Whether you stay the day, the night or the weekend, you can return to the U.S. easily. Only non-U.S. residents must present passports and visas for entry. U.S. citizens need only proof of citizenship, such as a copy of your birth certificate to re-enter California and even that is rarely requested.
What To Wear
Seasons are clearly defined in Baja: winter is cold, spring and summer are sunny. Of course there are snow covered mountains during winter and very hot deserts in summer.
It is wise to pack a light jacket or sweater during summer and something really warm for winter.
In major cities some nightclubs and restaurants observe dress code, we recommend to call before going out. Usually at this places the rule is: no tennis shoes or sandals, no caps or hats, no shorts, no t-shirts, no jeans.
What to bring into México?
You can bring in your car, personal clothing, camera and other items for personal use. For food or medicines, there is a per-person limit of up to US$400 duty free. Anything over that amount has to go through Mexican customs and pay import duty. It’s a federal crime for anyone to bring into México:
- bullet clips
- chemical substances associated with weapons
- munitions and other weapons
- Narcotics and other street drugs.
(Unauthorized buying and selling of such items in México is a federal crime bearing severe penalties), although special permits can be obtained in advance for hunting.
What can I bring back to the USA?
Persons buying goods in the Mexican border zone are entitled to take up to US$400.00 worth of goods free of customs duties, including one liter (aprox. above ¼ gallon) of alcohol per person, this is 1 per returning resident, quota is also cumulative within a family, with respect to father, mother and children. Mexican arts and crafts are duty-free and don't count toward your $400 limit. This is also cumulative within a family.
If traveling by common carrier (cruise ship, plane or train), more than one liter of alcohol is allowed, however, only the first one is duty free.
The following items are legal in Mexico and readily available everywhere in the border area, but cannot be brought into the United States: Cuban cigars, turtle products, switchblades, butterfly knives and fireworks.
The national currency of Mexico is the peso, its exchange rate, in relation to the dollar, fluctuates from day to day (usually just a few cents). Visitors may exchange money or traveler checks at any bank or at any money exchange parlor. Keep in mind that U.S. dollars are accepted mostly everywhere and there are ATMs all over Baja (look for "Cajero Permanente" or “Cajero Automático” signs). You can easily withdraw money from your U.S. account, but the money will be delivered to you in pesos. Most businesses accept international credit cards and some will also accept traveler’s checks. Personal checks are not accepted.
Being in México
Mexican laws apply equally to local residents as well as visitors. Don’t do things that you wouldn’t do back home and always use common sense.
It’s important to always have a valid photo I.D.
If you plan on driving, consider buying Mexican Auto Insurance; you will save a lot of time and hassle in case of an accident
It’s necessary to have the FM-T with you while you remain in México, and turn it in when you leave the country
On The Road
- Speed limits in México are set in kilometers (1 mile = 1.6 Km)
- Speed limit on highways is 55 mph and within city limits the average is 25 mph
- Respect and obey traffic signals, don’t drink and drive
- It is a traffic violation to use a cellular phone while driving in the state of Baja California
- Always use your seatbelt
- Along certain Mexican roads and highways you will find military checkpoints where you may be subject to a routine search. Please cooperate and be patient so you get back on the road quickly
- Do not advertise you are a visitor. Place maps, travel brochures and valuables in the glove compartment or trunk once you get to your destination. Carry wallets, checkbooks and purses with you
- Always lock your car and take the keys. Don’t hide a spare key on your vehicle
- Never leave your vehicle with the engine running
- Park in well-lit busy areas
- Whenever you stop overnight, remove bags and other valuables from the car and take them inside your room
- If your vehicle is stolen, you should immediately call Tourist Assistance Hotline 078, there you will be directed to report with the Deputy DA Office (Ministerio Público). Just show any document that proves ownership of the stolen vehicle. The Deputy DA will take a report and open an investigation
Beach / Ocean Safety
- Check with the lifeguards about safety conditions around the beach and water areas and tell your children about unsafe conditions or non-swimming areas
- Beware of rip currents
- If your children become separated from you, have them contact a lifeguard or police officer for help
- Observe posted signs around the beach area
- Do not carry glass containers to the beach
- If you are going to leave valuables in your car, place them in your trunk or conceal them before you arrive at your destination
- Drinking alcoholic beverages is illegal at all public areas
- When visiting local attractions, dress your children in bright clothing and designate a meeting site for lost family members
- For toddlers, write down their names and where they are staying and put the paper in their pockets
- Instruct your children not to open hotel room doors to people they don’t know
- Make sure your children are familiar with hotel / motel escape routes. Discuss which adult is responsible for each child in an emergency
- When in a car in Baja California, children 3 years or under must be in an approved safety seat
- Never leave children alone in a car
Buying medicine / Prescription Drugs
When buying any type of medication, make sure that there is no restriction for its purchase over the counter. To buy controlled medication, you need a prescription with the original signature issued by a Mexican doctor. It must also include the seal from the State Health Authorities and serial-number.
