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How do you park at the Mexican border and take the bus?

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Latin America, Mexico, or Central America.

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How do you park at the Mexican border and take the bus?

Postby Winston » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:30 am

I have a question. I heard that you can park your car at the Mexican border and take the bus into Mexico.

Can anyone elaborate on how to do that exactly? Where is the parking lot at the San Diego border and is it safe to leave your car there? Is it in a parking garage or lot? Is it protected by security?

How do you take the bus from there?

What about the Arizona border where Mexicali is? Is there p4p in Mexicali? If so, how do you find it?

Does the bus go everywhere in Mexico?

Thanks.
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Postby Falcon » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:45 am

Glad I inspired you to check out Mexico, haha. :D

There is no need to take any buses on the US side or across borders if you're driving to the border. You simply walk across from the US side to Mexico, and back. Paid parking is very safe, with great security.

To get to Mexicali: Calexico parking is $3 per day at a dirt lot just to the west of the railroad tracks, on W. 2nd Street. P4P is at Chinatown (La Chinesca) during evenings, around Morelos & Zuazua (Hotel 16 de Septiembre is a good starting point). The clientele is nearly all Mexican.

To get to Tijuana: For free parking at San Ysidro (across from Tijuana), park at the Plaza de las Americas' big parking lot, on Camino de la Plaza. Paid parking can get a bit pricey, but there are some good deals. For a day trip, you should expect to pay maybe $10. Make sure you get off the last exit, since if you keep going, there's literally no USA return! P4P is at La Coahuila, which is crowded and popular with lower-class bums from the US.

To get to the Tijuana airport: Park at one of the paid parking places at Otay. They charge $5-$10 per day. After you cross the border, there will be taxis waiting. Get a taxi to the airport, which should cost you around 5 dollars.

The line to get back to the US is usually around 30 minutes. No wait to get to Mexico, but the Mexican soldiers will sometimes check your possessions and ask you where you're going.

Fly Volaris for the cheapest domestic flights. Tijuana is Volaris' hub, and you can get to nearly every corner of Mexico from the Tijuana airport. I'd recommend Guadalajara and Oaxaca City for beginners. Make sure you get the 6-month tourist visa at the airport, which will cost you around 290 Mexican pesos in cash. http://volaris.mx/en/ Route map is here: http://volaris.mx/en/where-do-we-fly/

Volaris also offers direct flights from Las Vegas to Guadalajara and Mexico City. These places are the "real Mexico."

People who approach you speaking good English are often deported ex-criminals, so it's best to take the initiative to talk to monolingual Spanish speakers.
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Postby rudder » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:16 am

Falcon wrote:People who approach you speaking good English are often deported ex-criminals, so it's best to take the initiative to talk to monolingual Spanish speakers.


hahahaa. You had to include that? That reminds me of this guy we saw in a really small rural village wearing a jersey with the number thirteen on it, looking super cholo, totally wasted walking around using a sledgehammer as a cane. He asked us where we were heading and we told him, "Vamos a hacer una caminata hasta la cima."

"The 'cima'?! What's that?" He replied.

Hey, could you please give me a ballpark price for the volaris flights from Tijuana to Guadalajara?
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Postby Winston » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:42 am

Here is what someone told me by PM:

alfromcal wrote:Hi Winston,
Sorry I don't post in the forum...kinda long story. In SD. Parking at the border relatively safe and inexpensive and they do have bus service into TJ. More popular option is trolly. You can park at any of the trolly stations free and the further north your park the safer it is. Trolly drops you at the border and you can walk across and get a taxi. I prefer the taxi to the bus. You can negotiate the ride to your TJ destination before you take the taxi. Easiest to get back in with a US Passport and do it on foot.

Not suggested: driving into TJ.

As some of the members suggested a better meeting spot might be Rosarito or Ensenada as they are a bit nicer although I have never had problems anywhere in Mexico. Like anywhere else, if you are going to wonder the streets drunk at 2am....

AL


What is this trolly station? Where do you find it? Is it in San Diego?

What is Rosarito and Ensenada?

Also are there any good hotels to stay at that are not expensive?
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Postby AmericanInMexico » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:09 am

The border crossing I use most often is the one at Nogales (the cities on both the US and Arizona side have the same name). I used to live in Nogales, Sonora and cross over to Nogales, Arizona every day to go to work, giving me the benefit of a US salary but Mexican rent. If you want p4p, Nogales isn't really a good place for that; once upon a time it was but after the drug war began people in Arizona stopped going because they were scared, thereby killing the p4p industry in Nogales; although a few bars of that nature still exist but are off the beaten path.

If you do decide to check out Nogales, there is ample parking on the US side and you can walk from the parking lot to the border crossing in about a minute. One caveat: there are two border crossings in Nogales, you want to cross at the Nogales Centro crossing. Do NOT cross at the Mariposa crossing; you will end up on the west side of the city far away from the downtown area.

As for Mexicali (which is not located on the Arizona border but rather across from Calexico, California) falcon's answer was spot on. I have been to Mexicali several times. The first time I decided to drive across the border and found that Mexicali is a very easy city to get lost in. After that I started parking on the US side and walking across; it was only $4 a day to park if I remember right. To get to Calexico is simple: take I-8 to get to El Centro and then once there take either CA-7 or CA-111 south; they both lead to different border crossings.

