at the same spot that I picked you up.
Should I book a hotel room?
There’s no need to book a hotel room in advance, most of them are vacant. Hotels range anywhere from $10 to $30 a night, as of now, Tijuana doesn’t have a hostel. My tours start at 6 p.m. and end at midnight, if you want to stay any longer in Tijuana it is advisable to book a hotel room and I’ll see you in the morning to help you cross back to the USA.
More questions coming soon… as you guys ask me more.