Tijuana and San Diego (and how to use the Tijuana airport from the US?)

Tijuana’s airport is right on the US border. Here’s Ferda just across the street from the Tijuana airport with the US-Mexico border fence behind her.

IMG_20230504_173047 by bryandkeith on flickr

For years I’ve wondered why they don’t make it into a multinational (or whatever the right term is) airport like Basel or Geneva. Ferda and I found a US$98 ticket from Tijuana (TIJ) to Tuxtla Gutiérrez via Mexico City to visit Zane in Chiapas so I was excited to learn about CBX. Does that make TIJ into a two country airport? Well, yes. Does that make it useful? No!

Why not? The biggest problem with CBX is that they charge US$30/person to use this service. Then there’s the issue of getting there. We paid US$20.50 each to get (by bus) from Orange County to San Ysidro, then another 20 pesos each (US$1.12) on the Mexican side for a bus to the airport. For a bus from Orange County to CBX, however, they want US$38 each. So using CBX instead of simply walking across the border at San Ysidro would add over US$46 each to our trip — for what advantage? Avoiding one city bus in Tijuana and perhaps saving an hour. Really? Switzerland and France can figure this out, but the US and Mexico can’t? Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

Anyway, since we weren’t taking a bus directly to CBX, it was easy to add a stop to our itinerary in San Diego (another advantage of not using CBX). First we visited Old Town San Diego which I suppose eases one into Mexico.

IMG_20230415_113720 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230415_114448 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230415_135019 by bryandkeith on flickr

Then we walked for about four hours doing a little sightseeing between the Gaslight District and Little Italy.

IMG_20230415_153204 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230415_165128 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230415_162004 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230415_162154 by bryandkeith on flickr

Crossing the border was easy. The only surprise was that Mexico now charges 689 pesos (US$38.19) as entrance fee/immigration fee/visa fee, payable only by credit card! I really don’t remember paying this when we crossed at Nogales six years ago. However, as I’m writing this, I vaguely recall that we avoided paying this fee then because we stayed in Mexico a very short time. And maybe it’s included in international flights tickets so you don’t notice it when you fly. Perhaps it’s not such a new fee as I was thinking at the time.

Ferda and I had time for dinner in downtown Tijuana before our midnight departure from the crowded Tijuana airport.

first meal in Mexico -- pozole by bryandkeith on flickr

At the end of our trip in Mexico we were a bit worried about how long the bus from Tlaxcala to TAPO would take because of the Mexico City traffic. Then we had to get from TAPO to NLU (aka AIFA), Mexico City’s new second airport well north of Benito Juárez in the state of Mexico — meaning more time in Mexico City traffic. In the end it was quite easy and worked out exactly as the ticket sellers at the Tlaxcala bus station told us it would.

Transportation schedules were such that we spent the night in Tijuana and had a little time to walk around.

IMG_20230504_192250 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230504_191531 by bryandkeith on flickr

Our last dinner in Mexico was at the exact same restaurant as our first dinner in Mexico three weeks earlier!

our last meal in Mexico -- pozole; back in the same restaurant where we ate the first meal of the trip three weeks earlier by bryandkeith on flickr

Bye, bye, Mexico. I’m sure we’ll be back.

IMG_20230504_132858 by bryandkeith on flickr
This entry was posted in Mexico, Traveling, United States and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tijuana and San Diego (and how to use the Tijuana airport from the US?)

  1. Jennie Werner says:

    So glad I got to connect with you in Old Town, in spite of my difficult situation! I’ve loved traveling vicariously through you both!!

  2. Snezana says:

    Hey, are you in Colorado? I am in Golden until the end of September and maybe longer (from here I will go on multi-day hiking and cycling trips around). I rode from San Diego through the most beautiful national parks. If you’re here, maybe we can meet.

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