Possession of controlled medications without a Mexican prescription is a serious crime.
With a prescription you can only obtain up to 30 days of medication.
Under no circumstances should you buy or pay for a prescription, it is considered a serious federal crime.
Remember that if you purchase any medicine requiring a prescription and you buy it over the counter, you are at risk of being detained by the police authorities. Use common sense.
Valuables and Documents
- Make a photocopy of your passport, credit cards and tickets before leaving home and store copies in the hotel’s safe
- Keep a record of you traveler's checks and credit cards serial numbers in a separate and safe place in case they are lost or stolen. (Traveler's checks are not widely accepted in Baja California, personal checks are not accepted anywhere)
- Keep track of your plane or bus tickets
- While sightseeing or walking on the streets, we suggest carrying your purse in front of you and wallet in your front pocket
- Carry only the cash you need in small denominations and never discuss loudly your plans or the amount of money you are carrying
- Don’t be flashy with you money, jewelry of other objects of value
Green Angels (Ángeles Verdes)
This group provides free road assistance in case of a vehicle malfunction while on Mexican highways. Look for the green pick-up trucks; they are constantly patrolling the highways and are there for you.
24 hours / 7 days a week Baja California Highways Emergency Toll Free Numbers:
- 01 800 990 3900: Tijuana – Ensenada & El Hongo – La Rumorosa Toll Roads
- 01 800 888 0911: Tijuana – Tecate Toll Road
All over the State there are public phones from where you can make international and national long distances calls with automatic charge or by operator. These phones accept Mexican coins, as well as U.S. twenty-five cent coins. Pre-paid calling cards are available and can be purchased at the airport and at many commercial establishments.
To call from the United States to Baja California, one must dial 011-52, the city area code, followed by the seven-digit local phone number.
Once in Baja California this is how you must dial:
- 64601 + 646 + Number (7 digit)
- 68601 + 686 + Number (7 digit)
- 66101 + 661 + Number (7 digit)
- San Quintin:
- 61601 + 616 + Number (7 digit)
- 66501 + 665 + Number (7 digit)
- 66401 + 664 + Number (7 digit)
Calls from Baja California to any part of the world can be made from any telephone that can access "lada" or the country phone code.
To call local numbers, you only have to dial the last seven digits.For example:
- U.S.A.: 001 + area code + 6 or 7 digit number
- Mexico: 01 + area code + 7 digit number
- Rest of the world: 001 + country code + number
To make a call, verify the country, city and number that you wish to call.
Ask your hotel staff or at any visitor information center for directions and bus routes available to and from your destination.
There are two means of public transportation for tourist in Baja California:
- Local transportation.- Provided by bus or taxi cab. Some taxis are metered (recommended), others taxis are not. Make sure to negotiate the fare before boarding and if possible, have exact change available
- Out of town transportation.- Provided by bus companies with service throughout Baja California and the rest of México. They are operate out of bus depots (Central de Autobuses). You can call the Tourist Assistance Hotline 078 for more information
- The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18
- You should always carry a valid ID when visiting bars or nightclubs
- It’s unlawful to drink on the streets or in your car
- Do not drink excessively, “smart drinking” is always recommended when visiting bars or nightclubs
- If you plan on staying out late, make sure you bring along someone else with you.
- When going to a bar or nightclub, always be aware of what you are being served, and never leave your drink unattended
- You may be vulnerable when visiting the local "red light districts," particularly if you are departing alone in the early hours of the morning. Once again, use common sense
Reasons to get arrested in México
- Disturbing the peace or being a public nuisance
- Drinking in public
- Nudity or immoral conduct
- Use, production or sale of false documents
- Possession, introduction, or use of any weapon
- Possession, introduction or consumption of restricted drugs (Note : Most drugs that are restricted in the U.S. are also restricted in Mexico)
- Drunk driving or being under the influence of drugs
- Causing an auto accident or injuring someone
If you are arrested, you should call our Tourist Assistance Hot Line 078 and ask them to notify the Consulate from your country. Consular officers can work to protect your legitimate interests. They can provide you with a list of local attorneys, contact your family or friends, money transfers, food and clothing to detention centers.