Tag Archives: otay mesa sentri crossing

Otay Mesa Ped Crossing


Had a friend needing my limo services from Ensenada to San Diego airport yesterday.  She had never done the Otay Mesa pedestrian crossing, so I gave her my best verbal description on our commute.  Above photo shows the Otay Sentri entry and the spot to drop of your non-Sentri passenger.  It’s approx 200 yards from the ped drop to the ped crossing gate, then another 200 yard hike to meet your vehicle on the USA side.

Northern Baja map showing border crossing options and routing.  Northbound to San Diego I use the TJ Free Road to either San Ysidro approx 80% and Otay approx 20%.

My preferred route from Ensenada to the Otay crosssing is the TJ Free Road(North Rosarito Exit) that is a direct route to the TJ Airport and Otay(see my white dot plot).  Many friends prefer Blvd 2000(amber route), but I find that road to be no fun and it takes longer.

That Free Rd to Otay route also includes a clean rest stop, approx 1/2 mile north of the Rosarito Toll Booth.  Unusual and unfortunate that the men’s room this Wednesday was “no papel”, so always have your spare roll of TP in your vehicle when traveling Baja!  That rest stop also has a snack shop with coffee.

This was the scene at theRosarito rest stop Wednesday mornign with birds and squirrels enjoying the peanuts these ladies were offering.  Lucky pajaros and ardillas were enthusiastic about gourmet breakfast.

From the Free Road/TJLibre/North Rosarito exit, it is approx 7 miles to this Airport right turn.  From this spot in above photo, you will wind through a commercial area and the big hill climb at the U.S. embassy that will lead you to the TJ airport. It is 7 miles from above photo to Blvd Bellas Artes at Otay crossing.

If you need more detail on Otay and the 8 photo locations in above map, click here

Back to Otay, that road bordering the east side of TJ Airport leads you to the regular lane, Ready Lane and SENTRI.  This entry to SENTRI is funky as the area has been under construction.  Instead of the bridge ramp after the Ready Lane Entry, meander right into the alley in the industrial area.  Mariscos Negro Durazo is on the corner, photo spot #2 in map above.

I have labeled it “Rumble Alley”, so just ease through the pot holes.  It will lead you to Blvd Bellas Artes headed east and ready to enter SENTRI lane.  Mariscos Negro Durazo on corner is blue building.

This overhead map mimics the first photo above in this post showing ped entry to Otay crossing.  The idea is to drop your non-Sentri passenger before you vehicle is visible to Sentri lanes.  According to rumor, Sentri frowns on this practice, but, I see all sorts of vehicles dropping passengers close to gate crossing, then U-turning back to TJ.  Hmmm.  And have your ped passenger cross with one bag on hand to ease credibility.  Jacket/sweater was also suggested as that office can be cold with A/C.  Got passport?

You cross in SENTRI vehicle lane, take first exit right(Siempre Viva Rd) and plan your meeting spot with your ped passenger on north side of border.  Make certain you plan a specific spot, as a friend of mine depended upon Mex cell service once for meetup w/ their ped passenger.  OOPS!

My friend mentioned one point of confusion, yesterday.  Two signs at ped crossing office were “SENTRI” and READY”.  WhereTheF does a “regular lane” pauper cross?  Just blame poor signage and pester a guard.

After the Ped crossing, your passenger should simply follow the others on the sidewalk for approx 200 yds north to your vehicle in the car queue.  Yep that spot has a red line on the curb, but I have never been hassled.  Or if the ped line wait looks long, Erik’s Deli is a decent, clean spot to rendezvous.

I’m usually crossing Otay at approx 10am-noon, so the rush hour commute is finished.  Max I have ever waited for my ped passenger here is 20 minutes.  That sure beats waiting in the Ready or Regular vehicle lineup for 2 hours.

Dia de las Madres(10 May) in Mex was likely the reason for an extremely expeditious ped crossing.  I waited 5 minutes max for my friend to meet me on the other side Wednesday.  She said they did not ask one question at the ped crossing.  She scanned her passport and she was FREE!

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