How to Get to Tijuana, Mexico, From San Diego, California

The Mexican border is a 20-minute drive from San Diego.
The Mexican border is a 20-minute drive from San Diego. (Image: David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

“Oh, Mexico,” goes the Jimmy Buffet song. “It sounds so simple, I just got to go.” From San Diego, California, it’s easy to make your way across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. Drive there or ride a bike. Buses and trolleys make daily trips. Or take a guided bus tour. With so many options, take a line from Buffet: “I guess I’ll have to go now.”

Drive south out of San Diego on Interstate 5. This highway runs to Mexico. After crossing the border, continue onto a road named Bursátil, then continue onto Paseo de Los Heroes. Take the third exit at the roundabout onto Décima y o J. Sarabia, also called Avenida Independencia, to cross the Rio Tijuana and enter the center of the city.

Alternately, pay to park in a lot in the United States near the San Ysidro Border Station and walk into Tijuana.

Bike out of San Diego by taking a ferry to Coronado Island for the bike path down Silver Strand Boulevard, or leave the city via East Harbor Drive and follow the shoreline south. Once you are near Imperial Beach, travel southeast to the bike lanes on Palm Avenue or Coronado Avenue, then head east to Beyer Boulevard. Bike south on Beyer Boulevard until it becomes Dairy Mart Road, then turn east onto Camino De La Plaza. Follow this road to the San Ysidro Border Station, where you can cross the border and enter into Tijuana, Mexico.

Purchase a bus or trolley ticket to Tijuana. Greyhound runs several buses daily from San Diego to the Tijuana Central Bus Terminal. The San Diego Trolley's blue line runs from the city center to the San Ysidro Transit Center, where one can walk across the border to Tijuana.

Travel by tour bus between the two cities. The Trust for Tijuana Tourism's website, See Tijuana, lists several tour bus companies that travel to Tijuana. San Diego Scenic Tours is one example. Mexicoach runs buses hourly from the San Ysidro's parking lots into Tijuana. Five Star Tours offers tours of Tijuana leaving from the San Diego Amtrak Station.

Tips & Warnings

  • Read the U.S. State Department's website before entering Mexico for country and travel warning information.
  • Check waiting times at the San Ysidro Border Station by calling 619-690-8999.
  • Purchase Mexican auto insurance if you plan to drive across the border, or ensure your insurance covers your automobile in Mexico.
  • Bring your passport or passport card to enter Mexico.

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