I have experience with Tijuana as well; I used to go there while stationed at Camp Pendleton when I was in the Marine Corps. I never went for p4p so I don't have any experience regarding that; I mainly went to visit some friends who lived near the Otay Mesa crossing. I always drove across though so that we could use my car to go to Ensenada so I unfortunately know nothing about the parking situation there.

If you want to go to a nearby border town that is off the beaten path but worth it, you should check out Tecate (yes, the beer is made there and believe me, it tastes so much better when it hasn't spent days being driven on an 18-wheeler). Tecate is located in between Tijuana and Mexicali; to get there you need to take California Highway 94; you can use an atlas to find it.
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Postby Winston » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:10 am

Thanks Falcon and AmericaninMexico.

Another question: Suppose I go into Mexico and want to do an extended tour around the country. Can you travel anywhere by bus? Is that the best way? Or is there a train?

How do you get to the beaches? Or the Aztec pyramids? Are they far away? Have you been there?

How do you find decent hotels at decent prices?

Falcon, are you going to come down to Mexico again? If so, maybe you could go with us.
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Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

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Postby AmericanInMexico » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:00 am

Winston wrote:Thanks Falcon and AmericaninMexico.

Another question: Suppose I go into Mexico and want to do an extended tour around the country. Can you travel anywhere by bus? Is that the best way? Or is there a train?

How do you get to the beaches? Or the Aztec pyramids? Are they far away? Have you been there?

How do you find decent hotels at decent prices?

Falcon, are you going to come down to Mexico again? If so, maybe you could go with us.


Bus is the best way to get around the country. There are almost no passenger trains.

I have been to the Aztec pyramids, they are located near Mexico City. I would recommend trying to fly to Mexico City unless you want to spend several days on a bus to get there. As Falcon pointed out, there is a cheap Volaris flight between Tijuana and Mexico City. Once in Mexico City the easiest way to get to the pyramids is to tell a taxi driver to take you to a "central de autobuses" and then from there you can get on one of the buses which goes to the pyramids. The entry fee was 45 pesos when I went last year. I recommend waiting a few days before going however, since the altitude can get really get to you if you haven't acclimatized yet (Mexico City is located at around 8000 feet above sea level). Also, if you have heart problems I recommend not climbing the pyramids, as the climb is grueling.

As for beaches, which one do you want to go to? I would recommend based on your location that you check out Mazatlan, it's my personal favorite beach city. The ones in Sonora are okay (such as San Carlos, Kino, and Puerto Peñasco) but San Carlos especially is too Americanized; I clearly remember seeing an American-style speed limit sign on one of the roads there. Mazatlan can be reached quickly and cheaply by crossing the border in Nogales and taking the Tufesa bus line.

As for decent hotels, they are everywhere in the country. You just have to look around.
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Postby Falcon » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:15 am

Winston wrote:Falcon, are you going to come down to Mexico again? If so, maybe you could go with us.


Aww, I wish I could, but I'm just about to go to Taiwan and the Philippines. Plus my Khmer-Isaan and Chinese-Burmese girls are waiting for me. :P

I'm glad you're seriously thinking about going to Mexico. Bon voyage! :D
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Postby celery2010 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:52 am

Winston wrote:Thanks Falcon and AmericaninMexico.

Another question: Suppose I go into Mexico and want to do an extended tour around the country. Can you travel anywhere by bus? Is that the best way? Or is there a train?

How do you get to the beaches? Or the Aztec pyramids? Are they far away? Have you been there?

How do you find decent hotels at decent prices?

Falcon, are you going to come down to Mexico again? If so, maybe you could go with us.


Yes, Winston, you can travel all around Mexico by bus. I spent 1 month in Mexico traveling by bus about a decade ago. I drove to the border in Texas, paid $35 for a month of secure parking and took the bus. You can start in the afternoon and be in Mexico City by morning. Then you can slowly travel by short trips or overnight buses. The great native sites are more in the south of the country or very far, in the Yucatan.

I highly recommend you travel in Central, western and southern mexico. This is the heart of the country. I have also crossed the border into Tijuana from SD, but it's completely different. Also-- just to note, South Texas is like Mexico-lite.

Some highlights:

Mexico City
San Miguel de Allende
Zacatecas (now in borderline dangerous area)
Puebla
Guadalajara
Puerto Vallarta

In the south:
Oaxaca
San Cristobal de las Casas
Palanque (aztec ruins)

also puerto escondido & zipolite has a nice beach.

However, i have read that the girls are lighter and have more euro blood in the more northern provinces like sonora or near monterrey. However, i would try to stay away from the near the border and the north, it is not safe due to the drug war situation, maybe it is safer now, but honestly i would not risk it. In Oaxaca and southwards, you get much more native looking people.

Hotels are cheap.
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Postby celery2010 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:54 am

btw i wouldn't recommend going from tijuana to central mexico by bus. that's like 2-3 days. i'd consider flying, unless saving cash is more important.
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