Is moving Tijuana still a great value?

With recent rising rental cost is moving to Tijuana still a great value? With the recent changes to the San Ysidro line and opening of the Ped-west has sent the cost of rent in Tijuana and surrounding areas skyrocketing.

The questions is Tijuana still a great value? Has the recent changes to the border really made is easier to cross and make San Diego more accessible to working commuters?

I would say No. In fact Tijuana has many issues that don’t support these rental hikes. And most of these recent hikes are only supported by spectators and realtors not with any real changes that promote growth to Tijuana.

It is True Tijuana is growing and a amazing place to live. But you either are turned on by Tijuana or not.

The facts are:

1. Line crossing times have not gone down, line crossing times is holding Tijuana back from amazing growth. But even with the new Pedwest, more people are moving to the area, but the line remains very unpredictable.

2. Insurance and protection for Americans has not been addressed. Border insurance is for the most part a scam, petty theft is rampant and police are rotten to the core.

There is a very fine line that needs to be looked at before moving to Tijuana. Addressing 1. why are you moving to Tijuana. 2. Crossing the line.

I moved to Tijuana for Surfing and frankly avoiding the high cost San Diego to allow me free time and avoiding the 9-5 grind. I have been successful at avoiding some of that cost, but at times i’m not sure it has been worth it.

Tijuana has been good to me. I love the food, I love the people, but I am very careful.


Making money in Mexico with Pesos Dollar exchanges in Tijuana / San Ysidro.

so the side story is I seen this story posted on facebook >

This guy is a friend of mine on facebook that posted the story.*lives down here in TJ Mexico and crosses the SY/Tijuana line>

He explains how someone could make some money with a gorilla forex money making strategy.

As many of you know, I make a little (actually more than a little) money out of arbitraging the difference between the interbank exchange rate between the Dollar and the Peso and the actual street rate in Tijuana. This is a sure money maker nine days out of ten.

What is much LESS common is for the exchange rates in San Ysidro to get as out of whack with the rates in Tijuana as they did yesterday and today. Specifically, the Dollar sell rate (how many Pesos I get if I give them one Dollar) in San Ysidro has been running between 16.15 and 16.21, while the Doller buy rate (how many Pesos I have to give them to get one Dollar) in Tijuana has been between 15.93 and 15.95. In other words, if I have 15,930 Pesos in Tijuana, I can take these to the exchange house and buy $1,000 Dollars. I can then go to San Ysidro, and exchange the $1,000 Dollars for between 16,150 and 16,210 Pesos, which leaves a couple of hundred Pesos in my pocket after getting my $1,000 back. This may not seem like much, but when you are moving $5 Grand, it starts adding up.
So, starting yesterday, when I noticed this crossing into San Ysidro in the afternoon, I had $3,900 in my pocket from my bank arbitraging that I was going to take to the ATM and deposit. Instead of depositing them, I purchased 63,180 Pesos. I then returned to Tijuana and converted these into $3,960. This morning, Elva and I got up early to pick something up at Wal Mart that had arrived, and on the way there I toke my $3,960 and turned them into 63,930 Pesos. After some ridiculous doings with Mexican Customs, I went home and decided to pay a 2% fee by taking an advance on my credit card to add another $1,500 of capital to this game, which I then promptly withdrew from the ATM and got another 25,000 Pesos. I then turned all of this into $5,585, which included $4,013 from the above 63,930 Pesos. I had left my car in San Ysidro as I crossed in a friend’s pick up truck, so after I got home, I grabbed my bicycle and rode back across the border to San Ysidro. I then turned the $5,585 into 91,200 Pesos. Driving back to Tijuana, I turned this into $5,653 Dollars. Later on, we crossed back into San Diego to go to the hockey game, and I turned the $5,653 into 91,300 Pesos, which, after the hockey game, got turned back into $5,727 Dollars. Between what I had on hand this morning plus what I added to the stock, I started the day with $5,439, meaning I basically fabricated $288 out of thin air, plus I have a handfull of loose Dollar bills and 10 and 20 Peso coins. Call it $300 on the day.

The only down side to this is the absolutely incredible hoops the American exchange houses make you jump through when you are moving over $5,000 at a time. If I tell them the truth, they will think I am in competition with them, and refuse to exchange. So I had to lie and say it was for rent money, or to pay my employees, or whatever. A little known fun fact is that ALL the exchange houses in San Ysidro are owned by one of two people, so the third time through, Elva and I had to go from place to place changing $800 or so at a time, as I was already on the books as having changed a large sum once today. Thank you War on Drugs/Terror..

