Tecate Border Crossing


Tecate can be an easy border crossing option from Baja back north to California.  Easy is defined as NEVER on a Saturday, Sunday or Mexican holiday at Tecate.

If you are using Highway 3 through the Valle de Guadalupe wine valley, north of Ensenada, it will take you about an hour to reach the lineup.

Your big turn is RIGHT(photo 1) at the baseball stadium/McDonalds.

In 200 yds, after one stop sign and RR track x-ing, a not-very-well-signed soft left turn (photo 2).  This soft left willcross the track again and take you up to Av Benito Juarez.

Av B.J. is marked by a greenbelt island/lane divider.  Get to the left lane, because you will take the first LEFT TURN in 100 yds.   Photo 3 shows that LEFT TURN from Av Benito Juarez to the border crossing entry.

In approx 200 yds, dead end(photo 4) will force your left turn up a hill into the lineup for the Tecate Border Crossing.  My experience is that the top of the hill is a 45-60 minute wait.  The dead end entry to the lineup is approx a 90 minute wait.

You will pass the truck border crossing and find 2 gates/lanes into the U.S.

When I use Tecate, mid-morning and mid-week, it is often less than a 15 minute wait.  And the CBP guards are a little more relaxed than their San Ysidro colleagues.

tecmcd tectraxleft tecjuarleft techill tecgate

I have also used Blvd 2000 from Popotla/South Rosarito to Tecate.  One option from Blvd 2000 is the Tecate FREE ROAD.  This becomes Av Benito Juarez once you reach Tecate.

Or the Toll Road, a few miles northBlvd 2000, is a new and fast highway.  Toll Road here is approx 90 pesos(approx $7usd).  From the Tecate-Mexicali toll road take the Tecate Ultima Salida(last exit) which will put you in the land of a thousand stop signs(Tecate…careful, as police have been known to harass U.S. plated vehicles about COMPLETE stops).   In a little less than 2 miles, you will be at the Baseball Stadium/McDonald’s intersection.  I forget if it is 11 or 12 stop signs/lights between the toll road and McD!



One Comment

  1. Mohammed P. Sherman
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 09:50 | Permalink | Reply

    When driving north through Tijuana, I’m always entering Tijuana from the Ensenada toll road. There are two border crossings: San Ysidro and Otay Mesa (the newer crossing). The traditional San Ysidro crossing is the larger and busier of the two – on Sunday afternoons and on holidays expect at least a one hour wait at the crossing (it could be shorter or longer). While Otay Mesa is quicker to cross, it is more difficult to reach on the Tijuana side. To my mind it’s a toss up during the crowded times. If it’s not a crowded time, then San Ysidro is probably faster. In either case, be prepared to prove to the U.S. Customs agent both your citizenship and the prices of purchases you made in Mexico. The probability of having to do this may be slight, but it is something you should be ready for.

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