Where to Park Your Car in San Diego and Cross into Tijuana

Tijuana, once a mecca for under age college students, is now just a shadow of its former glory. As recent as the mid 2000’s, Tijuana was a place where southern California college students could easily road trip across the border and drink (and get over-the-counter drugs) legally. However, over the last decade, due to security concerns, the influx of tourists have dried up leaving a shell of a once hedonistic party town.


Fortunately Tijuana has started to make somewhat of a comeback as safety and security slowly return, and people realize it’s not quite as bad as the media has portrayed it. Still, like anywhere, you will need to exercise caution.

For many people the idea of going to Tijuana seems like a great idea, but they’d rather not risk having their car stolen across the border. For that reason (and others) there are numerous parking lots that allow cheap parking while you’re in Mexico and an easy passage to the other side.  The border crossing at Tijuana is called San Ysidro and is at the end of the 5 freeway.

Here’s how you park your car and cross the border at San Ysidro:

  1. Drive south on highway 5.
  2. Get off on the “Camino de la Plaza” exit. This is the last US exit before crossing the border.
  3. Once off the freeway, you can go either left or right and you’ll run into numerous parking lots with 24 hour access. They all charge $7 USD per day.
  4. Pull into one of them, take your ticket, park and walk toward the freeway overpass.
  5. At the overpass you can either hop in a taxi, pedi-cab or just walk across the pedestrian walkway to get to the other side.
  6. If you’re in a cab, have them take you to your hotel. If you walk across, there are yellow taxis available at the end of the walk way. They usually charge $10 USD to go to Tijuana Centro or $5 USD to go to La Revolucion Ave.
  7. Once you get to your hotel, drop off your bags and grab a cerveza. Enjoy!

The process of getting to Tijuana by parking your car in San Diego is a lot easier than you would expect. The entire area around “Camino de la Plaza” is set up for this very process.

October 24, 2013