Baja Peninsula Border Crossing Information
If you plan to drive down the Baja there are two major routes you can take. Highway 1 or Highway 5, which connects into Highway 1.
You do not need a permit for the vehicle you are driving unless you plan to cross over into Mainland Mexico. For the Baja Peninsula, it is not necessary.
BE SURE TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH BEFORE CROSSING THE BORDER INTO BAJA, MEXICO. RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE US AND MEXICO GOVERNMENTS CAN CHANGE AND THE INFORMATION BELOW MAY NOT BE UPDATED.
Also, be sure to obtain Mexican Auto Insurance for the time you are in Baja. There are many companies that provide insurance. We are currently getting ours through Lewis and Lewis Insurance: https://www.mexicanautoinsurance.com/
Remember, as you drive down the Baja Peninsula, you will go through 6-7 military inspections usually before the bigger towns. Sometimes they are manned, sometimes they are not. If they are manned and you need to stop, they will ask where you are coming from, where you are going. Sometimes they casually inspect your vehicle/possessions, other times they do not. If they inspect your vehicle, be sure to have a person stand and watch them during the inspection. Mainly to answer questions they may have and to make sure nothing walks off ; )
Below is information on which border crossing to take depending upon the route you drive:
TECATE BORDER CROSSING
Border Crossing: Cross at Tecate, CA / Tecate, Baja
GPS coordinates for border crossing: 32.576427, -116.627479
405 Tecate Rd, Tecate, CA 91980
Open 6am - 2pm (this changes, so verify the hours before you cross)
Tecate is a straightforward and easy land border crossing.
You will need to get a FMM Tourist Visa when you pass through the port of entry. If you intend to stay near the border, then there is no fee for this visa. If you intend to travel more than 18 miles from the border, you will need to pay the $594 pesos $30 USD fee.
First park your vehicle - BEFORE the border crossing. There are many places to park before the border crossing. We usually park in the post office parking lot and then walk.
Walk towards but not thru the arch where the cars drive through. Keep to your right and watch for the yellow arrows on the sidewalk. You will pass the Banjercito first and just past it is a blue bannistered staircase. This is where Immigration is. There is a gentlemen at a desk just inside the door and the entrance to Immigration is just past him to the right. Fill out the paperwork for the FMM Tourist Visa.
Then go to the Banjercito to pay for the FMM Tourist Visa.
Then go back to the Immigration office, show your receipt and they will stamp your passport.
Walk through the pedestrian Mexico border crossing, xray machines, etc.
Once through the restrained border crossing, immediately turn left and follow the signs for the US Border crossing (about 5 blocks). Walk and cross through the US border crossing, you will need to show your passport. Continue walking back to your car.
Get in your car and you can then drive through the Mexico border crossing.
At this point, follow the signs for Ensenada and your next destination.
Congratulations, you have successfully crossed into Baja, Mexico!
MEXACALI BORDER CROSSING
Border Crossing: Cross at Calexico, CA / Mexacali, Baja
Border GPS: 32.666839, –115.387892 (this is Northbound traffic, but it is close for the Southbound)
From El Centro: Go east on Highway 8 to the Highway 111 exit.
Go south on Highway 111 to the third light (Highway 98 or Truck Route 7).
Go east on Highway 98 for about 7 miles until the sign showing the border crossing.
Turn right and proceed up and over the cloverleaf and into the border crossing. RVs are to follow the signs for passenger cars.
Once through the border crossing you will come to a "T" where you will make a right and proceed west along the border boundary to the first stop sign.
Turn left onto Calzado Manuel Gomez Morin (Morin Blvd.).
Continue south on Morin through seven traffic lights, passing the Sony plant.
Turn left onto Highway 5 going south towards San Felipe. San Felipe is really well posted so continue to follow the signs for San Felipe.
Congratulations, you have successfully crossed in Baja, Mexico!
Note: In 2020 when we crossed at Mexacali, we needed to obtain an FMM Tourist Visa for Craig's mom driving with us. We pulled up to the border crossing and they had us pull through to the inspection area. Craig and his mom waited while I went inside the building with the Immigration Officer and purchased her FMM Tourist Visa. They WERE NOT inspected. It was just the best spot for them to wait for me. This part could be different, so good luck and the Mexico border agents will guide you through the process.