Cell phone that works in TJ and San Diego

One of the biggest issues with regularly commuting across the San Ysidro / Mexican border regularly is finding a cell phone that works both in Mexico and US without having 2 different phones.

They sell many weak products like Blu and other knockoffs and phones with 2 chips around the border. This solution is by far is the cheapest and the best way, having only one cell phone that is factory unlocked out of the box so you just add your chip.

All the Nexus phones have a hot swap chip bay on the side of the phone.

I have the perfect solution. It is to buy the Nexus 4,5 or 6. In most cases, even the older Nexus 4 is a much better phone than of the hottest and more expencive phones on the market like the iPhone 6 and the Samsung edge crap.

Starting at $100-$150 you can get a factory unlocked Nexus 4 phone … because these Nexus phones come factory unlocked from Google and without cell provider’s spam pre-installed. Out of the box, these phone can be used with any chip without unlocking. I use Telcel en Tijuana and the prepaid Smart talk from Walmart while in the US.

and as a bonus, I will tell you has to also receive US phone calls for you US number at no extra charge.

How much time are you losing crossing the San Ysidro / Tijuana border to work everyday?

I would say no matter where in Tijuana you live, or how flexible your schedule is, you are likely giving up about 2 hours a day… and this is even factoring using the ready lane card. I had the ready lane till my car was stolen. But my experience is now so many people have the Ready Lane the regular line in some cases moves faster. Now I know lots of changes on the line are in the works; so it might become easier at some point to cross the border.

The car lines regular and Ready Lane have seen significant time reductions during the new changes.

What happens when your car gets stolen in Tijuana Mexico?

I am about to share with you my experience of what happened when I purchased insurance from Mexican Insurance provider Qualitas; one of these Mexican Insurance places that you see on the side of the freeway in San Ysidro just before crossing over into Tijuana Mexico.

The following info in this blog post is based on what I had to go though after my car was stolen in Playas Tijuana, hopefully this post will give you helpful advice you can use while you are dealing with the same-thing.

I purchased insurance from a broker Baja 4 Less; from these road side huts you see near the US Mexican boarder in San Ysidro. Address: 120 Willow Rd, San Ysidro, CA 92173, United States – Phone:+1 619-428-4406

Not really knowing the ins and outs of border insurance I ended up with Qualitas; Qualitas is a well known insurance provider from what I read online has a very bad reputation of what americans refer as the “Mexican run around.”

This blog post was written in real time, I started writing this blog post the day after my car was stolen in Tijuana. And will update the blog post as the story unfolds.

The experience is what I am after, the money is clearly gone. From what I have read online about the Mexican insurer Qualitas I more than likely have little or no chance recovering money and with cars value (not a large amount of money) The amount being so small even complicates this matter further.

None of Qualitas support numbers posted on their website or on the flier work 24 hours 01800 800 28 80

*that Qualitas have posted are 24 hours, this is false. No one picked up the phone, it took over 16 hours for someone to arrive and when they did arrive the agent seem drunk.

I found the most help from these numbers:

REAL PEOPLE PICK UP THE PHONE AND HELP!!! After calling American Citizen Services things really started to change, they have a team that works these issues and offers real help for Americans trapped in Tijuana Mexico.

American Citizen Services
Paseo de las Culturas s/n
Mesa de Otay
Delegación Centenario C.P. 22425
Tijuana, Baja California

Telephone: (664) 977-2000 from 7:30am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday (Dialing from the U.S. 011-52 + phone number)

Emergencies only: nights, weekends, and holidays, from the U.S. dial: (619) 692-2154 (From Mexico dial 001-619-692-2154)

The other REAL help came from another insurance provider completely. Lewis and Lewis  their staff contacted Qualitas office in Tijuana on my behalf.

First off from my observation the reason car theft is so successful in Tijuana is because the system in Mexico is broken, the reporting, the police, the agents… this really helps the Insurance providers. It is completely broken system. This is the main reason cars from the US are targeted, cars stolen from US travelers goes unreported in most cases im sure. Why?

1. Because you are not able to file a report. In this case my car was stolen with everything, the US insurance cards, the vehicle registration, my wallet, everything. And Mexico would not take the report without the car registration, witch is very stupid, but again this really this favors the Mexican insurance provider that you will abandon the claim and be denied because of this runaround, frankly the feeling from the Mexican police didnt even want to take the report. Once I went to download a copy of the registration Nevada; then excuse was I had no driver license. I don’t think this would have any effect on the outcome in the US, as long as you contacted Qualitas agent. This is not a bases for denial of any claim.

