Unless otherwise noted, Turista Libre treks in Tijuana and Baja California meet their guide on the U.S. side of the San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing, outside the McDonald's adjacent to the San Ysidro Transit Center. The physical address is 727 East San Ysidro Boulevard, San Ysidro, CA 92143. Please note, the meeting spot is accessible by foot only. The nearest pay parking lots are one block north on Rail Court, adjacent to Jack in the Box.
As of August 2015, current and valid passports are mandatory for all foreigners entering Mexico via its pedestrian border crossings. Sentri/Global Entry participants must also present a valid passport book or passport card when entering Mexico.
All foreigners with a valid passport — regardless of age — may stay in Tijuana and the surrounding region for up one week at no cost but must register with Mexico's immigration authorities by completing a Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM) just after crossing the border. Stays lasting longer than 72 hours require a fee of 500 pesos (approximately $27 USD).
All persons regardless of nationality must present a valid passport and/or Sentri/Global Entry card when returning to the U.S. from Mexico.
Turista Libre assumes no responsibility for anyone denied entry to Mexico or reentry to the United States nor provides refunds due to unexpected or unforeseen complications with passports, visas or any other migratory procedures. For more information regarding passports and visas, please refer to the official website of your country's embassy in Mexico or the United States.
We strongly recommend taking the San Diego trolley, Uber or Lyft, as parking lots at the border are often costly – on average up to $25 USD for eight hours – and usually full. The blue line trolley runs directly from downtown San Diego to the Turista Libre meeting spot in San Ysidro. On weekends the last downtown-bound trolley departs San Ysidro at 12:58 a.m. More info at sdmts.com.
If driving, take either Interstate 5 or 805 south and get off at the last exit, but be careful not to miss that last exit and actually cross into Mexico. Park at any of the lots – we recommend the ones next to Jack in the Box, a left at the exit and a right at the next light – but give yourself 20-30 minutes because, again, lots are often full.
Because our vehicles for group tours in Tijuana and Baja California are licensed for operation in Mexico only, we cross in and out of Mexico via the pedestrian lanes. This often makes for a faster return to the U.S., too.
Major construction is currently taking place immediately south of the pedestrian border crossing, but our bus meets us as close to the meeting spot as possible. Getting there involves a short walk once having entered Mexico, which provides an opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of the busiest land border crossing in the world.
If you happen to be joining a Turista Libre tour in Tijuana but you're already south of the border, you're welcome to meet us in Mexico. Just let us know ahead of time via email or via our Contact page.
Our treks usually last between six and eight hours, and we stick to the schedule as best as possible. If you need to be back in the U.S. by a certain time please let us know as soon as possible; we'll do our best to accommodate your return journey if we happen to be running a bit behind. Otherwise, sit back, relax and remember: the journey is the destination.
In short, ¡sí! Save for our winery treks, brewery tours and bar hops — which have a minimum age requirement of 18, the legal drinking age in Mexico — Turista Libre makes for a memorable family-friendly experience, and we're happy to receive and accommodate guests of all ages. Children 17 and younger receive a 50-percent discount off private tour prices, too.
U.S. dollars are fine but small bills – $20 and under – are a must; making change in Tijuana can sometimes be an ordeal. Credit cards are becoming increasingly acceptable among businesses in Mexico and ATMs are readily available but it's best to stick to cash just to be safe.
Border waits – both entering Mexico and re-entering the United States – can range from less than two minutes to more than two hours, and there is essentially no way to predict the length of the pedestrian line. We are able to check wait times throughout the day via multiple apps, however, so if you're curious just ask. Northbound waits on weekend evenings, when our treks usually conclude, often tend to be minimal however.
Turista Libre assumes no responsibility for delays in planned tour itineraries or delayed entrance to Mexico or return to the U.S. due to border waits.
For private group tours of seven people or more we ask that total payment be made in one installment rather than each person paying for his or her individual spot, as we do for our outings that are open to the general public. For groups of seven or more, a $200 nonrefundable, nontransferable deposit is required to reserve your tour date, which is later be applied to the total balance depending on the final headcount. Final payment must be made in full 48 hours before the start time of your tour. Tours for which payment has not been received in full 24 hours beforehand are subject to cancellation.
Public tours are nonrefundable regardless of notice. Tickets are transferrable from person to person, however. Private tour cancellations for groups of six or fewer people made within 24 hours beforehand require a 30 percent service charge of the total cost of your tour or $150 US, whichever is greater. Private tours valued at $150 US or less are non-refundable regardless of notice. Private tours valued at $150 US or more may be rescheduled, depending on availability but no later than 24 hours before the originally scheduled start time, for $50 US. We reserve the right to refuse full or partial refunds at any time, be it before, during or after a tour.