If you love the Mexican culture, the beauty, the sound of the waves on the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez, can you safely travel to Mexico? On a recent trip to Cabo, the answer was discovered to be a resounding “Yes!”.
With so many beautiful areas in Mexico now being off limits to tourists, it was a joy to find that travel to lovely Cabo is still very safe and a prime vacation destination for couples, families, friends, and lone travelers.
To add to the adventure, you might want to fly out of the Tijuana airport. The airfares can be less than half what it costs from many American cities. Unless you are a Spanish-speaker, the language barrier may be confusing. It appears that a very small percentage of the Tijuana (“TJ”) airport employees speak much (if any) English. Allow extra time to navigate the process. Fellow travelers can be very helpful with the language barrier.
The best way to get to the TJ Airport is to cross the US Border at San Ysidro on foot and hire a taxi for about $20 USD. They will take you directly to the airport and drop you off at the correct departure gate. Most taxi drivers have a good command of English, so no problems there.
Most of the necessary lines for bag checking, security, gate information, etc., are very similar to what you will experience in any large airport. However, you should have at least $60 USD changed to Pesos before you get to the Departure Registration Booth. If you are not familiar with the value of Mexican currency, do not be surprised if the immigration official builds in a “tip”, usually about an extra $20 USD. No one is certain where this extra money goes. Probably better not to ask too many questions. Just consider this part of the travel experience to a friendly, but foreign country.
Tijuana International Airport handled more than 3.5 million passengers in 2011. The airport can currently handle up to 10 million passengers and 360 flights per day! According to Wikipedia, the TJ airport is the fifth busiest airport in Mexico.
Authorities from Mexico and the United States have been involved in discussions about building an alternate U.S. / Mexico terminal at San Ysidro. This would consist of a new terminal building on U.S. soil, adjacent to the border. There would be parking, customs offices, and check-in counters. All this expansion would be linked to the TJ airport by a bridge (this is believed to be currently under construction), which would allow for an easier crossing into the TJ Airport. Nothing has been released to address returning to the U.S. after a flight into TJ Airport. There is certainly room for improvement in this area.
Land (in the U.S.) for this expansion has been secured. With the approval from U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, this project will now continue to move forward, with an expected completion date toward the end of 2012. In the meantime, continue to cross the border on foot and grab a taxi to the airport. An alternative would be to check out the available shuttle services. AeroMéxico provides shuttle service from San Diego, California to the TJ Airport. This allows passengers to make connections within Mexico and key locations in Asia.
Volaris, one of the newer airlines at the Tijuana airport, provides a shuttle service between the TJ airport and San Diego International Airport. This shuttle service allows passengers traveling either to Mexico or the United States to easily reach their final destination. Be certain to confirm shuttle times.
Pack light and enjoy the journey! Ole!