The Tijuana Linea bus terminal; the red ABC bus to Ensenada; the massive turnstalls entering into Mexico by foot.
Perhaps the safest way to get to Rosarito or Ensenada is by bus. Nine American dollars will get you a one way ticket to either. ABC bus company runs every 45 minutes from Tijuana through Rosarito, Puerto Nuevo and terminates at Ensenada. Toss your belongings in a backpack or duffell bag and head for the border. You can also take the bus from Tecate Mexico as discussed in my prior article here.
You will need to get to the TJ and San Ysidro border crossing in order to walk across. You can avoid American border parking costs by taking Uber or the San Diego Trolley, or simply have someone drop you off. If you plan on parking your car on the American side of the border and walking across be prepared to pay a hefty parking rate-$25.00 a day. A two night stay will equal $75.00 in parking since they don’t prorate the days. Good luck finding cheaper American side border parking.
Walk towards McDonalds where you can exchange dollars into pesos from the nearby money changers (highly recommended due to the record decline in the peso). Follow the sign towards “Mexico” and follow everyone else. You will stroll by the cute frolicking Prairie Dogs and then through the massive turn-stalls into the indoor Mexican Border Patrol pedestrian checkpoint. Show you’re American Passport to the border officer and they will give you a Tourist Visa free of charge. Keep walking and you automatically end up at the end of the sidewalk where Taxi drivers solicit your business.
The white taxis are Taxi Libre which are usually a cheaper taxi service than Yellow Cab, but both will charge 100 pesos to take you and all of your companions to the ABC bus terminal. Tell the driver to take you to “El Terminal Linea Autobus ABC” and say you only have 100 pesos. Say “100 pesos” a few times so there is no misunderstanding. Up and over the bridge, via the round-about, lots of horn honking and you will be dropped off at the bus terminal in three minutes flat. ABC is front center, and if you are lucky, the big red bus may be waiting there for you. Buy the ticket at the counter for 180 pesos. (Ask for a window seat on the ocean side if you want a sea-view on the way down.) Wait in the lobby. You will notice that all of the passengers are harmless. Many are moms with infants and senior citizens with canes. You will feel safe. Buy a Mexican Coke at the food and beverage stand and you will soon be in paradise.
The bus is modern with WIFI, and an America Spanish dubbed movie will entertain you the on the way down. The bus will pass effortlessly through the toll roads and will be ignored by the Mexican Highway Patrol. You will not get high-jacked or harassed because you will be invisible.
The bus will automatically stop at Rosarito near a gas station after about 30 minutes. To stop at other places along the way, tell the bus driver when you board and while driving walk up and remind him. (I don’t remember seeing those old fashioned pull chords). The bus will automatically end up at the Ensenada bus terminal on 11th Street after one and one-half hours of driving.
A safe five dollar Uber or Taxi ride will take you to the tourist strip in Centro Ensenada or Rosarito. You have arrived with no worries. To return back to America, reverse the process. The ABC bus will drop you off directly at the Ped West border crossing, so you will not need to take a taxi on the return trip. Wait in the long line to get through American customs.