Living in Tijuana and crossing into the USA to work

If you live or have ever lived in San Diego, then more than likely you are somewhat familiar with Tijuana. I am not sure what it is about people and their wild stories about Mexico. The media seems to blow everything out of proportion but I wont go there. I don’t want to turn this posting into a massive rant, besides that it is another blog post by itself. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but many people live in Mexico and commute to the US to work every day. I would say most are Mexican-American but a growing percentage are American. So what would make a person do such a thing?

For one, the rent is substantially cheaper in Mexico than San Diego and it shares the same stretch of Pacific Ocean.

I just so happen to have a buddy that has recently become single, and he is about 40 years and balding… he’s not a bad looking guy, he’s just not getting much action these days, if you know what I mean.. So a few days ago he came out and asked me, “Dude.. is this the way it is from here on in?” So I asked him, how bad do you want some action? Hey, we aint talking hookers here..I said he was my buddy. But lets face the facts here, no chick wants some beer-drinking football fan, and football fans need love too. So I had an idea for him already in mind. I just wasn’t sure he was going to like what I had to say.

So what is a guy to do? Better yet what is a Girl to do? Holy crap, lets look at the reality here. If you happen to be 40 and single most likely you have at least one ex if not a few ex-wifes, owe some child support, are at-least 30 pounds overweight, some thinning hair on top, a shit ton of bills, bad attitude, bad breath and a limp-dick, you get the picture. Not exactly Don Juan, and your looking to get laid… ya! This got me thinking, I would be screwed if this happen to me! I am the Worst – all do is eat Tacos, double cheeseburgers, nachos, 3 bowls of cereal, Coke, I walk up 3 flights of stairs and I feel like the end is near.

So what does it take to live in this hidden promise-land, for 40+ single male/land of misfits men existence? The simple reply to this is not much.IM002758

Before going into all great things about living in Mexico, I thought I would go into all the hurdles you would have to overcome.

First and foremost is crossing the border. This is by far the biggest issues for people living in Mexico. Its not that you can’t, it’s just on one day it might take you 10 minutes and the next it might 3 hours. If you are working in the US, you need to have a flexible schedule. The best way to go about crossing the border is to cross on foot. The time you spend in line will be far less, and you can park your car on the US side for easy mobility upon crossing. The public transportation in Mexico is very good and you will find little need for a car there. Another side note: after crossing into the US, the Trolley is outside the door to take you to San Diego. So leaving your car on the US side is one way to cut your time spent crossing and avoid the hassle and legalities of having a car in Mexico.

Another factor people often consider is their personal safety. Of the many times I have been in Mexico, I really haven’t found myself in to many situations that I would find scary, or that I thought I was in any real danger. However, you must realize Mexico is a third world country and you need to always be aware of your surroundings. You have to be aware of your surroundings in New York or East LA as well. I don’t see you in any more danger in Mexico than anywhere else in the world.

I love Mexico on a different level, I love the freedom I feel when I cross the border. There is a carefree attitude that is pervasive in Mexico. Mexicans are generally friendly and they are hard workers but they do not obsess about work like people in the US. And they love food!

The street food is simply fantastic. A word of warning about eating street food in Mexico though. They do not have the same health codes as restaurants in the US. One way to tell if a place is likely safe is to gauge the amount of local traffic it has. If it’s very busy, you’re likely to be safer than eating at a place where the food has been sitting around all day. If you eat there enough, you will get sick. This is guaranteed because they cook with ingredients we’re not used to eating regularly, for instance, lard. But don’t worry, you can get used to it just like the locals do. There are so many things that are appealing about living in Mexico that I’m surprised there aren’t more US citizens living there. Then again, maybe that’s why the media seems to highlight the problems of Mexico because the US doesn’t want a reverse migration. Just a thought. There are so many other things I could say about it, I’m sure there will be additional posts coming on the subject of living in Mexico.

27 thoughts on “Living in Tijuana and crossing into the USA to work

  1. Hey scott. Any pointers for me about moving down there? I have been going there since I was a kid. I love it there and love latin women too. Trying to understand the larger picture and make sure I do not overlook anything prior to moving

  2. hi scott, I really enjoyed your article. i myself am trying to write a 14 pg essay for my english class on us citizens who work in the us and live in mexico. i need help finding graphs showing how many citizens own property in tj, or at least an newspaper article… i would appreciate your help

  3. I have just started researching this. I have a dog that I have to bring with me if I move from CA to TJ. How dog friendly of a place is it there?

