SD border crossing?

Old Mar 23, 18, 7:36 am
  #1  
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SD border crossing?

What is the current situation for walking into TJ from SD? Is Otay Mesa an option over San Ysidro? I flew out of TIJ a few years ago and noticed that there seemed to be a lot of businesses outside the airport. Is there a practical way to walk across and back at this spot without taking the CBX? Is this a viable or preferable alternative to Zona Norte?

I used to go down to Zona Norte every once in a great while for a few hours 5-10 years ago, but I haven't been back since. I know the area became a bit of a war zone a few years back, and there was no real need for me to return. Now, I have some out of town guests (including two teens) who want to make a quick run for the border, because it is there and this is the closest they will get in the foreseeable future. This will definitely be a walk, not a drive, and I have no desire to deal with taxis or gypsy cabs (Uber/Lyft).

In the past, I would just take visitors to Ave Revolucion for a quick greasy meal or a churro before walking back to the border, but I have not heard what the area is like now as opposed to a decade ago. It always seemed a bit seedy, which was part of the charm. But I know that the tourism died off because of the rampant crime and daytime shootings, so I want to make sure it is still a viable option. I have wandered aimlessly around gritty city centers in 'unsafe' cities like Lima, Mexico City and Johannesburg by myself without any real issues, but my guests have led a much more sheltered life.

I know coming back is going to be a PITA. We will be going on a Saturday early afternoon or Sunday late morning. I would imagine the line would be better on Sunday, unless there is a big post-church exodus.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 9:36 am
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Check out the following threads in the Mexico forum:
Walking into Tijuana? (San Ysidro crossing & new PedWest Aug 2017)

Pedestrian "Cross Border Xpress" /"CBX" Bridge links Otay Mesa, USA - TIJ Airport
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Old Apr 2, 18, 4:52 pm
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For the record, we crossed at San Ysidro (east side) around 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon and walked over to Ave Revolucion. This was the first time I ever had to deal with actual border control going south (unlike in the not so distant past where pedestrians and cars just flew through without even slowing down). There were two desks open, with very foot little traffic. For some reason, it took my husband and I about 10x longer to pass the desk with our USA passports than it took the family of four with their passport cards at the other desk. At least we got passport stamps, which was also a first for a land crossing into MX.

After wandering around the main street and a few side streets, we came to the conclusion that there are no taco carts anywhere in Zona Norte anymore. There were only a few food carts at all, and they were all selling the same hotdogs that they sell all over LA. It seemed like there are few restaurants at all in that district anymore, and they are all sit-down places. Unfortunately, half of my group was staunchly opposed to the concept of eating anything in Tijuana, so a sit-down restaurant was out of the question.

The whole area was very sedate and subdued. Very few tourists, but still quite a few TJ zebra photo opportunities (seems like there were more zebras than gringos). I never felt even remotely in any sort of 'danger,' but my guests seemed quite bored. Any future trips to TJ will involve taking a taxi directly downtown, as I see no real need to ever go back to Zona Norte again. It is a sad shell of empty storefronts and lost dreams.

The most shocking part was crossing back over at PedWest around 4:30 pm on a Saturday. There was no line at all; only about 20 people ahead of us. It was not terribly clear where I was even supposed to go for Sentri/Global Entry, since everyone was going to the Ready Lane (which was the only open lane. Eventually, I figured out we could just bypass what barely resembled a line and go directly to the kiosks. The officer called me up before I could even scan my passport at the kiosk.
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Old Apr 7, 18, 6:20 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by downinit View Post
For the record, we crossed at San Ysidro (east side) around 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon and walked over to Ave Revolucion. This was the first time I ever had to deal with actual border control going south (unlike in the not so distant past where pedestrians and cars just flew through without even slowing down). There were two desks open, with very foot little traffic. For some reason, it took my husband and I about 10x longer to pass the desk with our USA passports than it took the family of four with their passport cards at the other desk. At least we got passport stamps, which was also a first for a land crossing into MX.

After wandering around the main street and a few side streets, we came to the conclusion that there are no taco carts anywhere in Zona Norte anymore. There were only a few food carts at all, and they were all selling the same hotdogs that they sell all over LA. It seemed like there are few restaurants at all in that district anymore, and they are all sit-down places. Unfortunately, half of my group was staunchly opposed to the concept of eating anything in Tijuana, so a sit-down restaurant was out of the question.

The whole area was very sedate and subdued. Very few tourists, but still quite a few TJ zebra photo opportunities (seems like there were more zebras than gringos). I never felt even remotely in any sort of 'danger,' but my guests seemed quite bored. Any future trips to TJ will involve taking a taxi directly downtown, as I see no real need to ever go back to Zona Norte again. It is a sad shell of empty storefronts and lost dreams.

The most shocking part was crossing back over at PedWest around 4:30 pm on a Saturday. There was no line at all; only about 20 people ahead of us. It was not terribly clear where I was even supposed to go for Sentri/Global Entry, since everyone was going to the Ready Lane (which was the only open lane. Eventually, I figured out we could just bypass what barely resembled a line and go directly to the kiosks. The officer called me up before I could even scan my passport at the kiosk.
Granted, I think it's been over a year since my last trip to SAN / TJ (nicer hotels for less money ), but I'd be shocked if there were no more taco carts - they were there on my last trip. However, my new favorite are fish tacos that can be had for 10 Pesos IIRC, and you don't have to sit down but can take them with you. Delicious, but fattening.

And as I've commented in one of Mexico threads, TJ itself has few tourists for quite a while now (I speak as former SoCal resident) - remember thirty years ago it was bustling, but I think the drug cartel shootouts ten years ago or so scared away most Gringos. You still see Latinos visiting, but it's hard to tell them from the natives.

Come to think of it, saw a Chinese tourist group on Avenida Revolucion on my last trip - just like the ones you seen in Thailand and Hong Kong, even Singapore IIRC.
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Old Apr 14, 18, 10:15 am
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As a pedestrian, I've done San Ysidro a few times, and Otay Mesa once. Whereas the latter is much less busy than the former, it's also in an area where you're much less likely to end up as a day-tripper.

Also, from Otay Mesa, if you wanted to do the public transit thing, then you'd have to take a bus to the (Iris Avenue) light rail station, whereas from San Ysidro, you're already at the light rail.
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