Learning in this experience that you can report the Car Stolen in San Diego and Highway Patrol will share this info with the Mexican Authorities.

Most of what was told to me from the Qualitas Agent and the Ministerid Publico Copia turned out to be a total lie, all you need is the Vin of the car. If you find yourself in this situation call American Citizen Services help line above they will call the district attorney office while you are at the location and talk with the high ranking official over the desk agents head. It was successful.

Wanna tip you are not going to read on any of Qualitas websites? Take photo copies of all the documents in your car, again this is another silly thing these companies don’t tell you, they really forget you are buying travelers insurance. Meaning, you are likely to only have your car, or suitcase.. no safe place or separate place to keep this stuff.

I know Qualitas already knows this, and Qualitas requires you to file a report in Tijuana Mexico, because the Mexican runaround just wears you-out then you go home and forget about the whole thing.

One thing when reading this you should keep in mind, it is hard to know exactly what information is correct and what is false, most of the info I received from Qualitas agent has been false. Again the best information I received was from American Services number above, and they are responsible for all the success.

You want to avoid pursing the claim in Mexico, you are American! This is travel insurance, purchased in the USA, once you file the report *066 and contact the Qualitas agent, if the Mexican authorities refuse to take a report, you may just return to the US and start with legal action. File a claim with against bond held for the company selling insurance in the US, you can also contact the insurance commission. You purchased travel insurance from a US company, meaning you have all the legal power in the USA against this business in the US, Qualitas denying your claim meaning nothing, there is laws to protect you and this is what judges are for. :)

I am working now with this California Insurance Commission to get the contact details on Qualitas in San Diego.

So how did my car get stolen? Not much of a story… I went for a walk on the beach and when I came back 30-45 mins later and my car was gone about 6:30 in the afternoon.

Still daylight, there is areas in Playas Tijuana that car theifs watch, and if they dont know you they will steal your car. Someone will follow you and the the other will just take it. This is a great crime, you never get caught… they are never looking for the car. Every 3rd car on the road has US expired plates. When the cops pull you over you give them few bucks and they dont give a shit. even my girls car was from the US, it’s a full on enterprise.

So if you have your car stolen, your next step after calling the Insurance agent will be to make a report at the District Attoney’s office or Ministerid Publico Copia in Tijuana. Then the real fun begins.




Murua Martinez Ave. s / n, Fracc. Chapultepec Alamar

Tijuana , BCN

Mexico Phone: 01 (664) 104 76 11, (664) 104 76 34, (664) 104 76 09

The Qualitas agent Jose Maria Velasco showed up about 18 hours later, he gave me a questionnaire in Spanish,  he was worthlesss. No information, told the policy was not valid because the car was over 15 years and never took any more calls,  just blown off.

Monday morning! I have been waiting all weekend. But it really ended with more questions than answers. More run around from the Baja 4 Less.  It was mind blowing, I actually contacted US based insurance place, and the rep “ruth” tells me they don’t sell policy’s from Qualitas. Seriously, its nearly laughable.

Also, I find out from the Nevada DMV that I need a notarized affidavit that the plates are stolen or this pieces of shit are going to want 250! So if you feel sorry for me for getting my car jacked in Mexico, you shouldn’t…  feel sorry for me that I’m getting robed from the Americans. They are much better and enforcing, bullshit laws.

And you want to know the even more unsetting part of this story? Here I have been coming in Mexico for over a year, and then returning to the US dealing with the Nevada money grab of junkfees for nothing, even AFTER I lost everything in mexico it seem more appealing to me than living in the shit hole of the USA and being fucked out of my money.

Another helpful tip: Ministerid Publico Copia is open 24 hours, something they don’t publish online, and they don’t pick up the phone either. Actually, they treat you like fucking trash.. but other than that they seem friendly.

What is my plan? Basically I am resin to my fate, I know I have little chance of really being paid at this point. You can see the hoops they are playing. I figure to do my best to write about what happen so people can read about this and I am going to file my claim against the agent I purchased in the USA. I will prolly need to file a small claims court case for my damages where the company will have to face real legal action and most likely will have the most success.

More coming soon!

New open auto lines in San Ysido / Tijuana boarder crossing.

In the last 30 days Sept-Oct in 2014 I have been watching the crossing times online and the auto lanes and the wait times have not been over one hour.