  4. There’s a great thing called the SENTRI pass and you cross the border in about 5 mins. Playas de Tijuana is the most luxurious neighborhood if you ask me.

  5. hey scott, that was a nice article, Im thinking of renting in TJ but just to have a place to stay when I come down from Los Angeles maybe once or twice a month, I was thinking playas area, 1 or 2 bedrooms, nothing fancy, but close to markets, because I won’t be driving in TJ, any advice? I was born in MX but grew up in LA, so for me it’s not a traumatic move, I really enjoyed my few times I visited in the 80’s and 90’s, how about dinner and you can show me around some time? hehe

  6. I am an old geezer living on Social Security. I have just spent the winter in Ensenada. The rent for a very nice furnished small place there was $340 a month. Food costs were generally less than in the US, especially if you like fruit and fish. The police presence in Tijuana is very high, and the most dangerous thing about the town is the possibility of breaking your leg on the crumbling sidewalks or stepping into an uncovered manhole. You don’t need a car – public transport is cheap and widely available. When I am in Tijuana I stay at a very nice hotel for less than $20 a night. I most likely will live in the Baja soon.

  7. I plan to move their soon with my wife and 5 yr old daughter, I would always go to tj and i love it. I feel bad for my daughter because she is so americanized, Im mexican american but I have always been in touch with my roots.tijuana is a very nice place to live in if you make american dollars but if your poor not so good of a place to live in

  8. I was just kidding about scott, scott are you still in tj please email me at acervxxxxxxxxxxxxx I would love to hear how life in tj is as of know 2012

  9. I appreciate these comments. Finally something positive about Mexico even though I’m not balding and in need of some “action”. I will be living in TJ with my husband this December. We are not young and tired of living apart since last January. He’s asked me to move to TJ before Christmas this year. I visited this past July and loved it. Not very beautiful city but neither is Jackson, MI where we’ve been living for 5 years. We love the churches in almost every neighborhood and the on fire preaching and teaching of the gospel. They need to send missionaries to the U.S. to wake up the church here.

  10. Do you need spanish to live in Tijuana, or is it like Montreal where everybody speaks English?

  11. Calling a country “third world” can be very misleading because “thrid world” includes countries like Mexico, China, India, Haiti and the poorest African nations. Compared to those other countries Mexico is a RICH country, much better by far in standard of living, human development, health and infrastucture than those other nations.

  12. Hi Scott,
    I’m planning to move to TJ in June. Can you recommend any areas to look a place to live that would be safe for a single female?

  13. Playas TJ or Rosarito are going to be real safe. The further you go into Mexico the safer it is. It is the border areas and downtown TJ are really the worst areas of Mexico. Mexico is not a dangerous place, you can be raped and killed in Los Angles if you goto the wrong area. But you living in the US you are already familiar with these areas, and know where not to go. Mexico is the sameway. I have had very little problem in Mexico, go hangout with the Surfers. 🙂

  14. Hello Scott, thanks so much for this post. It’s been a while so I am checking if things are the same or close to same living in TJ?
    I am in the US and thinking of moving there for school in dental/medical/pharmacy. Is this a possibility? good idea? I hope you stop by soon..thanks for your help on this.

  15. I know that this was written way back in 2010. It’s now it’s October 2014 and they have opened the new border crossing lanes. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, now here is 25 inspection lanes with total of 46 booths. That will grow to 34 lanes with 63 booths by 2018.

    I’ve heard that before it could take hours to cross the border in Tijuana, that is down to 10-20 minutes. I just came from TJ because I had a surgery there. It took us about 25 minutes to cross the border back to the US. That’s not bad at all considering that it was on a Saturday around one or two in the afternoon.

    And no, I was not using the fast lane with a medical pass. I was coming back on a car registered in Mexico. To use the fast lane and a medical pass you need to be in a car registered in the US or Canada. So we went through using the regular lanes.

  16. No, I recently left after about 5 1/2 years. Cost have gotten much higher making it less attractive. Another reason is Tijuana is very dangerous right now. I would have the Sentri card in hand before moving or the line will be a big factor. I love Mexico, but* I would go and make sure you really feel like you wanna do this. They recently came out and said the line to cross will be short (less than 30 mins) I am not sure if that will happen or not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comments links could be nofollow free.