San Diego - Crossing the Mexican boarder and back?

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Tim Graichen, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Tim Graichen

    Tim Graichen Been here awhile

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    Hey all,

    As part of my 90 day motorcycle odyssey this summer from Ohio, my return trip from Alaska will take me down the West Coast to San Diego where my cousin lives. I was wondering about the logistics, safety and anything else required to cross the boarder into Mexico on my motorcycle, get a photo at a "Welcome to Mexico" sign, then turn right around and come back to San Diego. Just thought it would be nice to get a third country in the same trip.

    Is this doable without jumping through hoops that would make it not worth the effort? Can this be done in a day?

    Thank you

    Tim
    #1
  2. desertdaves

    desertdaves DesertDave

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    You can do it all day long! Do you know which crossing you want to use? If you can, use Otay or Tecate. Much easier and less traffic than the Tijuana crossing.
    When you are coming back, enter through any line you want (Sentri, Readi Pass, etc.) Split lanes, cut off cars, and when you get right up to the front of the line, cut across to the "standard" line and jump in front. They don't want motorcycles waiting in line to cross. Don't be afraid to lane split or cut cars off. It is just the way it is done.
    You really should take the time head south a little and find some real tacos! Enjoy the locals, and take in some culture! Once you are out of Tijuana, or any other border town, the people are very friendly!! If you have the time, run down to Rosarito, great restaurants, and you get to ride along the Pacific Coast line. If you want to do some long reading, here is a good thread... http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/baja-adventure-riders.926440/page-96
    Good Luck!!
    #2
  3. Boxerbreath

    Boxerbreath 2017.5 GS Black Storm

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    We go TJ and stop in Rosarito for a taco and on to Puerto Nuevo for the grilled Lobster then on to Ensenada/La Bufadora.
    Best tacos in Rosarito

    A good day trip is to go all the way south to La Bufadora (the blow hole) which is just south of Ensenada.
    Lots of good taco stands anywhere you look. Plenty of PEMEX gas stations along the way.

    A good overnighter (get gas first!) is cut across Hwy 3, the south/east bound 3 that tees off of Hwy 3 out north of Ensenada and head on over to the coast 5 down to San Felipe for the night.
    Beach time and mellow stay (outside of the noisy dirt bikers).
    Then north on the 5 to Tecate where the border crossing is a cinch.
    #3
  4. el Pete

    el Pete toda su base

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    Crossing back north in TJ takes quite a while just because there is a lot of traffic, but if you stay in the left lane you can filter towards the front. If you're going to cross the border, you really should take the time to go down the coast at least as far as Rosarito to see the sights and get some fish tacos. You'll need to get Mexican insurance for the day, but that's easy-peasy. No real safety concerns, just use common sense and obey traffic laws.
    #4
  5. Boxerbreath

    Boxerbreath 2017.5 GS Black Storm

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    Yeah get the insurance for sure.
    Fish tacos +++
    Not sure, but I think you need a visa to even go to Baja now...
    #5
  6. Tim Graichen

    Tim Graichen Been here awhile

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    How do I go about getting Mexican insurance for the day? Someone else mentioned that I might need a Mexican visa. Is this true. If so, how to get that?
    #6
  7. Sam Hayes

    Sam Hayes Adventurer

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  8. Boxerbreath

    Boxerbreath 2017.5 GS Black Storm

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    There are insurance joints at the border, even drive thru’s!
    #8
  9. desertdaves

    desertdaves DesertDave

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    You can do insurance online through BajaBound.Com

    Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk
    #9
  10. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    If you want to come back home take a valid up to date passport with your picture on it.
    #10
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  11. el Pete

    el Pete toda su base

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    Bajabound.com has insurance and information on obtaining a Mexican Tourist Card.
    #11
  12. bajasam

    bajasam Been here awhile

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    tourist card, insurance, passport.......#1 thing is a passport or crossing card to get back in US, as the U.S Immigration people will be the rudest and way bigger assholes than any offical you'll encounter in mexico.
    #12
  13. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I've had more trouble with the US Customs and Border Patrol than I've had with any official in this Whole Wide World. It's scary. They have also cost me more money traveling/shipping than any place I have EVER been. The one's I have encountered have been utter and complete assholes..everyone of them.
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  14. dirtdiver

    dirtdiver Long timer

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    I go to Mexico all the time. I rarely get insurance, never get a tourist permit and always have a passport and vehicle registration. If you just want to "check the box" you might consider parking on US side and walking over/back. The border line can be intimidating for vehicles. If you are going to walk I suggest TJ/san ysidro. If you really want to drive then I suggest Tecate. TJ has a lot more action than Tecate. If you are looking for bars, elvis paintings, disney character statues, TJ is the place. I was just down in San Felipe last weekend. Mellow but fun and in the 90's. Let me know if you want specifics.
    #14
  15. dirtdiver

    dirtdiver Long timer

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    Ive had a mixed bag and some of them total jerks. Some of them pretty cool. Something to remember- they can and do take notes on your situation and attitude. Then the next guy reads them and can add to them, etc... your answers and your history follow you. DD

    Also I think part of their crappy service is the fewer people to cross then the less risk of a bad guy coming across. Also less work. I would bet money if you read their mission statement it would say nothing about provide good/easy border experience to tax payers of this country.
    #15
  16. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    The certainly do keep a computer dossier: August we are coming east-west across Canada 1 and turn left and head back to the USA through a VERY small border Swift Current. Guard says we are the first people he’s seen in two days and the first motorcycles he’s seen in four years. Fast forward to March next year, crossing back in to USA from Mexico at TJ.....guard says to me “what were you doing in Swift Current last year?” ....answer is “riding motorcycles and drinking beer”......”not drinking now are you?”..........
    #16
  17. teamcurtis

    teamcurtis Adventurer

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    Just some added bits if someone researches this in the future
    You do NOT need a tourist permit if you are not leaving Baja California, but you should get the insurance. If something happens and you dont have insurance, you are f'ed.
    Boarder agents seem to be getting nicer, but there are still a few who seem to take their job a little too seriously.

    (I have never crossed on my bike, but my wife and I have sentri and walk/drive across almost monthly)
    #17
  18. CA Stu

    CA Stu Peace and love

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    You didn't hear it from me, but the US border guards are actually nice, reasonable people. Some of them are even :babe

    Most definitely. :thumb

    Spend a few hours going south to at least Ensenada for some bangin' tacos, then head north east on the 3 and cross back at Tecate.
    Easily done in daylight hours with plenty of time to spare.

    I've ridden my motorcycle to Baja many many times, most recently this January.

    Have a great time, avoid TJ! Fly past there on the toll road south and don't stop until you hit Ensenada.
    #18
  19. bajasam

    bajasam Been here awhile

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    If you really want to experience Mex, avoid the whole baja area, it's all one big tourist trap. Visit the mainland below Az NM for a truer representation, there are actually ports of entry where your return into the US takes less than 4-5 minutes waiting in line.Many times you can pull right up to the customs guy with no cars ahead of you at all. Always buy auto insurance unless your a gambler and are willing to labandon your vehicle and all possesions in MX, any accident regardless of whose at fault can result in impoundment of your stuff temporarily even if you have insurance, if you dont have insurance its gone for sure.
    #19
  20. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Baja Is different than the Mainland, there is no argument there. But different in no way means bad. Border towns all suck as do any place that the cruise ships pull into. If you have a problem with places like El Rosario, San Ignacio, Mulege', or San Juanico, there is something wrong with you. Baja and parts of Sonora lay with the Mexico Free/Border zone and to travel outside you have to go through the hassle of getting a TVIP for your vehicle. https://www.mexpro.com/blog/mexico-free-border-zone

    Could you please share which crossings those are?
    #20