Just about 90 days before the 2014 holiday season the auto line wait time has been very short, even on the very busy Sunday’s when traveler return to California! With the first phase of the new improvements finishing up at the San Ysidro border crossing and new open auto lines. This really opens TJ up to many opportunity’s.

Crossing times still unchanged in the pedestrian walking lane.

It is very favorable to people working in the US while crossing to work, and is likely going to open this area up to more people moving south. I wounder if long crossing times are a thing of the past. The line has gone though many phases and crossing times have been low before, but will this new change have the lasting effect to make casual crossing much easier and more predictable to commute crossing.

you can see upto date CBP border crossing times for San Ysidro here >

Border Field State Park, where the US-Mexico border hits the Pacific coastline

This is Border Field State Park, where the US-Mexico border hits the Pacific coastline.

The fence divides Tijuana and San Diego County, but right at the beach, it is only a loose steel fence, and Mexicans routinely come through to sit on an American beach, and to test the response of the border patrol agents, who are everywhere.

The guy in red is all dressed up to look like a gringo tourist, and you can hear him ask us if he looks Mexican, and my friend tells him “Yes”, but I tell him he’d pass.

It’s a pretty surreal situation where you can have a conversation with a person in another country, who’s trying to figure out a way to get into your country.

House renting tours Playas De Tijuana – Rosarito, Popotlan, Ensenada, Guadalupe valley and Tecate Mexico

I found this post on craigslist, and this looks like a very good value. If you are looking to move to Mexico but not really sure how to get started, I think you would be hard-pressed to really find a better deal than this. This tour will allow you to see lots of rentals in Mexico and see if you like it… all for under $100 US.

Are you thinking on coming to live across the border and don’t know how? Let us guide you. We have many houses and apartments for you to rent. Rent Starts from the $300 up to $1200 dollars a month.
Some apartments are located on the beach. Many of our costumers live on Tijuana and work in San Diego.

Our Service includes.
Picking you up at the border.
Showing you the city and how to get transportation.
We’ll show you up to 8 to 10 houses to rent or to buy.( We search and find all the houses for you depending on your needs) Furnished ok
Help you with Spanish translations.
Drive you back to the border.
Tour may take up to 3 hours. Up to 3 people.
Price $85 dollars

Call us at 619-488-2771 or if you are in mexico 044-664-187-2553

we are located in playas de tijuana
12 minutes from the border
We also do tours to Rosarito, Popotlan, Ensenada, Guadalupe valley and Tecate.

Posting I found or Craigslist for a rental in TJ Mexico

SCAM!! Ever thought about living in Tijuana to save money?SCAM!!

Date: 2011-09-20, 2:09PM








  • Location: SCAM!! Tijuana SCAM!!
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


Original URL:

Getting dental work done in Mexico

The thought of having dental work in Mexico might scare the crap out of you, but in fact its much better than you think. Besides saving money, you might find it to be a pleasant experience. Also, all the Mexicans get their teeth done in Mexico, why not you? Seeing a dentist in Mexico is really not that different than in the US, there are good dentist and bad ones so it is best to do your research. As a rule of thumb, if people are in the office that is good sign.

Going to the dentist in Mexico I found to be a bit more relaxing, I have also been to the Doctors and it has an over all more relaxing feel to the experience. Most of the time you can have all you family seen for about 5 US dollars. I found it to be a great solution to getting some fillings done and getting out of pain, in most cases for under 50 bucks!

How to get the best deals?
It is simple, the further into Mexico you go the better the prices will be. Most Americans will go to the border to get their teeth done. Lets just put it this way, it is not hard to find someone to do some dental work on you. Traveling in 20-30 miles will make a big difference in what you pay. The Mexican dentist know why you are there. It’s best to negotiate, but don’t be foolish, keep in mind you can’t see the work being performed in your mouth. The dentist might take some short cuts leaving you in pain when you return to the United States. However, I can’t recall hearing any real horror stories, but the more I think about it, I have many horror stories to tell you about dental work in the US. But overall, this is a great way to save some money and I feel you might even enjoy it.

What can I expect to pay when visiting a dentist in Mexico?

Well, you are going to save about 70-80%, though lately the prices have seem to be a little higher, for example: In US dollars

X-rays are about $3.00 $10.00, I ave even had them done for free!

Tooth pulled $15.00 – $30.00

Root canal $100.00-$180.00 (I would get a reliable referral for this)

It’s hard to say if I will ever call Mexico home….