Before my trip to Tijuana I scoured the internet for any information on transportation to and around Tijuana. I was flying into San Diego and was lost as to the cheapest and most efficient way to get to the border.
After hours of googling and changing my search terms all I came across were old posts with bits and pieces of random information. Even trying to find prices on buses and shuttles were difficult and frustrating. I ended up halfway winging it after arriving in San Diego and finally figuring out everything on my own.
If you don’t have interest or plan on heading to Tijuana feel free to move on, but for those of you who are curious and need information, look no further. I have answers! ;)
First, I’ll give you my strange process to make it there and then I’ll lay everything out nice and simple including prices for everything. Although unnecessary, my trip entailed the city bus, shuttle rides, greyhound and a taxi! A lot I know, but I think it made my trip that much more of an adventure :)
I flew into the San Diego International airport and had a shuttle ready to take me to my hotel. I flew in late so I figured it would be best to stay for the night and cross over early in the morning.
The next morning I woke up and got ready to take the local bus. Luckily, it was literally at the end of the hotel property so I was able to take my time, enjoy the complimentary breakfast and stop by a Winchelle’s doughnut for a chocolate eclaire (love these things) across the street before I went to the stop. Once on the bus I was on until the last stop of the route which ends at one of San Diego’s shuttle transit stations.
From here I hopped on the blue shuttle line south which meets up with San Diego’s Greyhound bus station. (Not a popular form of transportation but the nice thing is that it takes you straight into Mexico)
At the border, I switched Greyhound buses and was taken straight into Mexico to their Central Autobus Station.
All I had to do then was catch a cab to my final destination and voila! 5 different modes of transportation and I’m there!
That seemed like a little much I know, but transportation juggling was kinda fun and now I think I’m pretty knowledgeable on getting into Mexico.
Flying into San Diego
If you’re flying into San Diego and staying there for a day or two it’s possible to have a hotel shuttle waiting for you at the airport. A lot of hotels offer them and is included if you’re staying the night with them. You can always rent a cab or find another method too.
If you arrive early in the day and head straight to Mexico, forget the hotel and catch a cab to the nearest shuttle transit offering the Blue Line south
If you get a hotel near a shuttle station, you can avoid the next step.
Catching the Bus
Before you fly in or immediately after you arrive, figure out where the nearest bus stop is. Check out this regional map, figure out where you are and then find the bus route that will get you to the nearest trolley station. Make sure you take the bus to a station that offers the blue line south.
Taking the Blue Line Trolley
The Blue Line Trolley will take you south all the way to San Ysidro. This stop is literally right on the border, all you have to do is walk through some security, show them your passport and walk across. Keep in mind though, that depending on the day and time, there may be a long line. The one thing I don’t know is what is the best idea for getting to where you need to go from here.
Taking the Greyhound
Take the Blue Line Trolley to 12th and Imperial. Cross the street to the Greyhound terminal and take that into Mexico to the Central Autobus Station. The Greyhound bus will take you to the border where you will switch to another bus, drive past all the cars in line and drop you off at their bus station. This method is nice because you can usually avoid a long wait at the border and when you arrive at the bus station there are a line of cabs.
When in Tijuana
I’m a walker. I don’t mind walking miles and miles around cities. I think one of the best ways to get a feel for the area and the people is by walking through and around it. However, I know a lot of people are not like me and would rather not walk up to 10 miles or more a day.
When in Tijuana you can take a bus or one of their many cabs. There are random tourist booths that you can find on their main streets that have a map of the city with bus routes on it. Av. Revolucion, Tijuana’s most well-known street, has a few of these tourist booths that are fairly easy to spot.
Prices on various modes of transportation
Bus in San Diego –$2.25 or $5.00 for a day pass
Trolley in Sand Diego – $2.50 one way or $5.00 for a day pass
(I recommend the day pass, you can use it interchangeably with the bus routes or trolleys)
Greyhound Bus – $22.50 round-trip
Taxi from Greyhound Station in Tijuana – no more than 70 pesos or $6.00 (you have to walk across the street and catch a white cab with orange lettering) The maroon cabs stationed outside have exclusivity to outside the station and will charge around $10.00 or more.
Bus in Tijuana – If I remember correctly it was 16 pesos which ends up coming out to less than $1.50
Taxis in Tijuana – This could have a post in itself… you can haggle your price. I didn’t spend more than 70 pesos to get anywhere in the city. On average it was 30-40 pesos total, not per person. You’ll average between $2.50 and $4.00 but nothing past $6.00
*Additional notes on taxis – Try to find the white taxis with orange lettering, not the maroon taxis. Maroon ones typically have a set route they take that they do not stray from. Also, make sure to have an agreement on price before you get into the taxi. The nice thing about taxis with the orange lettering is they have a meter that you can have them turn on (you have to ask). People mostly haggle so these are not often used, but usually come out to a low fare.
Figuring out transportation can be super stressful sometimes. Hopefully this helps out anybody making their way into Tijuana. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or shoot me an email ;)