The Otay Mesa border crossing has become very popular for several reasons. It lacks the characters of the San Ysidro/Tijuana crossing. It does not have the congestion of Tijuana. The Blvd 2000 highway access, from Popotla inland that joins Blvd Industrial, avoids most of TJ’s traffic.
Otay is also a great crossing for SENTRI pass holders hauling visitors back north. Able bodies visitors can walk the 200 yds of the pedestrian crossing and meet their drivers at one of several restaurants just across the border. The PED X-ing at Otay is usually a fraction of the wait as the PED X-ing at Tijuana/San Ysidro. Map for PED and driver meetup is photo #6 below. I have successfully used Erik’s Deli for meetup on USA side of Otay for good coffee, food, wifi.
And thanks for D.L.’s council(comment below) on HOW to drop passengers at Otay for SENTRI users. Kick your passengers to the curb well back of the SENTRI, where you see taxis(photo 8). The SENTRI lane curves left, just after that taxi station. Your passengers will have a 250 yd walk, parallel to your SENTRI lane, to the crossing. After getting through the Ped Xing, it’s a 200 yd walk to reach the stores/shops, so look for Erik’s Deli on your right.
When I Otay, I use the Free Road at North Rosarito(exit Hwy1 just after the Commercial Mexicana). 7 Miles after exiting Hwy 1 is a well-signed right turn to AEROPUERTO. 7 more miles and good signage to “GARITA OTAY/AEROPUERTO” and you reach the Otay Mesa crossing. Photo>>>
Photo 2 is the entry to Otay Ready Lane. Mariscos Negro Durazo is the big blue building landmark to turn east on Humboldt, across from the TJ airport.
The only negative that I find with Otay Mesa is that the Ready Lane program has made this crossing as congested as San Ysidro during rush hour. There are many times during the week when the regular lanes are faster than the Ready Lanes.
That and maybe the food choices at Otay aren’t as much fun as TJ.
Yes, I have done this crossing over 50 times, including a few in 2014, so I am confident in this map and photo accuracy as of May 2014.
Click on photos below to enlarge.