I have crossed by foot at night a few times the last few months and not had to deal with any of that going into Mexico. Is that typical now for daytime or only with groups? When I went down a few months ago with co-workers for a brewery tour we had to get out and register.
In driving across I’ve experienced both. We’ve been waved right through and we’ve been made to get out and go through the whole immigration/customs process. Last October I took a tour bus of 44 people to Rosarito for the day. We had to get off the bus and go through their process. PITA. This past February I was in a van with 9 people and we were waved right through.
If you’ve parked at the border or arrived by trolley, bus or drop off, you use a different crossing than by vehicle. It’s on the far east side of the port of entry. Getting off the trolley it’s super simple, you just kind of walk up the alley south of McDonalds, follow everyone to the right and go through the revolving gate. After that there is only one way to go, into the immigration line. That’s been the process since last September. It’s also a PITA but not so bad if there aren’t many people ahead of you. Mexican nationals can bypass the immigration line, but they do have to go through the customs line.
Last few times afoot we had to fill out the form going into Mexico at San Ysidro…AND…a SENTRI pass is insufficient for that process. We were told you must have a passport to go INTO Mexico.
They waived it for us once, but made a point of it.
Is that official policy? I dunno. But I bring the passport now.
On the other hand, I just got back from lunch at Finca about an hour ago. Down and back via Tecate, NO WAIT at the border- I was on my moto and didn’t even have the pleasure of weaving to the front of the line.
FN, including time spent at the border, plus driving time from Mission Hills, how do the total travel times compare for the two routes (via San Ysidro vs. via Tecate)? Frankly, even if they’re the same, I’d rather be in motion than in a line.
Oh, and how was the food?
Yep, that’s what the Mexican government is trying to enforce, but I strongly suspect it depends upon where you cross. SENTRI only works (thankfully) going northbound. I wonder what they’d do with a passport card.
A friend and I walked across at Tecate a few weeks ago to meet up with a friend for lunch at El Lugar de Nos. We walked straight through, not a Mexican immigration official in sight. No taxis either.
I think Tecate is the easiest crossing in either direction as long as you aren’t trying to cross back north on a Sunday (and sometimes Saturday) afternoon or evening. Border closes at 11 pm sharp, no exceptions.
Except for Canada and Mexico (in the past), I can’t think of any country where a valid passport isn’t required to enter.
Walking into Mexico around 12:30 this afternoon from the San Ysidro trolley station, there were only half a dozen people in line ahead of us and the officials quickly filled out the forms. Coming back, there was a meltdown, took 50 minutes. We were thinking of going back Thursday, but forget it.
If you don’t have SENTRI, 50 minutes is a short wait. What time did you cross back. It’s usually not too bad after 8 pm
6:45, on foot.
Line should have been shorter than 50 minutes at 6:45 pm on a Tuesday. I wonder if the shoot out in Chula Vista had anything to do with it.
Where did you end up? Erizo?
I’ve found going to Valle to take longer via TJ, but I like the coast and El Tigre. But it’s a tossup. Yesterday, I rode through Tecate, which means a lot of highway 94, which can be either a lot of fun, or following a half-speed pickup with a refrigerator strapped in the bed for miles and miles of double-yellow. I’m far less the hooligan I once was, and have so many registerd vehicles a single ticket could bankrupt us from the insurance penalties.
Yesterday, Mission Hills to Finca was almost exactly two hours, same in return. One hour from Finca to the border, but when traffic is clear, I tend to proceed in a very fast yet orderly manner. In a car with my spouse, it’d be closer to 90 minutes. A Tuesday afternoon is about the quietest the highway and the Valle gets- border as well. No SENTRI at Tecate, but at its worse, I’d rather wait at Tecate than TJ. Faster and far less buzzkill.
The Moderniza on the 3 continues to progress rapidly. The nasty bits just south of Tecate are completed and make a BIG difference. The re-route around Rancho Viejo saves a lot of time. The narrow canyon feeding into the Valle is next, and they’re working fast on it- a couple diversions there that I suspect will be an issue on a busy weekend. But overall that highway is going to be a significant improvement- they’re dumping plenty of resources into it. Big overpasses are forming, lots of infrastructure going in. Big cuts through the hills.
Mixed about it- yes, it makes it much easier, but yes, it takes away some of the charm. Included in that charm is the constant risk of head-on collisions and issues with many curvas peligrosas.
We had lunch at Verde Y Crema, which I’ll post about elsewhere. After three hours there we gave up on dinner.
Afterwards wandered around the neighborhood a bit and had a beer at Foodgarden Sánchez Taboada, which was very pleasant.
Looked in at
Erizo Misión 19 and did not much care for the atmosphere, kind of stuffy and formal. Contra is no longer in that building, though it’s still listed on their web site.
Only three of the 20? desks were staffed. They took three or four people out of line, so maybe those agents would normally have been working the desks.
Where is the elsewhere you plan on posting? TIA.
Are we talking about the same place?!?!?? Erizo is (was?) a quasi-sports bar, definitely not formal or stuffy. And Contra was never in the same building as Erizo. Did you perhaps look at Misión 19?
Oops, that’s right. Did not get to Erizo. Thanks for the correction. Misión 19 is not my kind of place.
Then La Querencia is probably a better fit.
I’ve never heard Misión 19 call stuffy and formal
Drove down to TJ last night with a group of 4, got stopped for the first time in 20+ years and they just looked in the trunk and waved us thru (no registration/paperwork). Drove out to Tacos Salceados and had a trio of tacos. I really wanted the arrachera but they were out. Order of the picture, from left to right, is the infamous quesataco with asada, adobada, and lengua. Tacos are about $1.50-$2 with the current exchange rate. Corn tortillas were very flavorful but a bit thicker and chewier than other places I frequent. The chipotle crema on the quesataco was sublime, and the habanero salsa our waiter brought us was superb and not too blistering. A fantastic round of tacos!
Mr. K…great looking tacos. Love their quesataco and you’re right, the chipotle crema is delicious