San Diego is truly a two-nation vacation, with Mexico just 17 miles from downtown. Just across the border you'll find Tijuana, a bustling city with historic markets, unique art galleries and an emerging culinary scene including celebrated chef Javier Plascencia's Mision 19. Traveling along the coast South on Highway 1, approximately an hour out of Tijuana is Rosarito, a resort community known for its beautiful beaches, desert hills and warm hospitality. Further South, is Ensenada a port city with a host of recreational activities, a full cruise ship terminal and a main downtown district lined with shops and restaurants. Just outside of Ensenada's city center you'll find the Valle de Guadalupe, the wine region of Baja. Here you'll find a sophisticated wine lover experience complete with gourmet dining and stunning resorts.
For more information on visiting Tijuana visit the Tijuana Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Guests who plan to visit must have a valid passport. Visitors traveling no further south than Ensenada returning to the United States within 72 hours do not need a tourist permit. Guests traveling by land who plan to stay longer than 72 hours and travel beyond Ensenada must obtain a tourist permit at the Mexican consulate in the United States or at the Immigration office near the border entrance. The migratory from must be turned in when leaving the country and minors must be accompanied by their parents, or have a notarized letter from the absent parent, authorizing the leave the country.
When crossing back into San Diego, U.S. citizens are required to show passport, U.S. passport card, Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST) or an Enhanced Driver's License, resident aliens must possess a green card. Voter's registration card, military ID, driver's license and social security cards are not considered valid forms of citizenship identification. For more information on the San Diego - Tijuana border crossing visit Smart Border Coalition.
Citizens of other countries must carry a valid passport with a valid I-94 or multiple entry visa or visa waiver to re-enter the United States; verify details with the Mexican Consulate before traveling.
U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry are required to have documents that comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), most commonly a U.S. passport, a passport card, a trusted traveler card such as Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST, or an enhanced driver's license. See below for the complete list:
When traveling by air between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, you are required to present a U.S. passport, except as noted below. This applies to everyone including newborns, infants and children.
The only exceptions to this requirement are for:
U.S. citizen children under age 16 arriving by sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean may present an original or certified copy of his or her birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Certificate of Citizenship.1
U.S. citizen children under age 16 arriving by land from Canada or Mexico may present an original or certified copy of his or her birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Certificate of Citizenship.1
Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship. See the Department of Homeland Security's GetYouHome.gov for more information on the changing travel requirements.
Passport holders from countries on Mexico's no visa required list do not need to apply for a formal visa to visit Mexico. The maximum period of time that a visitor may stay in Mexico without a formal visa is six months. Pedestrians crossing into Tijuana at the San Ysidro crossing need to complete a Mexico Visitor's Permit (FMM - FREE if the trip is 7 days or less and you cross by land) and present a passport. People driving across the border are not currently affected by this. The FMM is a simple form, you can acquire one at all land border crossings. If you travel beyond the 22 miles/35 km "free zone" after crossing a land border into Mexico you will need to pay a fee of around US $22. Your USA tourism visa is enough to return to the United States after visiting Mexico.