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Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Driving to Tijuana

Tijuana is an exciting town to visit, but we do not recommend driving your vehicle in Tijuana if you are not planning to drive beyond Tijuana. If the intent of your trip is to stay exclusively in Tijuana, we highly recommend that you park your car in one of the many parking lots on the US side of the border, then take the 5 minute bus ride across the border into Tijuana. Tijuana can be a confusing and congested place for visitors to drive in, and foreign vehicles parked on the streets can be targets for being broken into.

Don't forget to buy your Mexican auto insurance before you go!

No matter where you are driving to in Mexico, you must always purchase Mexican auto insurance for your vehicle while driving in Mexico. Your US or Canadian insurance is not valid in Mexico, and the Mexican authorities only recognize auto insurance written through a Mexican insurance company. You can purchase Mexican insurance for as short a period as 1 day, or if you are a frequent traveler to Mexico, we offer annual policies at extreme discounts. Adventure Mexican Insurance is the easiest place to get quality Mexican auto insurance. Our website allows you get instant quotes, then purchase and print your proof of insurance coverage in minutes through our online Mexican insurance system.

If you are planning on driving to a destination south of Tijuana, it is recommended that you take the most direct route through Tijuana out to the Ensenada toll road. The first few minutes of driving in Tijuana can be a nerve-racking experience, but if you remain calm and follow the directions below, you should do just fine. After the you get past the first few highway exits and on ramps, the road opens up, and you can relax and enjoy the ride!

Directions from San Diego:

Take the US highway 5 or 805 south (the 5 and 805 merge into each other just before the border) to the San Ysidoro border crossing. If you do not need to declare anything for customs, you should continue on through the border crossing without pulling off to the right for customs.

NOTE: If the border officials 'red light' you, meaning they flash the red light as opposed to the green when you cross the border, this means they want you to pull over for a customs inspection. This is nothing to worry about, just pull over into the customs lane (the border authorities will wave you over). Almost all RVs and vehicles with trailers will be asked to go through customs, so if you have an RV or trailer, you should plan to go directly into the customs lane. This is usually a quick and painless process of allowing the border officials to visually inspect the contents of your vehicle and trailer. If you are respectful and polite, everything will go smoothly.

Once through the border crossing, you need to get in the third lane from the left and stay in that lane. There are a number of quick turnoffs and merging lanes, but if you stay calm, drive slowly, and stay in the third lane to the left, you will be in the correct lane to make the turnoff for the Ensenada toll road. As the highway curves to the left, look for the Ensenada toll road sign on your right. You only get a few seconds warning because the exit is only a few feet past the sign on the right...but you will be in the correct lane to easily exit towards Ensenada. Once on the Ensenada exit, you will then find that traffic from another road will be merging with your lane...stay calm and allow the other vehicles to merge into your lane with you...Now you are on your way to a safe and pleasant drive out towards the Pacific Ocean coast. Continue to follow any signs pointing towards the Ensenada toll road. You will basically drive parallel to the US/Mexico border until you are near to the Ocean, then the highway cuts south, and continues on towards Ensenada. Aaahhh, now you can relax and enjoy the ride.

Tijuana Road Map

Tijuana Map